Faucet turns off, squeaks. Dramatic music.

Faucet turn off, squeaks!

Do you know what you are reading here? Sure, Uncle Curmudgeon has lost his marbles, his birds have flown, his elevator stopped going all the way to the top. You wish! I absolutely need captions to understand what is being said in movies, on TV, videos. You probably don’t. That means you have missed one of the truly humorous experiences of life. No, not the weird things I answer when someone asks me a question that I thought I understood, and actually didn’t. My answers could be considered either humorous or senile. No, those truly humorous moments are when captions try to express the noises of inanimate objects.

I was watching my favorite show, Billions, when one of the main characters was having a crisis. She went into the bathroom to wash her face and get herself back together. Just before she put on her game face, the captions read, “faucet turns off, squeaks.” Then, in case you didn’t know what kind of courage it took to adopt that game face, the captions helpfully reminded you, with “dramatic music.”

Like I said, if you don’t use captions, you’re missing half the fun. Okay, you don’t need them…. or at least you don’t think you do. I wasn’t even aware of my hearing loss until a particularly glaring example of not hearing someone’s question. She really reamed me out for ignoring her. My back was turned and I wasn’t even aware she had asked a question. Perhaps you should consider a hearing test, just in case. But even if you truly don’t need captions, should you be intrigued by the silliness of captioning the noises of inanimate objects, turn them on for about a week. If you find that both seeing and hearing what the characters are saying enhances your experience, you may send me a thank you gift, emphatically not tax deductible, to PO Box 9397, Spokane, Washington. 99209. If it doesn’t enhance your experience, and distracts you enough to miss a plot twist in Game of Thrones, or whatever you binge on, then you have an excuse to watch reruns. Either way, you’ll thank me.


Saying “I’m sorry” is a sorry habit.

Today I read three business articles that dealt with counterproductive habits in the workplace. A website, quote-investigator, got the following question: When I mentioned this adage to a friend he claimed that it was in the Bible, but it does not sound very Biblical to me. Can you resolve this dispute?

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

Quote Investigator: “There is a biblical proverb that expresses a similar idea, namely Proverbs 17:28. Here is the New International Version of this verse:  

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

“The quotations that the questioner listed use a distinctive formulation that is certainly more humorous. In the biblical version one is thought wise if one remains silent, but in the questioner’s statements the word “wise” is not used. Remaining silent simply allows one to avoid the fate of being thought a fool or stupid. This maxim has many different forms, and it is often ascribed to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain. However, there is no substantive evidence that either of these famous individuals employed the maxim.”

Among the worst verbal habits is overuse of “sorry”, sounding like you’re apologizing. For what? With some people, for everything. But you might wonder, when is it appropriate, and even courageous, to say, “I’m sorry”? How about never! Sorry means nothing, it’s a verbal tic, and deceptive. Sorry you were caught? Sorry that you made a common human mistake? Sorry might be how you feel, or think you’re supposed to feel, but who really cares? What about forgiveness? This is how my wife and I taught our children to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive:

1. State the wrong: “I called you a dirty name. I was wrong to do that.” 2. Eschew the excuses and reasons: Don’t try to explain why, they don’t care, it just sounds mushy, like you are simultaneously asking forgiveness and excusing yourself. 3. Explicitly ask to be forgiven: “Would you please forgive me?” 4. If it’s someone you love and not inappropriate, hug and tell them “I love you.” That’s how we did it. The fruit of doing that as often as you have wronged someone is fellowship without the undercurrent of resentment.

Once, when I had just been hired by a major company as a consultant, I suggested a way to market myself to my boss. He told me not to do it. Then I went and did it anyway. Then I was caught, because one of the people i called was already a client of another consultant. Then my boss called me into his office, and had invited his boss, who invited his boss. So I was confronted with my sin by the office manager, the regional manager and the division manager (it was a big company). I really wanted this position. My boss asked me, “did you do what I told you not to do?” This was my verbatim answer. “I am guilty. I knew what you wanted, but thought I knew best, and I disregarded your explicit instructions. I excused myself by keeping to the letter while disregarding the spirit and intent of your orders.” Have you ever seen a person dumbfounded? How about three? Their mouths were literally open. Before I could screw it up by saying anything more, the regional manager spoke. “None of us have ever heard a confession of guilt before. It’s always excuses or rationalizations or denials. We literally don’t know what to do. We came here prepared to fire you.”

The division manager asked, “what do you think we should do about you?” My reply: “Well, you could still fire me, but this would benefit the company more: How about I fully confess my guilt to all the advisers in the regional quarterly meeting coming up?” They rejected that suggestion as “too harsh.” Ultimately, they did nothing, because they figured my confession was evidence I had learned my lesson. Luckily for them, I had. But here’s the real kicker: At the regional meeting, the regional manager was introducing the new associates. He introduced me as, “the most honest person I have ever met.” Unbelievable? Maybe, but such is the power of a clear, short, self honest confession of guilt. I never said I was sorry, or hung my head. In fact, walking around looking down is another of those counterproductive habits. Be direct and honest, not arrogant. 

Cynical ploy, inhuman cruelty or exposure of hypocrisy?

The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement on Friday, April 12. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal. The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values,” she added. Breathtaking, I know. Trump is the embodiment of evil. What is this particular furor about. It’s about Trump’s latest rhetoric trap.

“If the Radical Left Democrats all of a sudden don’t want the Illegal Migrants in their Sanctuary Cities (no more open arms), why should others be expected to take them into their communities? Go home and come into our Country legally and through a system of Merit!” Trump responded to the backlash of the White House plan on Saturday morning, April 13, to move illegal immigrants awaiting an asylum decision into “sanctuary cities”. What’s the problem pelosi? If a city is declared a sanctuary city, doesn’t that mean they welcome illegal undocumented aliens immigrants? Or are they angry that their virtue signaling might backfire? Of course Trump has no real intention of moving the illegals into sanctuary cities…..But I wish he would. I simply don’t understand her objection. How does moving the very people for whom the designation “sanctuary cities” was created, to any of those cities, “perpetuate fear” and “demonize immigrants?” Don’t the people of those cities want them there? Someone does, I mean who called them sanctuaries?

But her comments make sense if: most of the people who live in those cities don’t agree with the sanctuary designation; or they don’t want people who are here illegally to move in next door; or the behavior of the immigrants that get moved in will leave a bad impression. Maybe all three? Could it be that the virtue signalers are also snobs and hypocrites? And don’t represent the majority of residents? If that’s true, then Pelosi’s objection is valid. Perhaps most people who are citizens of this country don’t want self-styled elites to declare their homes sanctuaries for those whose first act inside the United States was breaking our law.

Yeah, I get that from their point of view, entering our “deplorable country” illegally is way preferable to living legally where they came from. If that’s the criteria for obeying our laws, let’s let everyone in who feels that way. By the way, who most vociferously objects to sanctuary cities? The people who went through our system legally to become citizens!