More Stuff I — UH — Dislike


Last week, I mentioned that hate was strictly verboten in the 21st Century.  I was only half kidding.  Think about it!  These days, about the only thing you can hate with any certainty is Hitler.  And if we keep going along this path, someday/someone/somewhere is going to start talking about child abuse and poverty, and even Adolf might get off the hook.  Personally, I think in the future, we’re going to have to buy a license to hate, and only rich people will be able to afford it.  But until then, here are a few more things I – uh – dislike very, very much.

The New Normal – One more “New Normal” and I’m going to scream!  Normal happens, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  When I was a kid, it was “normal” to write letters to your friends — with a pen — on paper.  Since then, we’ve been through at least three “new normals,” and — like it or don’t — there are a bunch more to come.  Get used to it!

People who use “for” and “of” when they should be using “about.” — English is a precise language because we have a bunch of prepositions that do a specific job — and they’re not interchangeable.  Jack just farted.  If you are embarrassed “for” him, it means you feel sorry he accidently made a social faux pas.  If you are embarrassed “about” him, it means he’s a jerk.  And if you are embarrassed “of” him, you’re talking gibberish – go home!

Covid Excuses – “Hello!  Your call is important to us.  However, due to Covid-19, even though we’re still the same lazy bastards we always were, you can’t bitch about it.  Have a nice day!”

Age is embarrassing — Our world is awash with instructions, coaching, counselling and good old-fashioned unwanted advice about everything from surviving puberty to buying a better divorce.  However, once you hit about 60, it’s as if you just caught a disease that’s not socially acceptable — and everybody wants to avoid the subject.

“Well, you didn’t hear this from me, but I heard Marvin got 61.”
”Yeah, last week.  But I don’t think they’ve told the children yet.”
“Are you sure?  I was just talking to him.  He didn’t look any different.”
“Elsie told me in strictest confidence — you know — it’s not something you just blab around the neighbourhood.”
“Yeah, that’s true, but the poor thing!  She must be so worried.  They say 61 is contagious.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that too, but it’s not like you can just go ask somebody.  I mean really … that’s – well – you know.”
“Yeah, I know.  Elsie was awfully brave telling you.  I feel so sorry for her.  Have the aches and pains started?”
“She didn’t say, and I wasn’t about to ask, but she kinda hinted that he’s been watching Wheel of Fortune.
“Oh!  That’s so-o-o bad!  You know, I’ve never told anybody this, but my parents had 61 – both of them.”
“That’s terrible.  You’d think they’d have discovered a cure by now.”

“Sorry!” – In the 21st century, this is the universal “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.  If Jack the Ripper were alive today, all he’d have to do is go on Instagram or Twitter and say he is sorry, and he’d be back on the street in a week.

Doom Scrolling – You can’t get away from it.  Every website on the planet is busy telling us just how screwed we really are.  They all want a piece of the action.  Even the Facebook kittens are wearing masks!  It’s like living in a Michael Moore documentary.

And finally:

Covid Conspiracies – Human history is a litany of stupidity, and the last few decades have produced some serious gold medals in the Idiot Olympics.  So the rhetorical question has got to be: where did all these Covid supervillains come from?  It beggars the imagination that the same people who’ve never understood basic economics, can’t agree on Climate Change and haven’t been able to figure out who’s been doing what to whom in the Middle East for over 70 years, are now somehow manipulating a pandemic to control the planet.  Puh-lease!  Maybe it’s just that the Flat Earth Society has contacted Elvis on Venus from an ancient Mayan transmitter.  He will return to Earth at the Denver Airport as The Leader Of The New World Order, and they will do battle with the Illuminati and the Freemasons in a three-way fight to force mind control facemasks on an unsuspecting public.

Now that sounds legit!


Maybe today is a good day to just take a break and say, “Enough!



Ancient Wisdom — That Isn’t???


For the last couple of decades, our world has been awash with Ancient Wisdom.  Everybody and his sister seems to think they’ve discovered the kickass cure for contemporary society in the texts and teachings of long, long ago.  It’s only natural.  In troubled times, people long for a simpler life and usually go looking for it in the shifting echoes of half-forgotten time.  Whether it’s a paleo diet, aura energy, herbal remedies or smelly candles, we tend to believe that this “lost” knowledge will provide signposts on the road to enlightenment.  I’m not saying it will or it won’t – honestly, I don’t know – however, we do need to remember a couple of things.  First of all, by definition, ancient wisdom comes from a time of superstition and ignorance when germs were God’s punishment, life expectancy was 35 and you could die from a broken finger.  Secondly, some of this ancient wisdom isn’t actually all that ancient.  Here are a couple of blatant examples of ancient arts that aren’t!

Tarot cards – Everybody knows that the Tarot is as old as the sands of Egypt.  It was the tool of soothsayers and astrologers who used its power to seek metaphysical guidance and, perhaps, glimpse into the future.  And today, only a select few occult scholars have the wisdom to unlock its secrets.  Nope!  The truth is, Tarot cards were developed in the early Renaissance by a bunch of northern Italian gamblers.  They used them to play games very similar to poker and gin rummy.  That went on for about three centuries until the 1780s, when a popular French magician, Jean-Baptiste Alliette (whose stage name was Etteilla) began claiming the Tarot was full of psychic energy.  On the verge of revolution, the Parisian upper classes were eager to grasp at spiritual straws, and the Tarot cards looked like a good one.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the Rue de Fake News, a semi-intellectual, Antoine Court, wrote a history (without documentation, BTW) which traced the Tarot back to the pre-pyramid Nile.  Since everyone already knew that anyway, it became (and still is) the accepted history of the Tarot.  In fact, Tarot cards are actually younger than the ordinary “according to Hoyle” playing cards we use every day!

Wicca – For millions of its followers and most of the rest of us, Wicca comes from a time before history when Mother Nature spoke to her children from the rivers, mountains and meadows of the natural world.  It is a religion of the Goddess whose power comes from the living Earth.  A spirituality of standing stones, sacred trees and healing crystals that was suppressed for centuries by the Christian church and the woeful myopia of modern science.  Guess again!  Actually, Wicca (and all its various offshoots) was invented by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, sometime in the late 1940s.  It’s basically a one-size-fits-all cauldron full of folklore, legend, superficial history and amateur anthropology — all stirred together with Aleister Crowley magic, make-believe rites and rituals, a Druid or two and nudity.  When Gardner went public with his mystic concoction in 1954, the Cold War was chilly enough to attract a good number of devotees, but, when the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile crisis put the world into a deep freeze, people all over the West started seriously looking for a reasonable alternative to nuclear holocaust.  During the late 60s and 70s, Wicca became the “religion de jour” to a host of bored students, disenchanted activists and aging hippies — each with their own interpretations, teachings and texts.  These days, the many faces of Wicca are everywhere from occult bookstores to suburban diets — colleges teach its practices and rock stars wear its symbols.  However, the painful truth is … Wicca is about the same age as Oprah Winfrey.