April 1, 2015 § 5 Comments
Let us today depart from our customary annual April Fool’s Day practical jokes, and instead focus our attention on that Everyman of the present era – the Fool. This is, after all, his (or her) day.
The information age is a paradisiacal era for Fools, what with social media, faux journalism, opinion outlets, and, yes, I daresay – blogs – that are fabulously fertile ground for Fools to grow and disseminate their fecund Foolishness.
Fools are in the news headlines daily. It’s the heyday of Foolishness and folly.
The birthmark of a Fool is lack of good sense and judgment. It’s a topic we’ve discussed here before.
On this their own special day, then, let’s ponder what wiser men have said of them:
“The trouble ain’t that there is too many Fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right” — Mark Twain
“A Fool always finds a greater Fool to admire him” — Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
“I have great faith in Fools — self-confidence my friends will call it” — Edgar Allen Poe
“A man may be a Fool and not know it, but not if he is married” — H.L. Mencken
“A Fool must now and then be right by chance” — William Cowper
“A Fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees” — William Blake
“For, as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a Fool seem a man of sense” — Alexander Pope
“A prosperous Fool is a grievous burden” — Aeschylus
“Even a Fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise” — Proverbs, 17:28.
“The greatest men may ask a Foolish question, now and then” — John Wolcot
There is actually a patron saint of Fools. Saint Simeon, the Holy Fool, a sixth-century monk, is revered as the patron saint of “holy fools and puppeteers.” Holy Fools, as I understand it, are those who are “Fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Cor. 4:10), rejecting riches and other worldly things for spiritual pursuits. I am not here to judge, but Simeon’s activities seem to be of the more outré variety: dragging a dead dog through the gate of a city, inciting schoolchildren to call him crazy; pretending to have a limp, and other times jumping around; dragging himself along on his buttocks; tripping people walking by; baying and staring at the new moon; thrashing about; extinguishing lights in church and throwing nuts at women; overturning the tables of pastry chefs; and doing other similar capers that got him insulted, beaten, and abused, all of which he endured with good patience. By today’s foolish standards, those kind of stunts seem more mildly eccentric than foolish, but, hey, I guess that’s what made him a holy Fool as opposed to a wholly Fool.
Oh, and I still don’t understand what puppeteers did to be dragged into this discussion.
While we’re on the subject of saints, I should mention that April 1 is the feast day of St. Hugh of Grenoble, per the Catholic calendar. Although he lived in the eleventh century, he sounds like the kind of guy who faced down some of the same kinds of foolishness that nettle us today. This from a Catholic web site:
Hugh, who served as a bishop in France for 52 years, had his work cut out for him from the start. Corruption seemed to loom in every direction: the buying and selling of Church offices, violations of clerical celibacy, lay control of Church property, religious indifference and/or ignorance. After serving as bishop for two years, he’d had his fill. He tried disappearing to a monastery, but the pope called him back to continue the work of reform.
That just goes to show that, when it comes to Fools and foolishness, the passage of centuries does not appear to have any significantly remedial effect. Jonathan Swift spoke in 1726 of a Fool’s Folly in Gulliver’s Travels:
“He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.”
Come to think of it, that sounds suspiciously like the prospectus for a 2015 Silicon Valley IPO offering that would likely attract billions from investors.
Which brings to mind the old adage, “A Fool and his money are soon parted.”
Have a happy and prosperous April Fool’s Day.
February 14, 2014 § 3 Comments
March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
In a gesture to make up for the last miserable helping of puns I dished out to you, I donned a haz-mat suit and dug down to the stratum where the vein of these monstrosities is found, and mined this lode for you …
You still have to supply your own rimshots.
Here they are …
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.
All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.
I tried to catch some Fog. I mist.
When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
I know a guy who denies he’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
This woman said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
I did a theatrical performance about puns . It was a play on words.
They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type-O.
A dyslexic man walks into a bra and ordered a martini.
Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory, to be followed by a pop quiz.
Energizer bunny arrested. Charged with battery.
I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the cross eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
Broken pencils are pointless.
What do you call a dinosaur with a extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
Velcro – what a rip off!
Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.
Venison for dinner? Oh deer!
I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.
October 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
April 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
Back in the 90’s the Washington Post invited its readers to create new literature by combining the works of two different authors, and to provide a suitable description of the merged book.
Machiavelli’s Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic children’s tale as presented by Machiavelli. The whimsy of human nature is embodied in many delightful and intriguing characters, all of whom are executed.
Green Eggs and Hamlet. Would you kill him in his bed? Thrust a dagger through his head? I would not, could not, kill the King. I could not do that evil thing. I would not wed this girl, you see. Now get her to a nunnery.
Where’s Walden? Alas, the challenge of locating Henry David Thoreau in each richly-detailed drawing loses its appeal when it quickly becomes clear that he is always in the woods.
Catch-22 in the Rye. Holden learns that if you’re insane, you’ll probably flunk out of prep school, but if you’re flunking out of prep school, you’re probably not insane.
2001: A Space Iliad. The Hal 9000 computer wages an insane 10-year war against the Greeks after falling victim to the Y2K bug.
Rikki-Kon-Tiki-Tavi. Thor Heyerdahl recounts his attempt to prove Rudyard Kipling’s theory that the mongoose first came to India on a raft from Polynesia.
The Maltese Faulkner. Is the black bird a tortured symbol of Sam’s struggles with race and family? Does it signify his decay of soul along with the soul of the Old South? Is it merely a crow, mocking his attempts to understand? Or is it worth a cool mil?
Jane Eyre Jordan. Plucky English orphan girl survives hardships to lead the Chicago Bulls to the NBA championship.
Looking for Mr. Godot. A young woman waits for Mr. Right to enter her life. She has a loooong wait.
The Scarlet Pimpernel Letter. An 18th-century English nobleman leads a double life, freeing comely young adulteresses from the prisons of post-Revolution France.
Lorna Dune. An English farmer, Paul Atreides, falls for the daughter of a notorious rival clan, the Harkonnens, and pursues a career as a giant worm jockey in order to impress her.
The Remains of the Day of the Jackal. A formal English butler puts his loyalty to his employer above all else, until he is persuaded to join a plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.
The Invisible Man of La Mancha. Don Quixote discovers a mysterious elixir, which renders him invisible. He proceeds to go on a mad rampage of corruption and terror, attacking innocent people in the streets and all the while singing “To Fight the Invisible Man!” until he is finally stopped by a windmill.
Of Three Blind Mice and Men. Burgess Meredith has his limbs hacked off by a psychopathic farmer’s wife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life?
Planet of the Grapes of Wrath. Astronaut lands on mysterious planet only to discover that it is his very own home planet of Earth which has been taken over by the Joads, a race of dirt-poor corn farmers who miraculously developed rudimentary technology and regained the ability to speak after exposure to nuclear radiation.
The Exorstentialist. Camus psychological thriller about a priest who casts out a demon by convincing it that there’s really no purpose to what it’s doing.
Paradise Lost in Space. Satan, Moloch, and Belial are sentenced to spend eternity in a flying saucer with a goofy robot, an evil scientist, and two annoying children.
November 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Lawyer 1: “You know, you really shouldn’t smoke; it’s bad for you.”
Lawyer 2: “My grandmother lived to the age of 97.”
Lawyer 1: “Did she smoke?”
Lawyer 2: “No. She minded her own business.”
November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments
Law school ground you down, eh? Con Law especially rugged? Took you a while to get back on your feet?
Well, you only thought you had it tough. Take a look at this sad tale of an overzealous law student from the Chicago Tribune’s June 8, 1900, edition.
“CONSTITUTIONAL LAW!” he shouted. Indeed. If that had been me, I would have yelled “REAL PROPERTY” and swooned dead away.
Thanks to The Law Life.