Offend Me, Offend Me Not …

I have a new nomination to put forward. Whiny Person of the Year. Most of my nominees will come from what has become one of the whiniest groups of people in America … wealthy stand-up comics.

In recent years we have had to listen to ongoing diatribes from the likes of multimillionaires Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Bill Maher and others as to how badly they are treated by the world and how stupid audiences are.


The main points of their increasingly plaintive and self-serving speeches seem to be:

  • They should be able to say anything they want to say, without suffering criticism of any kind
  • They are special and we should be way more grateful for their existence than we are
  • If we are offended by what they say, there is something wrong with us
  • Anything goes as long as you call it comedy, whether it is repulsive or corrosive or humiliating … or not.
  • It is not enough to pay them, we really should be building pedestals for them as well.

My problem is my long frame of reference. I watched and listened to scores of comedians over several decades who were able to make me laugh without making me nauseous. Who could see that there were lines that you crossed at your own risk, some of which were almost guaranteed to bring an avalanche of rotten vegetables tossed in your direction. They chose what to present to their audiences, and they accepted the outcome.

Some of these present-day performers are becoming more and more cynical and sarcastic with time, while becoming less amusing in the process. Instead they are adopting new roles as self-pitying yawpers.

Send In The Clowns, by Mark Kozelek


A Dick Guindon cartoon


I received an unexpected treat this past week. On trips to the grocery store or recreation center my route takes me out into the rural for about a mile, on the eastern edge of town. There are some large pastures along this route, often containing large flocks of sheep.

But two days this week the sheep were absent and had been replaced by a flock of several hundred sandhill cranes. I’ve not seen these birds in our community before, although there are resident flocks in towns about 20 miles away. It is always a treat to see them.

Birds, by Neil Young


When we visited daughter Sarah last summer, she introduced us to a movie we’d never heard of, and which is now up for an Oscar as Best Picture. Title = Everything Everywhere All At Once. Good movie, we plan on watching it again soon.

The lead role was played by Michelle Yeoh, who is also up for an Oscar in the Best Actress category after a long career in the shadow of other players. Christians Amanpour interviewed her recently, and I thought her answers were refreshingly intelligent and warm-hearted after seeing so many boorish stars who couldn’t put together a coherent sentence if they tried. Here is a portion of that interview. She seems a class act to me.



This is not a recipe website. But every once in a great while I find a recipe that’s either so good or so bad that I publish it as a public service. Today’s PSA is marinated tomatoes. It looks way too simple, but all you have to do is toss it together and let it sit for a few hours. Lord, they are too good for us sinners.

One caution. A marinated crappy tomato is still a crappy tomato.


On Monday afternoon Robin and I attended the monthly board meeting of the local public library. Rumors were spreading that there might be a dustup at the meeting, and supporters of the present library board policies were encouraged to show up, just in case.

The board started out wisely in laying out the ground rules for public comments. They were:

  • When you checked into the room, you had to sign in and check a box indicating whether you wished to speak. No box checked, keep quiet.
  • All comments were to be addressed to the board, and not to other attendees.
  • Three-minute limit on comments
  • The comment portion of the meeting would last thirty minutes.

The first commenter was a dude about my age, who was wearing a great sweater. What popped out of his mouth was a diatribe about allowing LGBTQ+ meetings to be held on library premises. Apparently such a meeting was held and one of the things discussed seemed like a very naughty book to him. The gentleman then dropped two phrases which I have found to be code words. According to this guy these kids (and they had been young people), had “adopted a gay lifestyle” and were “promoting a gay agenda.”

A quite proper-looking older woman sitting right behind me added when her turn came that she was a Christian and looooved everybody, but the Good Book said very clearly that being gay was a darned sin and that was that. I’m not quite sure what she thought the library board was supposed to do about that, and they wisely didn’t respond.

Three other women mentioned the same horrible book that had been discussed at the LGBTQ+ meeting, but although they didn’t seem to have read it they held strong opinions that such “pornography” should not be available to children. Get rid of it and other of it ilk, they strongly suggested.

Along the way it was darkly hinted that crimes were being committed by having such literature on premises, and that board members were appointed by the county commissioners and their appointments could be cancelled. One woman said she had spoken to an actual policeman about the whole thing.

Sprinkled in between the comments of these stalwart protectors of public morals were many statements of support for continuing the open and accepting policies of the present board. At least two gay women identified themselves as such and thought the board was doing a smashing job. As they spoke I noticed the proper older lady behind me clutching her purse and getting ready to bolt just in case those two would hit on her.

And just like that the thirty minutes (which turned out to actually be forty-five) were up.

What was my take? Well, the guy in the nice sweater was a bigot, even though he swore he was not. And he was behind the times. No really smart bigot uses the words gay lifestyle and gay agenda any more. It identifies them.

The three ladies were frustrated and afraid, and I don’t blame them because there are poisonous things in print.. There are bigots writing books. There are pornographers writing books. There are warmongers writing books. Unbelievable as it may seem, there are Republicans writing books! These women were in favor of picking out the literature that offended them and not having it on the premises at all, just in case one of their kids got to feeling frisky and might come across it. And if my kids were still young enough I too would want to know what they are reading, just like these people do. I would want to know, but I also would recognize that they might not tell me.

And there’s where the scary part comes in. If one believes, as I do, that some books are ennobling, then I have to accept that some might be potentially hurtful. As parents, our job is to do what we can to prepare our kids to meet the challenges that life will provide, and hope that they are ready to do their own sorting out when the time comes.

And there is, of course, that pesky First Amendment. Which says that even if you say something that I disagree with, even something that I absolutely abhor, it is protected. As is my right to say something that might curdle your own particular milk. That’s what living in a free society means.

Tolerance is part of the bargain.

And tolerance is not required when you agree with something, but when you don’t.



Last night it started to snow lightly just as we sat down to eat our supper. It slowly grew in intensity, then stopped just when we were beginning to clear away the dishes from the table.

‘Twas a small thing, but a nice touch, and we appreciated whichever one of you sent it over.


3 thoughts on “Offend Me, Offend Me Not …

  • This is about your cat column from a few days ago: You cat people are all alike! You fear that every dog is just a mouthful of teeth waiting to chew on you. Unlike cats most dogs are on a leash, and are friendly. Unlike dogs, many cats are allowed to roam at will, pooping in children’s sandboxes, killing without reason any bird, lizard, snake, rodent, etc., that it can. Dogs are loyal and protective of their family. Find me a cat that is loyal. And if I reach to pet my dog, I don’t have to worry about pulling back a bloody stump if they are not in the mood. So there! Take that!


    • Dear Sir:
      Whew! Where to start? First of all, I wasn’t talking about friendly dogs on leashes, but loose ones hurtling in my direction. And the operative word is “most dogs.” Most is not good enough for some of us, especially those who are not as nimble and fleet of foot as they once were.
      While it is true that cats do poop in sandboxes, they never leave big mounds of malodorous shit on my lawn which some other domestic animals do as they pass by.
      Lastly, if you are having bloody stump issues, It may be that you are keeping too big a cat. Anything over forty pounds belongs in a zoo.


      • Well we could go on all day with this, subject, lol. My sister had a cat that whenever you walked too close to the chair it was under, you were likely to have blood running down your leg. It lived to age 23. As for dogs hurtling toward you, I see that regularly out in the park. Just stand still, they will do their sniff and be on their way. Running is the worst thing you can do.

        Liked by 1 person

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