Thursday, May 24, 2012

can't have no scissorhands around here

The high-school Mitt Romney who, it is alleged, helped to forcibly restrain and cut the hair of a classmate must be distinguished from the modern GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Had he acted as Delilah towards some hapless teenager while serving as governor of Massachusetts or, worse yet, while campaigning for Maximum Leader, it would have caused voters some discomfort. How unpresidential, after all! However, bomb and torture innocent persons abroad; assassinate and imprison, without trial, Americans; and loot taxpayers' money for the benefit of his corporate cronies: now, that’s the vision we can all embrace.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

For some years I have been haunted by a story of [writer William Dean]Howells and that most civilized of all our presidents, James A. Garfield. In the early 1870s Howells and his father paid a visit to Garfield. As they sat on Garfield’s veranda, young Howells began to talk about poetry and about the poets that he had met in Boston and New York. Suddenly, Garfield told him to stop. Then Garfield went to the edge of the veranda and shouted to his Ohio neighbors, ‘Come over here! He’s telling about Holmes, and Longfellow, and Lowell, and Whittier!’ So the neighbors gathered around in the dusk; then Garfield said to Howells, ‘Now go on.’ Today we take it for granted that no living president will ever have heard the name of any living poet. This is not, necessarily, an unbearable loss. But it is unbearable to have lost those Ohio neighbors who actually read books of poetry and wanted to know about the poets. --Bill Kauffman
Economist Joan Robinson (1903–1983) wrote, “The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of readymade answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

sins of the mothers

Anecdote about Tennessee Williams, courtesy of Gore Vidal
Of a dinner with Williams and his magnificently termagant mother: Tennessee clears his throat again. ‘Mother, eat your shrimp.’ ‘Why,’ counters Miss Edwina, ‘do you keep making that funny sound in your throat?’ ‘Because, Mother, when you destroy someone’s life you must expect certain nervous disabilities.’