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  • Jun 22 / 2017
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Rescue Each Other

Some kids ask their dads why the sky is blue. Not mine. Which is good, because I have no idea why and couldn’t care less. I’m willing to stipulate that there’s a reason, but have no interest in discovering it and am glad my children never pressed me on it. To me, blue seems like a good color for the sky, and that’s the end of the matter.

No, my kids ask me things like: “Are there mountains in this world?” and “Are cartoons real?”

Those are two questions my second daughter, Ida, asked when she was very young. We were living in New Orleans at the time, where the highest elevations – aside from the levee system – are anthills and crawfish chimneys. She’d never seen a mountain, except in movies and on TV, and had no way of knowing if they actually existed.

I’m no world traveler, but I’ve seen the Smokies and the Rockies with my own eyes and was thus able to testify to the reality of mountains. Whether Ida accepted my witness or not, I don’t know, but she has since seen mountains herself and is now a believer.

The second question was more difficult: Are cartoons real?

I don’t know anyone who liked cartoons as a child more than I did. Popeye, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Yogi Bear, the great Tex Avery classics – I loved them all, so much so that two decades later I bought videotape collections of most of them for my kids so I’d have an excuse to watch them all again. And watch them we did, over and over and over.

I bought videotapes of all the old animated Disney films I’d seen as a child, too, from Dumbo to Lady and the Tramp to Jungle Book.

All my kids became cartoon aficionados, well versed in the classics. Then, they began to develop new animated favorites. Ida discovered the Anamaniacs on TV one afternoon and soon had us all watching Yakko, Wakko and Dot, Pinky & the Brain, the Goodfeathers , and Katie Ka-Boom (modeled, I’m convinced, on my oldest sister).

We began to watch the newer Disney films, too: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, etc.

Though we didn’t acquire the tape until much later, The Rescuers Down Under came out the year Ida was born and proved to be one of her early favorites. It’s the story of two mice who ride on the back of an albatross all the way from New York to Australia to foil a poacher.

Are cartoons real? Well, that one seemed a bit far-fetched, but, still, it had a good message: There are people/animals out there that need rescuing – and you might be the rescuer!

Ida grew up with animals, When she was born in Wisconsin in 1990, we had two dogs and 15 cats, which seemed like a lot of pets at the time. When we moved back to New Orleans, she discovered lizards. When we moved to St, Louis in 1995 and lived in a farmhouse down by Creve Coeur Lake, she discovered tree frogs. Eventually, we wound up in Bridgeton and – what with birds in cages, fish in tanks, hamsters, guinea pigs, a ferret, and miscellaneous reptiles – we had a grand total of 75 pets, most of them Ida’s.

Then one day she came across a notice online about a dog the owners no longer wanted and asked if she could rescue it. It was a mess and we already had a dog, so I demurred. A month or two later, it was still there and she asked again.

She went and got that mangy, half-dead dog and brought it back to life. She became a rescuer.

Tomorrow, she’s going to marry a guy named Dan who’s an EMT/fireman. A rescuer, too.

They both know that there are mountains in this world, because they’ve climbed them together. They both know that cartoons are real, at least on some level. And they both know, I hope, that the greatest thing anyone can do in life is to rescue someone else.

The Last Time Something Like This Happened to Me

  • Jun 19 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: BARRY WHO?

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

BARRY WHO?
“Who’s that pompous, preposterous prig?”
“Oh, that jug-eared, effete talking twig?
He’s the diva of drama,
Says his name is Obama
And he used to be somebody big.”

From the archive

MINSTREL PERIODS
What he’s done for his “brothers” ain’t much,
With his “roots” he appears out of touch,
But when under attack
Oh! Obama is black,
With a race card to play in the clutch.
(2016)

HER SUITOR
With a long-running rumor to quell
And a positive image to sell,
He came up with a plan
To look more like a man:
“What I need is a beard, then, Michelle.”
(2015)

TRANSFORMER
It was destiny, she knew it
And was certain she could do it:
Be the one to set precedent
As the first woman president,
But Obama beat her to it.
(2014)

OBAMA IN THE HIGHEST
“With the pope, I made such an impression
That he asked me to hear his confession.
I replied, with a nod,
‘I’m related to God
And would gladly provide intercession.’”
(2014)

RODEOBAMA
Did a single State Fairgoer frown
At the thought of a bull running down
Such a shuffling shirker
And smart-aleck smirker
As Obama the rodeo clown?
(2013)

SWISH!
“It was best not to tell it or ask it,
But it’s out now, so why try to mask it?
Yes, Obama enjoys
Pick-up games with the boys,
But he pouts when he can’t get a basket.”
(2013)

OUT
His own poll shows a massive defection
And he cannot succeed sans injection:
All his intimates know
That Obama, down low,
Now has trouble achieving election.
(2012)

HOSANNA OBAMA!
This convention was more than just odd,
With the delegates given a prod
To embrace depraved gaiety,
Overthrow the true deity,
And install Lord Obama as god.
(2012)

(DOING) THE OBAMA
Two steps forward and bow like Barack.
Arms akimbo, a single step back.
Now a shuffle in place
With a smile on your face.
Two steps forward and bow like Barack . . .
(2012)

HOLLOW WEENIE
“I may act like Elmer Fudd
And appear to be a dud,
But I’m truly spectacular,
The awesome Count Barackula,
And I want to suck your blood.”
(2011)

PINOCCHIOBAMA
While we hang on his every last word,
Mesmerized by the mishmash we’ve heard,
Teleprompters relay
What the dummy should say
And our president’s Mortimer Snerd.
(2009)

Last week’s limerick

COME(D)Y
“Though a multimillionaire
And a fixer extraordinaire,
Standing six-foot-eight,
I was so afraid
Of that man with orange hair.”

  • Jun 12 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: COME(D)Y

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

COME(D)Y
“Though a multimillionaire
And a fixer extraordinaire,
Standing six-foot-eight,
I was so afraid
Of that man with orange hair.”

From the archive

ADD VICE & CONSENT
“I’d prefer not to balk or retreat
And deliver another defeat,
But Koskinen and Comey
Have gotten to know me,
And the file they’ve compiled is complete.”
(2017)

Last week’s limerick

COMMENCEMENT
“In my cap and my gown, ill at ease,
One of millions with college degrees:
How that college has dunned me!
Please click through to GoFundMe,
Help defray my tuition and fees!”

  • Jun 05 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: COMMENCEMENT

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

COMMENCEMENT
“In my cap and my gown, ill at ease,
One of millions with college degrees:
How that college has dunned me!
Please click through to GoFundMe,
Help defray my tuition and fees!”

From the archive

BS
Here is something we need to abolish:
The idea we must all go to college,
Squander four years or more,
Pile up debt at our door,
And gain little or negative knowledge.
(2014)

GRADUATED TAX
How they worry us and make us fret:
These degrees that we just have to get!
I’ve now earned my diploma,
But what’s that aroma?
It’s the smell of a smoldering debt.
(2014)

IN LOCO PARENTIS
It is time to let go of the dears
We have formed in their faith 18 years –
And to spend, as we planned,
More than one hundred grand
On their faith-killing college careers.
(2011)

GRADUATION DAZE
There once was a student named Bob
Who stood out from the mortarboard mob;
Now he’s got his diploma,
But he’s caught in a coma
‘Cause he can’t find a well-paying job.
(2009)

RE: ORIENTATION
Fully formed are your heart, soul, and mind
With the facts of a faith well defined.
Now we send you to college,
Where a secular “knowledge”
Will ensure that belief’s undermined.
(2005)

QUEENS COLLEGE
“Your report card’s created a fuss
With your father and me: Both of us
Are a little bit leery
Of this course called ‘Queer Theory’
– And the fact that you got an A-plus.”
(2002)

GRADUATION DEITY
No religious beliefs were expressed
In his valedictorian address,
But he feigned an “achoo!”
And his classmates on cue
In unison shouted “God bless!”
(2002)

P.C. (POST CHRISTIAN)
The other children teased her
For being a faithful feaster:
When the pagan takes
His seasonal breaks,
She celebrates Christmas and Easter.
(2002)

CLARITY BEGINS AT HOME
Their parents won’t be overruled,
Nor their personal values retooled.
Their minds will grow strong
As they learn right from wrong,
‘Cause these children are being homeschooled.
(2000)

FRESHMAN ORIENTATION
Students headed for college each fall
Have to keep their opinions in thrall:
It’s essential to be
Perceived as “PC,”
So they try not to speak up at all.
(1999)

FAILING MARX
Socialism is dead!
Done in, the indomitable Red!
Or so it would seem,
But in academe
One had better check under one’s bed.
(1998)

GRAD SONG
The student goes to college
And an education forges,
But I fed too much
On knowledge and such,
And now my brain disgorges:
Within the dark and dismal class,
You’ll no longer spot my features.
My notes I burned,
And since I’ve learned
What I never could from teachers.
(1975)

Last week’s limerick

MEMORIAL DAY
If you’re honest and also well-bred,
You’ll pay homage to all who have bled
– Wearing blue, wearing gray –
And on this special day
Also honor Confederate dead.

  • May 29 / 2017
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Your Weekly Politickle: MEMORIAL DAY

Feel free to publish, post, or pass on Your Weekly Politickle by F.R. Duplantier:

MEMORIAL DAY
If you’re honest and also well-bred,
You’ll pay homage to all who have bled
– Wearing blue, wearing gray –
And on this special day
Also honor Confederate dead.

From the archive

THE HISTORY CHANT
In 1400 and 92
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Tell us more, tell us more
About US. U.S.,
That’s US. Tell us more.
We’re mad, we’re mad
About history, U.S. history,
Hopping mad.
Rap US up, Rap US up.
Who can tell us more
Of our history?
You can. I can.
American. American.

Columbus knew that the earth was round.
He sailed west for the East and a New World was found.
Tell us more, tell us more, ETC.

From the Old World more explorers came
From England and Holland, and France and Spain.
Tell us more, tell us more, ETC.

The settlers in Jamestown nearly starved.
Captain Smith said, to eat they had to work hard.
Tell us more, tell us more, ETC.

Read the entire “History Chant”

Last week’s limerick

FORWARD, MARSH!
“We’re surrounded by partisan haters,
Resisters, subversives, and traitors:
We have struggled and strained
To get the swamp drained,
But we’re up to our asses in gators.”

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