Friday, July 11, 2014

Fish for Friday

Pinus Gaudensis, Ponderosa Pine buds
(photo by Ed Schmahl)
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

What a beautiful display of mountain flowers, last night I watched Nature on TV; it is amazing how a variety of animals work together in large groups to protect themselves from predators.

In just one recent "study," Philip Morris – maker of Marlboro cigarettes – pumped cigarette smoke directly into rats' noses for six straight hours per day, 90 days in a row. [Gaworski, Charles L. et al (2011). "An Evaluation of the Toxicity of 95 Ingredients Added Individually to Experimental Cigarettes: Approach and Methods." Inhalation Toxicology 23: 1-12.]
    It's 2014, and Big Tobacco is still testing their toxic cigarettes on helpless animals.
    We don't need the results of these studies. We already know that cigarettes kill. Big Tobacco lied about that for decades, but the truth is out now – so what's the point of this testing?
    Yet Philip Morris still forced animals to breathe diesel fumes, intentionally hurting the little guys so they can compare the diesel injuries to those caused by cigarettes. [Stinn, Walter et al (2005). "Chronic Nose-Only Inhalation Study in Rats, Comparing Room-Aged Sidestream Cigarette Smoke and Diesel Engine Exhaust." Inhalation Toxicology 17: 549-76.] In another study, RJ Reynolds -- the corporation behind Camel and Pall Mall -- spread cigarette tar across the skin of 1,000 mice and rats, many of whom died. [Stavanja, Mari S. et al (2006). "Safety Assessment of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as an Ingredient Added to Cigarette Tobacco." Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology 57: 267-81.]

The Koch brothers, right-wing extremists who are now worth some $80 billion dollars, are prepared to spend as much as it takes to create an America in their vision. And what is that vision? The elimination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the concept of the minimum wage. Meanwhile, of course, they want more tax breaks for corporations and the rich.
    In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion in their presidential races. As a result of the disastrous Citizen's United Supreme Court ruling, the Koch brothers and their shadow money group, Americans for Prosperity, spent $412 million—and that figure is only going to rise in the months and years to come. Incredibly, the Koch Brothers and their allies have amassed power that rivals either political party.

Jim Hightower on Walgreens move: "Walgreens: An unpatriotic ingrate." Excerpts:
How would you react if one of your neighbors announced that while he obviously benefits from having clean water, highways, Medicare, police protection, parks, schools, and other public services, he was no longer going to pay his part of the taxes that make them available?
    And what if this neighbor also said he was renouncing his American citizenship to become a citizen of Switzerland, because he could pay less in taxes there? Not that he was actually moving to that cold country, mind you – no, no, he'd still be living right here in the good 'ol USA, still benefitting from all those public services that taxpayers like you provide.

A sad truth from a longer Andrew O'Hehir Fourth of July essay:
You can’t blame Obama for not being Abe Lincoln, especially when there are so many other things to blame him for. He wanted to be a president of unity and reconciliation, one who renewed our national sense of purpose and aimed it at something or other, maybe climate change or inequality. But his defeated opponents did not want to unify or reconcile with him about anything, so he hasn’t done any of that stuff. Obama may have been reminded of the lesson Malcolm X preached some decades ago: It’s no good believing in the brotherhood of man if other men don’t want to be your brothers.
The whole thing: "Liberty, equality and Lincoln’s legacy: Is America doomed?"

Hey, your friend, the Chapel Hill novelist and wife of your one-time psychotherapist, Peggy Payne's thoughts on Monica Lewinsky, sex, and religion, today in The Washington Post: "COMMENTARY: A new kind of virginity." Excerpt:
In her first televised interview in more than a decade, Monica Lewinsky (who needs no introduction) says she was “a virgin to humiliation” at the time she made highly explicit world news about her White House trysts with then-President Bill Clinton.
    Lewinsky may have coined a new term here in this National Geographic documentary on the 1990s. (And if she’s trying to change the subject for which she is so unfortunately known, this was not a good choice of words.)

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is "up."
    It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up?
    At a meeting, why does a topiccome up?
    Why do we speak up and why are the officers up for election and why is it up to the secretary to write up a report?
    We call up our friends.
    And we use it to brighten up a room, polish up the silver, warm up the leftovers, and clean up the kitchen.
    We lock up the house and some guys fix up the old car.

At other times the little word up has real special meaning.
    People stir up trouble, line up for tickets, work up an appetite, and think up excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed up is special. A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up. We open up a store in the morning but we close it up at night. We seem to be pretty mixed up about up!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of up, look the word up in the dictionary.
    In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes up almost 1/4th of the page and can add up to about thirty definitions.
    If you are up to it, you might try building up a list of the many ways up is used. It will take up a lot of your time, but if you don't give up, you may wind up with a hundred or more.
    When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding up. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing up. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things up. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry up.
    One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it up, for now my time is up, so it is time to shut up!
    Now it's up to you....

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Highly creative people tend to make time for mindfulness.
    Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind – because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.
    And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity – all of which can lead to better creative thought.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper.
    ...It's worse when you forget to pull it down.

For weeks, a six-year old lad kept telling his first-grade teacher about the baby brother or sister that was expected at his house. One day his mother allowed him to feel the movements of the unborn child. The six-year old was obviously impressed, but made no comment. Furthermore, he stopped telling his teacher about the impending event.
    The teacher finally sat the boy on her lap and said, "Tommy, whatever has become of that baby brother or sister you were expecting at home?"
    Tommy burst into tears and confessed, "I think Mommy ate it!"

Limerick of the Week:
"Are you going to be okay to drive alone?" she said.
"Everything but driving's always running in your head."
    I need to focus as I drive;
    if this trip I don't survive,
my wife will surely think this limerick's why I'm dead.
Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean

Comment box is located below


  1. Please don't use the heading "Limerick of the Week." I haven't seem a limerick there in ages. I don't know what to call the short verse you insert there, but it isn't a limerick. When your readers come across a real limerick, they won't know what to think.

  2. Replies
    1. That's an argumentative question, Morris. There must be at least a half-dozen definitions online and one in your home dictionary. They all agree. Pick any one you like and then compare it to what you publish weekly.

    2. This is concerning. The "apology" you refer to was not written by me. Someone—I thought it was you, Morris—co-opted my pseudonym. That was obvious. When I then co-opted your name to register a complaint, you deleted the comment. Yet you left the other spurious comment, thus legitimizing it. I thought you were an even-handed moderator. Was I wrong?

    3. "Ken" concernedly denies writing the "apology" [the "my pseudonym" he refers to is "Annie"], so I am going to (1) delete the comment labeled "Annie" that began "Morris, you're not responding. Did I go too far when I opened by trying to make you seem the one being argumentative?..."; (2) delete my answering comment that began "Good, you understood the message of my 'Kennie' limerick..."; and (3) delete my comment the next day that began "I noticed at about 10:13 last night that, about an hour earlier, 'Annie' had seemed to offer me an apology for the boorish manner of her comments...."
          By the way, in case anyone missed it, Annie's gender seems to have been established, unless "Ken" is one of those contemporary girl's names.

  3. Thanks for the fish!: Flowers, animals abused, Koch allies, responsibilities of citizenship eluded, who are the illegal immigrants?, who's using food stamps?, brotherhood denied, virginity misapplied, kissing, what's "up"?, good and bad of aging, limericked to death....

  4. Great fish ! Happy Friday All form California !

  5. Kennie's recent  transgenderization
    never aimed at amelioration;
        it was a clever ploy
        intended to annoy –
    he's still showing his disapprobation.

  6. Mo had great poetic ambitions
    He was clearly a man on a mission;
    Then a cad pointed out,
    “Doggerel’s all you spout.”
    Mo’s rejoinder, “What’s your definition?”*

    *Note the presence of anapestic feet.

  7. Who cares if it’s not technically a limerick?
    If it gets the message across it does the trick.
    And if to you it doesn’t seem quite right
    Perhaps its message is beyond your insight?
    But if it truly is gobbledygook, what say you? Let’s call it a limerix!

  8. Jim, you've missed the point. This thread isn't about whether Morris's verses are entertaining or clever or insightful. It's about using words correctly. Words have meanings. When we divorce a word from its meaning, we damage communication. Morris is not writing "limericks" because he uses a chaotic meter that seldom contains anapestic feet. So using the title "Limerick of the Week" is miscommunication. It's that simple.

  9. Annie
    No I don't see your point. Can you give an example where the meaning of a word/or words was/were used incorrectly? Thanks

  10. Jim... hello? The word "limerick" itself is used incorrectly! I think it will avail me little to say more. I'll wait hopefully for next Friday's offering.