Archive | satire RSS feed for this section

If God is for you …

2 Nov

If God is for you …

L. Stewart Marsden

By now, unless you live under a rock, you know the Houston Astros won the World Series last night over the LA Dodgers.

No doubt, in some interview, some Houston ball player is going to thank God for the events leading up to the franchise’s first World Series win. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t fault anyone for thanking God for strength to endure something.

I also suspect there are those who are convinced that God engineered the victory. All of the sponsors are thanking Him, as is ESPN, for the full seven-game event. One of the most exciting events in baseball drew unprecedented viewers. Thank God!

This, after God apparently judged Houston earlier in the fall with Hurricane Harvey. Now I can say that with some certainty because all of the insurance companies that had to and are digging through their coffers call the weather event an Act of God. Therefore we know God did that. I haven’t checked in with Westboro Baptist Church to see what exactly God was judging through the storm’s devastation. No doubt some pretty bad things.

Apparently God then had second thoughts, and decided He’d been pretty tough on the Texas Gulf area. Like when he was surprised at Abraham’s commitment to sacrifice his son in obedience. “Wow!” He said. “Didn’t really think he’d go through with it!”*

At the same time, God had been busy judging California through massive fires. Either that, or He has a lot of stock in the NAPA Valley wine companies, and figured the price of a bottle of Pinot is going to go through the roof.

Everyone from the New York area knows that the once Brooklyn Dodgers skipped west years ago, and needed to be punished. And since the Yankees were upended by the Astros in league championship play, this was poetic justice. I think the Eleventh Commandment* is “THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE BROOKLYN!”

Whatever His reason, God favored the Astros, and shook things up before giving them the final “Well done” nod.

Do I really believe this? Take the notion forward a bit and the following holy conclusions would have to be reached:

The New England Patriots are NOT satanic;
Peyton Manning really IS funny;
If you don’t own an iPhone (whatever the latest edition), you really are less of a person;
Colin Cowherd is the last word in sports commentary;
45 is God’s man.

*While not scriptural in terms of the exact words, I figure if the Televangelist Pastards (borrowing this term from a friend) can make up stuff like this and get away with it, then sell tap water as Miracle Water, then I can take a little poetic license.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Either, Or

1 Oct



Either, Or

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It’s either this, or that;
Black, or white;
My way, or the highway;
Door One, or Door Two;
Day, or night;
Right, or wrong;
God’s way, or Satan’s way;
True, or False;
Left, or Right;

And ne’er the twain shall meet –
Not here, not now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binary Coding and Letter Writing

29 Sep

 

Binary Coding and Letter Writing

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It’s probably just me. Dailey I text my children – or at least try to – in the morning. I’m a bit verbose. But then I am a writer, and words are my medium to express a myriad of thought and feelings.

Lately I’ve begun to think I’m talking to myself – or at best, to thin air. I blather on about all sorts of things.

My children, on the other hand, respond in cryptic one-word responses, like, LOL, IDK, LMAO, or Ha! Sometimes only with emojis. A picture and a thousand words sort of thing.

Because of the timing of responses, it’s difficult to figure out what part of my monologue a particular response is meant!

Like the classic, “Do you like your eggs fried, or scrambled?”

Yes. In this case, a thumbs up emoji.

Frankly, it’s the kind of thing I’m known by my kids to do habitually, so I suppose Karma is at work, and I shouldn’t complain.

The other nagging thought is my kids are so much on the fly that they don’t have time to stop and give a thoughtful response. Too busy.

A reverse Harry Chaplin thing.

Oh, yeah … we’ll have a fine time then.

I don’t mean to be self-absorbed. Well, maybe just a little. Okay, I’m damn-well feeling sorry for myself! Satisfied?

Sorry. (Insert sad imoji here)

Everything we do nowadays is driven by the binary system. Ohs and ones. Simplification. But translate this one for me, will ya (NASA computer engineers NOT eligible)?

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100001

01001101 01111001

01001110 01100001 01101101 01100101

01101001 01110011

01010011 01101011 01101001 01110000 00100001*

It was only a matter of time that writing would devolve into the merest of notations and scratches. Abbreviations. Short answers.

I have a T-shirt that illustrates this pretty well:

 

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD:

1. THOSE WHO CAN EXTRAPOLATE FROM INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION;

 

Wait for it …

Music up: Age of Aquarius

Here’s how it went chronologically (really depends on what you mean by the word “it,” but in this case, “it” stands for devolution of writing):

  • Marks on a stick
  • Crude drawings on a cave wall
  • Stone tablets with hieroglyphics
  • Papyrus scrolls with hieroglyphics
  • Paper with hand-etched lettering
  • Block letters
  • Cursive
  • Written letters (e.g., Dear John …)
  • Books
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Computers
  • Memos
  • Sticky notes
  • Hand-held mobile phones
  • Cell phones
  • Text
  • Twitters
  • Abbreviations
  • Emojis

So, with one little pffft! in the very short timeline of communication, we have been sucked into a not-so-great eddy of simplification. That’s either because we have no more time left to communicate verbally or by written word, or, we have nothing to communicate.

Your choice.

* https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/write-your-name-in-binary-code/

Nonsense.

15 Aug

Nonsense.

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

How’s it going?

Same old same old, with a sigh.

Ah. That good, huh?

The adages wear thin.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Well, the ball’s in your court, you know.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

What you’ve got, is what you’ve got.

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Why do it today, when you can always do it tomorrow?

If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

You can’t bale water with a butterfly net.

Huh?

I made that up.

‘Bout as useless as a screen door on a submarine†.

Waste not, want not.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

If it can be imagined, it can be done.

Not on my watch.

Timex: takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

I can’t believe this isn’t butter.

See the USA, in a Chevrolet!

Wait!

What?

We’re off topic.

Which is?

Lessons in life.

I thought we were bantering in adages. We switched to ads somehow?

Some lessons in life are hard to learn.

Life can be hard. It’s easier to banter.

It is what it is.

What it is?

What it shall be.

What it possibly could have been?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

The early bird catches the worm.

Goodnight everybody.*

Goodnight Momma.*

Goodnight Ben.*

Goodnight everyone.*

Goodnight Momma. Goodnight Daddy.*

Goodnight children.*

Goodnight Daddy. Goodnight Elizabeth.*

Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Jim Bob. Goodnight Jim Bob!*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

What’s goin’ on? I was asleep. What’s everybody doin’?*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?**

† “Screen Door,” Rich Mullins.
*ABC television series, The Waltons, 1972 – 1981
** “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell.

 

Breaking News!

25 Jul

Breaking News!

Five historical (hysterical?) headlines, delivered à la ABC News Anchor great, David Muir, posing intently before the camera, wondering what did he know, and when did he know it? Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt,  rolling in their graves, eating their hearts.

Athens – 490 BC. Running to tell Athenians of the great victory over the Persians at Marathon. Traveling more than 26 miles full out. Pheidippides, uttering “Joy to you, we’ve won!” Falling, dying exhausted. “We should commemorate this day,” suggests Greek statesman. Looking back, historians wondering, What did he know, and when did he know it?

Wittenberg Castle – 31 October 1517. Nailing list of ninety-five shades of gray areas re the Catholic Church. Calling for the Pope to use his own money to build cathedrals rather than tax the poor. According to cousin Lex, idea for protest comes to Martin while sitting on the chamber pot. The Pope, dismissing the list as a “passing fancy.” Parishioners wondering about The Pope –– What did he know, and when did he know it?

Montana Territory – 25, 26 June 1876. Leading a battalion of 700, General George Custer, feeling confident. Crazy Horse and others, lying in wait sneakily, ambushing good American soldiers. More than 260 dying, including Custer. Boston hairdresser, mourning the loss of his favorite client, saying, “He was larger than life!” Grant, wondering “What did he know, and when did he know it?”

Pearl Harbor – 7 June 1941. Japanese air attack surprising US Naval ships on an early Sunday morning. Sinking ships under exploding Japanese torpedoes. Addressing the nation by radio, FDR, branding the attack “infamous.” Declaring war on Japan. What did he know, and when did he know it?

The Moon – 20 July, 1969. Landing the lunar module Eagle at 20:18 UTC. Stepping onto the surface, Neil Armstrong, commenting something about his small feet. Joining him later, Buzz Aldrin, remarking “Wonder how far I could hit a golf ball up here?” Congratulating the Apollo astronauts, Nixon, talking via the mystery of satellite. What did he know, and when did he know it?

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS … !

20 Apr

BREAKING NEWS: Animal Federation employs MOAB* to send message to imminent domain residents.

SUGAR MTN, NC — The Western North Carolina Chapter of the Wild Animal Federation sent a definite message to residents of Chestnut Ridge in Sugar Mountain last night.

The message? GET OUT!

“We were here first,” said chapter spokes-“person” Pogo, an opossum elected by the Wild Animal Federation to represent their complaints.

“These interlopers, not to be confused with cantalopers or antelopers, forced their way onto our reservation without so much as a how-do-you-do. It’s gone on way too long. We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to put up with it any longer!”

Bud, the bad-ass black bear who is the Enforcer of the group, volunteered to do the deed, which was under the cover of night.

“Sure, come sneaking up in the dark. Pretty cowardly if you ask me,” said one of two year-round residents.

“Fine with me,” said the other year-round resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “I got my 30-ought-6 loaded and at the window if they want to test me!”

“It’s not only the bears,” said the first residents. “Deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and crazy-ass Robins have colluded to make this serene and picturesque area a place of potential carnage! What we NEED is a wall to keep these critters OUT!”

Both sides have been reluctant to come to the bargaining table.

“Just look at me!” complained Bud, the alleged perpetrator of last night’s melee. “I’ve put on 183 pounds this month due to all of the sugar and fat these humans have tossed! It’s not only unHEALTHY for ME, it’s a cruel kind of baiting I think has got to stop. Look at all the damn bird feeders, for crissakes! There’s not a wren or a titmouse for miles around able to fend for themself anymore. They’ve all become dependant. It’s like — here’s some free and easy bird seed — come and get it! Then, in the winter, these snowbirds fly south and take their birdfeeders with them! That’s as bad as giving away a free hit of heroine, if you ask me!”

The decades-old battle between squatters (how the animals refer to the humans) and animals is not likely to find resolution any time soon.

“They are just not like us,” murmured Bud under his garbage breath.

“Animals is what they are!” replied one of the year-round residents.

*Mother of all Bears

 

Garbage carnage as a result of MOAB attack during last night’s raid

 

Signs of the Age(s)

25 Feb

image

Signs of the Age(s)

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

They’re piling up.

The signs.

And I find myself muttering, “Ya ain’t gettin’ any younger!”

A sciatic nerve that repeats its message I can’t do certain things:

  • like haul all of my groceries stuffed into those plastic bags into my condo in one trip;
  • like sit on the edge of the bed in the morning and bend over to tie my shoes;
  • like go up and down stairways alternating steps (I use my left leg/foot to descend and ascend, rather than going right-left-right-etc);
  • like sweep, vacuum and mop at a furious pace. Or any other strenuous activity that caused me no physical stress when I was younger.

I look in the mirror (as few times as I possibly can) and see “little tiny hairs, growing out my ears*!”

I see moles and warts and looooong antennae-like eyebrow hairs, and wonder what is the etiology for those changes?

I walk into a room purposefully, only to stop in mid-stride to wonder why the hell I walked into the room purposefully.

There are sticky-notes everywhere! I have every GPS location device for wallets, keys, socks, belts, that is possible to buy and utilize.

I and others joke at the age milestones: 30, 40, 50, etc. Some freak out, and scramble to recapture themselves at a much younger age. Miracle hair-growth products. Skin-tightening creams and ointments; and finally, plastic surgery. Botox. Tummy tucks. Diet regimens. Flattering clothing and underclothing that squeezes and redistributes sagging and baggy bulges.

Industries of a myriad of sorts spring up daily, reminding you that, “YOU’RE GETTING OLD!” It’s got to be a Trillion-Dollar industry!

It’s always been the case. What wasn’t always the case was the frenetic energy spent on not getting old. Till us Baby Boomers arrived. Now a whole slug of the population is age-aware, and “Do not go easy into that good night” takes on a totally different meaning.

The tired adage, “Yeah, but it beats the alternative!” said with a shrug of the shoulders and a grin, grows more tiredy and adagey.

I put my underwear on backwards this morning. Didn’t discover the error until Nature called and I panicked in the bathroom, fumbling around and thinking “I know it’s here somewhere!”

I know. That’s what she said.

The thing is I didn’t immediately drop trow and boxers to remedy the situation. In fact, I’m still sitting on my underwear pee-hole as I write! I can hear my kids groaning as they read this. I fully expect one of them to ask me — no — demand that I delete this post.

Yeah, there are definitely some pretty crappy things that come along with getting older. But, all-in-all, the tired adage is still true.

At the same time, there are wonderful liberties afforded me because I’m now visibly old and getting older.

Don’t have to shower as often. Long as I have Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder I can mask the odors that germinate on certain parts of my body.

In public, most (not all) people hold a door for me, or say “You first, I insist!”

I skip over the Facebook posts that ask, “Do you know what this is?” or, “Have you ever used one of these,” and show something I am very familiar with.

I get most of the questions involving the 20th century right when I watch “Jeopardy!

I can wear stripes and plaids at the same time.

I can pretty much say what I think, and most will dismiss it with, “Well, you know … he’s old!”

The list goes on.

I’m not sure how aging is going to fare in the distant future. According to all of the dystopian novels and movies, the old folk simply disappear. That’s either due to euthanasia, or the possibility some anti-aging treatment will be developed.

If so, I think the world’s population will go berserk and pandemonium will ensue, right? Nah. Infant babies will be dispatched instead so that the population at large can continue to remain young without overcrowding. Or, everyone will be sterilized. I mean, ultimate control will remain in the hands of the adults, and the adults will always choose themselves when it comes down to it.

At the moment we’ve not been able to muck with the natural order of things, although God knows we’ve tried. I suppose it’s inevitable. Unless the Apocalypse occurs and Zombies and Preppers rule.

All signs of the Age(s).

 

*Credit must go to him whose name must not be spoken, Bill Cosby.

#NotMySuperBowlChamps

6 Feb

image

#NotMySuperBowlChamps

By L. Stewart Marsden

It’s the morning after. I am distraught and incredibly depressed.

Not too terribly long ago Super Bowl Party guests and I were casually watching the Atlanta Falcons dismantle the Evil Empire New England Patriots well into the third quarter of THE GAME. The sound was turned down as we talked about a myriad of subjects not football. It was a done deal. With 6:04 remaining in the third quarter with a 25-point lead, we were all confident that Super Bowl LI was in the bag for the wildly popular Falcons.

Then, all of a sudden, Tom “Voldemort” Brady willed the Patriots through the air and on the ground over and over as the hapless Georgia team stood frozen under his curse.

The inconceivable had happened: a combination of the unexpected plus an archaic NFL rule overruled the desires of NFL fans nationwide to leave all of us shocked and in disbelief.

These rogue Patriots, guilty of conning and deceiving their way to disputed victory after disputed victory had amassed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history in the first-ever overtime in the championship’s storied history.

Coincidence?

I think not.

Consider the past of these so-called “victors”:

  • These same Patriots, guilty of the infamous “Snow-Plow” victory on December 12, 1982;
  • who benefitted from the infamous “Tuck Rule” that resulted in — guess what?– another controversial victory on January 19, 2002;
  • who disregarded any semblance of fair play on September 9, 2007 in the Spy-Gate incident;
  • who utilized a trick substitution play to upset the Baltimore Ravens on January 10, 2015 on their post-season journey;
  • and, can one EVER forget Deflate-Gate of January 18, 2015?

Can a zebra change its stripes? Can a lion become a vegan? Can an outrageous noncompliant evil outsider win the … well, never mind.

When I was a church-goer, I often heard that Lucifer means “light,” and evil often shrouds its despicable nature — the devil using beauty and alluring words. Voldemort Brady is one such example. Belichick, his master — not so much. But he doesn’t have to be. After all, the puppetmeister pulls his strings behind the set.

Toward the final seconds of the fourth quarter, we all knew “they” would ultimately prevail.

The tie score. Overtime.

Somehow … the overtime coin toss was won by the Evil Empire.

Again, coincidence?

Some foul magic was afoot, methinks. (Ever notice how little the NE Patriots shoot an arm and a finger up at the Big Guy/Gal in the Sky after a big play? So we KNOW that HE/SHE wasn’t rooting for the bad guys).

And, as in the final 10 or so minutes of regular play, The Death Ray was focused on the end zone. Destruction of all that was Holy was imminent. An apocalyptic abyss was unavoidable.

As New England goose-stepped into and through Atlanta territory — not unlike Sherman’s March to the Sea –, one of my guests said,

“Wait! What? If the Nazi team scores, the good guys will get a chance to score also, right?”

WRONG!

The winner of the biggest contest in the NFL season could be determined by oh, such an unfair and archaic rule.

“If the Patriots only score a field goal, yes, then Atlanta has a chance to either score a field goal to tie, or a touchdown to win. BUT, if the slime balls score a touchdown, then it’s over, and they win. No opportunity for the fair-haired sweetums to even the score.”

“BUT, THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

Fair had nothing to do with it. It is in the constitutional laws of the NFL governing overtime play. Apparently the Founding Football Fathers didn’t reckon on such a lousy and unfair rule determining the SBC (Super Bowl Champions).

The wind was literally sucked out of the national football fans’ sails when the Patriots scored on their first drive in overtime.

Boom!

You could see the life drain from the faces of the ESPN color commentators. The silence was deafening. The Bad Guys had come back from a 25-point deficit to win Super Bowl LIe.

No, I meant that. It IS a lie! Like all of the deceit and lies and manipulation this wicked team has wrought during its nefarious lifetime. The “champions” of Super Bowl LI are ONE BIG LIE!

Therefore, I’m starting a movement to petition the NFL in order to have the Patriots stripped of all trophies they have wrongfully accumulated over the decade, as well as rescind the overtime regs. That movement is #NotMySuperBowlChamps. Won’t you join me in this essential effort?

My polls tell me that you agree with me that the overtime rules should be overthrown, and the rightful heirs of the Super Bowl throne — the Atlanta Falcons (and, by the way, the Carolina Panthers for the previous Super Bowl — but that’s another exposé for another day) — be instated as Super Bowl LI Champions!

Oh, and typical of the Patriots, Tom “Voldemort” Brady SAYS someone stole his game jersey.

The truth?

More likely just one more Super Bowl LIe!

GIGO

1 Feb

 

image

 

GIGO

Garbage in, garbage out.

A phrase that seemed to be on many people’s lips a few years back, a nemonic from the high tech industry.

Made sense then, makes sense now.

Perhaps the trick is discerning what constitutes garbage.

After all, one man’s garbage is another’s treasure.

Yard sales, flea markets attest to that.

When I lived in New York City in the 70s I wrote a comedy sketch using that as a central theme.

A man hauled out his bags of garbage for pickup by the city sanitation department.

A rather dapper man who was walking by, stopped, and asked if he could buy the man’s garbage for $50.

The man was no fool, and took the man’s money gladly.
As he climbed the stairs to his building, he turned to see the pristine man rummaging through the bags, oohing and aahing as he did.

“Hey!” Said the one-time garbage owner. “What’re you doing?”

The man replied, “My good fellow, I have learned to recycle things that people throw away. In doing so, I have made my fortune. I shall parlay the fifty dollars I just gave you into $1,000.”

He then pulled items out of the garbage and described their alternative uses, which astounded the dumbfounded man.

“These styrofoam egg cartons? Voila! Bras for Barbie Dolls!” And so forth.

The man suddenly realized he had been had, and came back down the stairs.

“Here’s your fifty dollars back, gimme my garbage!”

“Oh, I AM sorry my friend. All cash transactions are final.”

“Okay,” he said, rifling through his wallet, “here’s another $10.”

“No deal, I’m afraid.”

“$75, then. I’ll give you $75.”

“Once again …”

“OKAY! $100 for my garbage back! That’s my last offer!”

“You strike a hard bargain.” And the gentleman took the $100 and walked away.

Extremely satisfied with himself, the man scooped up his bags of garbage and fairly leaped up the stairs. Opening his front door, he yelled inside,

“Mabel! Look at what I just got for a measly $100 bucks!”

The Lonely King

27 Jan

image

 

In 1685, King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau. The Edict of Nantes provided certain religious and economic freedoms to the Huguenots, French protestants. With the revocation, Louis came down hard on Huguenots, demanding they recant their religion and convert to Catholicism, or else. The or else included loss of property, imprisonment for males, seclusion in convents for the women, torture and a variety of types of execution, including beheading and burning at the stake.

Numbers are debatable, but between 200,000 and 250,000 Huguenots fled France, many crossing the Atlantic to resettle in America. Charles Towne in now South Carolina was one of those destinations. Those who left represented about one percent of the population of France.

Two similarities strike me from that day and age to the present: the “ramrodding” of power by Louis, and the Huguenot diaspora, which included some of the most intelligent and creative French of the day.

A friend, considering (however seriously) leaving the US for places less antagonistic, got me to thinking. The poem below is the result of that cogitation (I apologize in advance for its poor literary quality):

 

The Lonely King

by Yours Truly

 

There was once a king
Who sat on his throne
Surveying his great and vast kingdom.
From the East to the West
To the ends of the earth
His realm could be equaled by none.

“Jester!” said he
To a motley-dressed clown
“Bring my fiddlers — I’m bored and want sound!”
But the clown,
With a frown, said
“Your fiddlers aren’t here,
Sire, they all have left town
And there’s no more sweet sound
To be found all around.”

“Left town? The lot of them?”

“Yes, Sire. The lot of them, sad to say,
Have amscrayed this place
Which is why there’s no music
To call for, Your Grace.”

“Why would they go and leave me alone?”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said the clown to the king on his throne.

“Then bring me my choir, and bid them to sing!”

“Your Worshipful, that, alas, too, is a shame,
For all of your choristers — sopranos to altos,
Tenors to basses —
Have left your vast kingdom for far away places
So remote that some don’t even have names.”

“And my servants and wise men?”

“Please don’t despise them,
But they’ve all left the kingdom as well.”

“But WHY then? Why have they left me here all alone?
To mourn and to moan all alone on my throne?”

“But I am still here!” said the motley-dressed jester,
“And I’ll entertain you so your sadness won’t fester,
And agree with your wisdom and all your decrees
And serve you while groveling down on my knees!
There’s nobody else you need, if you please,
But motley-dressed, dancing clown, silly old me!”

The king sighed a sigh, and nodded,”You’re right.
Those silly old fiddlers, those out-of-tune singers,
Those supposedly-wise wise men,
Those fat, needy people, all stupid and lazy —
Why together they drove this king crazy all day and all night!

“I’m far better off here alone and without them!
Here on my throne with my kingdom about me.

“Who needs all that so-called music? Who needs the riff-raff?
I’m far better off alone on my throne
with my beautiful hand-carved elephant tusk staff
To decree my decrees with a sneer and a laugh.”

To wit, he said, to the clown kneeling there,

“Get me my quill and my parchment post-haste.
I’ve a decree to declare — why there’s no time to waste!”

And he whiled the days on his throne all alone,
(The exception, of course, was his true, loyal clown)
And made his decrees which the clown did declare
To the large empty kingdom, with pomp and with flair.

Disclaimer:
Any similarities between the King and any person living in the District of Columbia on Pennsylvania Avenue are purely, most sincerely, absolutely coincidental. And that’s the purely, most sincerely absolutely alternative Truth!

***