Pine Nuts: Scraps of thought found on a circus floor |

Pine Nuts: Scraps of thought found on a circus floor

The greatest clown who ever lived, Emmett Kelly, used to sweep circles of light around the circus floor with his broom. Watching him would make a foreclosed person smile.

So it is with Emmett in mind that I sweep up some scraps of thought from a file I labeled “Current” some 30 years ago.

The file has grown from a few thoughts to 80 pages of reflections that I have found too overwhelming to examine until now — my Emmett Kelly day.

So please indulge me here as there is no rhyme or reason to the order in which these random thoughts appear…

• The only honest person in America today might be Carolina Panthers defensive end, Greg Hardy, “I’m a really really ugly person, and I have a bad attitude.”

• Librarians have been referred to as the disappearing gas attendants of the mind.

• Announcement: The glass ceiling is now closing for men and women.

• We’re talking today at each other instead of with each other — at our loss.

• “I figure that unless you are in the business of politics, covering it or columnizing about it, politics should take up maybe a tenth corner of a good citizen’s mind. The rest should be philosophy, friendship, romance, family, culture and fun.” — David Brooks

• “It’s a great country but you can’t live in it for nothing.” — Will Rogers

• I’m not much on poetry, but I do enjoy the society of a compassionate poet. I’m not much on religion but I do take pleasure in the company of a religious person of good will. I’m not much on politics, but I do savor the association of a congenial politician; I just can’t find one.

• I believe in God — all of them that inspire kindness.

• “You don’t pay much attention to what other people tell you when a guy’s good in the feathers.” —Eva Gardner

• “Burning in Hell — The Comedy”

• There is IQ, and then there is EQ (emotional quotient) the ability to read other people and understand how you are coming across.

• Weather forecast? Partly cloudy with a chance of oblivion…

• “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.” — Everett Dirksen

• “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” — Jane Addams

• “If entitlement programs do not undergo necessary reforms, grandma & grandpa and their faithful Grateful Dead fans are going to eat all the food on the table.” — Jonathan Alter

• “Without the contributions of a thousand native novelists, we should be remitted to the history written by the historians.” — Michel Stone

• It had too much Tabasco on it so I reached for a glass of water to wash it down but got aholt of a glass of whiskey instead and swallowed it down. This permutation of mistakes caused me to break into the polite murmur of conversation with an outburst that sounded something like an airplane toilet.

A faint heart never filled a flush. Thank you, Emmett, for giving me heart to examine the “Current” file…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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