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 Post subject: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:26 am 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
When the Yankees went up 3 games to 2 versus the Astros in the '17 AL Championship, some of my local friends worked themselves into a state. I have yet to speak with anyone who was rooting for the Yankees (no doubt they have their fans outside Gotham), but these guys were genuinely agitated. E-mails were flying back and forth regarding the Number of the Beast and the Immortality of Vampires, what have you. It was like a bunch of Schulers arguing a particularly knotty aspect of rabbinical law which they couldn't spin to their advantage. Yankees over the Dodgers in six, and Civilization is doomed. Or maybe because they were all in agreement - how did Gilbert Sorrentino express it? - perhaps more like the Bronte sisters arguing over a dildo.

Yesterday afternoon, in advent of Game 7, I came across a curious passage in Book 5 of Karl Ove Knausgaard's roman a clef, My Struggle, the 3,600 page novel about a guy writing a 3,600 page novel. It's 1988, and the 20 year old Karl Ove is drunk at a party at his brother's place in Bergen, Norway. Everyone else is pretty lit, it's not just him, and an argument breaks out over what music should be played. One of the most vociferous of the guests wants nothing to do with Queen, or Rush, or Pink Floyd, or Genesis - they're all passe.

"But I like Queen," Karl Ove replies, innocently.

"What about Bob Dylan, then?" the combative Avant Gardist asks. "He's got such good lyrics! Ha ha ha! Yes, how he didn't get the Nobel Prize is a scandal."

Book 5 was published in 2010, so Knausgaard would have had no way of knowing that the deadly sarcasm he would later recall with such clarity - the absurdity of even considering Dylan for a Nobel Prize - would be overturned, 28 years after the conversation about Bob Dylan, has-been, took place.

Which does nothing to rob the passage of its poignancy.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:34 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
On behalf of the 0.05% of the TV audience living in Pacific Daylight Time who actually fell out at 0600, did the SSS thing, and then sat down to watch the Vikings-Browns game broadcast out of Twickenham - you guys are carrying me. I don't have a TV feed, and missed the entire game.

Bonus points to anyone who took a cold shower.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:48 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
I just received a check in the mail: $0.61, from Synchrony Bank, an exploitative usurer which manages the accounts for JC Penney and BP Petroleum, among others. If your running any debt, you might want to shred those cards.

I think I'll frame my Synchrony check, for $0.61, and mount it above my desk. The money came back to me courtesy of a sales associate at JC Penney, who spent twenty minutes on the phone to resolve a $10 discrepancy, a round-faced beauty of East African descent, in fashionable hijab, and whose name I've intentionally forgotten. She did not flirt, but addressed me with perfect courtesy, eye to eye - she was an easy 6'1" - and although my payment was late, I incurred no additional charges. Quite the contrary.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:35 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
I've been re-writing the fable of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, posing Goldilocks as an aggressive real estate agent. The definitive form of this fable of Goldilocks was composed by Robert Southey, a third-rate English poet who was Poet Laureate of England for 30 years, and as first among equals, in the estimation of the Hanoverian regency, eclipsed Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron, and Wordsworth.

Southey wasn't by any means a stupid man. Knowing as he did, that he wasn't first rate, he might have refused the honor. Sir Walter Scott did, and so the title of Poet Laureate fell to Southey.

The proliferation of Poets Laureates needs to be checked. This, on behalf of Karla Huston, Poet Laureate for the State of Wisconsin, as taken from Wikipedia, and it is verbatim:

"She attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in (English) education in 1993."


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
How many guns does truth have?
How many troops, mortars, grenades, antitank weapons?
When does beauty fight?
And who the hell wants history on his side?
We could sit here sipping wine through the whole war and win it with words.

Captain Lionel Beckman
Castle Keep


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:19 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
Positioned in Minnesota almost precisely halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, I occasionally inquire - while out smoking in the falling snow, four snow events this season, as of November 13th - of my neighbors, why do you persist?

If I'm asking this question of my fellow smokers, who like me standing outside in a snowstorm, the intelligent drunk might reply, "Why do just one foolish thing when you can multi-task?" Unfortunately, I had to ask this question of myself. It seemed so obvious.

I'm too lazy to come out of the rain. Your suspicions are doubly warranted.

Generally speaking, the wings of lepidoptera don't function below 50 F. But today, November 13, while swinging a dumbbell in the parking lot of Dodge Nature Preserve, I could not but observe some drab geometrid, a dull beige moth with a wingspan of 1.2" fluttering over me. The temp was maybe 42 F - I'd have to kick my socks off to count the nights when the local temperature has fallen below 32 F locally, over the last two weeks - the poor guy was perking along, at a height of ten feet, cruising for a flightless female who may never have molted. But I hope she did.

SHAKES has introduced an outside source on this thread. I can't fault him. The lines he quotes, taken from a screenplay, not merely aspire to but arrive at poetry. But, as correctly quoted, the soliloquy failed to save the fictional character, Beckerman, who died, and held one end of his own rope.

I want everyone on this thread to prosper. So let me introduce another unoriginal source - this courtesy of the New Yorker, in which the written, rather than the spoken word, leave alone the winged world, yields no special absurdity, perhaps, but if not, a fractious discouragement:

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

The black poet would love to say his century began
With Hughes, or, God forbid,Wheatley, but actually
It began with all the poetry weirdos & worriers, warriors,
Poetry whiners & winos falling from ship bows, sunset
Bridges & windows. In a second I'll tell you how little
Writing rescues. My hunch is that Sylvia Plath was not
Especially fun company. A drama queen, thin-skinned,
And skittery, she thought her poems were ordinary.
What do you call a visionary who does not recognize
Her vision? Orpheus was alone when he invented writing.
His manic drawing became a kind of writing when he sent
His beloved a sketch of an eye with an X struck through it.

He meant, I am blind without you. She thought he meant
I never want to see you again. It is possible he meant that, too.

- Terrance Hayes


Last edited by GONE D on Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:30 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
Post found wanting
I walk the road of shame
by Anne Elk


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:49 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
Dear Rob:

An on-line acquaintance, of whom I think quite highly, recently prompted me to consider the distinction between absurdity and farce. Both depend on apparent incongruity. I hadn't really thought beyond that. But I swiftly arrived at a plausible distinction, Absurdity vs Farce, which distinction at first glance must certainly be over-simplified. I simply haven't been able to improve upon it.

While the incongruence of farce is comprehensible and always plays for laughs (History repeats itself: first as Marx and then as Khrushchev), the incongruence of absurdity is a transcendent, cognitive dissonance beyond all comprehension, and needn't be the least bit funny. Absurdity may be tragic. The peculiar genius of Samuel Beckett (not to my taste, but who am I?) was to place his audience on the same stage as his performers. How important is it that Vladimir and Estrogon eventually meet Godot? Here we are, waiting with them. Beckett, of course, is dead. Apparently he lost all patience.

Tuesday night, while playing Buzztime trivia, I saw an advertisement on TV, in which a well-muscled young man was engaged in a variety of exercises, displaying a flexibility I never had at the age of seven. With one leg bent behind him, he could touch his forehead to his knee. He performed several other astonishing feats, and in the final scene, took off running at a 5-6 minute pace on a concrete boulevard. As he swiftly receded in the distance, an on-screen graphic advertised a local group of orthopedic surgeons. Of course the sound was turned off, so I did not hear a voice-over admonishing the viewer, "See what that Fool is doing? If you wish to become one of our clients, all you need to do is to emulate him."

Much to my dismay, there are on-line forums which recommend jogging on concrete for variety's sake, or for speed training. Mercy. But in point of fact, the coefficient of elasticity of concrete is exponentially higher than for any other jogging surface (dirt, grass, cinder, asphalt). Concrete is installed for durability, and the solus ipse is ephemeral. Persistent running on concrete shall eventually pulverize your knees.

That evening, last Tuesday, when I went off to play Brainbuster and Showdown, the temperature was 43 F with a gusting drizzle aspiring to the status of sleet. I didn't play that badly, but got lapped in both quizzes by SHAKES's sometime stablemate MERKIN, who sets the bar for many of us Buzztime players. (Never mind who these people are, in context they're only important to me.) When I arrived home, it was still 43 F and drizzling. Much to my dismay, there was a pickup truck in my underground garage stall. I had to park outdoors, and went up to my apartment to write a love letter to the squatter in the garage. Perhaps when I stuck the post-it note to the driver's window, I tripped a silent alarm. Within an hour he had moved his truck. How do I know this? When I went out to my car an hour after arriving home, the same truck was parked next to my car. Outdoors.

Why did I go back out in such atrocious weather? I craved coffee. Usually I've got some portion of a 16 oz latte chilling in the fridge, but Tuesday night I didn't. By that hour, 10 PM, all the local coffee houses were closed. I ended up at B-52, which serves a decent cup, and downed two of them, along with an unnecessary manhattan. Then I went home, to parse the distinction between farce and absurdity for a post to New Scaratings. Somehow I brought Thomas Pynchon into the message, and while engaged in some minor fact-checking, managed to flush my entry. So I re-wrote the post on Wednesday night and, very confident of my eloquence, somehow flushed it again.

This is now my third attempt at a first draft. I'm sorry to report that it is no improvement on its predecessors. But it's all you're getting. The temperature is now no longer 43 F, but rather 34 F. I hope you take as much comfort as I do in this minor rearrangement.

Yours from Mouse Hollow


Last edited by GONE D on Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:45 pm 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
MERKIN, no matter how measured, is a very good trivia player.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:25 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
Shakes wrote:
MERKIN, no matter how measured, is a very good trivia player.


MERKIN may be better than SPOTES, with whom he is complementary. But that's not saying much.

Please observe the tagline on this New Scaratings category, SHAKES. It's not all about trivia.

Since I initiated a thread regarding absurdity, it has become increasingly clear that I need to hold all of you to a lower standard.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:47 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
Live to trivia, trivia to live.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:02 pm 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
From Robert Grosseteste (the first recorded Master of Arts at Oxford University): Study as if you were to live forever. Live as though you were to die tomorrow.

But I suspect SHAKES was already onto this.

Reviewing my previous absurdity, I confess to failure. Comparing SPOTES to MERKIN (oranges to orangutans), I somehow expected to be blitzed with criticism, and yet here I stand, my skin intact.

When my daughter was 8 years old, I asked her whether she ever had nightmares. She could not recall ever having had one.

At that point in my life, I was suffering 3-4 nightmares per week. The average American, according to the numbers, was suffering 2.9 nightmares per year.

I don't so much have a brain as a murky place where polecats and badgers mate to create hedgehogs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:02 pm 
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Catch

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:42 pm
Posts: 22
I changed phone providers and got a refund check for.05¢.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:10 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
Quote:
Reviewing my previous absurdity, I confess to failure. Comparing SPOTES to MERKIN (oranges to orangutans), I somehow expected to be blitzed with criticism, and yet here I stand, my skin intact.


Failure to be blitzed with criticism, as a sort of electronic flagellation?

"You're an interesting species, an interesting mix. You are capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares."
Alien/Ted Arroway
Contact


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:23 pm 
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King or Queen Postsalot
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:27 pm
Posts: 1550
My only criticism would be that I, clearly, should be the orangutan...


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:39 am 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
Shakes wrote:
"You're an interesting species, an interesting mix. You are capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares."


SHAKES, who seems to have a cryptic aphorism for every occasion, sometimes provokes me to think outside the box. Do I resent this? Of course I do. It's nice and cozy in here. But I probably don't resent it as much as he imagines. To tell the truth, I just like to hear myself bitch.

While pondering the above-going provocation, the following story came to mind, more or less intact. It's taken me more than a week to get it down. While I can be provoked to think, getting me to act is a little more difficult.

I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't, blame SHAKES. The story wouldn't exist without him.

I

If Mama Bear, returning home from her part time job at a nursing facility, stopped at a convenience store more to get out of traffic than for any other reason, and having pumped a few dollars of gas and purchased a two liter soda pop, more out of despair than optimism purchased a $4 lottery ticket, then you may well imagine her surprise when, a week or two later, she checked her lottery ticket with the convenience store clerk, her friend Mavis - they had sat down over coffee once or twice - and discovered that it paid out to the tune of eight figures.

"Bless my stars!" Mavis declared, returning the winning ticket to Mama. "By the way, Sweetie, I'm available for adoption."

Mama Bear recollected, from media report, the dismal trope of lottery winners who had spent foolishly and ruined themselves. This would not happen to her family. But still, some celebration was in order. She stopped at the grocer's and bought an elk, half dead and partially frozen, and a $10 California red.

"Wow, Babe!" Papa Bear declared, when he sat down to dinner. "What's the occasion?" Without replying, Mama Bear lit two candles, and placing them on the dining table, switched off the ceiling light. Baby Bear, tucked into his high chair, was studying his smartphone. Whether he noticed that the lights had gone down, he was typically indifferent to conversation.

The legs of the elk were still twitching.

II

The Bear family, husband and wife, had made an early decision in their partnership to minimize their expenses. Neither of them were especially talented or well-educated, after all they were Bears, and correctly understood that they should establish a homestead with a low buy-in and low taxes. Neither of them had foreseen that the outward expansion of their metropolitan community was stall, leaving them on an island outside the margin of the American Dream. Now they had the opportunity to make up for lost time.

III

Mama and Papa Bear were, in a circuitous way and by whispered word of advice, eventually led to the inner sanctum of Goldilocks and Friends, a boutique real estate agency which specialized in stroking the egos of the nouveaux riches, wherein they were met by an elegant blonde, whose classic beauty, as she made manifest, was secondary to her concern for the happiness of the Bear family.

"Where are you now?" Goldilocks asked.

"Just a cabin in the woods," Mama Bear declared. "It's always been our home."

Their cabin was isolated, and all too often a target for casual vandalism. Porridge had been eaten. Beds had been slept in.

"The Missus has been after me to install locks on the doors," Papa Bear apologized. "But it just seems like such a hassle."

"I understand," the Realtor smiled. "You want to live in a community where everyone is so rich that they'd never dream of entering your home without an invitation, and a mailbox would only spoil the view. A place where the mailman comes in through the servant's entrance to place your mail on the kitchen table."

With a smile which might have been construed as conspiratorial, woman to woman, Mama Bear, according to her own lights, signified that she was on the inside of the jest.

"I have just the place," Goldilocks resumed. "A sixteen room cottage, four bedrooms and five baths, brick and stucco exterior, with Georgian columns supporting the front porch. It's not the most prominent residence in the neighborhood, but it might well be the best designed. And my advice to clients, not just you, Mr and Mrs Bear, but to everyone who visits this realty - fly below radar. Don't buy the fanciest in the neighborhood. You'll be paying a premium for the privilege of advertising yourselves as the apex species. And in resale, you'll benefit from your neighbors' higher property values."

The place was stunning. Built on a ridge below the summit of its glassy asphalt boulevard, it had a south-facing greenhouse attached to the lower level. The orchids would remain as part of the purchase price. As for the outdoor pool? It could be stocked with salmon. The bedrooms? Neither too hot nor too cold, but so spacious that Mama and Papa Bear could occupy just one, even outside breeding season. He preferred to sleep on the floor anyhow. "Of course you'll want to hold an open house," Goldilocks advised them, while handing over the keys. "You have some interesting neighbors. You can do yourself a favor by cultivating them. And I can recommend a caterer."

The next morning, shortly before noon, a pile of mail appeared on the kitchen table.

IV

Baby Bear was the least of their problems. All he wanted was a blond Mohawk and a moped, so he could clubbing with his new friends. The open house proved a little more troublesome. All the neighbors attended, and when Goldilocks (who knew a surprising number of them) herself departed at midnight, Mama Bear assumed that everyone else would leave as well. It came as a surprise to find many of them, next morning, draped over the furniture - selected for the Bear family by a well-regarded interior stylist - in poses which could only be described as tragic. Two such zombies were in the kitchen, attempting to automate an espresso machine for which Mama Bear hadn't even had time to read the instructions.

V

Truth to tell, Mama Bear was only partially literate. Under the circumstances, who could blame her for becoming paranoid that the servants were cheating her? She fired the cook. The others were no better. The maid? The chauffeur? She contemplated the price of a domestic guillotine, which would surely be available from one of those geek-tek websites. Thankfully she had the love of Papa Bear, without whom she would have been bereft. And he was generally supportive of whatever Mama Bear wanted.

VI

The party on the Bear estate went on and on. Mama Bear coped as well as she could. Papa Bear always said yes, but it came as a surprise to her, when on one occasion she brought lobster canapes from the kitchen, only to find Papa Bear surrounded by his friends and snorting up a line off the dining room table.

"Papa Bear!" she exclaimed. "That is a dreadful sin!"

"It's only a sin," came the pious reply of the Chalk Wizard, who hovered nearby with the suffering eyebrows of a tormented saint, "If you can't afford it."

Mama Bear took to disappearing for weeks on end at a spa somewhere near Sedona.

VII

In hindsight the Bear family should have paid cash for their beautiful little estate. A year in, they had a little less than half a million in equity, and about a third of that in credit card debt. Unfortunately they had been careless of maintenance, and when they begged Goldilocks to sell the place, she told them quite frankly that she wouldn't be able to fetch a price which would fully satisfy the Bears' mortgage. However, this sort of thing is more common than you would think. She knew a good bankruptcy lawyer.

What they were left with wasn't even sufficient to repurchase their old cottage in the woods. They ended up moving even deeper into the wilderness and taking up residence in a cave.

"It's fabulous being blond," Goldilocks reflected. "Of course the yoga and the kale smoothies don't hurt. True, it's a pity about that family that won the lottery. Some of us are just not equipped to handle wealth. In any event, the laws of nature have reasserted themselves. It isn't good for Bears to live indoors."

Yours from Mouse Hollow


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:47 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
GONE D wrote:
Quote:
At that point in my life, I was suffering 3-4 nightmares per week.

Shakes wrote:
Quote:
You are capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares.

I didn't think it all that cryptic, more a mild paean to your suffering.
I myself do not dream, which the DSM-V indicates as having a positive correlation with certain psychoses.

GONE D wrote:
Quote:
blame SHAKES

A recurring theme in my life.

"When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
Eli Wallach/Tuco


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:09 am 
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Sir or Dame Postsalot

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:33 am
Posts: 225
Shakes wrote:
GONE D wrote:
Quote:
At that point in my life, I was suffering 3-4 nightmares per week.



I'd altogether forgotten making that bizarre confession, possibly because I ended up spinning it into yet another yarn, where it took up residence as the frailty of an otherwise fictional character.

In any event, I'm sincerely grateful that you would take the time to explain to me what seems so transparent and obvious. It may not be your last opportunity. Let me go to work on Eli Wallach.

Bugg wrote:
I changed phone providers and got a refund check for.05¢.


I think we have a clear winner here.


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:40 am 
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Well, Schmidt!

Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:37 am
Posts: 20
GONE D wrote:
Quote:
I'm sincerely grateful that you would take the time to explain to me what seems so transparent and obvious.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
1 Corinthians 13:4 KJV


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 Post subject: Re: The Absurdity
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Centenarian

Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:16 am
Posts: 116
I missed this thread until now.

It is my honor to be compared to such simians as Spotes!

Thanks Shakes and Gone D.

_________________
Merkin


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