A Monkey, A Clown and A Crow Walk Into A Bar, Or, The Joke With No Punchline

A Monkey, A Clown and A Crow Walk Into A Bar, Or, The Joke With No Punchline

  • US slams North Korea missile test as Kim claims ‘whole US mainland’ in reachCNN, July 30, 2017

In his kingdom, remote, isolated and desolate, he was considered an enormous man, and, to be fair, compared to his gaunt, emaciated people, he was a giant in girth, as well as power. His hair was magnificent. He thought of himself as the mighty King Kong, a chimp who developed into a fearsome beast, a foe not to be underestimated as he fended off the weaponry of his adversaries, swatted missiles out of the air as if they were gnats, and shook the ground he strode with footsteps that toppled trees. The big man admired the ape, so resolute and stoic, so he collected armaments to lob, like so many coconuts, in the direction of his enemies, clapping his hands with delight and smiling with all his teeth when his arm grew impressive and his aim improved. So enamored was he of King Kong that he patterned his foreign diplomacy on the cinematic simian, but the big man never understood Kong’s motivation: Kong was a victim. He only fought out of self-defense, out of a sense of love, though that turned out to be totally misguided and unrequited. Ah, well, live and learn, Kong. There are worse things to be duped by than love. But I digress.

The monkey-man fought for the sound his fat hands made when they beat his own chest and the joy of smearing his feces in the faces of his enemies. He called this “respect.” He was nuts, coconuts, and he was completely and utterly convinced that he was always right, and that his thoughts, no matter how ill-conceived, harmful or self-destructive, were Actions That Must Be Taken. This afforded him his all precious respect, and this is what made him King.

  •     Donald Trump vows to answer North Korea nuclear threats with ‘fire and fury’, The Guardian, August 8, 2017

The Clown-magician was not really a clown or a magician, but a lunatic, who could be funny, because he looked like a fool and acted like a baby. He dressed in a fine suit with a fright wig, and made much of pointing out the fine leather of his enormous clown shoes, because you know what they say about a man with big feet. He carried with him, like a scepter, a golden woman. However, his favorite toy was other people’s money, and he juggled it with skill. He mastered sleight of hand, so at one minute you saw the money, felt it fanning your greed-hot cheeks, and then POOF! It disappeared, only to resurface in an unexpected deep pocket, usually hidden close to his vest, or out from behind an old white man’s hairy ear. This confused people, so sometimes they did not know that he was insane, and sometimes they saw the madness as magic. The Clown-magician recognized something in the rolling eyes of Kong; he saw a kindred spirit, and that scared him, the way a scorpion is threatened by, and will therefore strike, its own reflection. Kong had a childish aura about him, which tempted and enraged the Clown-magician; it made him want to set up a homicidal play date.  Also, Kong threw an ICBM at the Clown-magician, which was bad, but when the monkey-man clapped with delight and smiled with all of his teeth, the act became totally unforgivable.

Because he saw himself as a magician, he crossed his arms like a petulant genie and began to chant: “with Fury and Fire, Alacazam Kazzee/ The Fat man, that Little Boy/ Shall Cease to be/ I’ll grind that Monkey/Into the Sea/ That’s what he gets/ For Messing with Me!” Because he was a clown, he added some nonsense words: ENO-LAH GAI! Hee-ROHSH! Sheemah! NAW Gaw SAKEE! Sakeetoomee, Sokitoomee!, and sprayed everyone in close range with a jet of liquid from the poison flower in his lapel. Because he was deranged, he meant what he said, whatever it was, and pictured fur flying and huge clown shoes flopping until the main ring of the circus was awash in blood and teeth and the feces of the enemy. “Sock it to me,” he whispered under his breath.

Everyone knows that clowns are scary, magic is smoke and mirrors, and you can’t argue with crazy.

  • ‘God has given Authority to take out Kim Jong-Un’, evangelical adviser says, Washington Post, August 9, 2017

The man in the black robes did not know who he was, and so he read a book that told him how to be. Still, the not knowing vexed him. He wanted to be sure. Perhaps he was a priest, or a pastor, or maybe a judge. Was there a difference? He decided to be a crow, cawing loudly to his flock, who flew in circles or plummeted beak-first to the ground, unless he instructed them on the proper methods and techniques of flapping. They were angry about how far King Kong could fling his feces and bombs, and they worried Kong could slap down their own weapons like gnats.  The flock squawked and hopped when they heard the words of the Clown-magician. They found them remarkably stirring, and more importantly, easy to repeat. “Fire and Fury, Ca- Caw! Fury and Fire, Braaaak!” There was much hullaballoo and ruffling of feathers, cut short only because one of the flock, a big bald eagle-ish fellow, spread himself to the full span of his wings and shouted, “Wait! Fire and Fury? What are you even talking about? That is not how we do things! Fire and fury tears nests apart- think about the families! It singes feathers- consider all the missed opportunities!  Fire and Fury scorches the earth and sends clouds of smoke so high that nobody can fly anywhere, and there is no place to land! Fire and Fury SUFFOCATES LIFE! What gives us the right to grind anybody, even monkeys, into the sea? Sea monkeys? They aren’t real! They are just what we all are- dried up shrimp, worms trying to wriggle their way into existence. Who are we to stop them?”

All beady bird eyes turned eagerly to the man in black robes, who suddenly found his calling. It felt good to be called, and so he picked up the phone. Jesus was on the line. “Uh-huh. Yes sir. And this comes straight from the Big Guy, does it? No, no, I’m not questioning! No, I believe…Oh yeah, huge honor, huge! Yeah, I get it. No, I’ll say it good. I will! All right, then. Thanks a lot. You can count on me. Amen to you, too.”

He dropped to his knees as if struck by lightning. He babbled in tongues for awhile until he had everyone’s attention and the cawing and hooting became muted twitters and tweets. His voice took on honeyed tones reminiscent of Magnolia trees and Jack Daniels. The slow, Southern drawl practically holy rolled right out of his throat. He swirled his robes around him, and the flock settled on their perches.

“We are not animals, brothers and sisters. We are God’s creatures. God compels us to fly towards glory, to soar in our faith, for we are descended from the Divine. From Light. God is Light, and we always fly towards the Light. Light lives matter.

Apes, even in human skin, are animals. Hairy, filthy, black beasts with blood under their fingernails and bone gristle in their teeth. Dark and Evil, they mock us, and they mock God, pretending that because they walk upright, they are in God’s image. God hates apes. God hates Kong. We live for God, for God is King. King of Kong. But Kong rises up, Dark against the Light. We always fly toward the Light, and therefore,we  matter! God as King says “Kill King Kong!” I say Kingdom Come welcome Kong Killers. All Kongs. This I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, because I am of the Light. Follow the Clown-Magician into the Light! Amen and Amen! Because it is God’s will, we will kill!”

“Ca-Caw!” shrieked the flock. They were whipped up to a frenzy. “Braaaaackkkkk!”

The Bald Eagle was going to ask how the Crow was so sure of what God wanted, but he knew what the Crow would say, and anyway, it was already too late. The flock was already practicing dive bombing.

  • “It’s common for something to sound way better in your head than when you actually say it out loud. A refined idea has better odds of making people laugh (or at least not making them cringe) than a raw one. But before you speak, ask yourself:

Can you explain it concisely?

Will appeal to the people you’re speaking to?

Is the timing appropriate?

Sometimes, your joke or funny thought requires too many mental steps. You might need to properly set it up in order to explain it properly, which might take way too long or cause people to grow disinterested. Alternatively, it could also just go right over people’s heads. On a similar note, you may observe something funny, but just not yet figured out the best way to present it or phrase it. That’s okay. Shut up and let it marinate. You may get another chance at it later, and it isn’t worth saying now if it’ll fall flat.” – From “Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes”, February 27, 2015, Lifehacker.com

So, what did you expect? I told you there wasn’t a punchline. In fact, it’s not even funny. Even I don’t get it. It is not concise- that was an awful lot of build up for no pay-off; I can’t imagine who will find this story appealing; and while the timing is appropriate, as far as topicality, it’s way too long to remember, even though, without the specifics, it’s an age old story about the insanity of war, and the short-sightedness of humanity. Also, a not-so-subtle dig at certain preachers, and a clever revelation regarding the truth about sea monkeys. It’s ridiculous. Preposterous. Nutso. Since I don’t know what happens next, I should probably shut up and let it marinate. But I can’t. Shut up, I mean. I’m a talker. You knew this about me. I don’t know where I was going with this. I don’t know how to wrap it up. I only know what I fear – that this jokes is going to be on us. And like I said – it’s not funny.



Pittsburgh, not Paris

Today President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, “in order to fulfill [his] solemn duty to protect America and its citizens.”

Related image

Image result for jim morin climate change

I don’t feel safer. And I don’t think that Mr.Trump cares what I and countless other citizens of the U.S. and of the planet feel. I think he is not only opaque about his intentions,

Image result for jim morin i pledge allegiance

but that if we don’t do something, we are sanctioning his actions.

We get too complacent. We become overwhelmed. It is larger than the scope of our influence or power, or, if we are not being directly affected, we don’t really care.

I am reminded of this poem:

There Will Come Soft Rains

Sara Teasdale, 18841933

(War Time)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, 
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

From The Language of Spring, edited by Robert Atwan, published by Beacon Press, 2003.

You may recognize the title from a Ray Bradbury story that is excellent, and thematically mirrors Teasdale’s poem. Here is Leonard Nimoy reading it, if you feel like revisiting.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzhlU8rXgHc

Another well-known poem that deals with the human penchant towards self-destruction is “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44263

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
If we know our recklessness has repeatedly led us down paths from which we know return is not guaranteed, it seems like we might be more likely to be cautious. It seems like we would learn from our mistakes. Perhaps our mistake is believing that we are not doomed to be constantly fucking up.
Still, I applaud those who keep trying. I’m impressed with all of the companies that urged the president to realize that what is best for our country includes what is best for our planet. I am proud of the politicians at all levels (including the mayor of Pittsburgh http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/01/politics/pittsburgh-mayor-donald-trump/index.html) who have vowed to continue to try to reduce human impact on climate change. I celebrate people I know, and those who are still strangers to me, who do something rather than nothing, and who understand that we are, for better or worse, inextricably connected.
I don’t think that the Paris Climate Accord was the deal that was going to save the world. In fact, I think it is too late for that – fire and ice, y’all. All we can do at this point is slow down the inevitable. The treaty was a first step; people across the globe came together to say that we should do – you might have heard this phrase before- something, rather than nothing. I am saddened that my country asks, “What’s in it for me?” , as opposed to, “How can I help?”
There are those who vehemently oppose my viewpoint and support the president. Check out Utah Senator Mike Lee on the PBS Newshour and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Face the Nation
Again, I feel no safer. So much double talk and subterfuge! As Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance or conscientious stupidity.”
I started this post on Thursday. Friday it rained so hard in my town that water was gushing out of every alley onto streets where the runoff came up to my headlights. It was scary.The downpour lasted about an hour and a half, and in my city alone there were over 70 water rescues. Of course, that doesn’t mean that climate change is responsible for a summer storm – rain happens. Last night the news cycle moved on with the horrifying attacks in London, the third in England in less than a month. It’s hard to believe that we are not hell-bent on self-destruction.
We are living in interesting times, my friends.
Most of the editorial cartoons in this post are by Jim Morin, who has an exhibit right now at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. You can check him out here:
While you are at the Newseum site, check out these photographs. They are so evocative and iconic; I cried a little in the gallery. http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/current/pulitzer-prize-photographs-gallery/


Earth Day 2014 – Long Lost Post

Hi! I found this post in the Drafts section of my blog – something I started with all good intentions, but never finished. Story of my life. Anyhoo, I like looking back, and I made some 2017 Updates, all in bold. Happy Earth day everyone! get off the computer and into the world!

1st Earth DayPogo-We_Have_Met_the_Enemy_and_He_Is_Us-colorHopeful, 2009Gas Mask

Hooray! It’s Earth Day! It’s the perfect holiday for me, because I think the planet is groovy and I have loved all the days I have spent on it. This year’s Earth Day is blue-skied and mild, part of the two weeks of fantastic weather we get in my city before it gets too hot to breathe. The garden is coming in; I have asparagi waving in the wind, my strawbs are berrying, and my Japanese Maple is flirting elegantly, dipping and and nodding graciously to anyone who passes. To celebrate, I think I will be outside all the doodah day, doing good deeds and spreading the love. So, to start off right, here are some things to check out on Earth.

2107 Update – The Japanese Maple died, because I live in Hell and its delicate leaves fried to a crisp. I got a new one and planted a bigger tree over it, to give it some shade. So far, so good.

1. Babies– Babies are really cute, especially if they are happy. They have tiny fingers and perfect little mouths, and their noses always tilt up. I have a lot in common with them – I like to eat and nap and have people do things for me, just like they do. The newest baby in my life is this one: McDorableGuess who she is? Making her debut on the Smaller Adventure stage is McDorable McAdams! That’s right, McAdams and Big Poppa had a baby! She really puts a crimp in my vacation adventure plans, but I like her anyway. Welcome to the world, McDorable, and congratulations to the entire McAdams family.

Happy First Birthday, Baby Peri!

Coming soon: Baby Girand, due Thursday!

Also, to all the Aries babies that I grew up with- Happy Birthday, y’all!

UPDATE, 2017: McDorable is now bigger than I am, as her mother is a giantess. She is, however, a sweet-pea, who calls me Auntie, and won’t go to bed unless I do, too.

Baby Peri moved to Maryland, where a fox visits her porch. She now has a brother and a sister, twins Haden and Cohen. Mom and Dad are very tired, but happy.

Baby Girand moved to Colorado, with her little sister and parents. They love being high in the mountains.

And, happily crashing the scene just two days before press time, welcome Sophie Meira, my newest cousin! I can’t wait to meet you!

So, yeah, babies. There is one being born right now. Birth is part of a beautiful cycle, non? Here is an artist who looks at the other end of that cycle and draws inspiration from it:

2. Art from Death: http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/.premium-1.583307

Her name is Pesi Girsch. You should google her. I  like her photography. I also love woodcuts.

Gustave Baumann: Gustave Baumann was an American print maker, painter and marionette maker. He also served as an art coordinator for the WPA. He was big in color woodcuts, which are so vibrant and interesting to me, because the way the lines come together to form a balanced image appeals to my obsession with patterns.

The-Landmark-by-Gustave-BaumannHopi Corn, Gustave BaumannThe Shoemaker- Gustave Baumann

A long time on Earth Day, back in the forgotten decade, the 80’s, my best friend worked in DC on Capitol Hill. She volunteered to coordinate all the volunteers of that particular Earth Day year, whenever it was, and I scored a gig in the hospitality tent, where I got to bring Woody Harrelson drinks. He was parched, so I saw a lot of him, and now I remember Earth Day as the Day of the Big Woody. Now he’s in this TV show I like, True Detective, with Secret Genius Matthew McConaughey. Woody plays this police detective ( a true one, no doubt) named Marty Hart. Like all good tv detectives, he is a deeply flawed man; he wasn’t that way when we were together, though. True Detective fans might like this: http://timeisaflatcircus.tumblr.com/   

Update, 2017: It wasn’t in the ’80’s, but the 90’s. I forgot them, too. 

Turns out maybe Matthew McConaughey is not a secret genius.

Turns out maybe Big Woody is: https://www.moviefone.com/2017/04/19/lost-in-london-trailer-woody-harrelson/

The second season of True Detectives turned out to be True Disappointment. Also, I don’t remember why True detective fans might have liked that link.

My friend, who just marched forth and celebrated another birthday, now lives in Austin, where she raises her son, is active in politics, sleeps late, dances in the kitchen, and makes my time on this planet better, richer and more meaningful just by her being in it.

3. On Earth, we watch a lot of tv.

UPDATE 2017: I don’t know where I was going with this, but I probably wanted to write about what I was watching. These days I’m watching some fine TV – Fargo just started again, and Better Call Saul, and I like a show called Crashing. I’m sad Girls is ending – I really liked it. I watch a lot of documentaries – damn, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know! So TV on earth – Huzzah! Sadly, some of the best of it may not be around for long… https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/17/public-broadcast-has-outlived-its-mandate-time-to-justify-its-government-subsidy/?utm_term=.cd4e6aa8a342

4. Talkin’ the talk: Earth Day 2014 followed the release of the United Nations study on Climate Change, which was grim as hell. http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/ ; tv version: http://www.nytimes.com/video/science/100000002797780/panel-on-un-climate-change-report.html?ref=globalwarming  Bottom line: we are fucking up and we need to get our shit together. We are running out of time, and in some cases, we’re too late. This news was met with what appears to be almost universal apathy. Maybe we care, but we feel defeated and overwhelmed. I don’t think that’s it, though. We just refuse to see, to deal with what is impending. We’re not hurting now, so we can’t envision future pain.

UPDATE 2017: This is only getting worse. It’s overwhelming and depressing, or as our science-denying, fact -defying, anti-environmentalist president would tweet, “sad”.

And so, mi amigos, this is where I left it in 2014. Much has happened since then; much has stayed the same. The world is still full of beauty, wonder, chaos, pain, death, birth, hope, and possibility. My hope is that I don’t squander my time here, or leave the magnificent marble in a worse state than I found it.

Bonus: A Spring Poem

Revelations of the First Hundred Days

And yea, verily, shall the Corpocracy rise up and anoint a New Messiah, of Great Stature and Small Hands, to lead the Oppressed Corporate Entities, those that dwell in the Cashlands between Human Being and Legal Definition, into a New Era of Freedom and Boundary-Lessness. The Shackles of Regulation and Review and the Insufferable Burdens of Fact and Logic didst take a toll on the Corpocracy and they cried and lamented and were forced to conceal their great wealth in Offshore Tax Shelters, Cooked Books, and Practices Nefarious and Deceptive. And the Corpocracy did welcome The New Messiah and dubbeth him “The Best Messiah in the History of Messiahs – Fantastic.” And the Corpocracy didst vow to Elect Him and to build Alters unto Him and His Disciples, and also to Unfettered Power, Status Quo, and Inherited Privelage.

As it is Promised in the Book of Believe Me, He shall lead the Corpacracy hither and yon, high and low, through the Sea of Ethical Concerns, over the spiny mountaintops of Limits and Legislation, beyond the Desert of Reason, to thrive and flourish in the Restocked Swamp of Greed, Power and Corruption.The Muck-Manna of the swamp shall sustain the Corpacracy over four long years, and they shall grow fat, and shiny, and well-formed. And, as it is said, the Corpacracy didst challenge the Stars of the Firmament with Ostentatious Sparkle and Excess, with Mighty Towers and Vast Holdings. And the Corpocracy shall Prosper and insure the Passing of Power to the First-Born Sons, and one, but not both, of the Daughters.

So sayeth He, The True Trumpet of the New Era: “Bow down to Me and I will destroy the illuminating Transparency that threatens to expose and burn you. Pledge thy loyalty to Me and Only Me, for I am Wealthy, and ask not for Signs nor Corroborations of this, but know that I am Tremendous, for that is My Word. Fear not the Harsh Glare of Scrutiny, and I shall maketh thee an impenetrable Orange, a hue so dense none can see beyond its Hallowed Halloween Glow. Thee shall be as Me, though in Lesser Form. For I am your protectorate, and I am Huge.” So sayeth the Great Groper, and the Corpocracy breathed a sigh and sent up a prayer of Gratitude and Felicitation.

And yea ,in the New Dominion, in the Restocked Swamp, Rich begets Richer; Class begets Privilege; Power begets Corruption; Greed begets Oppression, and On and On, and On and On, and Yea, On and On.