A Sunny Place for Shady PeoplePithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.
Saturday, December 14, 2002
Monday, December 16, 2002
Ex-President Carter reminded us the other day that this is the Season of the Nobel Laureate. And a nod to Jimmy the Good who finally, after hammering nails and watching polls for decades, snagged the Peace Prize he has maniacally lusted after (only in his heart).
Since we remain unabashedly ignorant in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, economics and peace, let's talk literature.
Premise: we basically assume that while the Nobel is probably somewhat free of arrant bribery, the awards are at least as political as they are merited. (People will always be, however charmingly, corrupt.)
We cite the following literary laureates as arguably unqualified for this most prestigious honor: Pearl Buck (1938), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1970) and Toni Morrison (1993).
(We salute Jean Paul Sartre, who existentially declined in 1964.)
Now consider these writers unceremoniously denied: Graham Greene, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams, James Joyce.
William Styron, Vladimir Nabokov, E. M. Forster, Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley.
Thomas Wolfe, Joseph Conrad, Jean Cocteau, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Walker, Dylan Thomas.
W. Somerset Maugham, Arthur Miller, Virginia Woolf, Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Edward Albee, W.H. Auden, Gore Vidal, Eudora Welty and John Updike.
These neglectees (at least those few who remain at large and alive) might want to spend more productive time in Oslo and Stockholm.
The rant appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Friday, December 13, 2002
"As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular." -- Oscar Wilde
No one says it better than that.
The inarticulate dullard Bush II insists on using religious argot to address our enemies. These "evil" domains include North Korea, Iran and Iraq, but not Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis luxuriate in the bosom of bribery, as is common in the Global Oil Business, in which Bush II aspires to membership.
The Saudis, therefore, are among the unwicked.
To characterize anything as evil involves a moral judgment that this Administration is unqualified by wisdom to make.
We distrust the whole appartus of the Moral Judgment Business, almost as much as we revile the religion business.
And are we to have yet another war in religion's name?
Have we learned nothing?
We hope the obscenity of the looming conflict will be vividly vulgar on the evening news.
And we sadly fear the inevitable war with Iraq will end badly for us.
The rant appears on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Beware the seasonal scammer, the gifted grifter greeting you in the guise of sweet charity.
This is the time that larcenous bamboozlers, preying on assumed good will, assail us on all sides with pleas for all manner of alleged haplessly hopeless causes.
Remember the recently disgraced Red Cross of September 11th, and the fiscal mismanagement of the United Way in recent years? Recall the onerous "administrative" expenses of the AIDS Rides?
This list is endless.
(We've heard for decades the "Red Cross stories" from WWII veterans luridly detailing the charity's sale of everything from doughnuts to prostitutes. This outfit's attempt to swindle the 9/11 victims is in keeping with its sordid and rapacious history.)
We're raging cynics.
If a relief enterprise is oranganized, files IRS reports, pays its staff and advertises and solicits professionally, it's most likely at best a racket to part you quickly from your money, however gracefully.
Most of these thieves spend anywhere from nothing to twenty or thirty percent on actual direct services to the needy and seventy percent or more on administrative and fundraising costs. (It's called the profit in non-profit.)
We are so wary of these parasites that we give them nothing, nada, rien.
We give them the old automatic finger and move on.
Some of the vilest con artists hire telemarketers to pose as firemen and policemen on our telephones to hector (and subtly extort) contributions. And of course the Starving Students always ring twice.
Give to no organized charity.
Seek out the utterly and hopelessly unorganized: the destitute individual on the street corner.
Go to the ATM.
Withdraw $200 (or whatever).
Give $20 bills to the first ten beggars who ask. (Nod to Jon Carroll.)
No Season's Greetings. No dialogue. No preaching. And no thanks required.
Just give and walk swiftly away.
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