#FPQ 15: Bertrand Russell

Fandango’s taking some time off, so we have a golden oldie…

This week’s provocative question is based upon a quote by Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Whew, that’s a lot of cred. Anyway, Russell, who died in 1970, suggested that…

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that, in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubts.”

Do you concur with Mr. Russell’s perspective? Why or why not?

The way this quote is phrased implies that he had been discussing “the trouble,” and since we don’t know what that was, it’s kind of hard to say. So, let’s assume for the purpose of this exercise that the “trouble” is just a generic thing. (Which is probably the intention.)

Anyway, I would agree with this.

There is the distinct possibility that my idea of who qualifies as “the stupid” and “the intelligent” might vary slightly (or greatly) with who Bert, or for that matter anyone else, considers to be a genius or a moron. My mother (who, as you have probably guessed, had an opinion about everything) once said of someone, “if it wasn’t on paper that he was smart, no one would know.” Or, as Sheldon Cooper often said, “I’m not crazy, Mom had me tested.”

So, maybe it’s best to rewrite the esteemed Mr. Russell’s statement:

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that, in the modern world, the people who, in my humble opinion, are stupid are cocksure while the people who, in my humble opinion, are intelligent are full of doubts.”

We welcome replies to our editorials.

Tally-ho and away we go!
See you next week with a brand new show!

#FPQ 183: “Diversity Casting”

Interesting question from Fandango this week:

Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?

It doesn’t bother me, mostly because I don’t watch that much TV and never go to the movies. My thoughts anyway…

I remember when Eartha Kitt replaced Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the TV series Batman. Some of us were disappointed, not because we had any objection to Ms. Kitt, but because we liked Ms. Newmar in the show. We missed the rapport Ms. Newmar’s Catwoman had with the Caped Crusader, where half the time she wanted to kill him and the other half of the time she wanted him to be her boyfriend…

You couldn’t do that with Eartha Kitt when half the country had and enforced anti-miscegenation laws (by the way, not all the states that had those laws were in the Deep South). White Batman and Black Catwoman wasn’t gonna happen. Personally, I’d’ve liked to have seen that… Eartha Kitt was very attractive…

Let’s try something else: Pride And Prejudice. It was writen at the end of the 18th Century by Jane Austen, when few English people had seen a Black person, and I can say with almost complete certainly that there were no Black families among the landed gentry. Casting Idris Elba as Mr. Darcy would have fans of the book totally up in arms. After all, the only appropriate person to play Mr. Darcy is Colin Firth (this according to Mary, who for the last several months has been reading almost nothing but P&P fanfic). In order for Elba-as-Darcy to work, you’d have to modernize P&P to where Black men could be officers in the British Army and landed gentry. At that point, it all falls apart. Me? I think Idris Elba would be a great Mr. Darcy. But then, I read P&P almost 50 years ago, and didn’t actually read it…

I got a C in the class. I was happy.

As for the comic book stuff, I couldn’t care less. Black Superman? Fine. Gay Spiderman? Bring it on. Wonder Woman With Something Extra? I’m hip. One-legged Flash? I don’t know how you’d make it work, but OK.

#FPQ 181: How Ya Doin’?

Fandango asks:

How are you doing? Seriously, are you okay? Feeling good? Just okay? Not so great? Why do you think you’re feeling the way you are?

Fine, thanks! Physically, nothing more than the usual aches and pains; as a friend of mine said, if it ain’t hurtin’, it ain’t workin’.

I haven’t been out of the house since June 14, and the way it looks, I won’t get out again until October 19, and that’s fine with me. I don’t feel stuck or stir-crazy. Quite the opposite, in fact: I haven’t had to mess with masks or booster shots. If I want out, Mary says she’ll take me, but I don’t want out. I’d rather hang out in the playground in my mind…

(That’s the original, by the way; Clint Holmes’s was a cover and it got all the attention. Billy Lawrence is, according to the comments accompanying the song, an Italian guy from New Jersey.)

As they say, I’m in my own world, but I know everyone there.

I’ve been assiduously avoiding the news, as always. About the only news I watch is the last two or three minutes of The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, becaue I have to warm up the TV to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Lester Holt got his start in Chicago on WBBM-TV, which is the CBS O&O station there. He’s older, lost most of his hair (he used to have a pretty good Afro), and wears glasses now… Anyway, I find that ignoring the news, or rather what they dish out and call the news, makes me a calmer and much happier person. If I want news, I’ll watch the bloopers…

How are you doing?

#FPQ 180: Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho

Fandango has a doozy of a question this week:

Have you ever worked from home as an alternative to going into a worksite to do your job? Would you prefer working from home or working from an office? If you have been able to work from home since the pandemic hit and are now being told that you have to return to showing up at the office everyday, how would you feel about that?

Around 1994 or so, they issued each of us a laptop and told us to take it and all the stuff from our cubicles home. Unless we were in the office teaching or onsite at a client, we were to work from home. They gave us a furniture allowance and paid the cost for a local telephone line (this was before the prevalence of cellphones). For the next ten years I was based at home. My next job had pretty much the same rules: if you had no reason to be at the office and ween’t onsite, you could work from home. This was particularly good when I had my stroke: I could hook into the company’s VPN and access any computer from there.

I prefer working from home, and after my stroke it was a necessity. As much as they talk about the computer business being a job that you can do from anywhere, there was still the attitude that you have to be at the office, which I learned when I tried to get a job where I was able to work from home 100% of the time. When I would go to one of the job boards and look for “work from home” jobs, what usually came up was jobs where you were on the road all the time, or where they’d let you work from home one day a week. That wouldn’t do in my situation. That’s when I went on Disability.

The last question is moot: I was already retired when “Two Weeks To Stop The Spread” was announced. But say I was still working when it happened. That was right around my 64th birthday. If I had been working in the office at the time, I would dutifully return to the office two weeks later. Had it dragged on for two years, as it did, there’s a good chance I would have retired.

Anyone else noticed editor’s acting weird?

Three! Three! Three! Assignments In One!

Why do you suppose our little Capuchin monkey is so happy? Maybe because he’s going on vacation! At least, that’s my first impression, which is probably wrong, but it’ll do for our purposes.

First, I doubt that the monkey’s going on vacation. What I think is that he was caught in the act of being himself, as Allen Funt used to say on Candid Camera, by someone watching him with a video camera. When the people shooting the video were watching it, they saw him do this and said “hey! That would be a cool picture!” found the frame on the video that caught him at his silliest, and made this picture of it. I don’t think the monkey would sue if he were to see the picture and learn of the mirth and merriment being enjoyed by all, because, as we all know, monkeys make terrible lawyers.

Which brings us to this week’s FPQ, in which Fandango asks the following composite question:

Have you been on a vacation/holiday in the past three months? If so, did you take any precautions against contracting COVID? If you haven’t been on a vacation/holiday in the most recent three months, when was your last vacation/holiday? If you’re planning to go on vacation/holiday within the next six or so months, will you be taking any steps to reduce the risk of getting COVID?

We haven’t been on a vacation per se in years. Mary and I are homebodies, and my mobility issues make travel a major headache. We’re content to sit at home, where it’s quiet and we don’t have people telling us to put on masks and get booster shots.

Which brings us to Di’s question…

Whether it’s on a blind date, an interview, or meeting the new significant other’s parents, how do you react if the person isn’t how you imagined? Do you try to find some common ground, simply be polite, or shrug your shoulders?

I assume nothing about the person or persons that I meet, so I really don’t imagine anything about them. In other words, I don’t form an opinion about anyone until I actually meet them.

I’m no fun, am I?

Tally-ho and away we go!
See you next week with a brand new show!