Tongue In Cheek..

I am going to do a little ‘explainin’ on this post about the foundations for RJsCorner. Everyone knows that a good house has to have a good foundation in order to survive. Since RJsCorner has been going on for almost nine years now and has over 3,000 posts it must have a pretty good foundation, even if it is not mentioned very often.

I started RJsCorner primarily because I had an overwhelming desire to write about my view of the world. I have always loved writing but had never tried to do it around a theme. I needed something as a common thread throughout my future posts. That something turned out to be based around my biggest hero/mentor/inspiration in life. His name was Will Rogers. He died almost 15 years before I was born so I really only knew him by his words and stories about him. If you do a search for “Will Rogers” in my search box at the top of each page you will find over a hundred posts about Will.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. Here are some words about him from the back of one of my favorite books:

2017-10-11_10-00-37.pngWill Rogers “was” America. Part Cherokee Indian and former cowboy, he captivated audiences around the world with sparkling gems of wisdom cloaked in gentle and uproarious country wit..

A simple, plain-spoken man, he was the voice of a nation during the ’20s and ’30s. Movie star, vaudeville headliner, radio commentator, his views and observations were syndicated daily and weekly in over 600 newspapers across the country.

Here is the essential Will Rogers — the story of his remarkable career, from Oklahoma “cowpuncher” to international star . . . and the warm, knowing and hilarious philosophies of the man embodied the heart and soul of the nation.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. He had a lot to say about the ‘human condition’ in America during his years. He tackled on a myriad of topics but by far the one he wrote most about was politics.  He described politics of his time as “applesauce”. It’s hard to find the original source of this term but to me it means that the political process takes something that is good and wholesome and pulverizes it into an unrecognizable mush.

His most famous quote was the title of the book above. He wrote some pretty critical words but they were always with respect for the subject at hand and with a dose of humor.

The descriptions of Will Rogers is quite varied. Some call him a humorist-social commentator, some a humorist-philosopher, and some a satirist. His words were primarily with a “Tongue In Cheek” spirit. For those of you who might have a different view from me on that phrase here is a pretty good definition:

When a statement is “tongue in cheek” it is ironic, slyly humorous; it is not meant to be taken seriously, however it’s sarcasm is subtle.

Though not meant to be taken seriously, it is not overt joking or kidding around, it is “gently poking fun”. A “tongue in cheek” statement may have a double meaning, some sort of innuendo or is witty in some way, particularly to the speaker. The tone or the context of the statement may make it to be taken seriously by the listener.

Here at RJsCorner I try to always keep Will’s philosophy of writing in mind.  Some who read my words just take them too literally when they are primarily intended as ‘tongue in cheek’.

These are indeed dark times for America but they are not the only time there have been dark clouds.  We will get through them as we have in the past, if we only don’t take them too serious.  In that vein I will close out this post with one of my favorite quotes from Will.

Do the best you can but don’t take life too serious.

That’s darn good advise for our times if you ask me….

Never Just One Source…

Will Rogers is perhaps my primary hero in life. He is the reason I started up blogging  ten years ago and still today I try to follow his philosophy  when blogging here at RJsCorner.

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From Will’s Facebook page
Like Will I can tell from a mile away those folks who only watch Fox News for all their info about the political world. Their obsession with fear of almost everything shows through in much of what they do.

Like Will I try to think for myself but I don’t make up facts to align with my worldview. Common sense can explain much of the world today but it seems that so many of the pundits at Fox News and most of the others for that matter don’t have much of it.  When our news sources turned from an information providing public service to  for-profit institutions what sells the most is what is important to them. Giving balanced “reports” of the day has been long since abandoned.

There is just not enough people with common sense around anymore..

Even though you died several years before I was born I miss you Will and will try to carry on your tradition here at RJsCorner…

Being A Hero…

Will Rogers 6This thing about being a hero, about the main thing to it is to know when to die. Prolonged life has ruined more men than it ever made.

Will Rogers July 1928

I have been avoiding one of my heroes of late and that is a shame. Will Rogers has as much to teach us in the 21st century as he did almost a hundred years ago.

I’m not much of a sports guy but from what I can get from it there are too many heroes that just don’t know when to hang up their cleats or whatever they use.  They are really great at doing that one thing but then when their abilities wain many just seem hang on.  I know that Green Bay quarterback was a recent example. He just didn’t know when to take his millions and retire to something else.

Mark Twain was another guy that didn’t know how to exit stage left as old show people used to say. He wrote some books that were pretty famous (I didn’t personally care for them but so what), then as he got older he became extremely cynical about almost everything.  It ruined his persona as a literary hero to many.

I never really did much in my life to gain much attention. I helped invent the Trimline telephone and worked on several other things in that area but all have long since disappeared. I built quite a few painted country cabinets that are family heirlooms to those who bought them but that is a pretty limited crowd and of course I have been blogging for seven years now. I don’t have much of a legacy to tarnish in my old age.  So I can think and say pretty much whatever I want on RJsCorner and nothing much is damaged.

I know some of my heroes are tarnished by their actions. Cosby is one of the more recent ones.  I didn’t get married until I was almost 40 years of age and I used to say that everything I knew about marriage I learned from Cosby.  Of course I don’t say that anymore as it has now taken on a completely different persona.  Instead of being on my hero list Cosby is not occupying the black list.

Another hero was Henry Ford, he practically invented the middle class in America by paying his employees their share of the gains they produced. Without him and the processes he invented the 1950s and 60s would have been quite different place from the one I grew up in.  But then their is his racist stands in life. Every hero seems to have  a dark side.

In some ways its kind of nice to not to have to live up to a hero status. No one expects much from me, an unknown old and deaf guy so I don’t have much of an ability to disappoint anyone. I can pretty much say whatever I want and it doesn’t matter much. But I like to think that I am of my hero Will Rogers genre. I try to always treat everyone one with the respect they deserve.  Even here on RJ’sCorner…

Nothing Makes a Man More Broad-minded Like Adversity – Will Rogers

2015-12-01_17-47-22The billionaire Facebook founder and chief executive and his physician wife pledged to give away 99% of Facebook shares in their lifetime, currently worth about $45 billion, in a letter to their newborn daughter Max posted on Facebook on Tuesday, the national day of giving known as #GivingTuesday.

SOURCE: Mark Zuckerberg has baby girl, pledges to give away 99% of Facebook shares.

I know you are probably struggling to see the connection between the title of this post and the quote above.  If you hang on here I will show it to you. It is nice to see another billionaire who is giving back most of his wealth in his lifetime. Especially someone so young and just having his first child.  Mark Zukerberg’s meteoric rise in the corporate world is impressive and his wisdom at such an early age is too.

Since he is one of them I’m sure he sees what unearned wealth does to succeeding generations. He sees a wasted life of privilege and decadence. I don’t know his or his wife’s bio so I am not sure of how that affected their decision to give away 99% of his wealth instead of passing it on to his daughter.

Now let’s link the title to the quote, adversity makes you more broad-minded in life. It shows you that you are not the only person that breaths air. There are always others who have it harder than you do. Adversity gives your life perspective. Living with a silver spoon in your mouth often leads to being self-centered sometimes to the extreme. It can lead to a strong case of me-itis.

But Gates, Buffett, and now Zukerberg are the exception. It seems most in that stratosphere just want more and more and to keep it to themselves as long as possible and then pass it on to their heirs. They just seem to have little interest in the “common good” of humanity. The 1% now control the purse strings  and just about everything else in our society.  Somehow they have convinced so many low-info voters that the “death tax” is a bad thing.  They show them a family farm that was taken away due to inheritance taxes. What they don’t show is that less than 1% of farms ever see that condition. The vast majority of unearned wealth now moves almost totally  from one generation to another. This leads to a life without adversity or challenge.

Thanks Mark for joining such an elite group of billionaires who recognize that those who are given much owe much.

Here We Go Again… Even Eighty Years Later…

Will Rogers 6Here we go again!  America is running true to form, fixing some other country’s business for ’em just as we always do. We mean well, but will wind up in the wrong as usual…   Will Rogers June 22, 1931

I seem to have been ignoring one of my heroes of late. It seems that my op-ed posts are taking over RJsCorner. I gotta do something about that. After all life isn’t always about what is happening in the world. In fact it is even pretty far down in a sane person’s priority list. But who ever accused me of being sane?? 🙂

Of course each generation thinks that everything that happens to them is the first time it has happened.  For those of us who are U.S. history nuts know, that is rarely the case.  But sometimes when I come across a new Will Rogers quote it really surprises me. I didn’t know that before my time the U.S. had a reputation for getting into foreign messes where they really didn’t belong.

But I kinda think we have gotten a lot better at it now than we did when Will was alive.  We just gotta find every possible way to expand our military budgets. We can never spend enough on our guns and such. We spend more on it than the rest of the world combined but that, given our pretentious nature, is still never enough. So, we search the world far and wide to see where we can get into trouble and as usual end up on the wrong side of most of it…

Thanks Will for the thoughts.  I promise I will not ignore you so much in the future.

About Will Rogers…

Will Rogers Clan - Hdr

I will shout as clearly as I can that Will Rogers is one of my primary heroes. Here is what Wiki says about him.

Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska….

If you want to peruse some of my many posts about him and his words just click on “The Wisdom of Will Rogers” in the About Life category at the top of this blog.   I found the above picture in his museum in Clairemore Oklahoma recently. I have been there a couple of times now and will likely go back again.  See if you can find him in the above photo?

America Died From a Delusion…

Will Rogers 6Here we go again! America is running true to form, fixing some other country’s business for ’em just as we always do. We mean well but will wind up in the wrong as usual.

When some nation wants us to help ’em out, they use the same old “gag” that we should exert our “Moral Leadership: and, like a yap, we believe it when as a matter of truth, no nations wants any other nation exerting “Moral Leadership” over ’em, even if they had one.

If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone: “America died from a delusion that she had Moral Leadership”  — Will Rogers June 22, 1931 —

I am ashamed to admit that it has been a while since I used one of my hero’s quotes here on RJ’s Corner. Shame on me, Will’s words are what helps keep me centered during today’s version of turmoil. It has been eighty-four years since Will said these words and they are as true today as they were then.

No country, or even individual for that matter, wants someone to give them moral leadership. To even insinuate  that you want it is to admit that you don’t have enough of your own and for us Americans that is an almost impossible thing to say. We Americans are a pompous and egotistical bunch so we fall for this logic too easily. We like to think that somehow when God passed out morality we got a double, no a triple, dose of it.

Can you imagine if for instance Britain came over here to provide us with some “Moral Leadership” in the area of providing universal healthcare to our citizens?  Or worse yet to show help us get our murder rate to the extremely low levels of their’s?  I will be one to admit that we certainly could use their “Moral Leadership” in these areas but I am absolutely certain that their offer would be quickly and adamantly rejected.

What “Moral Leadership” means today is that countries want us to give them some of our weapons to more easily kill their enemies. It means that they want us to pump trillions of bucks into their country to do something they don’t have the will to do on their own.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that we don’t do some good in the world but as Will said almost a hundred years ago we far too often just get it flat-out wrong.  We stick our noses in where it doesn’t belong…

Thanks again Will for keeping me focused….

The Less You Know….

2014-11-24_15-03-15“I am kind of like a politician. The less I know about anything, the more I can say about it.” – Will Rogers, 12 June 1928

I’m kind of like a politician myself Will. One of my favorite quotes is “You don’t have to know what you are saying as long as you say it with authority”. That should be the mantra for most of those politicians inside the beltway. Too many of those yahoos like to strut around like they are experts on everything but in reality they let the lobbyists with the biggest purse tell them what to say and believe.

Its time we started sending some “real” people to that totally fake city… 🙂

Wanting a Gun….

2014-10-16_07-36-09“They want Peace, but they want a Gun to help get it with.” – Will Rogers, 9 February 1930

Yeah Will, nothing has changed much in this area since your day.  About the only thing different is that we have MUCH bigger guns now. It goes back to the old quote “If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail”. I love this country but I simply can’t begin to understand its obsession with guns…..

About The Invaders…

2014-03-02_16-18-10“Somebody would have found America though, even if he [Christopher Columbus] hadn’t, for you couldn’t hardly get around without running into it. Why they didn’t find it sooner is more than I will ever know. . . Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you personally I am sorry he ever found it. The discovery has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all the land.” – Will Rogers, 1 August 1926

I have enough “Indian” in my heritage to understand where Will is coming from here. I wonder what this country would be like now if Columbus had not accidentally bumped into it so many years ago? But also as Will said here someone was bound to have found the new world if he hadn’t.

I know Europe’s history is full of conquests and overthrow but for the most part the people invaded usually, at least in the end, managed to keep hold of their land. Since native-Americans believed that the land could not be owned but only rented they were naive enough to think that they too could keep hold of it. Instead all of therm were rounded up and put on the least wanted patch of ground now called Oklahoma.

To the victor belongs the spoils as they say, for us native Americans that seems especially true…

Canada and the Volstead Act…According to Will…

2014-10-12_07-59-37Arrived in the Canada capital today. More sentiment here to be annexed by Mexico than by America. They know us too well. If we get any nation to join us it will have to be some stranger. We only have one reason for wanting Canada and a modification of the Volstead Act will eliminate it. Waiting instructions.

Will Rogers — 11 October 1926.

When we took our extended visit to eastern Canada a few years ago I kind of got the same feeling that Will did almost 100 years ago. Canada is happy to have put off the invasion by the U.S. in 1812. They see all our problems with guns, drugs, booze in Will’s day and healthcare issues today and rejoice that they pretty much solved all those things years ago. When we told some there how much we pay for our health insurance, even with Medicare, they were shocked.

Now don’t get me wrong, except maybe for the french speaking part 🙂 they treated us Americans with friendly grace and cordiality.  Especially those taking our tourist dollars. If I couldn’t be an American even with all our solvable yet unsolved problems, I would want to be a Canadian. Where we are hyper about so much they seem to be calm and that is a nice state to be in.

We Cuss The Lawmakers….

2014-08-03_08-55-51“Well, we cuss the lawmakers . . . but I notice we’re always perfectly willin’ to share in any of the sums of money that they might distribute.” – Will Rogers, 7 April 1935

Being that we are coming up on an important election day in America I thought I would ramp up some of my feelings about politics here. I know for most, including me, this is a gutter issue in our country. We simply disdain those who we have currently chosen to represent us at the national level.

But as Will says in this quote. We seem to have disdain for all those other politicians but ours are OK as long as they get us more than our rightful share of the money they might distribute. By almost every poll taken in the last ten years we simply can’t stomach the goings-on in Washington but we seem to have no idea how to change that condition.

The first step in that  process is to accept that we are in denial when it comes to those we personally choose. In order to break the gridlock and dysfunction within the DC beltway means that we have to send a clear message to those folks. Attacking this problem around the edges has simply not had much of an effect. We send our local representative back to do the same thing over and over again and somehow expect a different result. How utterly stupid is that?

The only way things will change is to vote those currently in office out until they finally get the message. Yeah I know that might mean voting for someone who you don’t agree with on some or even many issues but you must hold your nose and do it anyway. I don’t think it would take more than a couple of total replacement for the candidates to get the message.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel in some of our current elections. It seems that an independent is leading the Kansas race. Kansas has never had a senator from a different part for over sixty years I think but that just might change this time around. If our friends in Kansas can do it surely the rest of us can also??

 

Trickle Up….

2014-09-04_19-56-10“The money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the dryest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”

Will Rogers – 4 December 1932

The first time I remember hearing about “Trickle Down” policy was from David Stockman in the Reagan administration and of course the GOP has been pushing it ever since. I wasn’t aware that Hoover was the first president to try it.  Thanks Will for informing me of that fact. Why do we allow this idiotic concept to even exist today? As Will says money, unlike water, runs uphill and will end up soon enough in the 1%er’s off shore bank accounts. Let’s pass it through the hands of the guys to need it first.