Curtis Dahlgren
From P.J. punditry to Car Talk to Misc. (for geezers only)
By Curtis Dahlgren
April 7, 2016

"Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods." – Japanese proverb

"He was a practiced orator and could make a very small amount of information go a long way." – someone says

"Washington is Salem. If we're not lynching somebody twenty-four hours a day in this wretched town, we're not happy." – DC lobbyist

I HATE TO SOUND LIKE A GRUMPY OLD MAN, but does it seem like the word "but" is overused these days? BUT enough about politics! My pet peeve today is that while the CARS nag us, "anything goes" in the culture! Take a break and take a walk with me down Memory Lane to the days of white walls, fender skirts, "I like Ike," and real skirts (if you see a skirt today, it could be on a man).

You wonder why parts of the rest of the world don't like us much? Can you think of five reasons? Two of them would include pornography and Hollywood, but I'm repeating myself. The other three are fashion, fashion, and fads. This year's fad is females walking around Wal-Mart in butt-tight black PJs, or so they seem. They must be telegraphing a subliminal message, but I don't have a clue. Some people must dwell in the bottom of themselves, as someone once said. Forget I said that, and let's talk about CAR fashions.

Don't all cars seem to look alike these days? Last week I tried to get into the car parked ahead of mine, and my first thought was "How did my car get locked?" Mine never gets locked. That's a habit we picked up in the fifties around here. If you mistake a Japanese car for a German one, it's because they were both designed by the same computer built in Bangladesh. Every car company has its own version of the sedans, the SUVs, and the crossovers. "Stylists" are limited to trying to mitigate the cookie-cutter look with sculptured side panels. In the desperate attempt to be different, they are getting too cute by half. That's like cosmetic surgery on Miss Piggy.

Shoot, Studebaker had those sculptured features 63 years ago in '53. And I have my own suggestion for the 2017 Studebaker; I'll try to find it for you. Anyway, as calculators dumbed down our math skills, I think cars are dumbing down our imagination and competence. It started with power windows and could end with the self-driving car. I'm so low-tech that I have trouble with automatic faucets and smart phones, so you won't catch me dead in one of those self-parking vehicles!

By the way, if the self-flushing toilet in a public washroom wants to flush three times before you get out of the stall, it may be trying to tell you something. The Japanese now see us as so incompetent that they have invented the self-tying shoe lace. I think that that idea should be nipped in the butt. No pun intended, but that'll probably be the only quotation of mine that makes it into the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, with my luck.

Mark Twain would have had a ball with modern society. The cultural revolutionaries gave us abortion-on-demand through "the right to privacy," but they have turned around and given us the lack of privacy through transgender-bathrooms. A SNAFU. But don't quote me! No butts about it.

P.S. "Grilles are like cowboy boots – they are your calling card." – Chevrolet director of design

By that standard, the Lexus may be the world's ugliest vehicle next to the Cube. The typical grille today reminds me of a guppy or Darth Vader or the world's biggest large-mouth bass. But I may be biased because my first car was a Studebaker (the "Misc." in my title is for miscellaneous, giving me the license to multi-task. Or, in the eye of critics, "ramble").

Just when I thought things couldn't get any crazier, I went to the local polling place on Tuesday and the door was locked. "We have seen the future," I said to myself. Unable to find another door, I went back and knocked on the door. A polling worker let me in. The problem was in the duct tape that was supposed to hold the door unlocked. Shakespeare might have said that "the problem is not in our stars, but in our duct tape."

Sharpening the wit is like sharpening a knife; you have to be careful and not over-do it. Wars may have been started over a joke. If not, the next one probably will be, given the "sensitivity" of political correctness. I may ramble, but I found some fantastic quotes about war:

"I have already given two cousins to the war and stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother." – Artemus Ward

"I read in newspapers that a German army had invaded France and that the English expeditionary force had crossed the Channel. 'This – I said to myself – means war.' As usual I was right." – unknown Brit

That guy would have made a great political consultant. Oh, that reminds me; there was an election yesterday. The Trump and Clinton consultants held a joint karaoke concert in Wisconsin. They were joined by the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a band formerly known as Prints doing "It's my party and I can cry if I want to" and "We broke the law and the law won."

You can't make this stuff up, but I just did!

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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