True’s Focus

When readers unsubscribe from True they have the opportunity to send a comment. Many give the “reason” they’re unsubscribing, and some even apologize (not necessary — really!)

The two most-common reasons people give for unsubscribing is “I’ve upgraded to Premium” (woo hoo!) and “I’m just too busy to read it” (bummer! Life is too short not to have some fun!) This weekend, one woman put in a rather startling reason:

“What we focus on expands. :)”

I replied: Exactly! I focus on thinking, rather than reacting. On getting along, rather than striking out. On considering others’ opinions, not insisting on being right. I consider those good things. So you’re unsubscribing …why?

Cathy in Texas: Yes, but, admit it. We may find the absurdity of others amusing, but while we’re laughing at our own absurdity or that of others, we’re focused on absurdity.

Randy Cassingham: Not me: I focus on how to live a better life, and make the world a better place. Why do you choose to focus on the negative?

CiT: We are apparently not anywhere near the same wavelength, but I do thank you for being who you are.

RC: A very nice thing to say!

The GOOHF card.CiT: I still hand out your Get Out of Hell Free cards from time to time, and I think they are hilarious. (I used to be quite religious, so I can laugh about that now, as well.)

RC: I have a lot of fun with them too. That is an example of taking a “nasty” situation and turning it positive, in my opinion.

CiT: I don’t know why the newsletter affects me the way it does. What difference does “why” make, though? If caffeine makes me bounce off the walls, it is wise not to drink coffee.

RC: Simply because you may learn that it’s not the coffee, but the sugar you put in it! The point is, True is there to help people be more thoughtful — that’s why I bill it as “Thought-provoking entertainment.” You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, but I maintain that it’s a lot more healthy to focus on the positive, rather than the negative — just as you seemed to say at the start.

CiT: On second thought, I think I’ll sign back up. Ha! Hey, it’s a woman’s prerogative….

RC: It is indeed. Enjoy — and remember to look at the positive side! 🙂

CiT: We are a funny race, we humans.

We are indeed, and I think I’m on a closer “wavelength” than Cathy might have thought.

Why the Stories Give me Hope for Humanity

Now and then, a reader asks me why I haven’t gone insane from writing True for so many years — seeing such stupidity week after week, year after year. True is in its 18th year! And only a fairly small percentage of the stories I see make the cut: many more are tossed each week than used. Yet despite this incessant flow of oddness, I increasingly have more hope for humanity as time passes, not less. Why?

I’ve said before that far from being a cynic, I’m a frustrated optimist, and perhaps that attitude has something to do with it — the “optimistic” view means looking for the positive. Readers often say it this way: “I thought I was dumb, but after I see what people featured in TRUE say and do, I end up feeling pretty good about myself.”

We all do dumb things sometimes. We see ourselves in the stories, and hopefully we’re “not that dumb” and vow to think more, and be stupid less.

That’s progress! That’s cause for optimism.

Realization Takes Time

A reader on Facebook said this over the weekend, in response to something I posted there: “My father told me every day that I was stupid and ugly and useless and an ass. I realized only in my 40’s how completely I had internalized his assessment.”

Wow. I don’t know if True helped him put his life into a more positive context, but I’m sure the stories reinforce that it was his father who was completely off-kilter, not himself.

That’s cause for optimism too.

And in the middle of that conversation with Cathy, I got this note from frequent correspondent:

“Randy, if anything, I have to give you props for stamina. After some 17 years of enduring outraged clods over the most innocuous items, you still believe in the evolution of human intelligence. ‘For them that understand, no explanation is necessary. For them that don’t understand, no explanation will suffice.’ But it doesn’t hurt to reinforce it on occasion, and a few WILL be reached. Laudable goal, but not everyone has the fortitude to keep on in the face of adversity.”

In other words, at least some readers notice the optimism behind This is True. Maybe most of them, even if they haven’t thought about it specifically.

Let’s Be Clear

Yes, True’s primary mission is entertainment, but who are we really laughing at? My answer: humanity — ourselves, and we are better for that.

I categorize This is True as Social Commentary. One story doesn’t usually create very deep commentary, but over time, you bet clear messages emerge. It gets pretty deep sometimes: it’s why these blog entries often end up with dozens of — and sometimes more than 100 — comments. Readers examine, in detail, what it means to be human. What it says about people in general that there are those who, say, spend thousands of dollars on back-alley practitioners to make their butts huge when most people are trying to figure out how to make their own smaller.

Yeah, even the truly tragic stories make me more impressed with humanity, not less: 18 people walked by — even stepped over — a little girl run over in the street rather than helping her (tragedy!), yet when they heard the story, millions of people all over the world decried the inhumanity behind that horror and vowed to not let it happen around them (vindication of humanity!) People didn’t say “What do you expect of godless Communists!”, they said “Not here” — whether they were in the U.S., in Europe, or (most importantly of all) in China, where that happened.

That’s powerful. And that’s cause for optimism.

Fomenting Hope

Whether it’s a truly funny story or a tragic one, I gain hope because people care. They agree that, for instance, zero tolerance is an outrage. That agreement makes it clear to me that people care that we’re terrorizing our own children, and they ask me how to stop it. (Answer: by standing up against it in your own community, not “even if” it’s not your kid who is involved, but especially if it’s not your kid!)

If we just gave a collective shrug, that would be the horror. I fully admit it: I expect you to be angry when you read about Yet Another Zero Tolerance Outrage, because I want you to do something about it. But we’re all busy: we can’t pay attention to everything — but we will if our blood is boiling.

And that power changes the world.

I get feedback that True does, in fact, change the world. Sometimes, it’s just the world of one person. Other times, it’s bigger: for years, I was the only columnist writing about the outrages of zero tolerance and what it was doing to society (not just in schools, because schoolchildren grow up and enter the workforce).

Story after story, and just one lone voice saying “This is wrong” year after year. But then, magic: another columnist featured an absurd ZT case, and then another. Then newspaper editorial boards started printing “This is stupid” editorials, and then state legislators started getting heat — and started doing something about it. Laws have started to change.

The fight isn’t over yet, but my match lit a lot of candles and made a difference. How? Because readers forwarded my stories to legislators, and to other columnists. “This happened in our back yard, and it’s wrong!” they said. I know, because many of you copied me on those letters. Because they saw ZT story after ZT story in True, readers knew these outrageous stories weren’t aberrations, but part of a pattern; they got mad about that, and they did something to help make it stop. They made a difference; my effort to get them angry worked.

It wasn’t “manipulation” — these stories were really happening. I just had to make it clear that it was, in fact, a pattern; it was, in fact, not just confined to one school, one town, one school district, one state, or even one country. The idea was spreading, and now — finally! — it’s starting to contract.

That’s the power of collective outrage, sparked in part by one guy with a mailing list — for an entertainment publication.

Optimistic? You better believe it!

And that’s why I bill True as “Thought-Provoking Entertainment.”

Entertaining, sure. But it’s so much more.

One Last Thing

About six weeks ago, I was on a site that had a Latin slogan. I thought to myself, “What would True’s Latin slogan be?”

About a second later it hit me like a bolt of lightning:

Absurdum ad nauseam.
Satisfactory! All the more to be optimistic about. 🙂

Your Feedback

So are you saying “Of course This is True is optimistic!”? I’d love to know why you have thought that all along.

And if you’re saying “Huh: I hadn’t thought of that before!”, I’d like to hear from you, too: are you slapping your forehead because you didn’t realize? Or does True make you feel worse about humanity? Or what? Tell me and other readers, and why: Comments are enabled below. No registration is required, but I do ask for your first (given) name and location for context, and your email address so I can reply (it is not published).

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33 Comments on “True’s Focus

  1. And that, my friend, is why I subscribe. Entertaining, definitely. But agree or disagree, I certainly give thought to the topics. What’s the point of reading them, otherwise?

    It’s not the conclusion that’s so important as the process by which I arrive at the conclusion. In other words, not the destination but the journey. How else does one discover new destinations if one just stumbles into them by luck or by the directions of others? I want to navigate my life, not just let the winds and currents push me around.

  2. The same reason I watch “Cops” and their ilk… reminds me that I have it much better than most (and that _I_ am better than most people).

    I’m not sure the people you see on “Cops” (or those you see in TRUE, for that matter!) are very well representative of “most people”…. -rc

  3. Er… the latin slogan should be Absurdum ad Nauseam. I mean the last word, nausea, in this declination gets just an “m” added to its end. It does not change miraculously from nausea to nauseu.

    ORIGIN late Middle English: via Latin from Greek nausia, from naus ‘ship.’

    Well dammit, I even googled it, but the bastards auto-corrected it without saying. I’ll fix it in the morning. Thanks. -rc

  4. True proves my aunt to be correct when she postulates that “20% of the human race is irredeemable.” Your composition above gives validity to the remaining 80%….

  5. The comment about focusing on absurdity expanding it fascinates me; I’ve noticed the same sort of thing. I still seek out idiocy to study it and think about it. Here’s why.

    Humans are error-prone. ALL humans are error-prone. No matter how smart we are. And the most important thing is to be *aware* of this; not just the specific errors we’ve noticed, but the *kinds* of errors humans make.

    The thing that scares me is narcissistic personality disorder, which I don’t *think* I’m at much risk of, but which is the simplest best-fit explanation for about 90% of the Internet kooks you will ever meet. And the really simple diagnostic is that people who have this are never at fault. It is not their fault. Other people misunderstood them, other people were dumb, other people were malicious. Other people are lying about what happened. And so on. And the reason this scares me is that it is VERY hard to do anything about it once it’s in place, because the very essence of the disorder is that you can’t think you’re disordered — it’s just other people being jealous or stupid or mean or….

    So I spend a fair bit of my time thinking about errors, and trying to be alert to my own errors. This is, perhaps, a little easier than I’d like it to be, but the alternatives are scarier.

  6. This is True is the text equivalent of FAIL Blog and Peopleofwalmart.com. They all make us feel better about the dumb things we have done by seeing there are people out there even dumber.

  7. I saw a TED talk (sorry, no link), where the speaker showed a video that started with a guy at a concert start dancing really akimbo. The speaker pointed out that he was the starter, but not yet a leader. Then — another guy got up and joined the first guy. The speaker then pointed out that the first guy was *now* a leader, because he had his first *follower*. The point was brilliant — a leader *must* have followers, and the most important person in the entire equation is the first follower.

    Please don’t think I am knocking you on the ZT leadership — I quite agree with your stance (insert lengthy rant here).

    But — it begs the question — what triggered you about ZT?

    At first, it was just a “weird” story. But then I saw another, and then another — and I pick up on patterns quickly. I have a very low tolerance for injustice, especially upon kids, so once I saw the pattern, I knew I had to speak out, even though no one else was doing so. -rc

  8. Much of the time I just laugh along with the joke, or agree with you right away. Sometimes I disagree initially and rethink my position (to some degree) on my own. I think most important are the times when I really disagree. If I debate you, we usually don’t end up on the same side at the end, but you always sharpen my thinking and make me sure that the argument I am making holds water.

    Thanks for that.

    I don’t demand people think the way I do. I’m satisfied when they simply think. Glad it works for you. -rc

  9. Of course it’s the entertaining aspect of True which brought me in originally, but what I really like is the range of thinking I find here and in the comments. I’m 70 years old and often find myself shaking my head at things like ZT, or the way politics has devolved into a mendacity fest, the everyday disappointments in the news, etc. But once each week I get to read This Is True, have a few laughs, and end up feeling really good that there are many others who enjoy using their minds and striving for clarity and good thinking. There’s a lot going on in these pages and I enjoy being part of it — hope for the human race and all that. It’s not only fun; it’s also important that these forums exist to counterbalance the madness out there.

  10. I’m a zealous optimist and a devoted possibilitarian when it comes to matters of humanity. Your commitment to nudging readers upward on the hierarchy of thought is a great public service, and it is itself an act of active optimism.

    Personally, I have been helped by your ZT rants and recollections. I’ve long been fighting to remove fear and threat from disaster preparedness campaigns and education. For years I was criticized for going against the status quo. But now, more people are speaking up about the multi-million dollar failures of the fear-based approaches. Your ZT lessons help us address many other issues — this is great reason for optimism.

    Here is the link to the Ted video Bandit referenced: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

    As for your Latin slogan, I like “Carpe Absurdum!” (Seize the Absurdity!) Oh please let us seize absurdity and squeeze every lesson out of it.

    I like “possibilitarian”! -rc

  11. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate more and more — and evermore — your writings.

    As others said about their own views of “This Is True,” I look forward to each new dollop of humor, particularly because of your gift of take a silly-ass situation and wrapping some thought inside the humor that makes a reader pause a moment — at least a moment.

    In my own case, I’ve learned *not* to open the latest installment until I know I can have a bit of time, because sometimes “at least a moment” isn’t nearly enough, and off I roar following byways around the ether, reading here, commenting there, and mutely steaming somewhere else. And I blame YOU when that happens!! 😉

    Like a great many others, I sometimes wonder how in the world you can put up with the stuff you wade through 24/7 — well, okay, you get my meaning.

    But I think I’ve got a handle on it. Though my academic background is in literature, not drama, I of course had to take some drama courses as an undergraduate and graduate, and came to understand that great comedy often exceeds great tragedy in what we take away from it. (And comedy is far more difficult to write than tragedy, fiction, exposition, or just about anything else.)

    Shakespeare’s best comedies rank with his best tragedies, or even better. Few understand that.

    You, I believe, would.

    You never need feel “Cornered in Colorado” — not with your mind.

    To other readers: Randy and I don’t know each other. we’ve had a few correspondences over the years. So, I’m not one of his camping buddies or something trying to puff him up.

    But I do hope to get over to Thailand one of these years…. -rc

  12. This week the Dalai Lama commented on Facebook along the same theme: “The basic foundation of humanity is compassion and love. This is why, if even a few individuals simply try to create mental peace and happiness within themselves and act responsibly and kind-heartedly towards others, they will have a positive influence in their community.”

  13. I don’t even remember HOW I found “True” now, but I DO remember feeling I’d found someone who “got” the whole human condition-thing without being unduly cruel or hateful about it. There will ALWAYS be people out there who push absurdity to levels that make you and I just shake our heads in wonder (Black Friday Pepper-Spray Lady?? Who could make that up??) But what I have found to be such a massive draw to ME is the MIXTURE of obliviots with those that did the right thing, or having the light focused on issues (such as Zero Tolerance — a long time issue I had felt helpless about) and the people who have helped, in their own way, make our lives better (Honorary Unsubscribe). I thank you for finding the passion in your life, and sharing it with those of us fortunate enough to find you.

  14. I just wanted to comment that I’m going through a difficult time, and reading this exposé of WHY has really helped me (sort of a “continue the fight” type of thing…) especially what this other person said: “For them that understand, no explanation is necessary. For them that don’t understand, no explanation will suffice.”

    I am an English teacher in Spain and regularly allude to This is True in my classes (in fact I downloaded the image of Oneil to my phone for several classes to see!!) and we have great discussions around these issues.
    Keep it up!

  15. Regarding your response to Jeremy: “I don’t demand people think the way I do. I’m satisfied when they simply think.” I think I have a new favorite quote!

    I do find optimism in True — though admittedly, some of my optimism comes from the fact that for every person who does something worthy of True, there are millions of others who managed to make it through their week without doing so.

    The rest of my True-derived optimism comes from your popularity: If even half of your readers are as willing and able to recognize, learn from, and even laugh about their own stupid misdeeds as they are those featured in True, then yes…there is hope!

  16. I would like to add that your optimism is not ill founded. I believe people are, across the board, well intentioned. What I believe occurs over and over is that as a people we are overstimulated with information and fail to see the obvious until it is pointed out to us. An example could be a mole that we don’t notice changing shape or size but somebody mentions it to us as abnormal. We would have recognized it as abnormal if we had stopped to consider it but it has always been there and we just didn’t “see” how bad it had got.

    I appreciate you pointing out the obvious to us who need a reminder now and again.

    Also, I am very glad I upgraded to premium. It is obvious to me now that it is worth every penny.

  17. One of the gifts we are given in being human is that we can be introspective. We can look at our actions and/or the actions of others, process, and learn from them.

    As a Special Education teacher, I am constantly trying to reinforce with my students that if you make a mistake, laugh it off and don’t be hard on yourself. I model that behavior for my students as well, both sometimes intentionally (to see if they’re paying attention) or occasionally unintentionally. My students see everyday that it is OK to make mistakes and that it’s alright to laugh about it, fix it, and move on. These kids have, for one reason or another, a hurdle in their life that requires my guidance or assistance. By allowing these students the opportunity to accept themselves for who they are and be able to view their abilities in a positive manner, and laugh off those idiosyncrasies that give trouble, they become much healthier students all around.

    I love that. All teachers should be doing that, not “just” Special Ed teachers. Have you thought of writing a journal article about it? You’ll reach more teachers that I can. -rc

  18. I agree. It’s better to be an optimist than a cynic. Often, believing and living life with a optimistic approach helps it to become true. Living as a cynic can lead to depression. That is not the way I care to live.

    Regarding people’s stupidity, I once had a patient come to my office complaining of prolonged and depressing burping. As he described his situation, every second word was interrupted by a long and sustained buurrrpp. It turned out that he had taken a couple of tablets of a popular effervescent headache remedy [Alka Seltzer]. He didn’t bother with reading the instructions, he just crunched them up and swallowed them without water. After examining him to insure that he was not in any trouble except for the temporary annoyance of the burping, I reassured him that this would pass, explained the proper way to take this kind of medicine, and sent him on his way. My office nurse and I both managed to keep straight faces during his visit, but we had to take a five minute break before we were fit to see the next patient.

    It must have been tempting to tell him to take two Alka Seltzers every two hours, and call you in the morning! -rc

  19. I like quotations. Not to make a point, but to remind myself of those points. One was about the choice between Optimism or Pessimism. Mark Twain? Or Ben Franklin? Essentially, he chose pessimism since optimists are almost always disappointed while a pessimist is, on occasion, pleasantly surprised. I disagree. Without hope, there is no incentive to try. Without trying, there is no accomplishment.

    For that reason, I’m more inclined toward one from Carlos Castaneda (Tales of Power): “The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse while a warrior takes everything as a challenge.”

    That makes Randy a warrior, along with everyone who steps up and takes a stand against the status quo of ignorance. Even if your opinion is right, PROVE to yourself that it’s right, not just your opinion. There is NOT “safety in numbers” as an earlier anecdote showed.

  20. Regarding your response to Jeremy: “I don’t demand people think the way I do. I’m satisfied when they simply think.” I think I have a new favorite quote!

    I do find optimism in True — though admittedly, some of my optimism comes from the fact that for every person who does something worthy of True, there are millions of others who managed to make it through their week without doing so.

    The rest of my True-derived optimism comes from your popularity: If even half of your readers are as willing and able to recognize, learn from, and even laugh about their own stupid misdeeds as they are those featured in True, then yes…there is hope!

  21. Reading your comment on the stupidity of Zero Tolerance and how laws regarding it are changing sparked an interesting thought for me: How ironic is it that politicians are now willing to change laws on Zero Tolerance in schools, but they still sign those stupid lobbyist pledges and lock themselves into situations where they won’t do things like raise taxes or consider any form of gun control? i.e. they have “Zero Tolerance” for certain issues, and it makes them unwilling to compromise to solve real problems in this country. It makes them part of the problem instead of part of the solution to our nation’s concerns!

  22. You certainly have a full plate when it comes to your various endeavors on this site.

    Have you ever considered posting stories about extraoridany acts of kindness, heroics, etc… I’m sure it would provide a sense of optomism for those who tend to be more pessimistic and it would certainly be fulfilling for those who are more optomistic.

    I created an entire site and newsletter for just that, and spun it off to a different publisher in 2003 with the same manifesto to guide it. It’s called HeroicStories.

  23. If you ever get the chance, watch around the first ten minutes of the movie Idiocracy. It’s the only part of the movie worth watching but it explains why humanity is going in the direction that it apparently is headed.

    I look at what is happening to the south as America’s politics gets more and more polarized — as political debate gets reduced to name calling and outright lies — as people who are too unwilling to think for themselves and too ignorant to participate in the system elect people who are interested only in protecting the interests of the elite as more and more of the information is controlled by that same elite. And then I look around at home and see the very same thing happening here. We are just a little behind the curve but we will eventually get to where you are now. Our Liberal party has collapsed and we are polarizing to a party of the left (Democrats) and a party of the right (Conservatives).

    Our current government is hell bent on implementing minimum sentences for minor drug offences (our version of zero tolerance). I suppose prisons-for-profit will be the next step as our prison population is expected to grow by 30%. The for-profit prisons will likely get the non-violent offenders which will then be hired out to private companies at slave wages.

    An optimist? Me? Hardly. But then, it was one of your own bright, shining stars (Clarence Darrow) who said that lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for. So carry on the fight.

  24. This was exceptionally thought provoking for me. I think I fell somewher between ‘optimism and I didn’t think of that before’. But this – Randy, it was your best work. I’ve read it a couple of times and something new still gets my attention. You’ve accomplished so much and I honestly never saw it that way…..thought provoking, yes; and, like you, I am a frustrated optimist, and believe me I didn’t know what I was until I read that. It covered how I felt; but you were able to put it into words whereas I couldn’t.

    Thanks for what you have accomplished. And for putting everything in perspective.

  25. I can’t say that the stories themselves, not to mention the folk who unsubscribe in “outrage” (seriously?) are cause for optimism.On the other hand, the existence of your site, its content and its longevity do indicate that while we are going to hell in a handbasket, we’re not quite there yet. So maybe the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train. I love your new slogan. Have a great Christmas ya’ll. Remember to love each other.

    Seriously. -rc

  26. I hadn’t consciously thought about True being optimistic, but I think that’s one of the reasons I look forward to it every week.

    And I’m so stealing that line: “far from being a cynic, I’m a frustrated optimist”.

    Thank you!

  27. I enjoy reading This Is True. I make the time to read it, regardless of how busy I am.

    I enjoyed your exchange with Cathy in Texas (above). I’m glad she reconsidered and renewed her subscription. A little laughter makes the world a better place.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  28. I concur with a number of the commenters previous that while I don’t always agree with your particular take on a story, it is always worth reading. Your optimism definitely shows through, even when you are commenting with sarcasm.

    I have to admit to being… well, less optimistic. My wife would contend that I am generally pessimistic. I like to call it pragmatically analytic. But the world takes all kinds of views.

    Were I to wish only to speak and hear from those with whom I agree, it would be a dry and boring existence, indeed. I appreciate that the True Community is populated by people who enjoy to think, to be prodded, poked, and otherwise challenged in their thinking. And to those who unsubscribe in a snit, to quote a french tutor from back in the college days: Tant le mieux!

    (“So much the better!”) Yes, but I lament the losses, since we need more people to think. -rc

  29. Perhaps your Latin slogan might describe your process, then displaying it.

    I would suggest, “Reductio ad absurdum, absurdum ad nauseum.”

    And I too remember when I first saw or heard of your column. (I subscribed immediately on learning of it.) This Is True (Then called something else — another absurdity…) was featured in a magazine I was reading in 1994, while on break at work. I still subscribe to both your column and QST.

    Keep up the good work.

    QST is a magazine for ham radio operators. This publication’s title change is discussed here. -rc

  30. I cannot remember exactly when or how I found you and your publications. I remember subscribing to HeroicStories and to the True Stella Awards and perhaps another of your lists along the way (even had a Premium Subscription to True once upon a time but let it lapse, probably at a time when I felt I could not justify the expense and then never got around to re-upping.)

    Someone said something about making mistakes that reminded me of something an early boss of mine told me years ago: show me someone who never makes a mistake and I will show you someone who never DOES anything! It was quite profound to me at the age of 24 and I never forgot it. When I was a manager I always told the people that worked under me what this old boss had told me. Now that I am NOT a manager any more I keep having to be reminded of it as I make mistake after mistake ad nauseum.

    Personally I never liked or saw the humor in the Get Out of Hell Free cards so whenever I see ads for those I just keep moving. You have said some things that have made me mad but you have also made me think over the years and I thank you for that.

    To the person who spoke about politics devolving into nothing but lies and name calling I say that is the way politics has ALWAYS been. Ditto for the masses being unwilling to think for themselves. It is EASY to just ‘go with the flow’ for everything. Thinking is more difficult. Most people just choose to take the no thinking approach to life.

    Indeed, sometimes I’m trying to make readers angry: it separates the thinkers from the reactionaries (aka, unthinking masses). That you’re still out there, reading, even after being angered means your thinking side is winning the battle with your reactionary side (which we all certainly have). Good for you! -rc

  31. I wanted (a la the Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch) to register a complaint about “This is True”. Not once in all the years reading ‘True’ have I been offended or even remotely miffed. One needs a a bit of homely offence now and again — and you are NOT supplying it!

    The even greater worry is that I have ‘been with’, liked and appreciated ALL the contributor comments through all the years!

    Bit of a worry init?!

    Shrug — I don’t guarantee offense any more than I guarantee laughs. I try, mind you, but I can’t guarantee it! -rc

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