Satire is Not a New Art Form, Anti-Smoking, and More Victorian Death Ephemera

This is as good as anti-smoking propaganda gets- from 1870, no less.

Smoking was just as nasty then, it’s just everyone died from other stuff before they could live long enough for smoking to kill ’em.

The longer I’ve been an ex-smoker I absolutely hate the smell of tobacco smoke.  I don’t have much of a sense of smell, and I’m surprised I have that. Even so, the one thing I can always smell is cig smoke, even from far-off, which sucks.  Why can’t I smell peonies and lilacs in May, but I can always smell some inconsiderate bastard’s cigarette?

Perhaps it is cosmic payback for back in the day when I used to smoke at my desk- and it was perfectly cool to be inside, at work and hot-boxing smokes at the same time.   I’m sure I had to annoy someone with my two-pack-a-day habit of hot boxing 120 menthols down to the filters.  My car ended up smelling like a dragon’s colon- because the first thing I would do when I got in the car was light up.  The first thing I did when I quit smoking was pay the detail guys- dearly- to get the cig smell out of my Celica.  It was nasty, and the inside of the glass on a 2000 Celica is not the easiest in the world to get clean- especially the back glass.

She just might be Hitler in drag, spreading the clap.  You never know.  Had to throw that in there. Public service announcement from 1943.

Yes, I am still fascinated with Victorian death art which is macabre, and I should find another hobby, but there is so much cool stuff out there – and not always dealing with the subject of death- which is public domain and is a lot better artwork than I could ever come up with.  I can scribble with Sharpies and that’s about it.  But the Victorians not only did some awesome artwork, there was some pathos there.  It was more grandiose than it should have been, and just plain treacly sweet, which made it cool.

You could get in trouble big time for displaying this in a public school.  You could offend the Muslims, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the militant atheists, the Hare Krishnas, and who knows who else.

The irony here is that kids can go to public school and have this kind of drivel shoved in their faces and that’s perfectly okee-dokie:

As long as it’s not “Christian” or “Moral” in any kind of way, then we tolerate it, kids!

Then again, “tolerance” (especially as it’s defined in regard to political correctness and its associated idiocy) is the wrong word.  Tolerating something doesn’t mean we like it, and it doesn’t mean we encourage it.  I used to tolerate long-assed car rides in 70’s era cars (with no A/C, mind you) pinned in the center of the back seat between two sadistic siblings for hundreds of miles.  I didn’t like it.  I certainly didn’t encourage it.  But, being too weak to end up with any other position besides squashed in the middle, I had to tolerate it.

Tolerance- as it’s framed today- is actually appeasement, which is a very different concept.  Appeasement is the wussy position.   It’s the equivalent of feeding alligators.  No matter how much you feed the alligator he will always be hungry.  Just see how well it worked for Neville Chamberlain.  My oldest sister didn’t stop harassing me and stealing my stuff and kicking my ass just because I sat back and let her keep doing it.  She just did it all the more, until one fine day,  she took my car without permission and ran it out of gasoline and ran it low on oil.  I saw red, and took 17 years of retribution out on her in five minutes.  I don’t approve of physical violence, but something had to give somewhere, and I couldn’t keep on appeasing her any more.   Appeasement just let her know it was OK to keep on kicking my ass and stealing my stuff.  Kicking her ass taught her that it wasn’t OK anymore.

I bet Hitler got a lot of rides back in the day, at least in a figurative way. Carpooling still is a creepy thought though.  It would be my luck I’d end up with a serial killer or someone who insists on cranking up the country music. At least Hitler liked opera.

Hitler wasn’t a role model by any means, but he did have a taste for Wagnerian opera, and I can appreciate that.  I can’t say I approve of Nazism, genocide, or anti-Semitism, but Wagner did write some cool operas.  The only thing difficult about opera is that there aren’t too many operas written in English.  If you plan on going to an opera, or even plan on listening to a recording or watching a DVD, if you can get your mitts on a translation of the libretto first it makes a lot more sense.

I found a Victorian death card (these are common, and I will need to troll for some more good ones) that lent itself quite well to shall we say, electronic embellishment:

Should our current president fail to be re-elected, I’ll be printing these out and passing them out like party favors.

Protect Your Unit, A Midsummer’s Nostalgic Musing, and Radioactive Waste!

Yes, the world is this effed up.  Have the welders come out and weld your AC unit to something- like brackets encased in concrete- to prevent it from being stolen.  Air-conditioners get stolen around here for two reasons: 1. (summer) people are hot, and 2. (winter) they contain copper.

I enjoy this sign, even though the thought of anything happening to my AC unit would provoke me to acts of extreme violence.  I am glad my AC is in a place in which it is bolted to its base, and you would necessarily encounter dogs to get to it. The girls do not approve of interlopers.  Even though I don’t even want to think of some stupid ass ripping off my AC,  I still love the double entendre.  At first, until I saw the line that said “Stop Air Conditioner Theft,”  I thought it was another entreaty from the county health department to encourage the sexually promiscuous to take steps to prevent the spread of venereal diseases.

Yeah, I think even if there were such a thing as Facebook in the 1930’s, you wouldn’t want these test results broadcast on your profile.

I mean, even if your test results indicate you’re syphilis-free, broadcasting that would indicate that you’ve recently put yourself in a position to contract all the other STDs.  What about the STDs that might not show up on a test?  Or maybe you’ve caught a strange new funky one that is currently unknown to medical science?

This is sort of a Nancy Reagan campaign for preventing VD:  Just Say NO!!!!!  Especially when you don’t know where she/he/it’s been.  Hell, that chick could be a dude- and vice versa.

That actually happened to one of Jerry’s friends.  Granted, this guy is the kind of guy who would look better if he shaved his ass and walked backwards, and he has a taste for hanging out in titty bars and swilling rotgut liquor.  He was asking for waking up next to something so hideous he’d want to gnaw off his own arm to escape, so such a scenario was just waiting to happen.  Even the biological females this guy dated were, shall we say, the kind of girls Freddie Mercury would sing about.  He didn’t realize he’d spent the night with a she-male until the next morning.  I wonder what the tip off was.  Maybe he went to cop a feel and ended up with a fistful of morning wood.  Or maybe “she” was taking a whiz standing up. That might have been his sign.

I guess it depends on your perspective.

I don’t have a problem with the transgendered.  If you’re a guy and you want to go through life dressed like Joan Crawford, or Oprah, or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, I could really care less. That’s got to be a really confusing way to go through life, though I will say in defense of trannies, women’s clothes are a lot more interesting.

Tell me RuPaul’s outfit isn’t more festive than a wifebeater t-shirt, distressed jeans, tube socks and Velcro tennis shoes!

Men also have it easier with hair removal.  They can pull off the unibrow look, or even a ZZ Top beard, so in theory men don’t have to fart about with hair removal at all.  Women, on the other hand, if they are civilized, the only hair permitted to remain is the hair that grows from the scalp, a finely sculptured eyebrow, and eyelashes.  The rest of that nasty body hair has to go, at least in my world.  Women should not be hairy.  Unless they’re Italian. Or bull-dyke lesbians.

Men’s restrooms are a lot less crowded though, and all a guy really has to do in the morning is his 3 esses- shit, shower and shave, though I would fit some dental hygiene of some sort in there.

Dudes, you are lucky in one regard.  You can whip out your wang and let it fly anywhere (though I would not recommend the electric fence.) Women can’t do that, unless they like pissing all over their own pants.

I just thought I was riding along listening to Journey, Foreigner, Metallica, Billy Squier, REM, etc.  I had no idea.  I’ll need to check the car for Hitler before I leave.

Grandma avoided the carpool thing like the plague.  She worked at the ordnance factory during the war and it was several miles from where she lived.  She managed to get by on her gasoline ration by buying a motorcycle.  Since 1940’s cars got maybe- if you were lucky- 12 miles to the gallon, a motorcycle, even those nasty old Harley-Davidsons, would have been more fuel efficient.  There wasn’t any room on the back for Hitler, either.

 I bet this ride was cold as hell in winter, but Grandma was thrifty, and I’m sure she didn’t want to ride to work with Hitler either.

Grandma never did disclose what she did at the ordnance factory.   All she said about it was that they weren’t to discuss what they were doing there with anyone, ever.  She had the fear even 60 years later- when all the powers that were are long dead-and she took that knowledge to her grave.  I do know that whatever it is she did she was paid well for it, (the workers earned up to $50 per day, depending on where they were assigned, which was equivalent to $623.34 in today’s money) and she received a small pension from the US Army every month until she died.  I have to wonder if it was hush money, but she wasn’t telling.  The rumor mill- and at least one local author- says that the Scioto Ordnance Plant was involved with the Manhattan Project and with other experimentation with atomic energy.  It wouldn’t surprise me because the location was so remote, and at that time only easily accessed by rail.

The creepy part about the ordnance factory is that the county bought part of the land back- and built a school on it.  The school got closed down when the kids started getting leukemia and all other weird sorts of cancer.  People got paranoid and called in the EPA and they did find all sorts of fun chemicals including radioactive waste, on the school grounds.

Guess what, kids?  School is kind of cancelled today.  Betcha didn’t know it, but now we have something in common with Chernobyl.  We glow in the dark too!

Maybe it is better for me that I went to school with the poor kids in town, even though I got to have the Inner City Behemoth High School Experience without having to end up in Cleveland.  The high school I went to was built over an Indian graveyard, and my parents’ house (shit, the entire east side of Marion) is built on a poorly drained swamp,  but as far as I know neither place was built on top of radioactive waste.

Another one of those things to be thankful for.  I didn’t have to go to the cancer school.  I went to the random stabbing and beating school.  It works out.

Sins of Omission, Synchronicity, and There’s No Escaping Murphy’s Law

I am sure the tome from the 1950’s advertised above has long been out of print, but I bet it’s most informative.  I can only imagine how quaint and tame the descriptions of sex acts in this book might sound when compared to some of the crazy things people do today.  I am sure this book does not contain terms such as, “dominatrix,” “golden shower,” “dirty Sanchez,” or “fisting.”   It may come as news to some, but there was actually sex before the 1960’s.   It was just kept behind closed doors, for the same reason most people keep the vacuum cleaner in the closet.  You know someone vacuums the floors from time to time, but you don’t necessarily want to keep the vacuum cleaner on display. 

In my case, the vacuum cleaner has been in the closet a very long time, but that’s my problem.  Involuntary celibacy is not for the faint of heart.  It is for the troll-like of body, and too soft of heart, however.

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, sometimes that’s the only thing in my life that doesn’t suck…which sucks because the vacuum cleaner is the one thing that’s supposed to suck.  No matter what I do (and I am sure that having three cats, three large dogs, and an incessant smoker doesn’t help here,) keeping the damned thing unclogged takes more time than the actual act of vacuuming.   I would like to pose a challenge to any vacuum cleaner manufacturer.  If you can provide me a vacuum cleaner (that I don’t  have to unclog, replace the belt, or completely rework every three minutes of use) that will actually suck up dog hair and the various other detritus- especially those damned cigarette pack cellophanes that Jerry trails behind him- that ends up on my floors, then you will actually have a decent product that is that is worth the $100-$500 one has to pay for it.  So far I have not been able to find any vacuum cleaner from any price range, manufacturer or design that I deem to be effective.  Let me do your product testing! 

I highly doubt that any vacuum cleaner manufacturer would be able to build a vacuum cleaner that would work for any length of time in my house.  There are just too many opportunities for Murphy’s Law to manifest itself.  First of all there’s the dog hair, most notably Sheena hair.  Sheena is a Husky/GSD crossbreed- with the horrific perennially shedding thick double coat found in both of those breeds.  To make it worse, Sheena’s hair is predominately white, so it doesn’t blend in.  So at any given time, save for right after I’ve vacuumed, you will find tufts of white fluff pretty much everywhere.  The house has been Sheenatized. Lilo also has a dense double coat, but the bulk of her shedding is in spring and fall (or the Central Ohio seasons of Monsoon and Fall Monsoon) so hers isn’t usually as bad.  Clara is the lightest shedder, with the sparser Malinois coat- but during the twice a year blowouts even she can drop some serious hair.

Dog hair is lethal enough to vacuum cleaners, but then you have Mr. Cig Pack Cellophane dropping those nasty bits of clear (and therefore almost impossible to see) plastic all over creation to clog up the works along with the hair.  One may pose the question, “Why doesn’t he throw them away in the trash can?,” to which I must reply, he was raised by wolves.  I am doing good for him to get a daily change of clothes and a  daily shower.  Beyond that, he pretty well leaves a trail of wrappers, cig butts, pop and/or beer cans, wherever he goes.  There is a laundry chute in the bathroom and the whitey-tighties still end up on the floor.  His mother did not train her POMC very well.  I hope I did better with mine.

My favorite Rube Goldberg machine is in the “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” movie- the machine that serves up Pee-Wee’s breakfast, including his smiley face pancake and Mr. T Cereal.

To me, the Rube Goldberg machine provides a wonderful illustration of logical progression- what led up to this and that and finally the final result.   It also is a wonderful illustration of what happens if a step in the progression fails.

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For the want of a horse the rider was lost.
For the want of a rider the battle was lost.
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
I remember these verses from an old book of children’s stories my Grandma had- all instructional tales with a moral to the story, similar to (and included some of) Aesop’s Fables.  Today when I think about these verses it makes me wonder how history would have been different had Operation Valkyrie succeeded, or even more dramatically, had the elaborate chain of events that led to WWI fallen apart somewhere. 
 
Yes, it may sound cheeky, but I wonder what my life had been like had I actually had the proper bait to go trolling for men.  🙂   
 
Then again one cannot forget the condition of synchronicity- all things working in parallel, or what I see to be the overwhelming tide of the will of God that makes the events of history plod onward and forward in ways we can neither control nor fully understand, no matter what  individual human effort is made to prevent or change them. 
 
Personally, I thought killing Hitler was a pretty freaking good idea- but as sadistic as it might sound, apparently there was a reason he lived as long as he did, and a reason why he wasn’t killed by the many assassination attempts against him.  I don’t understand why despots and sleazeballs are allowed to keep on truckin’ and those who really could be a benefit to society either die in what seems an untimely manner, or live out their days in impotent obscurity.  I can’t see the entire picture and I don’t pretend to.  But God is behind it all, whether we see things to be good or evil or incomprehensible.  One of the hardest things for me to do- being a rational type and all- is to stop trying to understand and just believe God has a purpose.
 
Far be it from me to claim to have more wisdom than Solomon, or to question the sovereignty of God like Job. 
 
It can be entertaining to play the history “what if” game- but ultimately there’s no escaping Murphy’s Law.  Humanity has been drowning in its grandiosity and hubris ever since the tower of Babel.  I can’t say Obama is the only human to get caught up in his own hubris, but he’s a good example of it.  I can only hope and pray that by the grace and mercy of God this blathering fool is booted out of the Oval Office- and that the American people have learned a lesson not only about the ways of petty tyrants, but of the folly of “sympathy voting.”  Isn’t it just as racist to vote FOR someone just because he’s black (or half-black) but clearly unqualified to hold the office as it is to vote AGAINST a qualified man simply because he’s white?

I don’t wish even someone as misguided as Obama eternity with Beezelbub, or even scathing, humiliating defeat,  but the way he’s going now it seems like scathing, humiliating defeat might just be what he wants.

Conspiracy Theories, Dead Terrorists, and Men Who Wear Pants Pulled Up to the Waist

I hope Osama is dead.  I don’t care who killed him, (though I must admit, as far as methods go, you can’t beat assassination by Navy SEALs, if that’s what really happened,)  or even if he choked to death on a hot dog (preferably a pork hot dog, if the true mode of death was asphyxiation by wiener.)  If he is indeed, dead, the world has been rid of someone almost as twisted and evil as Hitler.  Most people, excepting radical Muslims, regardless of their political preferences, are probably glad to hear this dude is taking the Dirt Nap- or in his case, Swimming With the Fishes.  I just have a lingering twinge of doubt in the back of my mind regarding: a.) did Obama have anything to do with the death of Osama?, and b.) whether or not Osama is really, truly dead. 

The timing of the Osama killing couldn’t be better for Obama.  It’s taken the attention away from the whole birth certificate fiasco (don’t know what to believe on that one either, but I seriously doubt Obama was born anywhere near Hawaii – or any other US state,) and from gasoline prices killing the economy- again. 

I smell price fixing, collusion, and just plain boldface lies- and at the center of it?  Obama.

Osama may have already been dead for years- or he may have dropped dead of some natural cause, and Obama’s been saving up the Osama Assassination Event to build up his street cred at a particularly strategic hour.  I can’t think of a better strategic hour than right now.  With the 2012 election coming up and his poll numbers in the crapper, he needs something to get the American people’s minds off of the very real possibility that not only do we have a sitting President who is ineligible to hold the office – and is crazy enough to run again,  he could also use something to distract Joe Sixpack from the fact that it’s going to cost him half the national debt to fill up his F-150.  The economy is going straight down the toilet while Obama and his pet contributors are on the take, and it appears that’s exactly how he planned it.  What better than a dead terrorist as a distraction- better yet, the Grand Pappy terrorist of them all?  It just smells very fishy- and way too expedient- to me.

The other thing I don’t get is why do we as Americans give a rat’s ass if Osama gets a proper Muslim burial?  Do terrorists assure that all the Christians they kill get appropriate Christian burial rites?  Do they have priests on the ready to give last rites to Catholics who die at terrorists’ hands?  And what about Jews?  Jews have their burial rules too, and I bet terrorists really don’t observe those either. I don’t think it was the US Navy’s responsibility to do anything other than make sure he’s dead and put the body put somewhere where it wouldn’t stink and draw flies. 

Burial at sea, while hygienic (granted-it won’t stink and draw flies six fathoms beneath the sea,) and a perfect way to maintain an unmarked grave, poses too many credibility questions.  How do we know they didn’t wrap up a couple of bags of cow manure in a white sheet and toss them over the edge and just say it was Osama?  I think they should have put him in the freezer and sent his carcass to a taxidermist so he could be mounted and displayed, so people could see for themselves that he’s really dead. 

Admittedly, today I’ve gone from my normal baseline pragmatism right into the heart of cynicism, but who can blame me?   I don’t trust Obama any further than I could throw him.  I don’t trust the media, who is in cahoots with him.  I also don’t trust the string-pullers who are price-gouging and profiteering and doing their damnedest to engineer another economic crisis.  All of these events don’t make me want to re-elect Obama.  They make me wish Congress would  have the stones to impeach him now, and run him and his cronies out on a rail. 

Anyway, I shouldn’t get too hung up on things I can’t change.  I have to deal with them, and while I still have the freedom to comment on them as I see them, I’m going to.  

Today I came across a man after my own heart.  I love this guy.  His commentary on the abysmal condition of  “customer service” in retail is a bit cheeky, but mostly true.   I know I’m getting old.  I bemoan the extinction of the Man Who Wears His Pants Pulled Up to the Waist with No Visible Underwear or Butt Crack. 

Pull up your damned pants!  Maybe I’m just old, but there’s no mystique or attraction to be found in some dude’s hairy, sweaty butt crack, or in getting a visual of his boxers or whitey-tighties.  I want to see dudes with their pants at the waist.

The “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat” Files

 

How can you say no to a request like that?  I, for one, will be absolutely sure to keep my munchables good and far away from the toilet brush holder.

My grandfather (my Dad’s Dad) was one of the most taciturn individuals I’ve ever known- I think he could go days with little more than a grunt or a “yep” or “nope” when asked a direct question.  He could read Louis L’Amour or Zane Grey and watch Westerns for days on end without saying a word to anyone unless he was asked a question.  Grandpa didn’t usually talk unless there was something worth talking about. 

There were certain people in the public eye who he would comment on, and when he did, the tirades were priceless.  For some reason he didn’t much like Jimmy Carter. When President Carter was in the news, Grandpa would go on and on as to why Jimmy should have stayed down in Georgia picking peanuts.  Nor did he like Ted Kennedy, or for that matter, the whole Kennedy family, who he saw as being “Nazi-loving tomcats.”  I always wondered about that statement as a child, but in light of evidence suggesting Joe Kennedy’s pre -WWII support of Hitler and Nazism when he was Ambassador to England, I believe Grandpa actually did know what he was talking about regarding the Kennedys.  Grandpa didn’t care a whole lot for Reagan at first, either (I’ll forgive him for that) as he wasn’t much of a fan of his acting, and Grandpa thought him too old to be President,  but he did gain a lot of respect for Reagan after the assassination attempt. 

But when Grandpa had a really low opinion of someone, he would consider them “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  I have been known to use that simile myself in regard to certain people, but coming from Grandpa the phrase had a deeper dimension to it.  Until the early 1960’s they did not have an indoor toilet.  He used an outhouse for many years and probably encountered real live shithouse rats.  I remember an incident from when I was maybe five or six years old that helped illustrate the point. 

Back in the 1970’s there was still an open sewer that ran parallel to the railroad tracks that were not even a block away from my grandparents’ house.   We didn’t really understand what it was, we just called it the QuQua ditch, and we knew that the water in it was really dirty. It was OK to float paper boats in it- if you could stand the smell- but you dared not wade in it or even touch the water.  It was several years before I learned why this was so imperative.

An absolutely huge rat – and this is no exaggeration, it was the size of a small dog- came up from the sewer grate in the street (not far from the open ditch, as the storm sewers ran directly into the QuQua, along with lots of other unspeakable things) and was leisurely strolling about in broad daylight when we kids were playing outside.  I was completely freaked by this and ran back, screaming, into my grandparents’ house.  Grandpa looked out the window, saw the rat and got a shovel from the garage.  As the rat sauntered ever closer to the yards and the sidewalk, Grandpa ran up behind it and bashed its brains out with the shovel.  He scooped up the dead rat with the shovel and dumped it in the trash.  All he said about it was that we kids should never get near any rats or possums that come up from the sewer in the daytime because they have rabies and if they bite you’ll get the rabies. 

Nobody wanted to get the rabies, believe that.  We didn’t understand what rabies is, but we didn’t want to get it either.

That was probably the closest I ever got to a literal shithouse rat.

I have had pet rats- they are smarter than gerbils or hamsters- but they still have the common rodent problem of no bowel or bladder control.  Somehow a pet loses some of its charm when it is constantly going to the bathroom on you.  Our snakes eat rats (I have a ball python and Jerry has a red-tailed boa) which is sort of difficult because the snakes like their food live.  I know, it’s weird to have snakes, but Jerry likes them, and even I have to admit they are cool to watch.

Which brings me to today’s example of “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  Sadly, he’s from Ohio, albeit the northeast corner of Ohio where the lunatic fringe tends to congregate.   Dennis Kucinich is in the news again- for suing the government over an olive pit.  And I thought Obama’s priorities were screwed.  Compared to Kucinich, Obama almost looks reasonable and sane.

Why, oh, why, don’t the voters send their space cadet of a Representative back to the mistake on the lake where he belongs?

And speaking of being a space cadet, Kucinich claims that he saw a UFO while hanging out at Shirley MacLaine’s.  And I’m the Queen of England.

It may be unfair to the rats to compare them to Kucinich- he’s truly a nut job.  However, infamy is still a form of fame.

Beam me up!