Category Archives: Humor

I am NOT Joseph McCarthy. Really!

The history surrounding the history of Joseph McCarthy, the late Republican senator from Wisconsin, is enough to make a “freedom of speech” lovin’ woman like me shudder.  I’m sure it is no coincidence that Senator McCarthy died right after I was born.  He wouldn’t have stood a chance against me once I hit grade school.

Anyway, for my foreign readers, Senator McCarthy was a nasty, paranoid piece of work.  Here’s Wikipedia’s take on him:

Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion.[1] He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate.

The term McCarthyism, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy’s practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.[2]

I also learned that McCarthy was equally ruthless at “outing” gays.

Two peas? Google Image

Separated at Birth?
Google Image

When McCarthy claimed that someone was a communist, generally speaking, it ruined his/her life.  There were many innocent victims of McCarthyism, whose professional and private lives changed.  Folks were fired, not hired, scorned. It impacted people in government, industry and in the arts.  Many of us have heard of the folks in show business in particular who were charged.  And anybody who had had any dealings with the Soviets was fair game.

We all like to think that we would never cast spurious allegations against anyone or anything on our planet.  We all like to think that we are good, kind souls, who would never malign anyone unjustly.  That we would never spread rumors or false charges.

Friends, yesterday I learned that I had done just that.  I “red-baited.”  So while I can ‘splain, I must set the scene.

John’s sister sent us a link to a video:

Naturally I wrote back because I love animal videos, they make me smile.

It was only the next day, when deleting emails from my phone, that I learned of my crime.  Because instead of typing “He’s So Cute!” as I had intended, instead  I maligned that little guy.  Accused him unjustly.  Probably ruined his new life for ever:

“He’s a Soviet,” I, courtesy of spell check, responded.*

Fortunately, John’s sister does not succumb to hysterics.  Or to the politics of fear.  Or to spell check.  In fact, she gave me the benefit of the doubt when I confessed my crime to her.

I was scratching my head.  I thought, is this some old Russian film and Elyse recognized it?

For the record, please let me state that I have no inside knowledge of the political leanings of this moose, any members of the baby moose’s immediate family, or indeed, I have no information about moose politics in general.  May I also state, unequivocally, that I have never actually seen a moose in the wild.

Lastly, let me state that as a reasonably well-informed individual, I also know that the Soviet Union is no longer a union, and even the folks in the former Soviet Union are not soviets.

 *Clearly, there are communist infiltrators at work at spell check.  We must seek them out and destroy their lives.  Let’s get Ted Cruz on it.

54 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Cancer on Society, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, History, Huh?, Humor, laughter, Moose, Most Embarassing Moments Evah!, Oh shit, Separated at Birth, Shit, Shit happens, Stupidity, Wild Beasts, WTF?

#RawrLove

Elyse:

Who could forget our own Dinosaur? I don’t twitter r tweet or whatever, but wanted to pass this on to folks who do. Welcome back, Rara!

To help in a more practical way, check out this post:  https://fearnoweebles.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/rawrlove-for-rara/

Originally posted on The Monster in Your Closet:

After fifteen months behind bars, Rara steps–or has already stepped–through the gate to freedom and mamasaur hugs today. Her husband won’t be there to meet her, but she will be surrounded by love nevertheless: in person, unrestrained, unrestrainable love.

A couple weeks ago, she wrote, “I feel as if I must be dead to the internet[.] Who out there even knows of me after 438 days?”

I’d like to join @matticusdj and @Card_Castles in asking you to show a little #RawrLove today. Rara might not see your messages today, or even in the next few days; when she does, they’ll be a lovely reminder that she remained vibrant in this space despite her physical removal from it. She didn’t have to keep typing here to keep filling up hearts.

All the same, I can’t wait for her to get typing again.

It’s time. Finally, thankfully,

it’s time.

View original

20 Comments

Filed under Humor

Ummmm, ¿Jeb! ?

Well now.

You know how they say that folks who don’t study history are condemned to repeat it?  Well, today I learned that it really doesn’t take all that long!  In fact, we may very well witness history repeating itself again!

Huh?

OK.  I read that just recently, <i>¿Jeb! [last name unknown] said the following in response to Donald Trump’s fearmongering:

Jeb Bush on Trump: ‘A Republican will never win by striking fear in people’s hearts’

Ummm, ¿Jeb! ? Where’ve you been all my life?  Or all of yours!

Perhaps some introductions are in order!

The Bro and the Bad Man Google Image

The Bro and the Bad Man
Google Image

Rummy and The Dick

Rummy and The Dick

And from your very own Daddy-O, H.W. and his hatchet man,, Lee Attwater:

 Oooh, ooh!  Don’t forget St. Ronnie!

Ronald ReaganAin’t it hilarious that he started his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi?  You know — Where those three civil rights workers were murdered for the crime of registering black voters?

And, of course, that architect of “The Southern Strategy,” Tricky Dick!

Richard Nixon and the Southern Strategy

(For the young ‘uns, Wikipedia describes it this way:

The Southern strategy refers to a Republican Party strategy in the late 20th century of gaining political support for presidential candidates in the Southern United States by appealing to regional racial tensions and history of segregation.)

But you’re probably right, ¿Jeb! Republicans never get elected by appealing to fear.

Well,  not too often, anyway.

45 Comments

Filed under Humor

So Long, Fred

This is a week for repeats here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.com.  Sorry.

But when I learned a little while ago that actor Omar Sharif died of a heart attack today, well, I thought I’d re-run this story, which isn’t mine, and which I love.

It’s a story that was told to me by Omar Sharif.  Sadly, it was in an interview on TV that I saw many years ago, and not in person.

“I was sitting there on the set of Lawrence,” said Omar of his first meeting with co-star and newbie actor, Peter O’Toole.  And this tall blond man I’d never seen before walked up to me and introduced himself.”

“‘I’m Peter, Peter O’Toole,’ he told me.

“I’m Omar Sharif,” I responded reaching out to shake his hand.

And then Peter responded, with an impish, Irish grin on his face:

“‘Nobody is named ‘Omar.’  I shall call you ‘Fred.'”

And with a toss of his head and a resounding laugh, Fred Sharif concluded:  “and he did!”

You’re going to call me WHAT??? Photo Credit, Irish Times

As the daughter, granddaughter and sister of Freds, I love this story.

RIP, Fred.  I hope you are off riding camels again with Peter.

38 Comments

Filed under Acting, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Huh?, Humor, laughter, Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Plagarizing myself, Rerun, Taking Care of Each Other, Theatre

Wishing I Were Going Too

Jacob’s good friend Kate left this evening for Italy.  She and her Mom planned on visiting Rome and Florence, and forgo Venice.  At dinner one night a couple of months ago, we told her this story.  They added Venice to their itinerary.  I hope they love it as much as we did.  I wish we were on that plane, too.

(This is a re-post.)

*     *     *

Eight-year old Jacob looked at me as if I’d gone crazy.  He stopped in his tracks, put his hands on his hips, tilted his head and spoke to me in a tone that was a prelude of the teen years to come.  Looking back, he had some justification.

You see, I was talking to him about Florence, Italy.  I was telling him some of the things I’d learned about the city and its history in preparation for a visit we’d be taking there in about two weeks.  I finished up my quick summary of the history, the art, the architecture, the famous people who’d lived there.  I then offered an enticement.

“You know what, Jacob,” I said.  “I read that most Italians find Florence to be their most beautiful city.”

“Mom,” my son said with his hands on his hips and his lips pursed, “how can any city be more beautiful than Venice?”

Because like me, Jacob had fallen in love with Venice when we visited that city a year earlier.

We actually went to Venice twice.

In August 1998, John, Jacob and I had gone to visit American friends who  were staying in Trieste, which is on the other side of the Aegean Sea.  Venice could be easily reached via a short train ride.

Truthfully, I wasn’t all that excited.  Venice wasn’t really high on my list of places I had to see while we were in Europe.  But we were so close, so of course going seemed like a great idea.  We’d spend a day there, and then on other trips I could see Rome and Florence — the Italian cities I really wanted to visit.

Our train was delayed by a couple of hours, and the evening train cancelled.  So we had four hours to see the city.  It would be plenty, I was sure.

Until, that is, I stepped off the train and found that I really had been transported — we’d landed in a place that was nothing like I’d imagined.  A truly magical place.

I’d read that it feels like you’re back in time because there are no cars in Venice.

I’d heard about the light in Venice, that there is nothing quite like it.  The buildings, mostly built of marble of different hues, reflect the water and the water reflects the buildings.  They both seem to dance at the slightest breeze.

I’d learned about the architecture in Venice, a mixture of European, North African, Middle-Eastern with hints of Asian, styles and materials brought back from the known world by the traders and explorers that built the city and made it fabulously wealthy.

But nothing, nothing, had prepared me for the impact that the beautiful city had on my heart — from the moment we stepped off the train.

Our afternoon gave me a much too quick taste of the magic.

With two young boys and a baby in tow, our first stop was for a late lunch — pizza on the Grand Canal.

Marco just couldn't believe that he'd missed the ice cream boat!

Jacob and Marco, who just couldn’t believe that he’d missed the ice cream boat!

We crammed as much as we could into an afternoon.  August 31st, when everything was mobbed.  We spent time in St. Marco’s Square, visited the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, crossed the Bridge of Sighs into the Doge’s prison.

When we got back to the train station, I made John promise me that Venice would be our next destination.  An afternoon was not nearly enough time, and my heart was breaking at leaving the magical city.

We started planning to go back to Venice the instant we arrived back home to Switzerland.  Jacob had a 5-day weekend in early October.  So we booked train tickets, a hotel, and got ready to go back.  We arrived at dawn, which is when all the guidebooks tell you to arrive in Venice.  Because the colors from the sunrise reflecting on the water and on the buildings that line the canals.  It is a sight that I will not even try to describe.  Indeed, I’ve never seen a photograph or read a description that did it justice.

Our visit was filled with beauty, from start to finish.  But it is the last night I want to tell you about.

We had done as much touring as you can do with a 7-year old.  A few museums, a lot of churches.  We climbed the campaniles (bell towers) of many churches to get the perfect view of the city that all three of us had fallen for.  We saw masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto and others, still hanging where they were meant to hang — in the churches of Venice, and in the unique light of Venice.

We went on a gondola ride, of course.  It was wonderful AND schlocky.  We saw Marco Polo’s house.

PIC00022 (2)

But on the last night, Venice captured my heart, and Jacob’s.

We’d finished dinner, and wandered back into St. Mark’s Square.  Jacob wanted to climb the Campanile, the bell tower.

PIC00010

Jacob with the St Marco’s Square behind him. The Campanile standing tall behind him.

We’d climbed the Campanile once already, but Jacob wanted to see the city from that prospect one more time on our last night, hoping to view the city as the lights came up on the buildings.

We loved the view, but were surprised to find that the buildings weren’t illuminated.  We climbed back down into the square, which was completely empty except for the three of us.  Two rival orchestras that were setting up outside of two restaurants on opposite sides of the Square.

The three of us wandered into the center of the piazza when it happened.

Behind us, one of the orchestras began playing a Viennese waltz.  The sound transformed the square into our own personal ballroom.  The light was fading, but soft lights around the square glowed on the Basilica, the clock tower.  Jacob took my hand, bowed, and walked me into the middle of the square.  John, the non-dancer, gave Jacob and I our moment.

My son and I — we danced.  Just the two of us, all over the cobbled square.

The instant the first orchestra had played its last notes, the orchestra on the other side began.

I could have danced all night, from My Fair Lady.  It was true — I could have.

As people began to fill the Square, we thanked both orchestras and headed back down to the Grand Canal, for a last stroll past the Doge’s palace, Vivaldi’s church and the other buildings that had seen millions of people like us come and go.

We crossed a small bridge and stopped to look across the canal at the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, and the golden ball atop the customs house.  We gazed back at the gondolas covered and berthed for the night.  We turned towards the Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners crossed from the Doge’s palace into the Doge’s prison and sighed at their last breath of freedom.

Jacob stood on that bridge with tears running down his cheeks as he looked at the beauty that surrounded us.

“I can’t believe we have to leave Venice,” he said, his heart breaking along with mine and John’s.

Photo credit:  Photozonly.com

Photo credit: Photozonly.com

della Salute by Claude Monet.  He apparently liked Venice, too.

della Salute by Claude Monet. He apparently liked Venice, too.

Was Florence more beautiful than Venice?  I don’t honestly know.  We spent nearly a week in Florence, but it rained so hard that we literally never could see the views and the vistas of that city.  But if you’re going to have a vacation where it pours, I highly recommend Florence.  There are one or two things to look at.

But Venice.  Ah, Venice.  I have never been anywhere like Venice, a place I really wasn’t that anxious to visit.  It captured my heart, and John’s and especially Jacob’s.  It is a magical place.  Words and pictures, even by Monet, cannot capture its beauty or how it made me feel.

***

I was inspired to finally write this story by DJ Matticus of The Matticus Kingdom who wrote this lovely post.  In the last year or two, John of Johnbalaya sent me back to Venice not too long ago, as did Renee of Renee Johnson Writes.

Somehow, I’m always happy to go back.  Magic and Venice.  Yup.  I’m willing to do either any time!

47 Comments

Filed under Humor

Another D Day — Duncan Day!

One year ago today, my little family expanded.  Duncan — an Australian Shepherd/English Springer Spaniel (and we think Flat-coated Retriever — had arrived.  And life hasn’t been quite the same.

After an initial health scare that sent him to the doggy ER (and nearly to doggy heaven) he’s grown up to be a great guy.  I just thought I’d give you all an update on the beast.

Da Da Duncan — Through the year:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Duncs isn’t the most photogenic of dogs.  And he’s camera shy.  But I do try …

*     *     *

Duncan’s 1st year with us is just the latest thing that I’m celebrating this week.  Somehow in the past week we’ve seen Obamacare saved, Marriage of people to whom they love permitted nationwide, and the overdue retirement of the Stars and Bars.  While I don’t pretend that all of the opponents of any of these measures are going to take defeat gracefully, well, they were defeated.  And that is damn good news all around!

61 Comments

Filed under Humor

WTF DO They Want?

It should say

It should say “Full-Bodied WHINE,” actually.
New Yorker Cartoon

Multi-tasking, as usual, I nearly choked this morning as I placed my breakfast on a small plate.   You see, the plate had the New Yorker Cartoon shown above; I had one eye on my breakfast and one eye on the news on my iPad. [For the record, reading the news while eating will get more and more dangerous as November 2016 approaches.]

What did I see that caused me to choke without taking a bite?  This headline:

Marco Rubio And Five Members Of Congress Voted For Florida’s ‘Scarlet Letter’ Adoption Bill

Huh?

Apparently, 2016 GOP hopeful for the “big tamale” Senator Marco Rubio voted in favor of a bill that was designed just for women!  Things got even better for women when then-Governor (and 2016 GOP hopeful for his turn in the family mansion) Jeb Bush signed that special bill into law.  You know, to keep things nice for nice women.  To treat special women, well, differently. Or to make certain women feel special.  Or at least to get them noticed.

It was a bill that required unwed pregnant women wishing to put their babies up for adoption to post their recent sexual histories in the newspaper before they could place their baby for adoption.  The ostensible reason is to find the fathers and make sure their rights are secured.  There was no exception to this law for rape or incest.

Think about that for a moment.  With the GOP, it’s “Damned if you do, Damned if you Don’t,”  ain’t it.  At least when it comes to sex, anyway.  I mean for women.

For men? Have at ’em, boys.

These folks, these MEN are opposed to virtually everything that has to do with sex, sexuality and the possible outcomes of that instinct in all of us to procreate.  They oppose

Birth Control

Abortion

Planned Parenthood

Preventive Care for Pregnant Mothers

FEEDING CHILDREN

Pre-School Education

Day Care

In fact, I’m pretty sure that unless it involve GOP control of an embryo, it’s verboten.

But this one took me by surprise.  Because now they oppose Adoption as a solution to unwanted pregnancy too? What the hell is left besides infanticide?  Do they promote infanticide?

They believe that regulation is bad, evil. Unless, of course, it involves a woman’s vagina and/or uterus.

What is wrong with these men?  Maybe they just have don’t know how to act towards women.  Because, you know, they’re rather old fashioned. Their fashions, in fact, go all the way back to the Dark Ages.

This is what you get for burnin' them bras in the '60s.  (Google image)

This is what you get for burnin’ them bras in the ’60s. (Google image)

And it’s such good news for the GOP that Rubio voted for this bill.  Because the article notes that Rubio’s support for the bill will give Jeb Bush “cover” for having signed it into law.  It’s all hunky dory!  I guess all the guys were doing it, so it’s OK. Just the way all the frat boys do it. Ammirite?

Can you say “mysogynist” ten times fast?

mi·sog·y·nist
məˈsäjənəst/
noun
noun: misogynist; plural noun: misogynists
1. a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.
woman-hater; More
Synonyms:  antifeminist, (Male) chauvinist, sexist, hater;
informal: male chauvinist pig
“he apparently deserved his reputation as a misogynist.”
adjective: misogynist
1. relating to or characteristic of a misogynist
     “a misogynist attitude”
It would be nice if this sort of thing were ancient history.  But it’s not.  While Jebby stated in his 1995 book, Profiles in Character (Subtitle,no doubt is “Don’t Make Me Barf,”) he restated it again more recently.  Yup. Jeb Bush said that he believes that unwed mothers should be publicly shamed, and doing so would lower the number of unwanted (e.g. unmarried) pregnancies!  What a hoot!  Imagine the fun.  Yup, let’s bring the stocks back out into the public square.
Google Image

Google Image

Now you know, I think Jeb is on to something.  Maybe he’s in the right church, wrong pew.  Maybe public shaming IS necessary.
Let’s be sure, though, that we shame the proper people.  Let’s start with Jeb.  And his big bro.  Then we can warm up to the other folks that either lied us into war or damaged our economy, perhaps irreparably.  Let’s shame them publicly, for their lies.  For their acrimony.  For their partisanship.  For their totally misplaced moral outrage.
And let the first stone be thrown by the first woman who had to publish her sexual history in the Florida newspapers because of two men Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.  Two men who, with any luck at all, will never be president.
***
The law was repealed after about two years following a lawsuit.  Poor Jeb had to repeal the law. Obviously, he acted against his convictions.  Which of course makes him two-faced in addition to being misogynistic.  What a guy.  I’d love to have him for my leader.
<*Swoons*>

47 Comments

Filed under Humor