Saturday, January 2, 2016

Beware of Falling Poetry and of Living the Unauthorized Life -- The Colonel Carries On #12

by Sloat Wistin

Epigraph: “Start to live.” --Rex Tangle

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” --Mark Twain

“To begin is all.” --Pablo Picasso

“At the starting line, we’re all cowards.” --after Alberto Salazar

Hemingway never has anything funny in his stories. He has no sense of humor. Knowing that unties story writers.” --after Elmore Leonard

“Start stuff.” --Richie Norton

“Here and now is the best imaginable place to start.” --after Richelle E. Goodrich

“Leave the ink on the paper, not in the pen.” --Harry Grimgorse

“Start small if that’s the way to go, but start.” --Sir Harry O. Triggerman

“Start the daily practice of joyful living.” --Bryant McGill

“You’ll be dead a long time, so you may as well use the viable interval fully.”

Ancient Roman tombstone: "Non eram." (I wasn't.) "Eram." (I was.) "Non sum." (I'm not.) "Non curo." (I don't care.)

“Never doubt that a determined few can change the world; little else ever has.” --after Margaret Mead

“Write as if no one is reading.” --after Tanzi Sayadi (adding, specifically to The Colonel, "because no one is.")

“I think irradiating pilots with WiFi radio frequency (RF) radiation is really going to hit about five years from now as 'Delayed Radiation Complications' show up. I am expecting to see increased airplane accidents & crashes for various reasons starting in 2020 onward.” Steven Magee, Health Forensics

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you think.” --after Ralph Waldo Emerson

And that’s how you write yourself out of a can't-stop-quoting corner!

Caption contest finalists (submitters' names withheld):

(1) (Looking in mirror) “Yikes! Orange jumpsuit is not my look. Better keep avoiding indictment.”

(2) “I know nussing, Colonel Hogan, nussing.”

(3) 2008 file photo of Hillary Clinton being schlonged.

E-mail votes for winner to"

Deep Thought: at the end of the year 1007 C.E., the Common Era was less than halfway here. At the end of 1008, it was more than halfway here. How can this be?

“[If you want to laugh,] Roger Lewis’s ‘Seasonal Suicide Notes’ is savage, bad-tempered and hilarious.” --David Hare

“Though not young, he died without growing up. Longer life wouldn’t have helped, as he felt this was just not a fit world to grow up in. Let’s hope he was wrong. A few Peter Pans can enliven the world, but too many can end it.”

The man in the sandwich sign walked by late on December 31. On the front was “The End is Near.” On the back was “Happy New Year.”

On the TV, the channel I watched showed the crowd in Times Square, but not the ball dropping at midnight. I suspect that was because you have to pay for the rights to broadcast the “performance,” and only one channel (not the one I watched) had the rights. Have things gone so far? I get the same feeling when the Super Bowl flashes a warning that “descriptions” of the game are “strictly prohibited.” What the what?

“Sit down, Peter, you can’t object at a funeral.” --Peter’s wife

“Here’s to the death of hope and to our slow shuffle to oblivion.” --Funky Winkerbean’s traditional New Year’s toast. (I wouldn't mind if the shuffle were slower still.)

Our cat’s name is Fergus Apollo Spizzwink. We call him Fergus mostly, but he has a habit of lying on his side and crossing his paws over his chest as if hugging himself, so I sometimes call him “Bunny.” He was always a quiet fellow, but when his even-quieter sister, Fiona Artemis Spizzwink, was in her decline, she was constantly hungry and let us know it by piteous yowling. We’d dash to offer her food. Fergus watched and learned. When she left us, Fergus took up yelling whenever less than everything was to his satisfaction, seeking to spur us to appropriate action in service of his whim. So now I call him “Crabby Bunny.”

“Consensus” means “unanimity.” It doesn’t mean “a large majority” or “near-unanimity.” Even a sole dissenter deserves not to be buried under wordplay.

The song “Jack Gets Up” by Leo Kotke has a reference to Santa that has won it a place among “Christmas songs.” That’s good, because the song is emotionally powerful and deserves to be heard often as a strange evocation of the better angels of the ordinary. 

I thought of the song when I recently heard the saying “The heart wants what the heart wants.” It originates in a letter of Emily Dickinson, in the form “The heart wants what it wants,” but that form, due to intervening events, now evokes Popeye the One-Eyed Sailor Man saying “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam,” so I think she’d forgive the small alteration. As altered, it echoes the part of “Jack Gets Up” that says:

And once in a while when the wind blows
And the heart winds, and the heart winds, and the heart winds
There's tears in the bank and a credit card
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

Maybe that’s the place to stop as the hallowed ordinariness of another new year ignites and lifts off.

Zen P.S.: “It takes one to no one.” --Sarah J. Liners

Zen P.S. 2: “Live quietly in full awakeness.”


Anonymous said...

Either the Colonel is Zachary Kanin or the Colonel has neglected to properly credit the author of the 1.4.16 New Yorker cartoon found on page 35 of that edition. Or, is it possible that Mr. Kanin owes a credit to the Colonel?

Anonymous said...

I happily credit Zachary Kanin for the caption to his fine New Yorker cartoon. I owe him much more than he owes me (the rest I leave to the poor). I'm proud to have a reader who also reads The New Yorker. Thank you. --The Colonel in his disguise as the ubiquitous Anonymous, aka McKeon's Nemesis