The Watering Hole; Thursday October 20 2016; The Presidential Debates: A Poetic … Summation?



The debates are over. Finis. Whoopee. Yeehaw. In briefest summary, their sole accomplishment has been to redefine the concept of ‘dismal.’ Why is that? Whatever happened to the notion of comparing ideas? Of exploring the concept of Excellence rather than the dismal side of hatred-driven politics? Whatever happened to that constitutional idea of “a more perfect union”?

Back in the late 1800’s, British poet William Watson wrote about ‘Excellence,’ the concept and its impact on thought, presumably on actual attainment processes as well. A quick perusal reinforms the damaged mind on both the concept AND the consequence(s) of Excellence. A more patient and thoughtful read can, I’ve found, effectually rewrite the mind’s vision of what should perhaps be the basis of an honest political debate, perhaps even of a viable governing philophy.

The Things That Are More Excellent

As we wax older on this earth,
Till many a toy that charmed us seems
Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth,
And mean as dust and dead as dreams
For gauds that perished, shows that passed,
Some recompense the Fates have sent,
Thrice lovelier shine the things that last,
The things that are more excellent.

Tired of the Senate’s barren brawl,
An hour with silence we prefer,
Where statelier rise the woods than all
Yon towers of talk at Westminster. [or Washington?] 
Let this man prate and that man plot,
On fame or place or title bent:
The votes of veering crowds are not
The things that are more excellent.

Shall we perturb and vex our soul
For “wrongs” which no true freedom mar,
Which no man’s upright walk control,
And from no guiltless deed debar?
What odds though tonguesters heal, or leave
Unhealed, the grievance they invent?
To things, not phantoms, let us cleave
The things that are more excellent.

Nought nobler is, than to be free:
The stars of heaven are fret because
In amplitude of liberty
Their joy is to obey the laws.
From servitude to freedom’s name
Free thou thy mind in bondage pent;
Depose the fetich, and proclaim
The things that are more excellent.

And in appropriate dust be hurled
That dull, punctilious god, whom they
That call their tiny clan the world,
Serve and obsequiously obey:
Who con their ritual of Routine,
With minds to one dead likeness bleat,
And never ev’n in dreams have seen
The things that are more excellent.

To dress, to call, to dine, to break
No canon of the social code,
The little laws that lacqueys make,
The futile decalogue of Mode,
How many a soul for these things lives,
With pious passion, grave intent! 
While Nature careless-handed gives
The things that are more excellent.

To hug the wealth ye cannot use.
And lack the riches all may gain,
O blind and wanting wit to choose,
Who house the chaff and burn the grain,
And still.doth life with starry towers
Lure to the bright, divine ascent!
Be yours the things ye would: be ours
The things that are more excellent.

The grace of friendship–mind and heart
Linked with their fellow heart and mind;
The gains of science, gifts of art;
The sense of oneness with our kind;
The thirst to know and understand
A large and liberal discontent:
These are the goods in life’s rich hand,
The things that are more excellent.

In faultless rhythm the ocean rolls,
A rapturous silence thrills the skies;
And on this earth are lovely souls,
That softly look with aidful eyes.
Though dark, O God,
Thy course and track. I think
Thou must at least have meant
That nought which lives should wholly lack
The things that are more excellent.


Since the Conventions last summer, we have seen little if any binary discussion of goals that might enhance the ‘Excellence’ of American life in general. In fact, the Trumpian side of this electoral contest has completely avoided any discussion of any kind on the matter of ‘Excellence,’ dwelling instead on matters that define its precise opposite, i.e. concepts designed to solely inspire hate and fear amongst its acolytes. Very disappointing.

I find it interesting — and fascinating — that more than one hundred and fifty years ago, Emily Dickinson defined Trump’s collective debate (and campaign) performance — and probably the entire of his functional ‘personality’ — when she wrote:

He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign —

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!

‘Counterfeit presence’ indeed! Either Dickinson had run across an early version of Trump years prior to the Civil War, or she was possessed by an extremely and amazingly prescient mind!

In the final analysis, then, it is now my carefully considered opinion (conclusion?) that the 2016 Presidential Debates can and will be forever judged as a complete and total substantive failure, and all because of the juvenile mentality and the implicitly vicious and vitriolic nature of the Republican candidate for POTUS: Donald J. Trump. I do hope that we the people have finally witnessed and sampled — this year, 2016 — the absolute dregs of American political debate. And though it’s an extremely long climb to even regain the middle of its severe downhill slope, I do indeed suggest that the quest for political Excellence be immediately initiated. Meanwhile, words penned by Wm. Wordsworth in Intimations of Immortality) appear to be an adequate summary of this day’s political dilemma:

The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?




LIVE-BLOGGING the Final “debate” in the 2016 Presidential Race…thank goodness


I expect this is what my face will look like by the end of the debate, minus the drool, I hope.

So yeah, do whatever floats your boat here.  You can live-blog, heckle, poke fun, tell jokes, or have a complete mental breakdown, but please NO DRINKING GAMES!!

Am I giving this political debate the respect and seriousness it deserves?  Fuck no, I am not.  This entire election has turned into a shameful mockery of itself, so pfffttttt!

The thing starts at 6 PT, and you can watch it here:


The Watering Hole, Wednesday, 10/19/2016




Commencing then with the first of the above-named characteristics, I say that it would be well to be reputed liberal. Nevertheless, liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised, it may not become known, and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite. Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects, and becoming poor he will be little valued by any one; thus, with his liberality, having offended many and rewarded few, he is affected by the very first trouble and imperilled by whatever may be the first danger; recognizing this himself, and wishing to draw back from it, he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly.

Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself against all attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are few.

We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed. Pope Julius the Second was assisted in reaching the papacy by a reputation for liberality, yet he did not strive afterwards to keep it up, when he made war on the King of France; and he made many wars without imposing any extraordinary tax on his subjects, for he supplied his additional expenses out of his long thriftiness. The present King of Spain would not have undertaken or conquered in so many enterprises if he had been reputed liberal. A prince, therefore, provided that he has not to rob his subjects, that he can defend himself, that he does not become poor and abject, that he is not forced to become rapacious, ought to hold of little account a reputation for being mean, for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern.

And if any one should say: Caesar obtained empire by liberality, and many others have reached the highest positions by having been liberal, and by being considered so, I answer: Either you are a prince in fact, or in a way to become one. In the first case this liberality is dangerous, in the second it is very necessary to be considered liberal; and Caesar was one of those who wished to become pre-eminent in Rome; but if he had survived after becoming so, and had not moderated his expenses, he would have destroyed his government. And if any one should reply: Many have been princes, and have done great things with armies, who have been considered very liberal, I reply: Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects’ or else that of others. In the first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. And to the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects’ you can be a ready giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander; because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you.

And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding poverty, rapacious and hated. And a prince should guard himself, above all things, against being despised and hated; and liberality leads you to both. Therefore it is wiser to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which begets reproach with hatred.

open thread

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 17, 2016: Cute Baby Animal Videos

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting some serious overload with trying to keep up with the latest political news, so I’m taking a break from it. No politics from me, just cute baby animals.

I think this beats the dramatic prairie dog hands down.

If only they stayed that small. And didn’t shit.

He was certainly getting into the groove of this haircut.

I know Jane would just love to be able to raise one of these cuties, and I’m sure I’d loved to be mauled by one.

That makes me feel better. I hope it makes you feel better, too.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss cute baby animals, politicians holding cute baby animals, world leaders taking their cute baby animals for a walk, or even cute baby animals seen at the ball games over the weekend.

The Watering Hole: Saturday, October 15th, 2016: KITTENS!

I was going to title this “ALL-PUSSY EDITION”, but it might have attracted the wrong crowd. Heh.

Wayne and I have just added two kittens, sisters, to our family. No names yet, but it’s only been about ten days since we got them, and I’m observing their behavior/personality traits for clues as they settle in. They made themselves at home within the first day or two, and while Wayne and I find them highly entertaining and completely adorable, the rest of our kids are not so amused. The older four, Missy, Buster, Fitzgerald and Cecilia, are happy to have the bonus of Kitten Chow (and even though I started out feeding the little ones separately, in the other side of the house, the others quickly sniffed it out anyway), but otherwise avoid them at all costs. Squiggy, on the other hand…

Squiggy's a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy’s a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy, about two years old now, is a big boy and loves to play, especially “fetch”. We’ve always had lots of toys around for him, often stockpiled for when he goes after a thrown toy but comes back empty-mouthed, yet still asking for another throw. With the exception of the occasional spontaneous outburst of play on the part of our older ‘girls’, Squiggy has had most of the toys pretty much to himself. He has his “favorite” toys, his “okay-I’ll-play-with this-one-until-you-find-me-one-of-my-favorites” toys, and the “I’m-just-gonna-let-that-one-go-by-while-looking-bored” toys. Whatever he thought of them before, the two invaders now consider all of the toys to be theirs. Not even Squiggy’s favorites have been spared, and, although he seems simply fascinated by their antics at times, and sometimes joins in when the two girls are running full-tilt through the house, he is all-too-often bemused, bothered, befuddled and bewildered. We’re trying to make sure that he and the others get their previously-normal share of attention and loving, but, as I said, the older ones currently prefer to steer clear. We’ll all adjust eventually, they just don’t know that yet.

No more prologue is necessary, so here they are:

It's tempting to name her

It’s tempting to name her “Blaze”.

Her blaze has stripes.

Her blaze has stripes.

I only got one picture of this little girl's face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

I only got one picture of this little girl’s face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

Here's a nice back view of the lighter one's markings.

Here’s a nice back view of the lighter one’s markings.

“She likes to wash.”
That’s Wayne’s hand, for the record.

And one last one – Sorry, but I couldn’t help making this shot into a political meme:nastyorangemanwearingroadkillgrabswha3

This is our daily Open Thread – don’t forget to sprinkle some compliments in amongst your comments!

Also, too, any and all suggestions for names will be welcome.

The Watering Hole: Friday October 14 2016; “There Was A Fever Over The Land . . .”


A comprehensive guide to accepting Donald Trump’s sexual assault denials


I have to admit it’s more than a little bit fascinating to watch as the REAL Donald Trump emerges from within the orange skinned and squirrel pelt hair version — not that the REAL one is any sort of an improvement, of course. What’s even more fascinating is to watch the intellectual devolution of various chunks of the Republican Party’s Trump supporters, to see how far down into the muck they’re willing to drop and still vibrantly support the ‘thing’ underneath the orange and the pelt. Big question: Just how far down the Trumpian path are his Trumpisstas willing to go? All the way to the end?

Here are a bunch of links to current articles that suggest there just may well be no limits, that all the way to the very bottom is, indeed, their principle option perfectly stated.

Michele Bachmann: Electing Hillary Clinton ‘Will Lead To Even More Sexual Assaults Against Women’

Michele Bachmann: God May Curse America If We Elect Hillary Clinton

Rodney Howard-Browne: America Will ‘Head Towards Civil War’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

James Dobson Continues To Support Trump Because His Comments ‘Don’t Threaten The Future Of This Nation’

Evangelicals slammed Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. So why does Trump get a pass?

Dave Daubenmire: ‘We Cannot Vote For Hillary Clinton Because Women Are Not To Have Authority Over Men’

Trump: ISIS Will ‘Take Over This Country’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

Janet Porter: Trump’s Statements Don’t Matter Because Only He Can Save America From Becoming A Police State

On November 9th, Trump’s Followers Will Probably Be More Dangerous Than Trump

Those links seem to more-or-less summarize, overall, the collective attitude(s) of the portion of the political right that can be defined as totally intolerant. It includes the fundamentalist Christian segment, the white supremacist segment, along with the implicit attitudes embedded therein that Donald Trump, the current Republican candidate for POTUS, fully supports and urges forward

For some very very ‘mysterious’ reason, the focus of this, the current political situation underway in the United States, has reminded me of a scene from the 1961 movie, Judgment At Nuremberg — the scene in which German Judge and Tribunal Defendant Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) speaks to the Tribunal of the conditions in Germany that led to such horrible and bitter consequences. Here is Janning’s monologue (from the Academy Award winning script by Abby Mann; emphasis mine):

There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. There was, above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: ‘Lift up your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once the devils will be destroyed, your miseries will be destroyed.’ It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb.

What about us, who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we participate? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. ‘The country is in danger.’ We will ‘march out of the shadows.’ ‘We will go forward.’

And history tells you how well we succeeded! We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said go ahead, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland – remilitarize it – take all of Austria, TAKE IT!

We marched forward, the danger passed. And then one day, we looked around and found we were in even more terrible danger. The rites begun in this courtroom swept over our land like a raging, roaring disease! What was going to be a passing phase became a way of life.

I haven’t made an exact count of the words one would have to change in order to bring Janning’s statement up to date sufficiently to describe the current and emergent politic in this country, but I’m guessing it would be no more than a dozen or so. Some of the substitutions are almost automatic: e.g. Trump for Hitler, America for Germany, Muslims for Gypsies, etc. But the saddest aspect of all, really, is that in Trump’s proposed America, There [will be], above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what [Trump] meant to us. Are we as a people — Americans — willing to fall for that nonsensical ruse, the one that devoured both Italy and Germany in the last century? Is Fascism our goal, our ultimate destiny? FEAR? Are we on our way down that path?

Secret Nazi group uncovered after Colorado teen kills himself to prove his commitment to killing Jews

I know it’s not politically correct to use the words Hitler, Nazi, Fascism, Republicans and Trump in the same document, but sometimes the urge becomes overpowering — esp. when piles of evidentiary foundations seem to be lurking ‘out there’ behind every bush. In any case, I’ve said my piece and will leave it to others to decide for themselves the direction the American right wing has taken, along with the possible (and likely) consequences the future will place on full display.


Yeehaw? Achtung?



The Watering Hole; Thursday October 13 2016; Politics? No Mas!


Politics. Enough is Enough! as someone once said. I can buy that. Boy, can I buy that.

I confess. I’m sick to death of politics. I wait with baited breath for this election season TO END! and for Donald Trump and all like him to wind up as floaters in the political sewage lagoon where they belong. Manifest Destiny, in a word (well, two words, actually, but what the hay).

So to hell with politics. To hell with Trump and all he “stands” for (i.e. himself, nothing else; it’s so simple, really). Why not a look around at something else, at things and scenes that are well worth a view, a view that has absolutely ZERO to do with today’s political mess that’s come to define this nation’s existence at this unfortunate point in time?

Great idea, seems to me, so following are some ‘snapshots’ of highlights gathered from days past (within the last forty years, give-or-take). Each and all still stand tall as depictions of what once was – ‘Out There’ – in a world devoid of politics and filled instead with LIFE — as each and every moment can easily become.

So relax, lay back, prepare for a non-political — relaxing (and peaceful, mostly) — soliloquy. Enjoy!


▲Bird of Paradise; Kauai, 1978▲

▲Bald Eagle; Lake Beckwith, Colorado; 2009▲


▲Backlit Sonoran Desert Giant Saguaro; ca 1975▲


▲Coral Reef; St. Lucia, Caribbean; 1983▲


▲Seal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; ca 1980▲

▲Chipmunk, San Isabel N.F., Colorado; 2009▲


▲EEK! Gopher Snake, Colorado; 2014▲


▲Indian Paintbrush Wildflower, Arizona, ca 2002▲


▲Water Lillies, Kauai; 1978▲

A world without politics; a world without Trump! Imagine it! The Peace! The Beauty!


▲Pu’uhonua, Hawaii; 1978▲

Seriously, did King Kamehaha have to deal with his own version of Trump? Really? I see the dude does have small hands; and what about the face? The hair? They had to deal with the sum of all of THAT too? In ancient Polynesia? Way back then? I mean, really, that’s just plain bizarre!


Brings to mind this one. It’s not one of mine, but whomever it was that tripped the shutter captured the best summation of the entire of the Trump “movement” I’ve ever seen!


▲Dump Trump!▲

Eww. Guess we’d better leave it there.