Archive | April, 2014

… their hearts and minds will follow

30 Apr

Warning: This post contains some salty language. Again, we don’t go out of our way to use salty language in this blog, but we’re quoting an oft-repeated phrase that is rather salty (as well as being fundamentally inaccurate.)

We used to think that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s observation that “There are no second acts in American lives” was the most untrue line that we’d ever heard. (We’re not sure of the context in which he made that remark, so it may make sense in a larger context. On the face of it, though, it seems pretty untrue.)

Another oft-repeated saying is “Everything happens for a reason.” Really? How can one know? Where is the empirical data? This one seems suspect too (though we’re charmed by its ‘glass half full’ optimism.)

In our humble opinion though, both of these have been eclipsed in flat out “untrueness” by the (rather ribald) saying “Get ’em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow” (or any of the vulgar variations thereof.) Gripping someone forcibly by the scrotum would seem to guarantee that that individual’s heart and mind will never follow. Sure, one may have temporary compliance from the hapless victim, but that isn’t the same thing as having that person’s heart and mind. That takes much more time and can’t be done by force.

By the way, the origin of this adage is unknown. It’s often attributed to John Wayne, but it’s doubtful that Wayne was the originator.

No they wont.

No they wont.


Hell’s Bells

19 Apr

Years ago we attended an event at a midwestern university where Robert Altman spoke.  This was around the time that his film “Three Women” was released, and the evening was to include a screening of the film. Alas, it was not to be; those who held the purse strings decreed that only one reel could be shown.  Altman declared the reel ‘a cheat’ as it was not the work in its entirety. During a question-and-answer session, a young man approached the microphone and asked the director about a film entitled “The Bells of Hell Go Ting-a-ling-a-ling.”  We had never heard of the picture.  Altman explained that this was a film for which he had done the preliminary work. Before shooting began, the project had been yanked out from under him.  Those who had done the yanking apparently regretted their decision, as they subsequently approached him and asked him to direct the film after all.  Altman turned them down.

We don’t know if the picture was ever made by someone else (we tend to doubt it.)  Nevertheless, it’s a slice of cinema history (or non-history as the case may be) and we were there. There are other things we could tell you about that evening (At one point, Altman declared “Hollywood is just a sign on a hill.”) but we’re lazy. Perhaps we’ll put them in another post, if you’re at all interested.

"Hollywood is just a sign on a hill."

“Hollywood is just a sign on a hill.”

Repeating Oneself

10 Apr
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
-Mark Twain
We suspected that our U.S.  representative was a chowderhead, and now we are sure.  Last week we drove for an hour across our gerrymandered district to tell our U.S. Rep that we supported raising the minimum wage.  You may agree with us,  you may disagree with us, but we think that folks workin’ hard for dirt wages need an increase.  That’s our opinion, and we’re stickin’ to it.

Ee’dplebnista norkohn forkohn perfectunun. ..

Trying to get your do-nothing rep to hear your views and in return receiving  a stupid form letter that’s a spitback of  his/her views when you already know his/her views is pretty frustrating.  The chowderhead in question writes (in part) “I certainly understand that government adding more barriers and regulations to employment hurts people looking for work, employers, and our economy.”  So he’s helping people looking for work by opposing better wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale? This would be funny if it weren’t so stupid.  If you want to stimulate the economy, start with folks at the lower income levels.  They’ll actually use it to buy stuff they’d otherwise be forced to do without.  Giving an increase to those with higher incomes provides less stimulus ’cause those folks don’t need the money to begin with, and by and large,  they won’t spend it.
But we digress.  It’s not as if we expected our do-nothing rep to drop his opposition and agree with us.  However, it’s pretty lame that all he did was to repeat the same ol’ ordure that he sends in his e-mails touting what a great guy he is.  Toward the end of the letter, he invited us to visit his Web site so we could learn more about the views that we already know he holds.
Gawd, this is not how they explained government in high-school Civics class …

All Politics is Local

2 Apr

We recently got an e-mail from Move On, or Sit Up, or some organization like that asking if we’d show up at our U.S. Representative’s office to let him know that we supported an increase in the minimum wage.  We figured  that this would be a good time to let our rep know how we felt.  He’s kind of a do-nothing guy, if we can believe the weekly updates he himself puts out.  He’s always going to this or that coffee klatsch and getting meaningless awards from groups who think he’s just a peachy guy.  Tell him that folks who work their tails off for dirt wages deserve an increase? Sure, that was something we could get behind.

Jimmy Stewart

If only our rep was like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

We left at 11:00 am to get to our Rep’s office by noon (the district is long and thin – Elbridge Gerry would be proud.)  Despite the fact that we’d printed the directions from Map Quest, we managed to get lost and drove around aimlessly until we located the office.

Less than 10 people stood on the sidewalk outside the office holding signs exhorting the Rep to support an increase in the minimum wage. Oh well, at least they were out there.  Some drivers honked in solidarity as they passed.  We parked and joined the small group.  One woman said they’d find a sign for us.  We pointed out that perhaps we’d be more effective if we went into the office and told the rep our views.  She allowed that that was true, but they did not want to risk being thrown out.  Having missed out on the days of 60s protests, we were rarin’ to be thrown out.

We entered the office.  A woman sat at a desk behind a glass with a metal speaker hole in it, like a movie theater box office. We said that we’d like to talk to our Rep.  “He’s not here – he’s in Washington,” she replied nasally.  Oh great, the guy was not even there to know that a protest march, however humble, was going on outside.  The woman took our name and address and wrote “Supports minimum wage increase’ or something to that effect on a legal pad.  We apologized for not being high-powered lobbyists with deep pockets.  “I don’t know anything about lobbyists,” the woman replied.  “I’ve never seen any.”  And that was pretty much that.  We left the office, stopping to hobnob with the sign carriers once again.  They told me that a clean water action group was coming later.  We thanked them for the information, but said we needed to get back to work.

We thought of our Representative, probably lunching with a lobbyist that very moment.  We got in our car and drove back to work.  The event had been less dramatic than we’d hoped, but we weren’t sorry that we’d made the trip.