…don’t say anything at all

Bill, you have crafted the perfect post title. Please take you own advice — say nothing…at all


Nice and Kind

Random acts of niceness?

One of first posts I wrote for this blog is Nice People Explained — 22 months ago. It’s about a philosopher who is tut-tutted in many circles: Bertrand Russell. That particular essay introduced me to the very concept of what it means to be nice in polite society — a form of expedience that keeps the wheels of industry churning and chugging, becoming accustomed to certain niceties. Leo Tolstoy was ahead of his time and ours.


Yesterday I read great stuff on a great  blog that I recommend to you. May I direct your attention to the eponymous ShelbyCourtland. Great and timely stuff there IMO. Coincidentally, some people would not think Shelby very nice. Speaking up for the exploited doesn’t get the job done. Well, that’s nice, BUT.

Well, there’s a wide chasm between nice and  kind. Kurt Vonnegut did not say be nice, the word Kurt chose was “kind.” Many do not consider him a very nice person either. I once met an unkind person who had met Vonnegut once, and reported that he was not very nice.

You are wasting your time, my friend. By the way, have you ever heard the one about the nice nun who, let’s say ‘got the job done’ in certain elementary school classrooms of the 1950’s?

By “getting the job done” I think you mean training classroom bullies on the nicer points of humiliation? Yes. Thought very nice, very nice indeed.


Here’s my hypothesis: Nice people conform to the expectations imposed by authority to perpetuate the way it’s always been done and the ways that always work. They never rock boats or speak out of line. They don’t laugh at crap hounds like Jeff Sessions, lest they be likewise incarcerated. There’s nothing remotely fascist about that, is there?  Boats are not for rocking — unless the boats are carrying refugees from profitable wars initiated by the nicest country on Earth. Endless war to stop all those wars that end inconveniently: for armament suppliers. Endless slaughter of fellow sentient beings in technologically advanced death camps — it’s what’s for dinner.

Perform random acts of kindness when they are totally unexpected. Do them often. Do them creatively, even playfully. Get off someone’s back?

Smart and Pleasant

I’m asking Elwood P. Dowd to take over here while I visit the restroom. Please be kind to Mr. Dowd, who knows both smart and pleasant:

“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

Here is a clip from the 1950 version starring Jimmy Stewart featuring the snippet above.


My mother, in addition to always calling me Billy, used to say to me “If you don’t have anythingnice to say…”

Or was it “…good to say?” Well let’s find out what good old Google reports on good and nice:

  1. Hits for nice: About 793,000 results (0.93 seconds)
  2. Hits for good: About 220,000 results (0.46 seconds) 
OK, let’s divide 793 by 220 and see if we obtain a result. Right.
Nice Defeats Good
Rather dour fare for a Saturday morning, don’t you know? Your really should have followed through with “… don’t say anything at all.  
Quite right, time for something restful and delightful, in full measure 🙂
The best place I know for taking a breather is upon a sentient cloud. Let’s jump in for a worthy discussion on the proper use of the ellipsis, to whit one written by Esme.

I understand that the shortest distance between two dots is another dot. So let us lose ourselves  in aethereal clouds; particularly after sloughing through this dour post.

Hey, did you know that fog is a cloud resting on the ground? We live just south of Cincinnati, I once saw the tallest building in town pointing out above a wonderful white cloud one morning while driving to where ever the heck I was working at that time.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Bill Ziegler

I am a former resident of Delhi Township. These are memories of my life and times in that community during the 1950s and 1960s. A time capsule.

15 thoughts on “…don’t say anything at all”

    1. My timing was excellent — I’d not yet read your post on “Humorous Readings: Maistly Scotch”, as well as the rollicking great song and dance inspirations induced upon singing ‘Donald, where’s your troosers’ — nearly fell off the roof (once again) as I tried to convince neighbors all to join along. Lisa and I are quite devoted fans of discarded orphaned volumes. I really need to write a post on the thousands of books we’ve acquired for much less than 6 quid; actually, I may have a few quid that I ferreted away from my 1972 visit to Pinner and points west. Over there, I think (. —–>.)
      Not a whit does it bother me that, as you note:

      “Interestingly (or dull as dishwater to you, I have no idea and can’t be pleasing everyone of a Saturday afternoon, especially when I previously stated a Thursday is much better for me, so be about your business good sir/madam/Spiny Lumpsucker and let me be about mine!)” 🙂

      I include guidance here for readers of “t h e s e v e r y w o r d s”:


  1. Nice people worry me a bit, Bill. I really mean nicey-nice people, not nice people, who are simply innately nice. It’s their nicey-ness that I’m wary of, because it’s not natural to be nicey-nice, not least because nice on its own is rare enough — so how likely to occur is any innately held nicey-ness? Maybe Jesus was authentic nicey-niceness personified? Not really, because he often wasn’t even nice, was he? And if you can’t do nice nice and consistently, that is, nicely, then nicey-ness in any overt nicey-nice way is unlikely to be authentically nice. That’s my take on it. In short, nice=potential psychopath. On Esme, then she is indeed Queen of the Ellipsis, and Empress of the Aether, to boot. Have a nice day, Bill.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The word ‘nice’ lends itself to parsing — it connotes a mathematical quality that draws a sharp line; whereas, ‘kind’ does not imply precision, to my mind anyway since this is all offered without sources other than the ones that I have cherry-picked. Indeed, nicey-ness takes on the feel of ‘truthiness’, that wildly successful deflection of inexpedient facts.
      Interesting take on Jesus there. His teachings didn’t have much of a half-life did they? There’s no indication that peter ever came remotely close to rome; actually, the historical record takes him 180 degrees away from that imperial capital. Saul took rather a hard concussion, but that didn’t stop him from creating christianity. It’s fascinating (if you have the strength) to listen to the demagogues of fundamentalist leaning suddenly discovering god’s (lowercase ‘g’ to my mind) subtle gift of a trump (lower case again) to the one holy roman and apostolic church, ones longing for a return to the Pre-Enlightenment and the absolute glory of a rearmament for the bigger, better and more deadly crusades. Psychopaths with an uppercase ‘P’.
      Always great happenings on Esme’s cloud, whether as Ellipsis Queen, Aether Empress or the latest take on 1882 Scotch Song and Silliness. Interesting that we become grounded upon visiting a cloud 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I find myself agreeing with Hariod, here (not for the first time, I’ll tell you). I find I just can’t trust people who are nice all the time. . . I find myself thinking, “Are they for real?” I mean, it must be nice to be nice all the time, but I certainly can’t pull it off. Perhaps I should try harder? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I want to thank you for the mention Bill. I am quite humbled, as I am sure you know! I am SO nice that I am quite actually surprised whenever I am mentioned on another’s blog. *smile*

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shelby! I’m following up on the thoughts you voiced in “Voiceless.” Thinking in terms of all those fractals generated by the someone who knows someone who know someone process. The powers-that-be want every dissenting voice to give up as soon as possible, so that they can gradually convince everyone that laughing at the likes of Jeff Sessions is thoughtcrime.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bill, you are SO right! I get to the point, many times of feeling that I should give up, but I stay the course. I just have to blow off steam every once in awhile. And I’ve seen so many give up since I started this and it just makes me wonder sometime. But I usually get it together and come back, smokin’ hot!

        Thanks Bill!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Bill! I see Esme and Hariod have given you ‘the nod’ and I’ve read through a few of your entries. I like you already. 🙂 I am guessing that’s the year of your birth in your blog title, which makes you ten years wiser than me. Reading through your posts makes me think of another blogger you might like (well, I’m thinking you might like his musical forays, as I do: https://theobservationpost.wordpress.com) — just a hunch, mind you.
    Looking forward to making your cyber acquaintance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello there, Carmen! Very fine to make your cyber acquaintance as well. the Esmean Cloud is a kind of salon for kind and interesting people, and nods from Esme and Hariod are more valuable than Bitcoins for certain 🙂
      Indeed, 1947 is a nod to that birth year and notable for September 17th in particular since I was born on my mother’s birthday. I well remember 1957 for being the International Geophysical Year. Wish we we’re doing that for 2017.
      Thanks much and kindly for the link to the observation post, your hunch was quite accurate!
      See you among the electrons,


  4. Billy, I’ve never been accused of being nice. I was sad about that, once. But this critique makes me feel good about it, sorta. Kinda nice, you might say.

    South of Cincinnati would be the Ohio River, or Kentucky, or anything further southward for that matter. But, of course, you know that. I only mention that as you might have discerned, I hail from the Ohio Valley myself. I earn my wages in Louisville, a stone’s throw from the river. Providing one has a strong arm. However, I live Henryville. BTW, did you know Colonel Sanders — may his soul rest eternally pestered in the fiery pits of Hell — was born in Henryville? Buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, though. Which is a rather ‘nice’ park to visit. For both the dead and living. You might check it out sometime if you’re ever in the area. And, I mean that in a nice way. (Nice, as in cordial.)

    I like your hypothesis. Of course, I concur.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hey Peter, Very fine, nice and thoroughly kind to greet and share hypotheses with a fellow denizen of the Ohio and its valley. I certainly agree that Henryville’s fame for Kentucky Fried Sentient Beings connotes at bit of a pall to bear, if you will forgive the pun that occurred to me; however, cemeteries really do make very good commons for walking about. My mother’s maiden name is Witte — most of that side of the family are resting a fraction of a mile away from this keyboard (to the right, actually). Always a peaceful place to walk.
    Here’s a fun bit of synchronicity — my father was born and raised in Seymour, IN: just north of Henryville. It was known for having train tracks crossing nearly every street in town. We’re talking 1920’s.
    We’re entirely too close, geographically, veganly and WordPressly not to get together before the Anthropocene (a word not recognized by WordPress either). That’s what I think, dang it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post. Very interesting. It’s a strange word, ‘nice’ isn’t it? It means different things to different people, as you discuss. My English teacher, (way back when!), used to hate it and would not allow us to use it, she’d go crazy if you did, ‘there’s no such word as nice,’ she used to snarl between barred teeth.
    In one of Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’ monologues, he has his character discussing comments made to her by some official ‘trying to help’, she says, ‘They think they’re being nice, but it’s just a nice way of being nasty.’ I always thought that was marvellous!!
    I have been accused of ‘being too nice for my own good’, by which they basically just mean I care about things and won’t ignore them as they do, they say ‘you make life hard for yourself’, as if it is some flaw I should rectify. I’ve never understood this but it seems a common trait, sadly. It is an excuse for them to justify their own lack of compassion and action, so they have a go at me for being ‘good’, but if they know me well enough, they also know, ‘I ain’t that good.’

    Liked by 2 people

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