If there’s one honor you don’t want, it’s to be recognized as the world’s oldest person.
Without fail, often within months and sometimes even weeks of being declared as the planet’s senior senior citizen, the individual is dead.
The latest to fall victim to this curse: Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, 116, who died today less than six months after being recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person.
Kimura did far better than his immediate predecessor, though. Dina Manfredini lasted just 13 as the world’s oldest person before dying late last year.
And of the 32 previous record holders, only seven survived more than a year after being honored for their longevity. Sounds like a curse if I’ve ever heard of one.
In seriousness, one of the interesting aspects of news stories about the extremely aged is that they are almost never quoted. This is almost always, to put it delicately, because the faculties of the extremely aged aren’t quite what they once were.
Listening to the babbling and braying emanating from elected officials today one pines for the days of classical antiquity when rhetoric was seen as an essential part a quality education.
There’s no doubt that effective communication – particularly public speaking – has waned in recent decades as leaders of all stripes have sought to tailor remarks (in dumbed-down fashion, in many instances) for television cameras, news reporters and, most recently, Twitter feeds.
The problem is, elegant discourse rarely comes in 140 characters or less. Sometimes, you actually have to give a real genuine speech in order to get a point across.
That also means you often have to listen to an entire talk to get its full meaning, or to understand the genius behind it.
Case in point is a brief speech delivered by a young Mississippi lawmaker in 1952.
Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, finishing his first and only term in the Mississippi Legislature, delivered what became known as the “Whiskey Speech.”
It has been said that we in Western society have at our fingertips access to the most powerful technology ever devised – and that we use it largely for viewing cat photos and getting sports updates.
Well, that’s not 100 percent correct. The same amazing technology that allows some to zip cat pictures to friends and family via email, cell phone or some other hi-tech means can also be used to send embarrassing photos of people and cats, thereby doing society a service by helping identify potential serial killers, the utterly deranged or good old-fashioned oddballs.
The delightfully titled website I Don’t Need Anger Management, You Just Need to Shut Up has compiled an array of photos titled “The Absolute Worst Pictures of Men and Cats.”
After perusing the 18 images that were selected, I can’t say that I disagree with any of the choices.
I would add that it’s readily apparent why some men are unable to find women to marry, or even date.
A couple of caveats: I have nothing against cats. I actually like cats; my family had several while I was growing up and we got along famously.
To see the rest, click here.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this was not put together by the typical Facebook user.
During the 24 seasons The Simpsons has been on the air, one of its many highlights has been the program’s ability to spoof the video game industry.
Invariably, video and arcade games are shown in a satirical vein, with an abundance of violence, blood or simple inane themes (witness the My Dinner with Andre game).
I’m partial to Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster, which, not surprising to fans of the show, belongs to Rod and Todd Flanders, progeny of ultra-religious Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders.
As Bart plays for Bible Blasters for the first time, Rod can be heard proffering the following advice: “Keep firing, convert the heathens!”
In honor of Presidents’ Day I’d like to recognize the greatest president in the history of the University of Maine’s Sigma Nu fraternity, Joseph “Pig Iron” McGraw.
Pig Iron, was served as commander of our chapter from 1986 to 1988, could chug a 16-ounce beer in just under three seconds – tops in the tri-state region.
He knocked out his four front teeth when he tried to ski off the top of our three-story fraternity house (above) one sunny February afternoon, and managed over the course of 11 semesters to amass a sparkling 2.46 grade-point average.
Pig Iron once even attempted to fight the entire Sigma Chi fraternity located down the block, but was wisely dissuaded by cooler, less-inebriated heads.
Here’s to you, Pig Iron, in whatever distant northern Maine township you’re holed up in these days.
Update: I’ve been informed that Presidents’ Day it is meant to honor and remember the past presidents of the United States and their contributions to our country.
In that case, here’s to you, John Tyler.