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Friday, February 24, 2017

Why I Am the Funniest Guy in the Whole World

"Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." - Victor Borge

       I'm convinced that I am the funniest guy in the whole world.  Why?  I'm the funniest guy because I'm the smartest guy in the world.  Not to say I'm more intelligent than some physicists, doctors, brilliant scholars, or any learned erudite individuals such as that.   There are many vocational abilities like auto mechanics, computer technology, or plumbing that I don't know much of anything about.  However, I could learn anything I wanted to learn if I so desired because I am so brilliant.

       My absolute brilliance is what makes me so funny.  You might as well accept that I'm smarter than you are.  Smarter than anyone anywhere is.

        Take for example some bearded pseudo-intellectual who looks like he could be a college professor or some bogus intelligentsia phony like that.  Sure, he might write or talk a good game that might cause some folks to believe he's brilliant because he thinks he's brilliant.   Forget it.  Not as smart as I am and nowhere near being as funny even when he tries.

         Or what about that new age globalist thinking so and so who thinks science has all the answers and she has attained some kind of moral superiority to others she sees as lesser to her though she might try to portray herself as equal to all.  Some might ooh and aah over her smooth written words, but any really smart person is not really fooled by that nonsense.  I mean, it's all okay--nice and all, but kind of a bore.

         There are smart and funny people in the world, but really no one smarter and funnier than I am.  I don't have to do anything to prove it.  Facts are facts. Alternate facts are even facts albeit they are alternate.  Some who read this might be annoyed by what I'm saying here, but if you're annoyed it might be because you don't get it.  Or maybe you're taking it all too seriously.  Lighten up--I'm hilarious and you know it.  Even if you don't immediately recognize it.

        The best humor is not often immediately understood because it requires deep long thought.  Or maybe not long and deep, but perceptive consideration.  Perceptivity is not something that comes natural to everyone.  Not if literal thinking about everything you hear gets in the way.  We can see this in a good many journalists on an everyday basis if you watch television mainstream news.  They are funny without thinking or realizing they're funny and they don't fully comprehend a lot of stuff they absorb because of overly literal thinking.  On the other hand, I get it because I am brilliantly perceptive.

        Anyone who doesn't realize that I'm amazingly funny is reading me the wrong way.  Or more likely they're not reading at all, but merely skimming through.  If you're skimming through this piece for example, you're liking missing the xjafadisg that I'm talking about here.  If you are reading with even casual care, that is, to the extent of comprehending part, but maybe not all of what I'm saying, then you might be getting it--or maybe there will be a delayed reaction.

        You might wake up tonight or in the wee hours of the dark morning chucking about this post.  Or you might find yourself laughing out of nowhere ten years from now and then suddenly realize it's because of what Arlee said in this current post.  Or even when you are in the far reaches of old age lying on your death bed finally getting what I once said, you might burst out laughing to the astonishment of loved ones gathered around your bedside as you vaguely recollect the gist of what has been written in this post.  Even if you don't remember exactly that it was this blog post or it was me who had said what was said here.   What a great satisfaction for me if you were to literally die laughing because of something I said so many years before.  I'll likely already be dead too, but it would still be a smile on my face if I knew it happened.

      Now, what I'm saying might not really be what you think you are reading.  In fact I might not even totally fathom the extent of my words in this blog post.  Just because I'm brilliant doesn't necessarily mean that I know everything immediately, but it only means I know more than you.  I am truly funny.   Hilarious.  Humor beyond all human comprehension.  Laughable I know, but because it's so brilliant you will eventually get the joke.  Even if you die arriving at the punchline.

       My guess is that someone reading this is irritated and annoyed, thinking, "What a pompous ass this Arlee Bird is."   Some guy somewhere is probably stroking his beard in perplexity, almost angry and brimming with frustration, knowing that I'm probably right--no, not probably, but he knows I am absolutely correct and there's nothing he can do to forget my words, until one day sad and misty eyed he will began to slightly smile and then burst into uproarious laughter that purges his sorrow and opens his heart to the complete awareness of the regret he has never understood until that brief uproariously funny moment when he realizes that the funniest guy in the world was me, Arlee Bird.

     Arlee Bird--The funniest, the smartest, the most acutely aware guy in the world.  And perhaps the most delusional.  But by then it all comes together as the beautiful most perfect delusion that brings laughter to all the world even though no one yet hears that laughter.

      If a joke falls upon an empty brain, does anyone laugh?

      Did this post annoy you, anger you, perplex you, or make you feel anything at all?  What has been the most inappropriate moment of your life when you found something to be funny?   Do you feel that posts like I have written here are a waste of time?   Are you going to waste your time watching the Academy Awards? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

So Many People Going Out of Their Heads! (#BOTB Results)

That is one of most vitriolic statements I've heard in a long time. You've just outed yourself for what you really are. You are an angry old white man. That can't stand either the liberal agenda, or anybody that can. You truly are not the man I thought you were, and I'm done with you.
--comment received on a recent post at TOSSING IT OUT.

Angry Penguin
Angry Penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
     In recent months--certainly since shortly after Donald Trump announced his candidacy and I hinted my support for him as president-- a few followers have been trickling away from my blog while others have expressed a distaste for my support of Trump.  No problem there since disagreement, so long as it is respectful and healthy, is something I think we can and should all accept without getting whipped into a frenzy.

       However, after the election when Trump won and it was fairly known that I had voted for him, there has been some crazy reaction to me and to some of my blog posts, which I have tried to present with a sense of intentional calm and rationality.  It seems those on the opposition side to mine can say whatever they wish in any disrespectful way they wish while what I say or what others on my side of the fence might say is met with anger and vituperation.  It all seems a bit unhinged to me, but what's a blogger to do?

     Though I haven't unfollowed any blogs, there are a few that I no longer bother to read for one reason or another which probably works to my advantage from the standpoint of using my time wisely.  If a blogger does leave a comment on my site then I will visit their blog and usually leave a comment--that is, unless they've left a comment like the one that opened this post.  I don't want to rile anyone any more than they've already been riled.  If I do visit a blog and don't leave a comment then that would be highly unusual for me, but it would also mean that there was nothing for me to respond to--and this from a blogger who will typically even respond to a post about knitting or something that I don't do or know nothing about.

            And then there are those comments on my posts that seem genuine and intelligent to which I will leave thought out and often extensive replies which I don't know whether they have been seen or not because there is no further response from the blogger who left the original comment.   But more on that come Friday's post...

Battle of the Bands Results!

            My most recent Battle of the Bands contest featuring renditions of the classic Little Anthony and the Imperials song "Goin' Out of My Head" did not turn out quite like I expected.  I thought there was far more disco hate out there, but I guess when put up against an eccentric sounding La Lupe, disco rules. The Queen of Latin Soul in this match was no contest when put up against a queen of disco.

        It was kind of close deciding for me, but the disco string section wins me over more than percussive Latin horns, which I do have an affinity for though not enough to sway my vote in this match up.  And in agreement with most of you voting in this round, Gloria Gaynor's voice was more appealing than the--how do I put it?--the slightly kooky vocal styling of La Lupe.  I never really got on board with that "Disco Sucks" movement and I still enjoy hearing the danceable music that I don't normally dance to.  Sorry Lupe, you were kind of fun, but your version didn't have the appeal for me that Gloria did.

 Final Vote Tally

Gloria Gaynor     19

La Lupe               2


Next Battle of the Bands on Wednesday March 1st

       My next Battle will be continuing on somewhat the same theme as this previous Battle with a bit of an international flair.   It's a well-known American artist's pop hit from the sixties that seemed to have caught the attention of the world with renditions coming from somewhat unexpected places.  It's another "crazy" tune that will tie in with my post that will appear on Monday February 27th.   Before that Monday post though, I'll try to push the envelope a bit more with an absurd post on Friday that might mostly bug some bloggers who might not see it.  But what the heck--I've started stirring the pot so I might as well finish the stew.

        Have any of my posts ticked you off a bit, but not enough to run you off yet?   Do you come back to a comment thread to see if a blogger has responded to a comment that you've left that has included questions?     I doubt whether you can do it, but would you like to venture a guess as to my next song choice for BOTB?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Personal Encounters with Mental Disorder

“I think that we're all mentally ill. Those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better - and maybe not all that much better after all.”

  --Stephen King

Drawn by early 20th-century commercial cat ill...
Drawn by early 20th-century commercial cat illustrator Louis Wain near the beginning of his mental illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was There Something Wrong with Me? 

        When I was in high school I became concerned that I might have had or had been becoming afflicted with a mental disorder.  I felt out of place, unable to fit in well with the culture of my peers.   Most of the time when I wasn't at school I stayed home watching television, reading, writing--doing solitary activities.  Having few friends, I was certain that there was something not quite right with me.

        In my concern, I began doing research about "mental illness".  I read every book and article I could find on the subject.  When I enrolled in college, I started out with a major in psychology with my aim set on become a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst or something related to these fields, partly in hopes of curing my own affliction.

       As I was completing my second year in my pursuit of my major in psychology, I began to rethink my original intentions.  This was partly due to my struggle with the required statistics classes which I could not understand why they were important to what I wanted to do.  In retrospect I wish I had focused better on those classes as statistics is now a topic that does interest me.  At the time it just seemed like another difficult degree requirement that I would have rather not had to contend with.

       That's when I changed my major to English and pursued a general liberal arts education that left me with a fairly well-rounded acquisition of appreciation of fine arts and general knowledge in a whole realm of different subjects.  This is the course I pursued for five years until dropping out of the University of Tennessee just a few credits shy of a degree.

         Soon after that I found myself with a career in show business traveling on the road and discovering that I wasn't any more mentally ill than most average people.  What I had earlier mistaken for "mental illness" was merely a state of mind called adolescence and then later it went on to become aimless meandering of young adulthood.

          Reflecting with old friends and acquaintances as years went by I discovered that not only many of them had the same self doubts and fears that I had, but some suffered to a greater degree.  Through the years I've seen people I know struggle with problems of dependency and depression.  A few even committed suicide.  Some came out of those years just fine while others fared far less well than I.

          I guess we've all had our moments of craziness and periods when life tried to batter us down. I can't think of anyone that I've known who hasn't at least considered therapy, counseling, or some kind of treatment whether it be from someone else or their own pursuits of self-help.  What we ourselves do with major or minor mental crises determines how our own stories turn out in the end.

My Brother's Story

         My youngest brother by eleven years difference began his own struggle with mental disorder after he entered high school.  By that time I was mostly away from home so I wasn't close to what was happening in his life or the lives of my parents.  I didn't understand the seriousness of his condition until after he was hospitalized with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.   And being away like I was, the situation didn't have that much of an impact on me.

         My brother's condition was a great burden of sorrow on my father until the time of his death at age 67.  My father kept my brother in the best hospitals until his insurance would no longer cover the cost.  Over time my father researched the disorder and sought out whatever treatment he thought might help and yet to no avail.  His youngest son seemed to be hopelessly ill with no cure that would even bring a semblance of normalcy to his life.  There came a resignation that his youngest son, my youngest brother whom I discovered that I had never really gotten to know very well, would probably be institutionalized for the remainder of his life.

        After my father died in 1990, my mother was left to shoulder that burden which was a burden that she carried mostly on her own (with the help of the mental health professionals) for the next 24 years.   Fortunately she did meet a kind devoted man who became her partner in 1997 who did help her tremendously until his death in 2012.  And though I spoke to my mother regularly--and after 2009 almost daily--on the phone and visited her as often as I could, she being in Tennessee and me in California, and she received some emotional support from my other siblings, this was still a relatively small solace in contending with a mother's baby who was in such a sad condition of mental health.

        Then my mother died in November of 2014.  Still institutionalized in Nashville, his closest family living three hours away, my brother was an orphan in his fifties.   The responsibility of attending to his affairs fell upon me.  Correspondence and reporting from the care facility is directed towards me and now it is I who is responsible for making important medical and life decisions for my brother.

         He calls me several times a week and sometimes several times a day mostly to talk about music CD's he wants me to order for him.  Most of that CD conversation is redundant if not a bit perplexing to me since he seems to be buying music that he has owned in the past that has been lost or stolen.  All of the music is from the seventies and eighties or newer releases that those same artists might have put out.  Sometimes he tells me about other things he needs like clothes.  The CD's, the clothes, and whatever else he wants or needs I order online and have drop shipped to him at the hospital where he lives.

          Occasionally, I'll try to get him to change the subject of what he wants me to order for him to something about him and his life.  In some rare instances he'll talk about the past or he'll talk about his life now.  Often I don't quite understand what he is referring to or the stories will seem so outlandish that I don't know if they're real or not.  He often tells me about his pain, mostly due to his legs and neck being broken. I tell him that he wouldn't be able to get around if his neck and legs were broken, but that doesn't convince him that they are not broken.

         Some readers of my previous posts of the past week might have thought that I take the topic of mental disorders lightly.  Believe me, I have first hand experience with the subject of mental disorders.  I understand the difficulties that those directly affected by mental afflictions go through as well as the pain and sadness that the families and others might face.  Mental affliction is a serious matter and yet like most serious matters you can laugh about them sometimes.  One almost has to laugh about them now and then.  Life can heap enough pain, sadness, and misery upon us that can wear us away and even destroy us if we allow the negatives to beat us down.  There are times to weep as well as times to laugh, so laugh I will when I feel like laughing and laugh I will in the face of defeat and adversity.  Laughter is, as the cliche goes, the best medicine and that is something I firmly believe.

        I have a great tendency towards being a patient person.  I also attempt to be one who will try to reason with those who are being unreasonable.  This is partly why I've taken on my President Trump Acclimation Series.  I've been hearing the craziness all around me for eighteen months now.

         Unlike trying to reason with my brother, I have hope that some of the vehement anti-Trumpers can be reasoned with.  There are also times I tip to the edge of humor with poking a bit of fun at what I see as lunacy on the left.  Even my brother has brief flashes of what seems like a brilliant clarity that makes me want to believe he's been scamming all of us all along.  However, I know that's not true but only my glimmer of hope that one day he'll suddenly say with lucidity that he wants to come back and be a part of the reasoning world.  When he explains concepts of wants versus needs or contemplates spiritual issues I have a hope that the man that my father dreamed of my brother becoming one day has finally emerged from a distant dim place of confused thinking.   When he comes up with an insightful bit of wit that brings laughter to the both of us, I feel like somehow he gets the humorous aspect of life's darker sides.

          I don't really expect that he will be better any time soon because he has been medicated for too many years and probably could not exist without being in some type of institutionalized setting where others have to make decisions for him.  It's doubtful that he can ever live normally like most of the society around me.

          Then I look at the insanity that is going around in this supposedly normal society.  In my post Is Extreme Anti-Trumpism a Mental Illness  I might have seemed to be making light of a serious situation, but I was indeed as serious as I could be about this current socio-political phenomena.  Consistently taking things to an extreme and fixating upon them can, in my opinion, start leading to some serious problems within an individual as well as within our society.

A Closing Thought with Example

            I realize this has been a long post, but I felt a need to clarify where I'm coming from about mental afflictions and fixations and such related things.  Before I close, I'd like to leave you with an exchange between myself and a blogger who has seemed to have developed what I think is a peculiar almost unhealthy fixation regarding President Trump, Trump supporters, and the beliefs those supporters have.  I've decided to no longer identify or link to this blogger, but as illustrated in an exchange which began prior to Donald Trump's announcement to run for president and continued to shortly before his inauguration.  The nature of the relationship as it progresses strikes me as weird, but I'll let you decide.

        To set up the comment thread, the original post was what I found to be a rather cynical, but entertaining review of the film Whiplash.  Take note that I was interested in the conversation with this blogger enough to remember the initial exchange and return to the conversation over a year after it began.  Here is the thread that ensued with dates of each comment and response:

Very funny review.

I've been hearing so many good things about this film that it's had me curious to see it. Then your review reaffirms the bad things I've heard about this film. I might see this one eventually when it makes it to DVD, but I might forget to see it too. This sounds like one of those films that will end up on my Netflix queue toward the bottom and never make it toward the top because I keep putting other films above it.

Then again, based on your review, I might have to see it just to see what you've described. It sounds pretty crazy.\

  1. anon blogger          January 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM
    Lee: It is pretty crazy. But what I find more crazy than the movie are all the things people who like it are saying about it. It's like, maybe, they are blinded by the music aspect of the movie. Or, maybe, they all had experiences with a band director who yelled at them for screwing up, so it's some kind of "experience" to see the movie. I don't know.
  2. Finally a year later my wife and I watched this film. We both liked it a great deal. Everything you've pointed out above is true, but I guess I'm often more than willing to suspend disbelief for a film like this. I'm not as forgiving these days to suspend my disbelief for a lot of the sci-fi that I watch (which I find myself watching less as time goes by).

    Whiplash was entertaining for me aside from the parts that annoyed me. I can be pretty forgiving about a lot of movies while others (e.g. Prometheus) I find my assessment to be rather harsh.
  3.               January 7, 2017 at 12:51 AM
  4.                I guess that just serves to demonstrate that you have a fucked up, distorted view of actual reality.
  5. (Yes, I am only just now seeing that you left this comment.)

  6.        Have you ever felt like you were experiencing some sort of mental affliction or breakdown?    What have been your direct encounters with people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder?   Does the example of the comment exchange I've provided seem odd to you or do you find it totally acceptable?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Going Out of my Head (#BOTB)

      Mental illness is not only used as a metaphor to cover a broad swath of conditions of the state of the human mind, it has also been literally called a metaphor by some who have studied the issue.  In his renown book The Myth of Mental Illness (published in 1960), Thomas Szasz introduced the controversial idea that "mental illness" is not a true disease in the same sense as cancer and the concept termed as mental illness is in reality "a metaphor for human problems in living".   Szasz actually comes to a conclusion that those who say they have a mental illness have a "fake disease.

      While some might deem the variant popular terms related to mental illness as disrespectful and flippant, many of us use descriptions like nuts, loony, crazy, and whacked to describe a number of human conditions.  Love has often been cited as the cause for driving one mad or crazy and not in a true psychological sense of the condition described.

       In the following post-Valentine's Day Battle of the Bands I present a popular song that has nothing to do with what we would normally think of mental illness, but uses the condition of being in love as a metaphor for a disruptive mental condition...

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action

Goin' Out of My Head

       I was still in middle school when Little Anthony and the Imperials hit the pop music charts with the lovely "Goin' Out of My Head".   Living in the Chicago Land area at the time, I'd hear this song played often on radio station WLS and it became a theme song of sorts for my own adolescent longings for love.  In reality I had little idea of what romantic love was really about, but like many a young fellow I thought I was in love more than a few times and it was never easy.  Unrequited love, lost love, or any love that leaves one unsatisfied or unfulfilled has been the inspiration for so many songs.

      For the purpose of reference only--DON'T VOTE ON THIS VERSION--here's that original version of "Goin' Out of My Head" in case you've forgotten or never heard it before.

      Since that first recording of "Goin' Out of My Head" was released, the song has been covered by many artists both vocally and instrumentally. In this current Battle I present two versions that are quite different from the original.  The tempo and energy gets stepped up a bit to give the song a distinctly different flavor.  So get your dancing shoes on and get ready to move and groove and go out of your head...

Gloria Gaynor  "Goin' Out of My Head"  (1978)

      After ten years of paying her dues in the music business, Gloria Gaynor finally broke out as a well known artist with her disco album that included her hit "Never Can Say Good-bye".   However her signature song "I Will Survive" will always be the one most identified with her. The album that featured that song also included Gaynor's fine cover of "Goin' Out of My Head".  I'll have to admit a bit of a weakness for disco music so I happen to like her cover though I know there are some of you who might not be so keen on this music genre.  Hope this doesn't drive you out of your head...

La Lupe "Goin' Out of My Head"  (1967)

        "The Queen of Latin Soul" La Lupe was a popular Cuban entertainer who was no stranger to controversy when it came to her frenzied performances as well as her life outside of music.  Exiled after Castro took power, La Lupe eventually landed in New York performing with Tito Puente among other notable musicians. Her career was short-lived as she descended into a life of drugs and destitution.  A long adherent to the religion of Santeria, she eventually ended up crippled and homeless until healed at an evangelical crusade after which she became a born again Christian.  Her final recordings were albums of Christian music.  She died in New York City in 1992 at the age of 52.

           Get up and dance to the crazy Latin sounds of La Lupe...

Time To Vote!

        Maybe not your favorite musical styles, but hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  Which version do you like the best?   Surely one version drove you less crazy than the other.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner Announced on Wednesday February 22nd
    I'll tally the votes next Tuesday and announce the winner of this match-up the following day Wednesday February 22nd. However, since we'll have a week-end that gives adequate time for everyone to stop in to vote, I'll be continuing my topic on mental illness on Monday the 20th. If you missed the first installment, you can find it here.

        What are your thoughts about the "Mental Illness is a myth" theory?  Are you offended by non-pc terms like crazy, nuts, mad, and others?   What do you think  is the "cure" or solution to mental illness or do you think there is one?