Wednesday, May 26, 2010
And with that, I say "till next time" with the intent of taking a long break. Yes, this is the fourth or fifth time I've posted such an intent, so we'll see where it goes. I expect to resume posting on August 15. Because my wish is to take a complete vacation from the blog, I've turned off the comments button. Anyone needing to contact me, for permissions and such, may feel free to use my email.
My appreciation to all and best wishes for a great summer,
Sunday, May 23, 2010
One my new followers, KnightOwl, has a site called Cats World, so I thought I'd toss in a few cat quotes, old and new.
"Today is shaping up as a good day with my pets. My dog came running to greet me, and I have a 2:30 appointment with my cat."
"If you could combine a cat and a dog, you'd have man's best accomplice."
"In a world of doors, the inability to open a door can be mistaken for a desire to lie under the dining room table."
"I enjoy many silent moments with my cat, a conversation always resumed exactly where left off."
"At the family's insistence, Aunt Viv consulted a psychoanalyst, who tells her that her need to own ten cats is really a sublimated desire to own twenty cats."
And a thought on animals, generally...
"Do animals ever question their Maker? Perhaps not, and yet... there is this howling at the moon."
"Grammar is not about nouns, verbs and adjectives, any more than history is about names, dates and places. Grammar is about tense, mood and voice, just as history is about trend, climax and change."
Here's one for Maureen, a retired English teacher who stopped by the other day.
A couple on parenting and kids...
"What first-time parents soon realize is that the maternity ward was working on three shifts."
"A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review."
And a few miscellaneous maunderings...
"My quest for cosmic understanding is a book I have picked up and put down many times, each time failing to insert a bookmark."
"Life is a series of stages, each preparation for the previous."
"Eventually, every politician comes to believe that you need not legislate action; you can just pass a law mandating the consequences."
"Word from Washington is that the President remains open to new ideas, although he has completed his memoirs through 2016."
"I look at it this way. I'm not an eavesdropper; I have an attention surplus disorder."
~~ Robert Brault
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"An optimist believes that the best in the human spirit will prevail. So do I, and I'm not an optimist."
"It is not that love is blind. It is that love sees with a painter's eye, finding the essence that renders all else background."
"I refuse to be burdened by vague worries. If something wants to worry me, it will have to make itself clear."
"My age? Let me put it this way. In the dance of life, I am applauding the band."
"Every human being is a process. Me, I'm a process for converting good red wine into the milk of human kindness."
"A new Western renaissance may today seem impossible, but the lesson of human progress is that a thing is only impossible until it becomes inevitable."
"The first assumption of an art critic is that the artist meant to paint something else."
"Meanwhile, I've been boning up on Wall St. firms, should the day ever come when I'm incapable of mismanaging my own investments."
"There was never a government that didn't feel threatened by three or more people holding hands in public."
"There are 6.6 billion human beings, each responding in his or her own unique and individual way to the gravitational pull of the moon."
~~ Robert Brault
Friday, May 14, 2010
2. Tell the Lord you've heard a lot about heaven and like what you hear.
3. Be neat, alert, make direct eye contact.
4. Don't stare at the beard.
5. When the Lord speaks, lean forward, look interested.
6. Be familiar with the Lord's background. ("I really liked your Ten Commandments.")
7. Be clear on where you want to be in five years.
8. Be honest about personal flaws. ("I tend to be too forgiving.")
9. Do not hesitate to underscore qualifications. ("I go to church every Easter.")
10. Make it clear that you'll accept the standard benefits package.
~~ Robert Brault
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Family: people who disagree for the purpose of being disagreeable.
Family: people who stick essentially the same nose into each other's business.
Cousin: someone you see twice a year, the second time to return the dish.
Niece or Nephew: someone related to you for the purpose of receiving gifts.
Sibling: someone you have nothing in common with, frequently mistaken for you.
Family Friend: someone who, as a kid, you never knew who they were except they always brought the macaroni casserole.
Your Own Apartment: a place where you can be sick in the bathroom at 1 AM without your mother knocking at the door and asking if you're all right.
Inlaws: people with a common low regard for your spouse's judgment in marital partners.
Spouse (female): someone who, before every wedding and funeral, reminds you of how you're related to your own second cousins.
Second Cousins (male): two men who meet at weddings and funerals who never remember how their wives said they were related.
Rule of Relatives: the more distant the relative, the longer the Christmas card describing what their family has been doing all year.
Great Uncle: someone at whose wake you know you're too close to the casket if strangers keep telling you they're sorry for your loss.
~ Robert Brault
Monday, May 10, 2010
"Age is irrelevant," or so thinks every parent whose offspring have been complimented by the remark,"Kids are so cute at that age,"
"A mother sees past our excuses to the real reason it's not our fault."
"Stay out of the court of self-judgment, for there is no presumption of innocence."
"The optimist knows that one day the earth will stop revolving around the sun but is confident that it will happen in summer."
"Be it said of your kids that they were taught kindness not as a virtue but as the proper etiquette."
"Do not judge yourself until you're done. And if you judge yourself a failure, you're not done."
"The reason they define it as 24 hours is so parents will know when to call it a day."
"In youth, I sought the purpose of life, forever chasing an elusive butterfly. In old age, I see that that is the purpose of life."
"You can regard your kid's every reaction as a referendum on your parenting, but it sure is asking a lot of a kid."
"In the end, I suspect, we will be judged by the number of innocents we have taken under our wing."
Thoughts I ran across in an unpublished post from last Halloween.
"The real ghouls of Halloween sit in darkened houses as trick-or-treaters scurry past."
"There are moonlit nights when the dead send their ghosts to haunt us -- and dark misty nights when they come themselves."
Robert's Rules of Rationalization:
"There is no such thing as a list of reasons. There is either one sufficient reason or a list of excuses."
"If your first reason is only 1/2 sufficient, your second reason will be 1/4 sufficient, your third 1/8 sufficient, and so on to your nth reason, the sum failing to total one sufficient reason."
"There is always just one reason."
~~ Robert Brault
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
WHY NOT FLOWERS AND LACE?
You know the scene. You’ve been twenty minutes at the card rack trying to find an M-Day number for Mom. It’s no sale. Everything’s too saccharine, too precious, too cutesy. You begin to wonder if it’s time for your annual worming.
The folks around you are in the same pickle. Every card on the rack has been handled twenty times. The stranger next to you says, “I’ll give to your mother if you’ll give to my mother.” You think about it seriously.
But wait, not every card’s been handled, not really, not those flowers-and-lace jobbies at the top of the rack. You know the ones I mean, the oversized ones in verse that begin, “What is a Mother?” – by Shirley Canby Stickie or Ida Soonbee Fulsome.
Too sentimental, everyone figures.
That’s the thing about Mother’s Day sentiments: they get sentimental if you don’t watch out. Gratitude, appreciation, filial affection – they’re easy to overdo, especially in verse. The ideal card, you figure, comes at them from an angle, by way of a catchy phrase, a subtle hint, a casual word or two.
Who doesn’t recall the familiar movie scene where the hard-boiled coach says to the winning athlete, “Not bad, kid.” Think of all that’s implied there: the bear hugs, the slaps on the back, the inexpressible pride. It’s all there in those few understated words, “Not bad, kid.” You don’t hear the coach reciting, “What is an Athlete?” – by Flora Framble Frickard.
So you figure, why can’t you find a Mother’s Day card that says it simply: “Not bad, Ma.” “Nice going.” “’Preciate it.”
Well, you can. They’re all over the place. They’re the cards that get handled twenty times, the ones that set your innards congealing. Funny thing, but the sappiest card turns out to be the one that tries to say it simply -- without sentiment. It’s the card you hand to Mom as you go out the door. “Oh, I almost forgot to give you this.”
I’ve figured something out. It’s not sweetness that cloys; it’s artificial sweetness. And there’s nothing quite so artificial as trying to toss off your feelings for Mom in a catchy phrase. It embarrasses both parties. And it’s a great shame, because there are cards around that won’t embarrass Mom in the slightest.
This hit me the other day while I was rummaging for something in the attic. I turned up a packet of Mother’s Day cards my wife has saved up over the years. There was a frilly creation, old and faded, right on the top.
“What is a Mom?” this card asks, and amidst flowers and bluebirds, it expands at length. Here and there, a glowing adjective is circled in coloring pencil. And at the end of the verse, there’s a row of neatly-penciled kisses.
And I guess Suzanne, my step-daughter, must have looked at this card, her pencil box still warm in her hand, and worried that the sentiments might be a bit too pale, might slip past, because she drew an arrow to the right edge, luring her mom to the back, where she wrote, in four colors, I LOVE YOU, MOM.
Looking at this card, I’m thinking how natural and right the sentiments seem. It’s marvelous how a kid can skirt the sticky-sweet. It’s the instinct kids have for saying what they really feel, I guess.
It took me about a minute this year to find a card for my own mother. It was right at the top of the rack. I think she’ll like it. It has flowers and lace.
~~ Robert Brault
Monday, May 3, 2010
"You wonder if the creator of reality had any idea people would take it so literally."
"If you listed all the reasons for your faith, and all the things that make you cry, it would be essentially the same list."
"We are, many of us, a planet orbiting somebody's sun, unconscious of a lonely moon, orbiting our planet."
"I don't know if there is a just God, but I know that when I act as His agent, He never complains."
"If you can make a child laugh, you can make its mother cry."
"In a soulmate we find not company but a completed solitude."
"Perhaps the reason that pets win a special place in our hearts is that they ask only a place in our hearts."
... some oh so observant
"What's frustrating about being disliked is that it's invariably for the wrong reason."
"It's annoying to be disapproved of by people who know only half the story -- especially when you're not sure which half they know."
"You can as easily love without trusting as you can hug without embracing."
"Child raising is an amateur activity that requires professional cleaning."
... and some silly
"One day the sun will implode, sucking the earth into a bottomless black hole, giving you a chance to do whatever you do when you don't have to vacuum."
"Meanwhile, my dentist has found a black hole in my molar system."
"Ideally you'd like to entertain guests in a spotless house that shows no signs of having been picked up, but sometimes you just have to settle for no signs of having been picked up."
I sorta, kinda envy
a leaf on a tree
that knows at a glance
"The revolving door in politics? Well, take a bureaucrat who okays a government-funded study of the commercial uses of black holes -- then quits his job and goes to work for National Paperweight and Doorstop."
"Knowing that I like to surround myself with objects that are an extension of my personality, my wife just got me this really neat lead paperweight."
"After decrying wasteful government spending, one Georgia senator has come out in favor of an FDA program to determine the effects of massive overdoses of peanuts on laboratory elephants." (Okay, this is actually not that true.)
"And, finally, there's evidence that things are getting better, unless skin-related."
~~ Robert Brault