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Saturday, July 6, 2013


I found it necessary to modify an illustration (ok, beyond the little greeting) from the excellent archive, FTIC , because, although it effectively typified  the 19th century standard of bow wow oratory, it lacked  relevance to history as I have imagined it.

The figure above is delivering an impassioned speech against Jeunism, elder-discrimination, and has just begun an attack upon the overprescription of stool-softeners by pointing at a softened stool.

"Ladies and gentleman, how can we condone a heinous compound which, when misapplied by ne'er-do-wells, causes our most experienced pianists to fall off their art and sends skilled saloonists sprawling from their bars?"

The audience was all attention. Interest and indignation had been piqued. They heard more:

"I have the testimony of Macomber Bomby, the man behind Dan Patch, who drove that peerless pacer to break 14  world speed records, finally setting the world's record for the fastest mile by a harness horse in all history. Mr. Bomby confided to me, he said, 'Professor Fustian, I sits a sulky solider than sudden sodden sanity but when I goes for a snort spiked with stool softener --and mind you, it ain't half bad-- I falls right on the floor.'"

The audience indulged in a collective moan of horror.

Professor Fustian continued: "Dear friends of culture and American progress, I shall conclude this chautauqua on a hopeful note.  We have perceived something which warns us we are in the presence of tragedy, that our youth have taken to pharmaceutical offense against us. Like Macomber Bomby, we encounter novelty in the form of stool softener and find ourselves brought back upon our own traces. Who is responsible? If we consult imagination and act upon its suppositions, I believe we'll find ourselves justified in blaming the young.

"In the face of misguided enterprise,  errors of youth we cannot ourselves remember making, we must maintain strong character with an immense capacity for self-restraint. When prescribed stool-softener by younger and younger physicians, we must persevere and pretend to agree. Yes, there will backlash and youthful outrage at our stoppage, but we will prevail. Indeed, we have had extraordinary luck isolating this problem and it will be entirely our own fault if we do not succeed in flushing it out."



  1. Hi Geo.,

    Suppositions? Flushing it out? Your posts are so clever and full of double and triple and quadruple meanings, I could probably read them ten times and not catch them all. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog.


    (still chuckling over this one)

  2. Kind Michelle-- Thank you. The day was so full of heat and hornets that I sat inside and wrote potty humor.

  3. I haven't yet become old enough to utilize stool softeners, but softening of the brain began afflicting me years ago. I blame it on the Texas dust and heat, although enthusiasts of Jeunism might think otherwise.

    I always come prepared with a dictionary and a reasonably clear mind before I immerse myself in your posts. I immediately had to look up "Jeunism" and became rather alarmed when I realized that it could apply to me.

    It's useless for me to write my own blog posts after reading yours. There's no possible way that I could use "chautauqua" in a sentence.

  4. Jon-- Thanks! Few have heard of chautauquas nowadays. My mother enjoyed them when they traveled to her town in Oklahoma in the 1920s. Didn't hear of them again until I read a book in the '70s called "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance".

  5. With the most wonderful and all knowing Wikipedia at my fingertips, I slowly pieced this brilliant post together in my slowly dismissing mind. It's all about movement, baby.

    I think this was one of your top ten, Geo.

  6. I know a few people who needs "Kaopectate" for their brain to keep too much shit from coming out.

  7. Hahaha, what a funny and intelligent post! In Germany we have the term 'Jugendwahn' - youth mania - and you can see it everywhere - but who are we to complain? We created it - and now we can't get rid of it, as Goethe's the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice'. I love especially your attentive and very involved audience. Professor Fustian seems a bow to Johann Wolfgang von G. too? If I had to translate Chautauqua - had to look it up - we could take Mr. Friedrich Fröbel - but no - that would be a faux pas: he wanted to educate the very young (Audience, grumbling: hear! hear!) forming them like potter's clay...

  8. I love Pirsig's book about his Chautauqua.

    Sadly jeunism is as live and well.


  9. Arleen--You honor me! I got the pic of Dan Patch from Wikipedia, which is getting more Wiz-of-Oz-like all the time.

    Keith-- Sometimes I need something to keep thoughts together. You think roughage would help my brain too?

    Britta-- I love your insightful comments! Goethe did come to mind but Fustian --as his name implies-- is far more bombastic and less enlightened than the champion of Wiemar Classicism.

    Laoch-- Pirsig! I'd forgot his name but not his life-affirming inquiry into existence, love and understanding. Thanks!

  10. For sure, it sounds like a vile movement, and rumor has it the ring leader is a buxom young lass named Lucy Bowels...

    Another fun post, dude. We can get back at the young people, ya know. Just feed 'em sugar-free cookies. LOTS of sugar-free cookies. Hehe.

  11. Susan-- I hoot! Decidedly I hoot! Wasn't Lucy Bowels a character in "Threepenny Opera"? "Hey Lotte Lenya and Miss Lucy...(I forget)". Dude likes your sugar-free cookie plot!

  12. With "Fustian" I (flippantly) thought of Goethe's protagonist "Faust": Habe nun, ach! Philosophie,
    Juristerei und Medizin,
    Und leider auch Theologie
    Durchaus studiert, mit heißem Bemühn.
    Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!
    Und bin so klug als wie zuvor;", Project Gutenberg translates it as:
    "I've studied now Philosophy
    And Jurisprudence, Medicine,--
    And even, alas! Theology,--
    From end to end, with labor keen;
    And here, poor fool! with all my lore"
    I stand, no wiser than before:

  13. Britta-- With exception of "Juristeri und Medizin" I could use your delightful quote as a personal axiom. Thanks!

  14. What a great post, Mr. G! SNL could use some of your classy wit. But I suppose the bulk of it would be lost on the younguns.

  15. W2W-- Thanks! I hope the younguns find enough hilarity in life without my assistance but I sure appreciate your compliment.


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