"In Washington DC, Ernesto passed a variety of women and men wearing plastic inverted cones on their heads. Curious, he asked a bartender at the Dubliner why these folks were wearing inverted cones on their heads. The Ethiopian-American lady replied: “To keep Congress from scratching their ears.” (edited 10/7)
A conversation about the Guvmint and coyotes on a rural back road that took place between my daughter, Cait, and myself resulted in the following:
The white lines, bordering the shoulder, painted on the outside of American highways are to keep coyotes from entering into the roadway. The Guvmint forbids coyotes to cross the white line. So, some of us believe coyotes stay off remote highways impressed by the Guvmint’s pragmatic sense of policy. (edited 10/7)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Born: 3/15/33 Died: 9/18/20 Made in the image of God.
(Had some help with this one)
Environmentalists are the Ultimate Pragmatists
All Firefighters Do Is Put Out Fires and Save Lives
9/11 brought devastation and profound loss, fear brought a new world, children new hope, a national soul brought endurance and a spirit to rebuild. Our grief made us thoughtful, our dilemma is that our sense of justice and freedom might not keep us safe but it will keep us American. Our hearts are with those that suffered and suffer still.
(9/11 by Kevin O'Kendley; first appeared in Carbuncle Moon 9/11/13)
Please support or visit the 9/11 Memorial/180 Greenwich Street/ New York, New York, 10007
“Socio-political international advertising slogans, ah, can be effective too. A couple of our best slogans durin the Cold War at the Washington Post aimed at the Soviets were acts of genius: ‘Better dead than red’ and the ‘Soviets are peckerheads.’ However, as our world has become smaller and more, uh, civilized and advertising more advanced one of the few anomalies left within the formula of selling a regular consumer the lesser of two evils is in politics. For instance: you might vote for someone because she or he is not as bad as the next guy but you won’t drink a soda pop for the same reason -- not unless you’re a dumb shit.”
“President Trump used to tease former Vice President Biden by wearin those spiral X-ray glasses you can buy from Marvel Comics, uh, claiming he could see right through clothes and bathroom doors? It was terrible: it wasn’t just the Biden family that was traumatized but, um, whole neighborhoods, towns, cities. As this peeping plague went viral, many people, having felt that they’d lost their privacy, stopped havin sex, so no babies were born. Schools went out of business, so did Toys R Us. Planned Parenthood debates died down for a while. Gerber’s Baby Food switched to making light beer and reduced calorie salsa for the over-fifty crowd just to survive the shocking bambino drought. Of course, once the scientific properties of x-ray glasses were exposed -- there were none -- life returned to normal.”
"To enslave ideas, ideals, idealism, to torture imagination, dissent, argument, to take the life of belief, hope, free will, begins with the, uh, imprisonment of free speech, the free pursuit of the truth, and the freedom to report the truth."
"When freedom is intellectualized it can be mitigated by intellectual method; made less, and less, and less, and less... when understood by the heart, freedom is inviolable."
The Northern Ireland Effect:
The Harland and Wolf Shipyards built the Titanic and the RMS Britannic and was one of the most successful yards in the world. Catholics made up three percent or less of the workforce in the late 60s, though they represented more than a third of the population of Belfast. This socio-economic effect was representative of employment in the private sector in Belfast, a free enterprise system run primarily by the British, by Northern Ireland Protestants, an infrastructure of opportunity and oppression that evolved over hundreds of years.
The Catholics were primarily the descendants of the indigenous Irish population, the Protestants mostly from lowland Scot and English colonists. As each people evolved separately but together in Ireland -- and eventually what became Northern Ireland -- Catholic neighborhoods suffered greater unemployment, less opportunity, and so the dole: then greater poverty, a lesser education; poverty-driven alcohol abuse, violence, crime, rebellion, etc., generation after generation.
Though both people are white, the difference in evolution of the Catholics and Protestants was dramatic.
In America, the evolution of poverty, violence, in black neighborhoods (the descendants of slavery and Jim Crow laws); Hispanic barrios identified by language, color; Native American reservations, where many of the indigenous people of the United States live, contained (after hundreds of years of rebellion and war) in often-isolated poverty-stricken communities, and (by variation) rural whites in formerly coal-driven economies, in often-isolated areas of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, suffer from the Northern Ireland effect.
The Northern Ireland Effect wasn’t, isn’t ethnic, racial, generated by a lack of ambition or weak work ethic…
My mother’s paternal family were Protestants from Northern Ireland.
“If success is the, uh, tenth rung on a ladder, ah, whatever it might be, money, social status, what have you, a lot of people start at the first, the lowest rung. But, plenty start higher up, um, at seven, eight, or nine, and so their ascension isn’t really much to brag about. As time goes by the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The, ah, climb gets easier for the former and harder for the latter -- no pun intended.”
Sometimes you can't repay people for an act of kindness, loyalty, charity, sacrifice, or courage, but you can try -- sometimes life is in the effort...
"He did not understand the war --
"He understood the blistering injustice of it; the stroke-like fear in the faraway sight of the raped as they blamed him for not being there; the accusing eyes of the children that leered from atop distended bellies even as they starved; the seeping lines of grief lacerated into the faces of fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives who had lost all they loved; the tortured and the maimed becoming in part or in whole separate from who they once were; and the Dali-draped carcasses of the dead…
"The evil of the war bored into his heart, twisted with agony until he learned to ignore it --
"Until he could ignore it no longer." - from The Invisible War aka The Forgotten War, a short story by Kevin O'Kendley
"He’d seen a lot of death in his life but it hadn’t inured him to the pain of it, the tragedy, the loss, the suffering. On the contrary, it had a cumulative effect: on darker days this effect swamped him in a Tsunami of emotion, after all the smaller waves passed, a big one threatened. He would watch it nearing shore with a rising dread…" - from Chandler's Bar, a novel by Kevin O'Kendley
Happy Memorial Day to my father, Major Patrick O. Kendley, U.S.M.C. retired, who served as a decorated private in Korea and as a decorated lieutenant and captain in Vietnam.
Please give to The Paralyzed Veterans of America: VA Palo Alto Health Care System/
3801 Miranda Avenue/ Palo Alto, California 94304/ 650-858-3936/ And:
The Wounded Warrior Project: National Processing Center/ P.O. Box 75840/ Topeka, Kansas 66675/ 877-832-6997
Happy birthday Conor:
Printed originally on 7/10/2013:
Taken from real events the following is dramatized:
We climb in our new used truck. We close the doors. Sniff, sniff. Wow. There's a jagged cloying smell. P.U.
My son groans, “I can’t breathe dada.* I can’t breathe.”
I grab the offending deodorizer, which is hiding in plain sight and hanging from the rearview mirror, and I rips it down.
My son yells, “No dada it stinks in here! We need that artichoke-looking deodorizer thing!”
I calmly rebut, “No we don’t,” and instruct the lad in a wise and fatherly way: “Roll down the freakin window, son, we live in Maine.”
* The a in the first syllable of a central Maine word for father is pronounced like the a in dad. The second syllable in pronounced duh. Da-duh.
added 8/18/20: My son, Conor Finn O'Kendley, is in the Navy.
A carbuncle is a roiled mass of skin or a beautiful gem. The incredible gem is pictured in the logo below and at the bottom of the short story section...
Kevin O'Kendley is the owner of Carbuncle Moon, and the author of all original material -- cartoons, blogs, shorts, essays, articles -- on the website (there has been a very limited editorial input in some of my work). Quoted sources are noted. I am responsible for all posts.
Kevin O'Kendley: P.O. Box 172, Winterport, Maine, 04496, and 200 P Street, A-32, Sacramento, California, 95814, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical help is provided by an evolving computer genius, my son, Conor O'Kendley: A good kid with a great heart who can be reached at P.O. Box 172, Winterport, Maine, 04496. (Conor is in the Navy now, a swabby)
Photography provided by a visual artist, my daughter, Caitlin O'Kendley: a young woman with a beautiful soul. (Caitlin is in college now, a media-journalism student)
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