Thursday, February 25, 2016

Atticus's Opus

Deciding what words of faux wisdom to inscribe here today, my little corner of Prince Albert's Most Wonderful Creation, had put me in a bit of a conundrum.  I could not decide which of these two lines, both of which were uttered in the aftermath of Donald Trump's annihilation of the Four Hoarse Men of the Apocryphal in Tuesday's Nevada Republican Caucus, appealed to me more - as each is chock full of (presumably) unintentional humor.  

First, the life-size Candidate Ken doll (each is eerily lifelike), Marco Rubio from Florida, who garnered approximately twenty-four percent of the vote in the five-candidate race, offered the observation that Mr. Trump, who earned approximately forty-five percent of the vote on the way to his decisive first-place finish, had "underperformed".  According to Rubio's analysis, since Mitt Romney captured the Nevada Caucus in 2012 with more than fifty percent of the vote, Trump's ability to earn "only" forty-five percent of the vote could reasonably be interpreted as some type of failure or falling short on Trump's behalf.    

As a registered Republican, I am comfortable with Senator Rubio not knowing anything about science.  He is a GOP member of the United States Senate.  Membership in the Flat Earth Society is a prerequisite to securing the party line in any Senatorial election.  His creative math skills, sadly, make his own personal financial travails, which have been well-documented this campaign cycle, much easier to understand.  I too am arithmetically-challenged.  I do, however, have enough understanding of arithmetic to know that when someone finishes in first place in an election and the percentage of votes he received is a figure greater than the combined percentages of the second-place finisher and the third-place finisher, there are any number of things he can be said to have done.  Underperforming is not one of them.  

The other "post-caucus" line whose inherent - and again presumably unintentional - humor brought a smile to my face was uttered by Dr. Ben Carson.  At this juncture, Dr. Carson's motivation for continuing in this race appears motivated by two forces:  Free time and frequent flyer miles.  But for his desire to spend the former by accumulating the latter, no reasonable explanation exists for him continuing to compete for the GOP nomination.  

On Tuesday night, after his fourth-place finish in the Nevada Caucus (his 4.8% of the vote dwarfed John Kasich's 3.6% but was just a bit off of Trump's 45%), Dr. Carson's remarks to his supporters included this golden nugget (see what I did there, dropping a little casino reference?), "I believe that things are starting to happen here."   Old Doctor Ben might be right - although it is hard to envision him, having been the GOP front runner at one point several months ago, being so.  When I hear him say such things I think that he must have had the most beloved bedside manner of any surgeon in the history of medicine.  A "glass half-full" approach to life to be sure.  

At day's end, though, neither of those two pronouncements was the item upon which I stumbled that brought the most joy to the little charcoal briquette in my chest that masquerades as my heart.  It was learning that the late, great Harper Lee, creator of Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Scout and author of To Kill A Mockingbird, and Berkeley Breathed, creator of Opus, Steve Dallas, and Bill the Cat and cartoonist/author of Bloom County were pen pals and members of a wonderfully cool mutual admiration society. Mr. Breathed only spoke of it - and only shared the four letters that Ms. Lee had sent to him over the years - after her death.  They are a delight to read...


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