The Shortest Book Ever Published
The Shortest Book Ever Published
I’ve been retired a little over six months. Actually, like “second breakfast” from Lord of the Rings (a practice I wholeheartedly endorse), this is really my second retirement (which, to be honest, has nothing to do with breakfast. I just wanted to mention breakfast. Because bacon and eggs.). I retired from active duty in the Navy sixteen years ago.
Shockingly, once I left the service, I realized that I couldn’t sit on my ass for the rest of my life. Hey, my military retirement isn’t bad; it just wasn’t enough to keep me clothed and fed. “Clothed” to the relief of others. And “fed,” which, once again, is a practice I wholeheartedly endorse.
So, I ventured back into the workforce. I started as a substitute teacher. Then, after I scraped spitballs from my back, I became a Teacher’s Assistant. That was a pretty nice gig, but unfortunately, after two years I suffered a small reduction in available hours (translation: complete reduction). So, I became a high school custodian (aka “Environmental Services Associate”) and remained so for the six years before my second
So now, I spend most of my time writing hideous little pieces like this (thank you, faithful three readers), writing a hideous set of memoirs (which are sure to sell in the teens. To blind people), complaining about [insert old man beef here], volunteering as a Meals On Wheels driver, and taking care of my spiritual, medical, and dental well-being.
I mean, after all, if it hasn’t happened already, I’m sure I’m approaching the expiration of my body’s warranty. Come to think of it, to whom would I complain about that warranty? I think I’ve been had. I knew I shouldn’t have answered that phone call to extend my body’s warranty.
Let’s put it this way, if life was a game of golf (it’s not), I’d be teeing off on the 17th Hole. And the 18th Hole is a Par 3. If you don’t play golf (Scottish for “Shit”), then you probably wouldn’t get that metaphor. Trust me, though, it’s pretty clever.
Yes, in an effort to forestall the ravages of Father Time (who’s a real mother), it’s in my best interest to take better care of my body. So far, so good. While I may not be able to donate it to Science, I certainly don’t want to donate it to Science Fiction.
Sadly, though, gone are the days when I thought a well-balanced meal was a double-beef Whopper with cheese and extra mayo, a daily bowl of Raisin Bran was only for my dad, and getting up at dawn was for the Amish.
Now, from the precarious vantage point of late middle age (frankly, I’d only be middle-aged if I was going to live until I was 124. Like Stevie Wonder, though, I can’t see it), one beer makes me sleepy, hot dogs give me gas, and I actually read nutrition labels…with bifocals.
Plus, doggone it, that Wilfred Brimley really makes sense.
NOTE: Much to my writer’s chagrin, Wilfred passed away last summer. Well, the joke stays. Comedy must go on!
Therefore, to achieve my goal of hanging in there as long as Larry King (without that whole mummified look), I keep regular appointments with my doctor and dentist.
NOTE: Larry King has also recently passed. Damn! That’s what I get for delaying this post. I should have said Alex Trebe….oh, son of a ….!
I could go on and on about visits to my doctor (whose face I haven’t seen due to his mask. For all I all know, he could be an Environmental Services Associate in a lab coat), but I thought I’d start off with something a little less invasive (guys, you know what I mean. Ladies? Shut up. We get it.).
Still, visiting the “Rinse and Spit” club is a chore. I most assuredly do not enjoy latex-clad fingers in my mouth (if you do, I won’t judge). But, as four out of five dentists will tell you, “It’s your responsibility to take care of yourself as long as possible so you can become a burden to your grandchildren.”
That said, a visit to the dentist, while beneficial to both my dental health and his ability to take vacations to the Caribbean, is not without its discomforts.
Take cleaning. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that metal is used to clean our teeth? Now, I wouldn’t advocate using gummi bears to shine my enamel, but using a screwdriver to scrape my molars doesn’t seem right, either.
Once my teeth have been violated, it’s time for a good polishing. Dipping a Dremel-like device into a cleaner-I swear it’s Comet-the dental tech proceeds to spit-shine (an unfortunate phrase, I know) my pearly whites until they’re, well…pearly white.
I don’t know about you, but the combination of the little drill’s high-pitched whir with the cleanser’s grit does not a “fun” experience make. Unless you dig that sort of thing (once again, I will not judge).
After that, I’m treated to a courtesy flossing by a tech with knuckle hair and gorilla fingers (who, thankfully, is not my doctor. Amirite, fellas?). This delightful sojourn into “eww” is only enhanced by a stern scolding while trying to pass clothesline between my ravaged teeth.
I swear, the next time I’ll wear a sign around my neck that says, “Yeah, I know. Floss.”
The funny thing about this is the insane insistence on maintaining a running conversation. Just talking to me is okay, I suppose. Just don’t ask any questions which require an actual response. At the very least, it makes me look stupid when I grunt an answer. At worst, I start choking on my own spit when asked my opinion on North Korea or whether Baby Yoda is cuter than Baby Groot.
Things have gotten better since I first visiting the dentist, though. Largely gone are the days when we rinsed our mouths in those little sinks found only in dentists’ offices. Instead, we now have nifty vacuum dealies, which, when placed in our mouths, remove unwanted dental by-products…and prevent us from drowning in the chair.
Although, I can’t shake this fear of having my tongue sucked right out of my head.
Anything more complicated than cleaning has its own “features”, too. It’s then when the industrial-strength tools (“New from Ronco, the people who gave you the ‘Do-It-Yourself Colonoscopy’!”-seriously, there really is such a thing) are trotted out.
We yearn for the tranquility of cleaning as the dentist administers painkiller with a dull No. 2 pencil before it’s time to drill a tooth, fill a cavity with molten metal, or peel away our gums in pursuit of the evildoer “plaque-the germ which causes gingivitis.”
And, I think you’ll all acknowledge the terror inspired by three little words: “Impacted Wisdom Teeth.”
Luckily, I’ve not been blessed with the joy of erupted wisdom teeth. Due to a genetic quirk in my make-up, those little buggers have remained so far up in my mouth they’ll never make an appearance. They’re a lot like the Cleveland Browns at the Super Bowl that way.
On the downside, I’ve had some cavities. I’ve more metal in my mouth than a refugee from “I, Robot” thanks, in large part, to a childhood filled with the likes of “Sugar Pops”, “Sugar Smacks”, and “Super Sugar Crisp.”
Granted, cavities and tooth decay have obvious drawbacks. But, there’s something to be said for all my shiny fillings. Not only can they tune in my favorite radio stations, they’ve pretty much exhausted the number of places where a cavity can actually take hold.
Of course, a rigorous program of conscientious dental hygiene probably would’ve done the trick just as well.
As much as I like to complain (and I do), you can’t beat the care I’ve received. Not only do I not have to place my teeth in a jar at night, I’m free from the ill effects of gum disease, tooth pain, and discoloration. To say nothing of halitosis. I hope.
So, the next time you dread going to the dentist, remember the alternatives. By ignoring your teeth, not only will you end up looking like the Royal Family, you may also condemn yourself to eating foods no harder than tapioca and sporting gums which recede to your eyeballs.
Oh, and while you’re at it, remember to floss, willya?
Today is the 79th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. I know, I forgot to pick up something at Hallmark’s, too.
For those who do not know what Executive Order 9066 is, don’t feel too badly. I didn’t know what it was either until I did a little digging. You see, I’m willing to do a little research so you three readers don’t have to. I will say this, though, once I start talking about it, you’ll recognize it as one of the most shameful episodes in American history, this side of anything Clinton.
EO 9066 was issued on February 19, 1942 by
Savior President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor (incidentally, I’m not convinced the administration didn’t know the attack was coming. Surprised by the severity, yes. But, not the event. Another story for another day). It directed all persons on the West Coast (and Hawaii) of Japanese descent to relocate to internment camps. No sense taking a chance with those people, you know. Never mind that there were thousands, if not millions, of Americans with German and Italian heritage throughout the nation. They look like us, so shut up. Hater.
The Japanese were strange-looking, after all, and must be kept where real Americans could keep an eye on them.
This was challenged in the Supreme Court by a man who refused to leave the exclusion zone, Fred Korematsu. He maintained that the decision by the
dictator president was racially motivated and thus, unconstitutional.
Tragically for Mr. Korematsu, Associate Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion that the needs of the country outweighed the needs of a small minority. Safety must take precedence over freedom. Sound familiar?
So, the end result was that 120,000 people cooled their heels in concentration camps for the duration, 62% OF WHOM WERE AMERICAN CITIZENS.
If this does not give the lie to the fact that the Supreme Court is infallible, nothing will. Unless you’re talking about Dred Scott or Plessy vs. Ferguson.
What is amazing to me is that some people, while acknowledging that this indeed was systemic racism, refuse to hold the Democratic Party responsible. If the Korematsu affair was an isolated travesty, I could maybe understand it (yeah, no, I couldn’t). Sadly, it continues to this day. From the Ted Kennedy Underwater Driving School to “you ain’t black,” I am positively flummoxed that the Dems have any adherents at all.
A perfect example of this is the actor and noted crazy person, George Takei (you may know him as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek or The Green Berets). His entire family was scooped up and held prisoner for years. Yet, Mr. “Oh My!” continues to laud the Democratic Party and worship his god, FDR.
This is what’s called “batshit crazy.”
There will always be run-of-the-mill crazy, to be sure. And it’s not the sole province of the Left, either; some in the Right are positively nuts, as well. Likewise, some Conservatives are also batshit crazy.
It’s just that more jackasses than elephants consider themselves “progressive,” while being nothing of the sort. Unless they’re misspelling “totalitarian.” Could be. A lot of them aren’t terribly smart.
Examples of this abound. I don’t have enough time or skin on my typing fingers to list them all.
Let’s just concentrate on one modern-day example, the Religion of Transgenderism. Now, look, if you want to lop off or add a particular body part, that’s your business. I don’t care. Just don’t expect me to pay for it. Or even consider that what you’re doing is the pinnacle of mental health.
Because, sorry Caitlyn, it ain’t.
But, still, whatever.
Where this whole movement strays into “batshit crazy” territory are biological males barging into women’s athletics. Professing they have a right to be who they think they are, these gorillas with bumpy chests are competing with genuine females. The result is that a lot (if not most) of them are dominating their competition via bigger body mass and increased strength.
Where are the feminists here? How in the world can they do nothing while women’s sports are being rendered into irrelevancy? Oh, I know. Because that’s the agenda of the Left. And like with Korematsu, that’s okay.
Golf? Okay. Sailing? Sure. Bowling? Is that a sport? Billiards? Oh, come on, now you’re being silly.
But, track, wrestling, field hockey, and mixed martial arts fighting? Are you batshit crazy?
Thank goodness the disease hasn’t infected professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Yet. Because it’s about money. But, don’t hold your breath. I wouldn’t put it past those knuckleheads.
Recently, a transgender MMA athlete, Fallon Fox, broke the skull of her/his/its opponent. Rather than being horrified that this altered specimen beat up on a woman (who, let’s be fair, could probably beat the crap out of me), there are more than a few who think that he/she/it is, in the words of blogger Cyd Zeigler, the “bravest athlete in American history.”
Okay, I’m an old guy. I was brought up that it was never okay for a man to beat up a girl. Even if it was Whoopi Goldberg (she’s a girl, right?). Nowadays, some people seem to be okay with it in the name of “progress.”
Well, I’m not okay with it. That there are some who think what Fox did is the epitome of bravery (who ARE you people?) makes me realize that, despite Idiot Joe’s call for “unity,” there is just no talking to some people. They are irrevocably lost.
I just want my check because I want to get off the world.
Not before I buy a Korematsu Sympathy Card, though.
George Takei won’t be getting one.
To assist drivers having difficulty locating their vehicles in crowded parking lots, General Motors announces that the “Happy Asian Pop Up Device” will be standard equipment on all 2022 GM Sedans.
Was there any doubt as to how this ridiculous sham of an impeachment trial would go? Did ANYone (with a brain) actually think Donald Trump would be convicted and thus barred from seeking further office? Will Richard Nixon’s corpse be exhumed so that Nancy Pelosi can parade it before the House for high crimes, misdemeanors, and halitosis?
Ludicrous? Of course, but that hasn’t stopped the Speaker of the House before. After all, she desperately wanted to improve on her 0-1 record when it came to obtaining a conviction of a president. Never mind that he is no longer in office.
SPOILER: She didn’t.
So now that three presidents have been impeached four times, where does that leave us? First, there have been four impeachments. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve read breathlessly ignorant and outraged, “Donald Trump needs to be impeached now!”
After he was impeached. Twice. Seriously, I got tired of having to explain how this whole process worked to numbskulls. I’ll freely admit that there are, more than likely, conservative numbskulls. A lot fewer, but I’m sure there are.
Second, have any of the impeachments not been purely political affairs?
The closest would be that of Andrew Johnson in 1868, who missed being convicted and tossed by only one vote. A case could be made (and was) that he deserved to be thrown out of office for his highhanded management of Reconstruction and Cabinet appointments. Even so, I suspect that partisanship played a huge role. Johnson, even though Lincoln’s vice-president, was a Democrat Southerner. The Congress was Republican.
Clinton? Well, even though I heartily enjoyed the Boner-in-Chief being held to count for lying to Congress, I can see (not agree with) the other side’s point. If you seriously think impeachment or the trial weren’t political affairs. consider that the House was in Republican hands. The Senate, even though the Democrats were in the minority, couldn’t muster up the 67 votes necessary to send Bubba packing to Arkansas. Add to that, every single Democrat voted for acquittal, aided by five Republicans (there’s a shocker), and you have Bill emerging unscathed, nay the recipient of increased popularity.
Does anyone think he would have been impeached if the House of Representatives was controlled by Democrats? Bitch, please.
As far as the impeachments of Donald Trump? Yes, these were purely in defense of the nation’s interests. And, if you buy that…
Questions of constitutionality aside, there was no doubt that this ridiculous waste of time and money was an an unhinged quest for revenge by the Vampire of the House and Snow Miser of the Senate. By the way, if you think Chuckie doesn’t resemble the character from The Year Without a Santa Claus, please let Google be your friend. Why Drunk Vampira thought this charade had a prayer of getting the two thirds necessary for conviction, even with quislings from the GOP and even though the Senate is now run by Leftists, is beyond me.
What motivates this kind of deranged logic? Surely it can’t be to bring the nation together? This further polarizes Americans. Kinda makes a laughingstock of the Idiot-in-Chief’s ridiculous “unity” bullshit, doesn’t it?
Then again, Pelosi pulled this crap last year. as well. I was amazed that she did so. That she doubled down this year is even more baffling.
I dearly hope the motivations aren’t nefarious. I sincerely do. Sadly, nothing much, especially lately, has convinced me otherwise.
Mostly because I probably don’t have a life, I paid attention to some of the proceedings. I didn’t watch it on television, mind you. I didn’t want to risk being enraged to the point of throwing a shoe at it. After all, I’m not the Iraqi Parliament. But, I did read recaps of what went on.
Initially, I was dismayed over the performance of that moron, Bruce Castor, allegedly assigned to defend Trump (with friends like this…). I was worried that his rambling incoherence would cause most Senators to think that maybe Orange Man really was bad.
Then, I calmed down. I realized that, no matter what he said or how he said it, Republican senators would by and large support the former president. Even though unbelievable fools such as the butthurt Mitt Romney weren’t in Trump’s camp, the fix was in.
Incidentally, Mittens was savaged by leftist media when he dared run against Slappy the Savior from
Hawaii, Kenya, Illinois. Blessings be upon him. I guess he’s gotten over it. Trump writes mean things, you know.
Jesus Christ himself could have come down for the prosecution and folks such as Ted Cruz would never convict.
Then, on Friday, I listened to Sean Hannity laud the masterful performance by the team for the ex-president. They had eaten the lunch of impeachment managers, he claimed. “Let not your heart be troubled,” he consoled us.
Then, on Saturday, the Senate voted for witnesses. Before they didn’t. I didn’t care, because no one would be swayed. Democrat Senators would do what Snow Miser directed. Republican senators, with a few exceptions, would follow their brains.
Partisanship, not objectivity, would rule the day.
But, it didn’t matter. There was no way the Clown Show would come up with the two-thirds necessary to convict. It didn’t matter what you thought of Trump, he would be acquitted. Luckily, the Senate voted on Saturday. The nation would be spared further angst-ridden knees-bent running about.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I was happy with the outcome. But, no frikkin’ way was I surprised.
Huzzah! The mature, reasoned statesman (and women) of Congress would now be free to carry on the nation’s business.
The New York Jets have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl.
*While I’d love to take credit for this, this belongs to Steven Crowder in his post, (and I paraphrase), “Nancy Pelosi is the Pelosiest of Them All.”
WARNING: The following contains some truths, half-truths, and outlandish flights of conjecture. You are therefore urged to not quote any of the below for scholarly research. On the other hand, your school is probably closed because of the Chinese Flu. So, this may be the best you’re gonna get. Yeah, that kinda blows.
NOTE: Yes, Presidents Day isn’t for another five days, but I’ll be out of town that day. A North Carolina Christmas Shop is having a 50% off sale and I need to get another skeleton for my collection. What do Christmas and Halloween have to do with each other, you may ask? Just shut up and read.
Until fairly recently there was no such thing as “Presidents” Day. Rather, we celebrated “Lincoln’s Birthday” on February 12th and “Washington’s Birthday” on February 22nd. What’s more, those days were one shot deals, instead of the three-day extravaganzas we now observe.
I remember feeling gypped whenever they fell on the weekend. So, schoolchildren across the fruited plain were thrilled when the feds decided to ignore history (a pretty common thing nowadays) and insisted that George and Abe were born on Mondays. Screw ‘em, I guess they figured. They’re dead anyway.
Like I said, though, we now have Presidents Day instead of two separate holidays. Created to make room for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday holiday (no sense giving mailmen too many days off), Presidents Day was meant to commemorate both our 1st and our 16th presidents. And sales on cars, sheets, and living room furniture.
So as not to offend either the Washington or Lincoln Fan Clubs (suffice to say, you don’t want to get them together in the same room), Presidents Day was set in the middle of their birthdays. Or the third Monday in February. Or whichever made for the better three-day weekend.
Like Thanksgiving, this makes it pretty easy to plan for, as a quick inspection of a calendar would quickly identify when it was. This is in stark contrast to Easter, which I know is on a Sunday. Other than that, I have no idea from year to year when it will happen. Something to do with the lunar cycle and first day of spring. During leap year. When Jupiter aligns with Mars. And the Pope consults his Magic 8-Ball. Or something like that.
You used to be able to count on whenever The Ten Commandments aired on ABC. No more, unfortunately. Just as well. All the preaching in that movie got on my nerves. Plus, did anyone really buy Edward G. Robinson as an ancient Egyptian?
Eventually, Presidents Day transformed to a celebration of all the nation’s chief executives, even the sucky ones. Like Buchanan.
Don’t know who James Buchanan was? Well, he was a president. A sucky one. Google him, if you like. But trust me. He sucked.
As the concept of Presidents Day caught on, my family tried to come up with a dignified way to recognize the men who guided our nation’s ship of state.
I have to admit, it was pretty difficult to get all jazzed up for a holiday sandwiched between the saccharine-sweet chocolate debauchery of Valentines Day and the inebriated bacchanalian debauchery of St. Patrick’s Day.
We finally decided on a “Dress as Your Favorite President Day.” That way, we could most suitably honor who it was we most admired as the leader of our country. And, even though my powdered wig and breeches got a lot of stares at Sears, I felt it was the patriotic thing to do.
This practice worked quite well for a number of years. That is until my brother, dressed as Bill Clinton, got arrested for loitering around a Nursing School.
To avoid possible litigation, we then decided to pick a president who was not so well-known. I mean, how likely would it be that a descendant of Martin Van Buren would call us before Judge Judy for saying their great-great-great-great-grandfather’s head looked like a beachball with feathers? Not terribly likely.
It really did, though, when you take a good look at it. Google him when you’re done with Buchanan.
To be sure, there are plenty of obscure stiffs from which to choose, guys who could be genuine stumpers in Trivial Pursuit. In fact, were it not for their bosses catching cold at inauguration, having one heck of a tummy ache, being assassinated, dropping dead from a stroke, or resigning, we probably would never have heard of Tyler, Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Coolidge, or Ford.
Bad enough we had Jimmy Carter.
I remember the year I chose an unknown president who was yuge in the Republican Party. A man who put the needs of his fellow citizens before his own. A man whose hard work paid off handsomely. A man who had the fortune of being Vice-President when James Garfield was assassinated in 1881: Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President of the United States.
Known primarily for his facial hair and uncanny ability to remain innocuous, Arthur was the Commander-in-Chief during the Gunfight at the OK Corral when Kurt Russell, starring as Wyatt Earp, defeated the Clanton gang with the help of his brothers, Val Kilmer, and a killer moustache.
Arthur became president the year Alexander Graham Bell perfected the first metal detector. This was a step up for the beleaguered Bell, whose previous attempts tried to locate the bullet lodged in Garfield’s (the president, not the cat) body.
To give you an idea how well that worked out, Chester Arthur and his whiskers became president.
President Arthur was especially opposed to the Spoils System. This was even after he was informed by his cabinet that it had nothing to do with milk being left out overnight.
A champion of Civil Service reform, because he wanted to avoid “another Civil War” at all costs, Arthur is regarded as the “Father of the Civil Service and Union-Mandated Ten Minute Coffee Break.”
Not content with remaining somnambulant on the domestic front, he furthered his nation’s foreign policy outreach, also known as “talking to fuzzy-cheeked foreigners who smelled like cabbage.” During his administration, the United States established formal diplomatic relations with Korea (thus discovering Ping Pong), organized the Alaskan territory (it was a mess), and continued the process by which land was stolen from Native-Americans and millions of buffalo were slaughtered by drunks hanging from the windows of passing trains.
Shockingly, he was denied nomination of his party for the presidential election of 1884. Evidently, party bigwigs weren’t terribly impressed with neither his record nor his campaign slogan of “Wait Until You Get a Load of Joe Biden.”
Instead, they gave the nomination to someone whose name escapes me, but, honestly, who cares? Whoever he was, he was defeated by the Democrat candidate for the presidency.
Yes, Grover Cleveland became the 22nd President of the United States primarily on the strength of HIS slogan: “I May Be Fat as a House, But I Ain’t No Chester Arthur.”
Hmm, maybe next year I’ll choose Benjamin Harrison.
During the past year, we’ve been subjected to the condescending “Follow the science!” mostly from the Left. Occasionally, they’re joined by scolding from terrified people who we thought actually had brains are sometimes heard. These people make me sad most of all.
But, lamenting about those who have eschewed logic, common sense, and critical thought is not really the point of today’s essay, which hopefully will be read by more than two people. Although I’m not holding my breath (I could die). On the bright side, one of the benefits to not being as well-read as I would like is that I don’t have to pay as much attention to what I was writing as if I was…uh…well-read (see what I mean?). For all that it matters, I could write just about anything here and give as much a crap about sentence structure and proper grammar as any third-grader. Or Stephen King.
But enough nonconstructive whining for now. After all, I have two readers I need to consider. They pay (no they don’t) for hard-hitting content, dammit!
“Follow the science!” is as irksome as the maddening “The science is settled!”, even though it should more properly be, “Follow the Science Which Agrees With Our Agenda!” If people honestly and truly believed in science, public schools throughout the country would all be open.
Whenever I read or hear some pinhead pompously proclaim “Follow the Science!” to those they deem intellectually inferior , I counter with:
1. There are more than two genders.
2. Much of the East Coast will be underwater by the 21st century.
3. The Earth will soon undergo an Ice Age.
4. More doctors prefer Camels than any other cigarette.
5. We need to bleed the patient in order to release demons and evil humours.
6. Anyone who professes that the Earth revolves around the Sun is guilty of heresy!
There’s many more, but you get my point.
I’ve never been challenged on this. As is the way of most deranged Progressives, instead of debating the point intelligently, I’m accused of being a racist or some other such baloney.
What do I know anyhow? I’m just an old, white guy. Like…the president.
Yesterday, though, I was challenged. Interestingly, rather than be relieved that someone wanted to refute my points, I was distressed over his indoctrinated ignorance.
After being accused of constructing a strawman, I put it to him, “So, these things were never said?”
In reply, he told me that, “Sure they were, but with the exception of #1, they were said a long time ago.” And, even then, he continued, #1 expresses a false “gender bimodal construct” (seriously, whatever TF THAT means!).
I told him that he was making my point exactly.
Without going into a longwinded recap of what was further debated (after all, I have to consider those two readers. I’m sure they have important things to do), suffice to say I was lectured that science had progressed since the 17th century. To his mind, science had reached its apex (in other words, dare I say it, the science is settled).
Now, for all I know, wearing masks (i.e., face diapers) in the grocery store or shower could be a valid scientific practice. It’s not, but let’s give the dopes the benefit of the doubt.
I maintained that it is the height of arrogance to think that we know all that is knowable, that those in the past were mere bumpkins. To him, it is inconceivable that science could possibly be wrong about something now. Never mind that science was often wrong then.
This is the 21st century, by God (a god that is denied by a lot of science, by the way)!
Who’s to say that someone in the 22nd century won’t take one look at the early 21st century and think, good grief, they thought what?
NOTE: A similar corollary to this is the belief that, if the Supreme Court pronounces something, it surely must be gospel. The esteemed justices cannot possibly be wrong. Never mind Dred Scott, Plessy vs. Ferguson, and Koramatsu. But, I digress…
Once again, do not get me wrong. Maybe these knuckleheads are right. They’re not, but maybe they are. Science is a wonderful part of society that has bestowed countless benefits to…uh…society (don’t need to look for synonyms when you write for a scant audience).
However, it is a dangerous hubris to stifle any discussion or opposing points of view because you think that you know all there is to know. By doing so, you are in very real danger of turning into the same type of closedminded thought police who threw Galileo Galilei into house arrest in 1632 for the rest of his life because he dared question Church doctrine on heliocentrism.
Imagine if the Pope had Twitter.
Prologue: When trying to come up with a proper “Dust Bunny” for the two of you who may be reading, I thought I’d trot out another history lesson. Don’t worry, this will probably be it for a while. I may have something to say about a visit to the dentist next week. Or maybe not. Won’t be a history lesson, though. You two have suffered enough. You’re welcome.
I remember a movie I watched last Easter (okay, so it’s almost Valentines Day…give me a break) when The Ten Commandments got so doggarned preachy.
Sure to be a future Easter classic (perhaps not), 300 on TNT is the story of three hundred (that’s where they get the title…duh) Spartans led by King Leonidas and his loincloth against the evil Persians of…uh…Persia.
You know these crazy cats better as Iranians. Yeah, for reals.
For almost two hours, the brave warriors used sword, spear, and pectoral muscles against the very best the enemy could fling at them (which included some funky-as-shit looking elephants). It’s only after the treachery of some guy who would make Michael Moore look attractive that the Greeks were defeated.
After I got over my initial sadness that there was no nudity (female) in this “Modified For Television” feature, I grew curious about Leonidas’ opponent, Xerxes.
Was he the most powerful individual in antiquity? Did he hold sway over all the world, except for China, the Mafia, South America, the Eskimos, New Jersey, Tony Fauci, the Super Friends, George Soros, Batman, and Betty White? Was he the raging flamer who showed an inordinate interest in Leonidas’s fighting prowess and loincloth?
Since I’d been disappointed by Hollywood before (I honestly thought a man-and monkeys-could fly), I decided to do some digging. Figuring a source which gave us Bernie’s mittens, dancing babies, and Tik Tok nurses couldn’t steer me wrong, I consulted the Internet.
After getting Al Gore’s permission, of course.
Xerxes the Great was born in 519 BC to Atossa and Darius the Great. Both of his parents were descended from Achaemenes, but of different Achaemenid lines. The source documents were pretty clear on that as they wanted to leave no doubt there was no incest hanky-panky going on (this isn’t Game of Thrones, you know). After all, they weren’t Egyptians. If those people wanted kids with feet growing out of their foreheads, that was their business. But, the Persians played it on the up and up.
Anyway, Darius knew that marrying a daughter of the great Cyrus the Great (but I repeat myself)) would certainly help his plan for kingship. And grease (homophone for “Greece.” Ain’t I frikkin’ clever!?) his application to the Nineveh Country Club approved.
NOTE: Apparently, the suffix “the Great” was a pretty big honorific in ancient Persia. Which was why Darius’ brother, Herschel the So-So, was never taken seriously.
Anyway, Darius was all pissed at off at everyone, from Babylon to that guy who sold him those Kinoki foot pads. But, he was most hacked off at the Greeks. Who, besides having grass and a recipe for some kick-ass souvlaki, had some of the sweetest nude beaches in the Mediterranean. So, he made intense preparations for an invasion of…Egypt.
Hey, I didn’t write this stuff.
Before he left the country, Persian law (wasn’t he the boss?) dictated that he name a successor. I guess this was just in case he got whacked by an errant throw of a petrified papyrus roll. Or was having too much fun on a Greek beach.
Before doing so, he contracted with Gambino and Sons building contractors to build him a tomb. After permits were finally approved once the Zoning Officer found the head of a camel in his bed, construction began at Naqsh-e Rostam (yeah, I’m not going to look it up, either). Freed from the stress of planning his final resting spot and picking out window treatments, Darius then named his son, Xerxes, as his successor.
He chose the little freak mostly on the strength of he being the son of the daughter of Cyrus the Great. And because he threw paper when his older brother, Artobazan, threw rock.
Then, having finished construction of his tomb, Darius made ready to invade Egypt. As if the revolting Egyptians (go ahead, feel free, make a joke here) weren’t bad enough, he was totally hacked off because their pyramids were much bigger than his ziggurats. Apparently size mattered, even in the ancient world.
But, wouldn’t you know it, Darius died before the Susa AAA Office could finalize his Trip-Tiks and his reservation for a non-smoking room at the Saqqara Days Inn could be confirmed.
Good thing he had that tomb built, huh?
Almost immediately (by “almost immediately,” I mean “a year”), Xerxes the Great (“the Great” being passed down to him in the will) put down the revolts in Egypt. And, for good measure, he decided to jump ugly with the Babylonians. If only because he didn’t really trust the Husseins of Tikrit.
In 484 B.C. (i.e., “Before Cable.” Okay, not really. Look it up yourselves), he outraged the Babylonians when he violently confiscated and melted down (yep, I think the word “violent” just about does it) the statue of “Marduk” (luckily the statue of “Marmaduke” was spared). Either that or he farted on it. The Greek historian, Herodotus, is unclear on this matter. He may have been drunk.
Outraged by this sacrilege, the people revolted again in 484 B.C. and again in 482 B.C., when they remembered they were still pissed off.
Because of this, Xerxes rejected his father’s title, King of Babylon. Instead, he named himself “King of Persia,” “Great King,” “King of Kings,” “Sky King,” “King Creole,” “King Kong,” “Don King,” “Chicken a la King,” and “King of Nations.”
The little dude was full of himself, huh?
Meanwhile, as if there wasn’t enough on his plate, Xerxes took on the task started by his father: punishing the Greeks for their interference with the Ionian Revolt (I don’t feel like looking it up), the burning of Sardis, their victory at Marathon (yep, that’s where the long ass race came from. Only without Kenyans), and for effing up his order of baklava take-out. Well, that and putting in a spare bedroom at the palace.
From 483 B.C. onward, Xerxes prepared his expedition. A channel was dug through the isthmus (NOTE: fancy word for “small strip of land between two bodies of water.” Rhymes with “Christmas.”) of the peninsula of Mt. Athos, provisions (including granola, paraffin-coated matches, and sewing kits) were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, and two pontoon bridges (known as “Xerxes Pontoon Bridges,” totally pissing off their designer, Leonard the Meek) were built across the Hellespont (which I sincerely hope was water).
Soldiers of many nationalities made up the Persian army: Assyrians (getting their “freak” on), Phoenicians (who brought the alphabet and potato salad), Babylonians (who finally forgave Xerxes for that farting thing), Egyptians (who were so bored they started mummifying cats), and Jews (legal counsel to the King of Kings in all matters pertaining to invasion).
Setting out from Persepolis (after having to turn back because the damn Assyrians left the water running), Xerxes decided it would be quicker to go by way of the Hellespont. But, only if there was a nice clean gas station along the way, the Phoenicians complained.
Resisting the urge to fire back, “Yeah, as if YOU people ever wash your hands,” the King of Nations grudgingly agreed.
After all, they did bring the potato salad.
The journey was an arduous affair, made even more so when they had to detour around construction of the “Death to America” monument and the fact that nobody remembered to bring the horses.
Finally reaching the Hellespont, the strait of water which separated Asia from Europe (and crazy people from other crazy people), nobody remembered where they parked the pontoon bridges left the previous year. Unfortunately, by the time they found them, a fierce storm (taking Chief Meteorologist Chip “Hurricane” Achaemenes completely by surprise) destroyed the only way to Thrace (NOTE: this is in Greece. I looked it up).
In a fit of rage, Xerxes ordered the Hellespont whipped 300 times and had fetters thrown in the water. Despite Ahmed Fetters swearing he had nothing to do with the storm.
Finally, after getting help from the Trojan AAA office, new bridges were built and the army invaded Greece. Threatening local people with the loss of their lands, rape of their women, and vicious titty-twisters (or Indian Burns. Source documents are unclear), Xerxes picked up allies along the way. Thessaly, Thebes, Argos, and France (who figured, “you never could be too sure”) took up the Persian banner as Xerxes moved to face his greatest foes, Athens and Sparta.
Taking up winter quarters in Sardis, because there was no sense visiting nude beaches in the winter, Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC. His fleet and army had been estimated by Herodotus (noted drunk) to number 1,000,000, along with 10,000 elite warriors known as the Immortals (the Avengers having bowed out because the Hulk couldn’t find a suit of armor which fit).
First concentrating on Sparta (since Athens was still in the shower), the Persian army clashed with those 300 warriors led by King Leonidas (thought I had forgotten, huh?). Even though initially rebuffed by fierce Spartan resistance and an inability to understand why the Spartan king had a Scottish accent, the 300 were slaughtered after a traitor showed the Persians the rear entrance (Greeks being very familiar with rear entrances).
After Sparta, Athens was captured. Some historians claim Xerxes ordered the cradle of democracy burned while Persian scholars claimed he did nothing of the sort. Who would be crazy enough to destroy a major center of trade and commerce?
Oh, I don’t know. Anyone who’d whip water a couple hundred times?
Xerxes then decided to attack the Greek fleet at Salamis in September, 480 BC. This proved to be a disaster because, despite outnumbering their foe, the Persian warships were no match for the maneuverable little Greek vessels. Plus, they should have known better to attack right after lunch, when all they wanted to do was take a nap.
Using the excuse of unrest in Babylon (who really never got over the fact that he farted on their god), Xerxes sent most of his army home. He left a token force behind in Greece under command of Mardonius, but they were overrun by a Greek Amish family and herd of sheep at Plataea the following year. After a few Persian ships anchored at Mycale were destroyed, the Greek city-states once more felt the breath of freedom.
To continue to kill each other.
In 465 BC, Xerxes was murdered by Artabanus, commander of the royal bodyguard (how frikkin’ ironic is that?).
What transpired next has led to confusion among historians (hey, cut them some slack. It was almost 1,500 years ago and Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet). Let’s see…Artabnaus accused Crown Prince Darius of the murder and persuaded his brother, Artaxerxes (NOTE: Persian for “sucky name”) to kill him.
However, according to Aristotle, noted Greek philosopher, mentor to Alexander the Great, and owner of a chain of diners in the Peloponnesus, Artabanus killed Darius first before killing Xerxes with the help of a eunuch, who undoubtedly was cranky because he didn’t have coffee. Or balls. Then, once Ataxerxes found out who the real culprit was, he whacked Artabanus.
Seriously, though, who really cares? They’re all dead now, anyway.
Xerxes-one of the great leaders of the ancient world, source of pride for the Persian people (who really haven’t had all that much to brag about since), and reason why the letter ‘X’ is pronounced like the letter ‘Z.’
There’s much more to his story, to be sure. For instance, I omitted the details of his public works initiatives, construction projects, religious beliefs, and his tempestuous 72 day marriage to Artossa Kardashian. Yes, the King of Kings was much more than a megalomaniac bent on assimilation of all the peoples of the known world.
He also liked body piercings and balloon animals.
But, like what Rosie O’Donnell looks like naked, I’ll just leave that to your imagination.
You may want to have that imagination steam-cleaned though.