Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bits and Pieces for May 2014


(The stamp image reproduced here comes from the pages of Mad Magazine, now owned by Time-Warner, Inc.)


First, a brief note about Al Feldstein, who died this week and was best known for three decades (1955-1984) as the editor, heart and satire-lovin' soul of Mad Magazine.   There are Madmen on TV and there are Mad men in the publishing world, and this gentleman and artist was decidedly in the latter category.

Aside from writing about UFOs, for a time I attempted to contribute humor material to Mad (and other publications) on a few occasions way back, but my ideas were rejected (see one letter above, with a notation by Feldstein) consistently.  That didn't matter -- what mattered was my encounter as a reader of Mad Magazine as a kid.  Its pages gave me my earliest lessons in the structure of writing satire -- a literary form where one uses wit, wisdom and sometimes just dumb luck to imply one thing, but actually mean the opposite.  Satire, obvious to most of the public of days gone by in political cartoons, is a lost art among many young people today, and I dare say that those who find themselves the victims of ongoing scams wouldn't be if they understood satire and ridicule disguised as something else.  Offers too good to be true, for instance.  Or accepting everything issued by the Obama bunch as the truth, rather than the absurd, semantically dressed-up crap it really is.

While Feldstein's magazine took on issues of the day with artistic verve and daring, it did exemplify wholesome standards.  I unsuccessfully searched for another rejection letter to post today, upon which Feldstein, sometime in the early seventies I think, gently admonished me for a contribution in which I incorporated illegal drug use in a lighthearted manner..  At Mad, they seemed carefully aware that a fair share of their readers were kids and parents, and yes, there were standards to uphold.

At some point in the sixties or early seventies, a Mad issue contained what looked like real postage stamps with funny pictures on a gummed sheet.  I've posted a sample today, and wish I could post the whole series under fair usage, but pushing the copyright envelope too far is always a concern.  Thus the obliterations, too, and I apologize.  At any rate, just imagine all the post office personnel from coast to coast cursing Mad Magazine when readers tried to send letters stamped with these!

Move over Norman Rockwell and make room for Al Feldstein.  In some strange way, methinks there should be a place reserved for the kind of Americana served up by this artist and editorial master.

Remember when the promise of spring meant flowers and outside activities, and not persistent revelations about the lies and incompetence of a presidential administration?  Thanks to Glenn Beck's investigative staff and The Blaze TV, Sharyl Atkinson and a pathetically scant number of other real journalists and TV "news" programs, we now have further proof that Benghazi seems very much about both incompetence and shuttling arms to Al Qaeda.  And Susan Rice told us what?  "The video" blamed by all the admin players was clearly irrelevant, but they seemingly said anything to protect Obama  prior to the elections,  the incompetent and absent president (yes -- where was he as Benghazi unfolded?).   How do the new disclosures make one feel as a family member or friend of a deceased or otherwise damaged Middle East combat veteran?  Forget Richard Nixon -- I want to know why Barack Obama, for starters, isn't led out of the White House in handcuffs and by shirt collar because of this outrage.  Is race a factor?  And who's going to shut this deplorable White House operation down, Eric Holder?  As the Obamas continue luxuriating via expensive taxpayer-paid vacations and fooling a decreasing number of Americans as the phonies and frauds they actually are, my suggestion would be, come November, don't vote for any member of Congress who has no interest in initiating and/or supporting articles of impeachment as required by law.  And let's keep a few prison cells warm for new occupants who continue to cover up the truth.

Meantime -- never forget the words, Islamic extremists.  You may not hear them in places or on occasions when they need to be heard.  These folks are emboldened, not defeated by White House policies, and I can only imagine the rage harbored by government and military security personnel who have to put up with this dangerous admin bunch day in and day out.

Oh -- and Hillary Clinton?   As secretary of state she botched every move made in the Middle East in the name of the U.S.  Simply look at country after country, as entire societies and cultures continue to fall apart.  This is the woman whom some continue to go ga-ga over as the potential next president?  My country, Hillary right or wrong?  In the real world, the Benghazi issue would bring any supposed presidential aspirations down -- and note that Sen. Rand Paul has confirmed that embassy personnel begged the State Dept. for heightened security for six months before the tragedy occurred, all to no avail.  Even as the State Dept. was spending millions on prettying up other embassies around the world with gardens and expensive dinnerware.

Antibiotics aren't what they used to be.  Well, actually they are, it's just that organisms they once easily battled to the death are quickly developing a fervent resistance, making even routine hospital surgery or minor skin cuts a potential matter of life or death drama.  Of course, as measles, out of control tuberculosis and other long-forgotten diseases creep back into the USA, and the usual authorities blame everything on international airline flights, don't dare be politically incorrect and look to southern borders for the human filth and detritus dragged in by the thousands every year -- a situation which could be easily corrected if we weren't lorded over by a criminal administration insistent upon having law enforcement personnel serve law-like lawlessness conjured up by its inner circle.  One day -- prison sentences, lengthy and unforgiving, and then border security folks can do the vital work they expected to accomplish when hired.

Vultures vs. carrion, current day:   Okay, so Donald Sterling probably isn't going to be a representative for Black History Month next year, and he may well qualify as racist of the month, but the noteworthy thing is the way multi-race vultures descended while the private recordings of his conversations were still warm.  I'm sorry to continue referencing the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers every time these little group pile-on incidents occur, but, wow, this time the pod people wasted no time.  You know who they are and they know who they are.

I don't care a whit about sports in any form, particularly those of the media-colossus variety where mind control and thug enhancement seem to be the major ingredients of worship.  The first tragedy of the Sterling situation lies in its ability to deflect even more attention away from the ills perpetrated on this country by the Dem-Obama machine, helped along quite nicely, thank you, by diehard Republicans who dearly need to be put out to pasture in exchange for something akin to Tea Party folks or others of solid integrity.  I wish all of that "team spirit," in this case the stuff of children and infants on a playground, could be bottled and used to make the "fans" concentrate more on the freedoms we lose, the restrictions increasingly placed upon our lives by evil politicians, and the mounting costs of everything we purchase.  Imagine if the fan base all forgot about athletics, uniform colors and who spent more years in prison for rape for a moment and took the time to kindly but firmly call or write government representatives in protest -- instead of just repeating like mynah birds the mantra, hey, why are  food, clothing and gasoline so expensive?  To paraphrase from the Bill Clinton era, it's the Obamaconomy, stupid.  And lie after lie after lie.

The other and truly frightening part of the Sterling state of affairs is the quick and blind "lynch mob" pounce upon what were recordings of private conversations.  In California, as many have already stated, Sterling's ever-so-helpful ex-girlfriend has apparently broken a very specific law about recording without the other person knowing, and she should rightly be eligible for some rather extreme legal punishment.   Or maybe a mental institution, since she was observed to tell a group of reporters that she intended to become president of the United States!  Probably not an impossibility, considering what we sadly have.

We in the USA widely maintain the right to say things that shake up and offend others, though many in the progressive and religious extremist realm spend every waking hour attempting to flummox that constitutional guarantee.  Sterling is entitled to be as racist as he wants to be, without physically harming others -- and make no mistake, people of races other than Sterling's do the same.

The current lesson?  Be careful what you say, because pod people will do all they can to rip up your First Amendment rights, will act deeply offended as if going for an Academy Award nomination, and then deprive you of as much of you and your stuff as possible in the process so the nebulous demons of social justice can overcome rational thought and established rights.