USA: CRAZYWORLD! — Episode 2

aI guess you have to make at least two of something before it can be technically called a “series.” I’m not entirely comfortable with the flippant, satirical usage of Jesus Christ here … but as one can plainly see, the humor is never at Jesus’ expense. (How have they been able to make the “Blondie” strip all these years without even once bringing in Christ to help set up a joke?)


A Blast From The Past

I’m trying to figure out when the heck this thing was made. It’s definitely old. And seems, incidentally, to have worn well with the passage of time.




I swore that I would create a comic strip called USA:  CRAZYWORLD! and come out with — if not hundreds of installments; God knows the subject matter is rich enough — at least one.  Hmm.  During the Bush administration, withdrawal from Iraq was said to be UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE.  (Iraq will become a safe haven for terrorists!!!)  Now a gradual “standing down” in Iraq is taken for granted.  So what changed?  Wait, don’t tell me!  THE SURGE WORKED.  Yeah, that’s it.  So let’s “surge” Afghanistan … and then we will be able to withdraw from there, too!  God, it all makes so much sense.  Anyhow, in conclusion:  “GO, USA!!!”usa crazyworld! 1 of 2

usa crazyworld! 2 of 2

Tips For Aspiring Poets

Never let it be said that a career in poetry is not viable. You can become a successful poet by simply following the handy tips listed below.

PD*40018071) Think Positive. Nobody likes a whiner. And poets always seem to be harping on the negative. Americans don’t want to know how to die. They want to know how to lose weight. How to get rich. How to sustain that erection! Be the poet of erectile dysfunction, and you might just be the poet who picks up a fat check.

2) Take Your New Positive Attitude And Direct It Towards The Paying Customer. The customer is your friend. Your typical poem really doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the living retail customer.  The time you spend trying to figure out what’s wrong with the people who don’t buy your poems is time you could spend fixing the poems.

3) Think About Your Core Message. Your average reader might like a bit of fancy writing, but at the end of the day he will always ask himself: What’s my takeaway? He will inevitably ask himself: Is this poet making sense? Of course, poets can dodge questions about what they mean by making a fuss about the complicated way they say it. But eventually your shrewder customer is going to see through the packaging to the product.

4) Strive To Be Relevant. Once you start making sense you can turn your attention to making sense on a topic that concerns lots of people. Here’s an example: a lady finds a human finger in her Wendy’s chili.

5) Overcome Your Fear. You may be thinking: OK, I see how I can reach a mass market, but what will other poets say about me? You are right to be afraid. There will be some jealousy. Some envy. But take comfort, you’re not alone. Flipping though a stack of poetry books published in the past couple of years I found a lady poet named Ai. Ai wrote a poem called “Delusion.” It starts:

I watched the Trade Center Towers
burning, then collapse
repeatedly on television
until I could see them clearly
when I shut my eyes.
The blackened skies even blotted out my vision,
until I screamed and threw myself on the floor

See! It can be done! Here we have proof that you can grab something off the front page, stuff it in a poem, and still hold your head high. But I sense there’s some evil little demon sitting on Ai’s shoulder: Fear of success. The reader thinks: “OK! Now we’re finally getting somewhere. Sure, I’ve already seen the World Trade Center collapse on TV, but maybe I’ll pick up a new twist here.” But then what does Ai do? She forgets about the World Trade Center and goes off on some depressing story about her sister!

This might be of interest:




“Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers:  The Story of Success is a protracted attempt to debunk the conventional notion of ‘success.’  Gladwell challenges how we typically think and talk about successful people.  He argues that the conventional equation:

Ability/Talent + Determination/Hard Work = Success

is just erroneous.  Outliers makes a compelling case that this simplistic equation is flawed and that it significantly distorts the dynamics of the process whereby extraordinary achievers arise.


“The problem, as Gladwell frames it, is that the traditional narrative of success does not take into account the context surrounding the individual.  Yes, he finds that successful persons do indeed tend to possess above-average abilities or intelligence (although, beyond a certain “high enough” threshold, high intelligence ceases to be a determinant of success).  And he also find that successful persons do indeed, across the board, work extremely hard (normally logging about 10,000 hours in their chosen field of endeavor as a prelude to reaching their phenomenal achievements).  But not every highly intelligent, hard-working individual attains the achievement levels of Bill Gates, Einstein, or Michael Jordan.  Why?  Gladwell submits context as the heretofore neglected ingredient.


“‘Context’ includes various things.  For example, the author describes how one arbitrary institutional rule can exercise a massive effect on people’s developmental trajectories.  In Canada, youngsters get singled out at an early age for their superior hockey abilities.  However, it seems that the kids who stand out are not endowed with greater athletic talent.  Rather, they are merely the ones born right after an arbitrary January 1 cutoff date and are slightly older (and therefore bigger and stronger) than their peers.  The system creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  These slightly-older standouts then receive a whole range of advantages designed to groom their hockey prowess, while the smaller, younger kids (who might possess great natural talent in their own right) are not given the same tools to develop and lag further and further behind every year.  Ultimately, the system produces an odd and striking anomaly:  An overwhelmingly disproportionate number of Canadian hockey stars have birthdays in the early months of the calendar year.


“For high achievers in other areas, Gladwell uncovers clusters of coincidences that transformed ability and work – when situated in the right place and at the right time – into stellar feats of accomplishment.  For example, he sums up his discussion of Bill Gates’ background with a quote from Gates himself:  ‘I had a better exposure to software development at a young age than I think anyone did in that period of time, and all because of an incredibly lucky series of events.’


“At the same time, the book also draws attention to the ways in which context may limit achievement.  It considers the stunted career of genius Chris Langan.  In spite of his extraordinary mind, this man could not effectively navigate the world of practical affairs.  Gladwell argues that Langan’s difficult early life denied him opportunities to cultivate certain key attitudes and interpersonal skills that would have allowed him to find his niche.  (Langan is contrasted with a diametrically-opposite figure:  renowned scientist Robert Oppenheimer, who attempted a bizarre murder and then talked his way out of any consequences.)


“The second half of the book shifts the discussion from general factors of context (clusters of ‘lucky breaks,’ family and socio-economic background) into a more focused consideration of one area:  cultural legacy.  Gladwell provides intriguing illustrative examples of how of behaviors, events, and patterns of achievement may be rooted in cultural heritage.  He links the feuds of Appalachian communities to their forebears’ Scots-Irish culture of honor.  He connects Korean Air’s high frequency of plane crashes to the way in which Korea’s hierarchical culture hampered communication in the cockpit.  And he ties the high math performance of Asian students to the attitudes and patterns of living that grew up around traditional wet rice cultivation and to the linguistic forms of numbers in Asian languages.


“In the final chapter, ‘Marita’s Bargain,’ the author brings an important perspective to public school education.  He suggests that children of lower socio-economic background tend to fall behind, not because they are less intelligent, nor due to lower-quality schooling.  Rather, the decisive factor appears to be that these students are doing very little learning in the summers.  Consequently, they drop further and further behind their middle- and upper-class counterparts whose home environments do provide educational stimulation during those months.  In this chapter, there is some slippage away from the cultural legacy theme.  The chapter might fit more naturally in the first half of the book.  Alternatively, Gladwell could have placed more emphasis on the African-American and Latin cultural legacies of the children affected.


“Throughout the book, the writing is clear and unobtrusive.  By not attempting high style, Gladwell leaves the reader free to absorb his well-constructed arguments without the impediment of unnecessary verbal density.  His thesis of the importance of context to an understanding of success is not revolutionary.  Rather, it is almost commonplace.  However, he has explored the idea in unusual depth.  Nor is he unaware of its implications.  The better we understand the mechanisms of success, the more readily we as a society can set up institutions that make success viable for larger numbers of people.”




An 8-min song?  But then again:  IT’S OUTLAW PETE!

“Hell Hath No Furries”  The title of this article is pretty funny.  In this age of “anything goes,” there are still some true-blue, bona fide perverts out there.  That’s what this article is about:  people with a big damn problem:  perverts.  I didn’t read the article carefully.  Once I realized what these people were into, I surfed away.  Hey, they’re perverts, and that’s their “right.”furby(Uh, that last bit was for A’s enjoyment.)(Hmm, I wonder if anybody will take my bait and try to defend the perverts??)

doesn’t make much sense:      why’s he holding that sandwich if he’s planning on Arby tomorrow  ??