Friday, June 24, 2005


Happy 163th Birthday to Ambrose Bierce. You haven't aged a day in 90 years. A skeptic then, I wish you could get a load of now.

Freethinker, n. A miscreant who wickedly refuses to look out of a Priest's eyes and persists in looking into them with too searching a glance. Freethinkers were formerly shot, burned, boiled, racked, flogged, cropped, drowned, hanged, disemboweled, impaled, beheaded, skinned.

With the lapse of time our holy religion has fallen into the hands of merciful and humane expounders, and the poor Freethinker's punishment is entrusted to Him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." Here on earth the misguided culprit is only threatened, pursued, reviled, avoided, silenced, cursed, insulted, robbed, cheated, harassed, derided, slandered.

2005 Update: A maverick who, having navigated an unmarked path by constellations they name themselves, driven forward by independent will and fierce curiousity, comes finally to the party line. A Valedictorian reading "The Road Less Traveled" to the assembly.

Lucinda, thanks for the alert.

Tom, thanks for the help baking.

Don Swaim at The Ambrose Bierce Site made yellow cake.


pia said...

Congrats on Ambrose's birthday, but a maverick finally comes to the party line?

Methinks I'm being too literal--it's early and hot--but does that mean free thinking Republicans are supposed to end up saying
"oh yes Karl Rove, I totally wanted to give the terrorists therapy?"

And that "liberal democrats", are supposed to say : "that was our goal, but we've seen the light, let us repent."

Because I and most New Yorkers wanted war then so badly we thought of everything we would do to the terrorists, and they were'nt nice.

I'll go with the "road less traveled" definition, and sorry for the political rhetoric on Ambrose's birthday!

Happy birthday Ambrose Bierce

actonbell said...

That reminds me! I meant to read about Karl Rove Bingo...I hear the new graduate who won, shouting out BINGO during the ceremony, really embarrassed his parents.

Hahaha-- Happy Birthday, Amrose Bierce, that's a great picture, and enjoy the cake.

Sar said...

Happy Birthday Ambrose Bierce! Were it not for you, we wouldn't have this great site to inspire and engage our minds while we forge these wonderful friendships. :)

(Pia - you'll appreciate my last comment in Doug's previous post. And here's a link to what I really think about Rove.)

dddragon said...

Yea, Happy Birthday Ambrose!

And from John Ciardi, who shares your birthday: "The reader deserves an honest opinion. If he doesn't deserve it, give it to him anyhow."

Doug said...

Sorry, everyone. I really wanted today's post to be a special one and I think I worked it into a confusing mess.

Pia, the intended gag was that you only call someone a free-thinker if they think like you, so on your side of the aisle, you might say that Ken Mehlman would call, say Rumsfeld who opposed Vietnam a freethinker but wouldn't say that of John McCain who is one. I probably could have made that clearer, but can't now because I've edited that sentence too much and can no longer read it.

Lucinda, put up a link. I haven't heard that story.

Sar, Pia would and I do. From now on, I'm telling people that you're actually Larry Summers. My bad.

Dddragon, that's a perfect quote for today's post. Thanks.

Tom & Icy said...

It was the idea of 'free thinking' that fascinated me about this blog and this person, 'Doug'. Creating a new, more relative, definition while maintaining respect and learning from the old as well.
Not being bound by ball and chain to past thinkers and their ideas, yet profiting from their experience and moving foreward.

Helen said...

I feel certain he would approve of your updates! Nice job :)

weirsdo said...

Happy Birthday, Ann Rose Pierce!!! I'm real surprised you have a mustache!!! A good spa can take that right off for you. If it was you're idea, all I can say is, their should be some limits to free thinking!!!!

karma said...

the best things in life are freethinkers. let's give him some birthday bumps.

Nony Mitchell said...

doug...I get it...but I had to think about it...although I have come to realize that I have to think about it a lot...maybe I am getting dumb in my old age...oh well thanks for the brain

Doug said...

Thanks 'Tom' and Helen. I try.

Pansi! They didn't have electrolysis in my day (from Ann Rose)

Karma, I'll call you on my birthday.

Spiritdancer, unless your picture was taken 20 years ago you need a different excuse. How about, "That was completely incoherent."

If I'm allowed a do-over, see if it makes more sense now: "Another man's stooge"


Freethinker, n. One awash with conspiracies.


Sar said...

Gabriel - I just finished my contribution for your "Political Poetry Slam" on my site.

Doug - I'll keep an eye out for that invoice. ;)

actonbell said...

OOPS! *blush* I wasn't awake this morning; it was Tim Russert Bingo! It was on npr, and it was a pretty funny story, IMO.

Minka said...

Happy Birthday, Ambrose ... and I read "An occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" in your honour. (British speeling seems to persist though ;)

Doug said...

Gabriel, that's a whole other twist. Nice work.

Sar, it looked good. Blaspheming siren!!! Just kidding, I liked the poem. Why don't we agree on a marketing partnership. Should appeal to an economist, I think.

Lucinda, that's a really funny error! Sar's Larry Summers now, pass it on.

Monika, isn't that story great? I read it in highschool and started my bad habits soon thereafter. Watch yourself.

Thanks all for wishing my dead friend a Happy Birthday. It means a lot to me. Are any of you therapists?

Indeterminacy said...

Here's wishing you a (belated) birthday without causticity. I won't bother wishing happiness. That would ruin the blog.

Doug said...

Thanks, Indie, and not fear. We take precautions.

Minka said...

I have two years of Psycholgy if that is of any help.
Yeah, it is a great story and I was introduced to it three years ago, while taking an Introductory American Literature course. I loved it straight away. In the same course I got also an appreciation for Emerson, Irving, Emily Dickinson, Crane (I loved in particular)and the story of "The white Heron", but I cannot recall who wrote that. Not bad for a German person living in Iceland!

Doug said...

Well, Monika, it's a place to start. If I get mental health treatment a German from Iceland who reads cynics from Ohio is as likely to understand me as anyone.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I will settle for " thinkers ". Not enough of them around but I will continue to search.

Doug said...

Alice, it's probably because all the geniuses have blogs now.

A Little Bar of Soap said...

Freethinkers are Filthythinkers.

Doug said...

Little Bar of Soap, I kind of agree, actually.