Friday, June 30, 2017


"So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing & ? They are all Fake News!" Our "President" attacking the major news outlets as a group after three journalists resigned from the Cable News Network because of a retracted story about a Trumpite meeting with a Russian investment team. It should be noted that CNN never broadcast the story on any of its outlets. This little bit of what amounts to editorial responsibility is being hailed as a victory by those who rally 'round the Orange One.
It also points to a challenge that will, no doubt, exist for the time being while reporters of most every size, stripe and shape look to become the new Woodward and Bernstein. What sort of ratings/circulation boost might one expect from being the one who brought the whole house of cards down on the King of Tangerines?
This is the dynamic being set up currently in our newsrooms. Where it the thread that will bring the whole mess to light? Investigations on top of inquiries on top of testimony. Our "President" made things more interesting by first claiming to have tapes of his discussions with fired FBI Director James Comey, and then turned around to let us in on his big joike: "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." All of which could constitute a crime, but someone would have to take time out from investigating all the other alleged crimes that may or may not be taking place in and around the White House currently. 
All of which makes me wonder what sort of job this blustering mass of Twit could be doing in our nation's highest office while consumed with the tracking of television news ratings and other celebrities' social media feeds. How about health care? How about immigration reform? How about NATO? 
At least we know the next time he'll be on Fox & Friends

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tag Along

I would like to suggest that we make Tag an Olympic event. It could be held during the winter, but I expect an open field in the bright sunshine would make it a much better sell. The spectacle. The challenge. The pageantry. I haven't got the exact IOC rules in mind just yet, but I think it would go a long way toward bringing peace to the world through competition.
The initial notion I had came from a somewhat romanticized view of warfare between Native American tribes. Counting coup is the historical genesis of the game of tag. Rushing up to your enemy not to kill them, but to touch them and get away safely was considered the highest form of bravery. And it didn't involve mass destruction. It was all about making your enemy "it." Along  with the running and jumping that can be found in the Olympics are events that mimic war in obvious ways: throwing spears, shooting rifles, archery. Why not wind the clock all the way back to the most civilized form of combat? Sure, judo and karate and wrestling have their roots in history before gunpowder, but this would allow the United States a chance to show off some of its heritage.
I am suggesting this because I have always admired the way the Olympics bring out the best in all of us, and how the nations of the world set aside their differences to settle their hash on the courts, fields, tracks and pools of athletic competition. Except for that dust-up in Munich back in 1972. And the bomb going off in Atlanta. And the various boycotts by various country's teams for various reasons over the years. Mostly it's not armed conflict. It's athletic contests that reduce rivalries between nations to something that NBC can use to fill a couple weeks of their broadcasting schedule.
Better, faster, stronger would have to be accompanied by wily. It might also give kids a new role model or two. They might never get to be as fast as Usain Bolt, or as dominant as Michael Jordan, but staying just out of reach of that outstretched hand or becoming a world-class "it" is something any kid on any playground in the world could aspire.
It's also the kind of lesson that can be taught to a world looking in: There is no real end to the game, after all. It ends when the group runs out of interest. Like the computer taught us in WarGames: The only winning move is not to play.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


I saw a young man walking down a hill waving his butterfly wings, teetering on eight inches of platform heels. Wings and heels were emblazoned with the symbol of the day: A rainbow. In the moment it took him to cross the street in front of us, I was able to compartmentalize this event as something not wholly unique on Pride Weekend in San Francisco. What made it unique was the fact that there was not a flock of young men in similar costume trailing behind him.
Travelling down Market Street, I noticed rainbow flags hanging from poles, in windows, in public and private places. It wasn't a secret. It wasn't one neighborhood. It was the city that was coming out to say that we're here, we're queer, and we're having a parade. A parade that was going to be joined by a protest. Not from the Westboro Baptist Church. The LGBT community is currently under fire from groups who believe that Pride is too white. Too male.
Like so much about what is wrong with the world: too white, too male. Finding a way to get things not white or male or both leads to more inclusion. As the stranglehold white males have had over all manner of things in these United States begins to recede, white rage increases. Nice that the rage that has been engendered by white males all these years has finally come back to them. And yes, it is difficult to imagine that gay men might be included in this equation, at first. Then I remember my first gay pride rally.
In the spring of 1975, my family took a trip back east to visit a friend in New York. Wandering with my father and brothers through the theater district in Manhattan in search of tickets for a show that folks from Colorado might enjoy, we rounded a corner and ran smack into a dance party or protest or something that was unfamiliar to our Rocky Mountain senses. Young men in short shorts and fishnet tank tops and all manner of colorful attire were gathered in a throng, yelling and exhorting and making an enthusiastic fuss. I don't remember what was written on their signs, but I do remember one of them offering my father lip gloss. I also remember that most, if not all, of these young men were white.
My parents were friends with a number of white men back in Boulder. Some of them were gay. This was one of the ways we were able to show off how open minded we were. We understood their struggle for acceptance, though we didn't attend the rallies, not that there were any back in those days.
Now I live in the Bay Area, and all that acceptance is tested by the rainbow of diversity that exists here, surrounding this white male. I thought we had that whole LGBT thing figured out here, just like I imagined that electing Barack Obama fixed that racism deal.
I guess not. Time to open the door just a little wider and let everyone in, regardless of race, creed, color, sexuality, or shoe size.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rhet or ick

Who is to blame for the sorry state of discourse in our nation? Is it the Democrats and their obstructionist ways? Is it the Republicans and their hate-filled speech? Is it Hollywood and their privileged denizens spouting invective and salacious rumors? Is it ISIS and their wicked terrorist ways seeping into the fabric of our culture? Is it Russia, hacking America in ways we cannot fully understand yet?
Is it us?
All of us?
Yup. Johnny Depp made a joke that an actor hasn't assassinated a president in a long time. It was a bad joke, not in construction, but in timing. Like Caitlyn Jenner suggesting that liberals can't shoot straight. It follows the functional rules of humor, but fails to consider the audience.
All of us.
We are all currently walking around barefoot on broken glass, elbows extended and eyes straight forward. And somewhere out there, Kathy Griffin is wandering about apologetically with the severed head of Donald Trump and Ted Nugent is asking us to forget about all that "suck my machine gun" business and get back to civility. While the "President" continues to tweet about tapes of conversations that may not have occurred or existed and Hillary Clinton says passing this new version of health care will make Republicans the party of death, we wait for the next shoe to drop. Who will say something regretful this today? What will pundits be vigorously debating over the coming week?
Why would we argue about the suggestion that Black Lives Matter? Of course they do. Fighting over what doesn't get said these days is almost as big a fuss as the trials of the things that do get said. Written. Replayed. Endlessly in a loop until something more upsetting comes down the wire.
Twenty-five years ago, Rodney King asked, "Can we all get along?" That was before Waco. Before Oklahoma City. Before Columbine. Before 9/11. Before Sandy Hook. Before Orlando.
Judging by the evidence, I would say, "No."
Which is a shame, since when we do, life is so much better.

Monday, June 26, 2017

We Know Who We Are

The words were: “Who do you think you are?” They landed on my spinal cord with a load of past memories that made the weight initially painful. These words, spoken by a marching band director, came over the field’s public address system, making me initially complicit. I was part of the public, after all. We had arrived at this place to watch a rehearsal of our steadfast friend from high school. She was taking this moment to relive a bit of her youth, appearing in the color guard of the alumni drum and bugle corps with whom she had spent summers with so many years ago. She was back, as were her friends who had marched with her back in a previous century. In high school. A place and time that had brought us together initially.
The sound of a director’s voice gave us all a twinge of post-traumatic stress. We had all grown used to that sound as members of a high school band. Marching band. I have often referred to this period as the time I was involved in a paramilitary organization, one that brought me closer to a group of folks who continue to hold very special places in my life. Including the woman I married. All of which does not fully explain the trauma part. That was a function of being led through our learning experience through high expectations and competition. I didn’t play team sports in high school. Except for band, and that was plenty when it came to the ritual humiliation of adolescents who were already on shaky ground. They were in marching band, for heaven’s sake.
When I grew up and went to teacher school, one of the things I was taught was that students learn best when the compliment to criticism ratio is kept at a pretty solid five to one. Five encouraging things to one get to work on that. Building confidence aids learning. This was not something our high school band director had encountered on his way to being in charge of a group of teenagers. Or if he had, he had made other choices about how to handle them. Breaking those fragile egos in the service of getting a core group of like-minded members seemed to be his ethos, and constant haranguing seemed to be his best hope of getting our spirits broken. The intent, it seemed to come out the other side a lean, mean, marching machine. Clipboards and bullhorns were thrown. As were tantrums. Not by the kids, but by the nominal adult in charge. “That’s wrong! Can someone please tell me when we will start getting this right?”
And so it went. We shed our uniqueness for a uniform determination to be the best of die trying. We won some of our competitions. We came in second or third in others, and each result was met with sparing approval. We shouldn’t ever get too proud of ourselves. There was always something we could improve.
As I sat there in the stands, watching this group of dedicated grown-ups perform with drums and flags and horns at a level I had never attained myself, I was struck by the notion that their dedication was never in doubt. These were folks who had shown up years after they had aged out with the hope of leaving one more great show on the field. What made this guy think he was going to get better results by hollering at them?
The good news is that after that rehearsal, some of the adults took it upon themselves to speak to the adult “in charge.” They didn’t like being talked to that way, especially after donating their lives and limbs to the cause one more time. Knock it off with the “Who do you think you are?” jabber. They knew. They would be successful. On their terms. It made me happy to know that someone had spoken up, if not for me, then for the bandies who came before and after me. Who did he think he was? My high school band director? Too bad. That past is buried now.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


I have a goal this summer. I want to be blocked by the "realDonaldTrump" on Twitter. I want to get far enough under the skin of the "President" that he or his handlers push that button that says "please stop." I suppose I could accomplish this in any number of ways, but I won't be making threats or cursing unnecessarily. Probably won't curse at all, even though there are moments or tweets that bring some of those notions to the surface. "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party - and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!" This was our nation's leader poking fun at Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the wake of the special elections in Georgia and South Carolina. The attempt at humor was that Democratic leadership needs help right now. The potential for the blue guys to pick up a red seat somewhere along the line didn't happen.
And now our "President" is gloating. And name calling. The Cryin' Chuck reference dates back to a speech Senator Schumer gave back in January in response to the "President's" immigration ban. Chuck Schumer teared up when he recalled his own family's immigrant experience. A human reaction. For the record, Senator Schumer still refers to Donald Trump as "Mister President." It is true that he and his staff took a pretty wide swing at the Cabinet meeting fawn-a-thon on social media. He didn't call any names. He hasn't dipped as low as I have, constantly putting quotations around "President." Or calling him a Creamsicle. I do call names. In this way, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has more dignity than I do. Not a huge surprise.
But I will try and use some of that discretion when staking my claim to being blocked by the realDonaldTrump on Twitter. I do refer to our commander in chief almost exclusively as "Dude." I do point out when he is being overly aggro about this or that. Which is most of the time. The confounding thing is that months after the election that put him in office and gave him majorities in both the House and the Senate, he continues to behave as if he needs to keep winning. Have you seen his maps? Meanwhile, no substantive legislation has passed. All this winning and no real wins. Whining, yes. Winning, no.
Now the "President" wants us to get behind building a wall on our southern border with solar collectors. "Pays for itself." Clean energy and isolationist. A match made in that big empty space between his ears. “Think about it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right, good?“ My idea.”
It will be on Twitter soon. And so will I. Working on my own special project, Dude. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dog Trip

It was not so very long ago that we would pack up the family and head out on adventures, sometimes without a specific destination in mind. Then we got a dog. That meant that we needed to find someone to look after our best friend while we traveled the highways and byways. That meant we needed to have someone we could trust with our best friend as well as our house. Mostly we had house/dog sitters. This enhanced our sense of security as we traveled those previously mentioned highways and byways.
Road trips with a dog make me think of John Steinbeck. Not because they give me suicidal thoughts, but because of Travels With Charley. If you haven't read that one, it's about an author who takes his "mind-reading" dog with him on a journey to reconnect with America. Charley was a poodle, so that probably wouldn't happen with me anyway, but having made a number of trips in my youth with a dachshund to our cabin in the mountains, I can say that this method of travel is always more amusing for the dog who is consumed with the wind rushing past his or her ears and up his or her nose. There are also potty stops that are more difficult to anticipate than those of a child. Generally speaking.
Then there's the practical matter of finding pet-friendly motels along the way. I have some memories of waking up early on some of those family road trips and seeing someone else taking their dog on a walk around the parking lot. It always looks as artificial as the plants in the lobby.
Still, that option of being the owner who gets to tell his or her dog that they are going for a ride, a really long ride, in the car would be very gratifying. Mind-reading dog or not. And yet, we didn't take our best friend on any of those sojourns we took back when we had a dog of our own. Sometimes we took her to a friend's house for an evening, or to the dog park. We even took her to the beach a few times. That was more than just a little gratifying. In retrospect, a part of me wonders why we didn't bother to try to bring her along on some of our other adventures.
Then  I remember how much I like being at home, and how much I wanted to share that value with my pet. That feeling of the wind rushing past versus the comfort of that nice warm bed. I spent a week with a neighbor's dog, taking care of him at our house. It was just long enough for him to become accustomed to all the best places to plop down on the floor. He went for a couple rides, and plenty of walks, but mostly he curled up next to us on the couch when we would let him. He missed his owner, and he didn't even mind not going to Hawaii. Hanging his head out of a 737 would have been Nirvana.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Brain Trust

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming. This is amusing on a number of levels. Let's begin with those first four words: Energy Secretary Rick Perry. This is a guy who had once wanted to abolish that department, back when he was running for president in 2012. And speaking of "President," before the door hit him on the way out of the 2016, Mister Perry endorsed Ted Cruz and referred to his future boss as "a barking carnival act."
Times change, but not always beliefs. 
Like this one: "The reason that we fought the [American] Revolution in the 16th century — was to get away from that kind of onerous crown, if you will." Rick missed the actual starting date of the war for independence by two hundred years.
And it's not just math and history that get the former governor of Texas mixed up. Science is pretty confounding too: It's a theory that's out there. It's got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both Creationism and evolution."
Back in 2010, he referred to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico thusly: "From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented."
It is probably his deeply held religious conviction that brought him to this one: "Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender." 
You get the point. Saying that carbon dioxide is not a major contributor to global warming is just another in a long list of dumb things that Rick believes. Unicorns? If the Lord had been on the ball and put a couple on the ark with Noah, then he'd be down with that for sure. What does our Energy Secretary think is to blame for global warming? "Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in." 
Guess what? Scientists don't agree with Secretary Perry. Should he worry? Probably not, since the head of the Environmental Protection Agency agrees with him. And so, this "debate" continues. Later, I hope to hear Secretary Rick's belief about gravity. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Postscript To The Postcard

The title of the book was Postcards From The Edge, I read it in the midst of my own recovery and found the voice refreshing. The idea that drinking and drugs could be so alluring and yet still so debilitating to relationships as well as your physical being was reassuring to me at the time. These days, when people ask if I miss my own days on the edge of reason, I can give them a straight answer: No. I don't. Back then, well, I nodded and smiled.
Back then I was still in the process of making a life change. I thought a lot about making exceptions or deals with myself and sobriety. My initial plan was to skip the binge drinking of green beer I had scheduled for St. Patrick's Day, an annual rite. I would bounce back. That stretched into a month, then two, and after a year it became apparent that there were advantages to seeing life through clear eyes. Is it possible that I could have grown a career and gotten married and had a kid while maintaining anything resembling my former trajectory? Possible, but not likely. Maintaining those things would have been nothing short of impossible.
Which brings us back to the edge. I still have dreams in which I have made some barely conscious decision to hop off the wagon. I wake up from these dreams relieved to find that I don't have to worry about starting the count all over from one. I don't currently have an accurate count, which in itself is its own relief. I know people who have not been as lucky. The physics involved in actually falling off the wagon are pretty severe. The edge is a drop of some great height, and once you hit bottom again, the climb back up is a tough and embarrassing. Sure, there's always something to learn along the way, like what it might take to keep it from happening again.
The lady who wrote that book fell off herself. A few times. She was always very candid and honest about it, sharing the bumps and bruises with us in other books and a one-woman show. The demons Carrie Fisher battled were of a different size and shape than the ones I experienced. Addicts have "war stories," the ones they tell about their trip to the bottom. She was great at making them entertaining and educational. I was happy to hear that she was still clinging to her own ledge. Until then end of last year when she died, She fell asleep on a plane bound for London. She didn't make it there. She had heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine in her. Doctors said it was sleep apnea "and other factors" that got her. I know what it really was. It was the drop. From the edge.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What I Want

Maybe birthdays don't come from a store, he paraphrased Dr. Seuss, maybe birthdays mean just a little bit more. When I was a kid, birthdays were often measured by the loot. Always impressed by the way my mom listened to my wants, I suppose I shouldn't have been amazed when I got that Fonzie T-shirt. Aaaaay.
Getting the gifts I wanted wasn't the big deal, really. It was the continuation of the story. My older brother continues to celebrate each trip around the sun, since that's the thing that really matters. The gift of life, another chance to get it right. Or foul up in the most spectacular way. Another spin on the big wheel. I'm not getting places as fast as I used to, and the next day I feel the wear and tear of the miles I have put on since the early sixties. More scars, less hair, more wisdom, less enthusiasm for random chance. Getting from point A to point B in as straight a line as possible seems like the best plan, even if the whole thing seems to be dominated by the circular orbit of the earth around the sun.
Five days ago, Edgar's friends met to commemorate his passing nine years ago. This time there was a poster, signed by many, included the date of his arrival on the planet and when he exited. It struck my that these folks were gathering each year to focus on the latter.
It made me think of how, in my twenties, I focused on the day my friend Darren shuffled off his mortal coil. It is the luxury of being so removed from death that you can remain so fascinated by it. It was a novelty. When my father passed away, he did us a mild service of going right around the time of his birthday, so his life has polite bookends that allow us to celebrate a life in total. So often I find myself writing here about how lives end, I should point out that all this observation began fifty-five years ago, and I have never made a full accounting of all those people, friends, family, strangers who made some of the smallest moments in five and a half decades special. I am way behind on my Thank You Cards. And I would like to remind those who loved Edgar to focus on the gift he was while he was here, rather than the tragic circumstances that bring the candles out to the sidewalk every June 16. All our lives we have that opportunity to share with those around us and even though it crushes us to think of it coming to an end, I want to focus on the joy I have experienced as a result of being brought into this world. That is the gift that keeps on giving. Like that loophole in the three wishes: wish for unlimited wishes with that third one.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Things To Come

Amazon, the company not the river, bought Whole Foods last week. A simple enough concept: big fish eats little fish. It's the American Way. Okay, maybe it's really more the Capitalist Way, but you get the picture. To be honest, my reaction was muted compared to what I might have felt if Jeff Beezos had set his sights on Trader Joe's or Safeway. It will still be a while before I feel the full impact of this acquisition.
Or will it?
Around me, big companies are swallowing smaller companies at a rate that might cause some to swoon. I had to stop and inspect the back of an Xfinity customer care van parked on the street a few days ago just to admire all the various logos, trying to discern some sort of hierarchy: NBC, Universal, Comcast, Tad's Fish 'n' Chips. All a part corporate synergy. Walking into a fast food restaurant, one becomes almost instantly aware of the alliances. Is this a Coke or a Pepsi establishment? Franchise or chain? When was the last time those fries saw the sun?
My wife has a favorite Sylvester Stallone movie, not because of Sly necessarily, but she loves Demolition Man because of the franchise wars. Taco Bell was the only survivor. Hence, all restaurants are Taco Bell. Genius marketing from the Time Warner folks, who also happen to own HBO, TBS, DC Comics, and a host of other entertainment portals that deliver content to anyone who jacks in. Time Warner does not currently own Taco Bell.
Neither does Amazon.
A while ago, I mused about Disney eventually owning everything, and would't that be nice? The most obsequious customer service on the planet, and a steady stream of family friendly characters and attendant swag with immersive shops, parks and bunkers in which to enjoy said content and swag. What would that mean to Amazon's plans for world domination? Currently they have the market cornered on forty-one ounce bags of Skittles and will soon own controlling interest in the headwaters of the Kombucha. All of it delivered by drones.
Now I can start envisioning the scorched hellscape that will be left when the Disney droids battle the Amazon drones to the death. I just hope I can still get a Chalupa Supreme when the smoke clears.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Twenty-five years ago today, Batman Returns was released in America. That means that it was released in my neighborhood theater. Having waited three years for the next installment of the Dark Knight saga, and being a rabid Tim Burton fan, I was more than ready. I have a poster that commemorates this date. This was also the day that I gave up being single forever.
A quarter of a century ago, I drove down to Denver to pick up my girlfriend at the airport. Shortly after that, we returned to Boulder where we made a point of seeing one of the first screenings of what would turn out to be Michael Keaton's last turn beneath the cowl. It was quickly adopted as "our movie." She and I reveled in the romantic tension between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle: Batman and Catwoman. We were entranced.
Which may say a lot about the couple involved, but this was the moment in which my bluff might have been called. I had announced, a few months earlier, my intention of moving from my home in Boulder, Colorado to be with her in Oakland, California. As talks progressed, it became clear to me that the direct approach was my best bet, and so I pushed past any talk about trial periods or getting my own place and seeing how things worked out. If I was jumping in, it was going to be an all-or-nothing shot at greatness. I was moving halfway across the country to be with the woman I loved. How about that for a romantic gesture? Even without the cape and cowl, I felt this was pretty heroic. So for the next couple weeks, we played a game of chicken, waiting for the other to swerve. I had already sold my furniture and was camping out in my mother's basement. If I turned back now, I would have to search out yet another set of Pillow Kingdom rent-to-own living room set and someplace to put it. Back where I started.
But that wasn't going to happen. More than a decade before this, I had gone off to college in Santa Fe. I left as a hero and came home a week later when it became apparent that I just wasn't quite ready for life that far from home. I spent the next dozen years expecting to live my life alone in that one bedroom apartment, wondering what might have been. I had begun fantasizing about plans to celebrate my single-ness, as all my other friends were getting married and settling down. Being alone wasn't going to be so bad, especially if I could make a sardonic show of it.
Who was I kidding? When my chance arrived, in the form of the woman who would become Catwoman to my Batman, I leaped. Two days later, when I turned thirty, I was suddenly staring straight into a committed relationship, and a week after that, when we drove out of Boulder for my last time as a resident, I only looked back for a moment. I liked what I saw, but not any more than what I saw in the passenger seat next to me.
Our first stop on our way back west? Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Victory Lap begins.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I got in trouble with my wife the other day when I suggested that I didn't know if I had ever seen a cat experience joy. There was context for this remark. We were in the  midst of dog-sitting for a friend of ours. We had a dog in our living room for the first time in years. I was marveling at the enthusiasm this golden retriever had for most every moment of the day: Door opens, hooray! Invited on the couch, huzzah! Said my name, hoorah!
And then someone brings out the leash.
This is a life-changing experience. He was outside just a few minutes ago, but this time it will almost certainly involve a walk. Around the block? To the park? Who cares? Don't even dare to imagine that there might be a car ride involved. He might just burst. Really.
Cats are not just a different breed. They are a different species. I know this because I have read books. I don't, I admit, have a lot of one-on-one experience with felinity. I am not, as the phrase would have it, a cat person. I confess to bringing a glaring and distinct dog bias to the table, and underneath it where the food tends to fall. I lack a solid connection to a cat. Friends have tried to introduce me to their cats. My older brother had two kitties that he hoped would be my adopted kitty siblings. Never happened.
Not because I didn't want to, necessarily. I don't want to be the kind of person who denies the potential for love between pets and their humans. But I can't always relate. Mostly because I am what has been described as a dog person. I relate to the mindset. A lover of ruts, I sometimes wish that I could bring the same excitement to repetition that my doggie pals do. Dinner? Again? I can't believe my luck! You came home? You remembered me? Wow. Bow wow.
I'm  also the guy who can't understand why Chewbacca, the Wookie, didn't get a medal after helping blow up the Death Star. Suspciously specist, I think. According to George Lucas, the inspiration for the co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon came from his Malamute, Indiana, who always rode shotgun with him in his car.
Did somebody say car? Oh my god! I have to go!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Married With Children

There are times that I feel that my life is a sit-com missing the laugh track. Maybe they add it in post, but I don't hear the chuckles and guffaws as I make my way through each day. It reminds me of something Laurie Anderson once said about life would be more interesting if had better editors. I concur.
This lack of laugh track probably wouldn't hurt the reality show that is Trump's "Presidency." The first few months would have a regular feature: A shot of his royal Orangeness sitting on his throne, extra long tie dangling down between his knees. The door is open and the TV is blaring from the next room. It's Fox & Friends, and while the hosts banter gaily back and forth about making America great again, the Twitter in Chief is tapping away on his "smart phone." He mumbles, and every so often he blurts out something that sounds like "covfefe!"
At least that's how I imagine the scene before the wife moved back in. Downstairs in the kitchen in the wee hours of the night, looking for another slice of that most delicious chocolate cake. Walking in the hallways with his glass of warm milk, talking to the portraits hung on the wall. It would be a sad sight if not for the almost unimaginable hubris that clings to him like cheap cologne. Now that Melania has come to stay, all that comes to an end. All that bachelor pad, eating over the sink stuff has to stop. It's not too big a stretch with that accent to imagine a Green Acres reboot, right?
"New York is where I'd rather stay..."
And oh, how the hijinks will ensue.
That very special episode when Barron learns the true meaning of Ramadan.
The one where all the ex-wives show up and Melania gets a little tipsy before the big state dinner.
The First Family adopts a pet: a parrot that looks just like dad.
And the special guest stars: Scott Baio. Ted Nugent. Alex Jones.
Melania accidentally buys Malta on the Home Shopping Network.
Sweeps week will almost certainly be brightened by a two-part episode that includes articles of impeachment.
I can't wait to see the spinoff: Ficket Pences.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Paradise Lost

There is a scene in Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's comic masterpiece Bedazzled in which Dudley asks Peter, who is plays Lucifer, why he left heaven. The devil suggests that they try a little role playing, with Dudley dancing around singing praises while Satan takes his position sitting on top of a mailbox, encouraging his minion to be more effusive and more personal. After a few minutes of this, Dudley stops dancing and singing and says, "Hey, I think I'd like to try it up there for a while." Exactly. 
This was the scene that played in my head when the "President" convened his first Cabinet meeting last Monday. The televised event gave every person sitting at the table a chance to gush wildly about their boss's wisdom, clarity and agenda. To what end, one wonders? Could it be that Mary Anne MacLeod Trump's little boy didn't get enough love when he was a child? Or an adult? Or at any point in his life. The chance to have a room full of carefully selected sycophants laud your accomplishments in a highly orchestrated media opportunity. And what did the MSM (Mainstream Media) do with this event?
Did it stop people in their tracks, causing them to reevaluate the job our "President" is doing?
Did they realize that this is just a well-intentioned man with a vision to Make America Greattm again?'
Well, no.
Did the people listen carefully and consider just how really terrific this "President" really is?
They poked fun at him. 
They called it "sick, shameful, pathetic.
If the desired effect was to engender love and respect for the "President" outside of that room, then it had to be a disappointment.
Unless you're Donald J. Trump. He dances to the beat of a different drummer. And sings his own praises well enough that he probably doesn't notice he's not in heaven. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

National Pasttime

Hate crimes. Stealing gum from the local five and dime. Running a stop sign. They don't seem like hate. Taking money from someone else. Running a stop sign and causing an accident. Holding up the local five and dime with a gun. Getting into a car and racing away from the scene of the crime and running a stop sign an accident. An accident the killed innocent victims.
We don't hear a lot about "guilty victims," do we?
Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot, along with four others were wounded when James T. Hodgkinson openend fire at a Washington D.C. baseball field. Innocent victims of a hate crime. It only takes a moment to look down the path to link Mister Hodgkinson to the hate cloud that swirls around not just our capitol, but our country and  our world. His presence on social media made it easy to link him to, Bernie Sanders, and any number of left-leaning causes.
Here is an American who was radicalized. Not by Islam, but by the anger, fear, and hate that has become part of our daily reckoning. And there was a gun. The fistfights and riots that have plagued our recent political discourse have made more commonplace the threat of violence. And hate. Left and right are coming together not to seek out common ground, but to beat one another to a pulp.
Or shoot to kill. 
Reports from the scene early on wanted to establish that the shooter acted alone. Leftist nutjob was the conclusion. Alone, but not alone. The rhetoric has ramped up on both sides to a point where this unthinkable thing has become reality. Well, not really unthinkable: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Gabby Giffords. That list is sadly far from complete. Damaris Alexandra Reyes Rivas was killed in Farifax, Virginia back in February. She died because of gang affiliations and turf conflicts that are easily identified as hate. Innocent victim? Probably. Like Gabby Giffords, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time: in front of the bullet that was fired fractions of a second before it went into her. 
Will there be more discussion about toning down the rhetoric on both sides? Of course. Will that make the hate go away? Words are powerful things. Be careful how we use them. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Poetic License

I'm a big fan of words. Lyrics, to be precise. It certainly helps to have a tune to carry them, but when a song has a verse or two that catches me as clever, I am almost instantly enamored. It is for this reason, for example, that I have forgiven Lou Reed for rhyming "head" with "head" in Walk On The Wild Side. The rest of the story and images are stunning enough to let that little lapse of coupling slide. I am still not sure if I can find room to do the same for Bono's "early morning, April 4" in Pride (In The Name Of Love). Martin Luther King was shot in the afternoon of April 4. It's a factual inaccuracy. Otherwise, a stirring tribute to the fallen idol of millions gets marked down on my score card because of it.
Maybe there was something about time zones and Dublin that led to that little snafu, but these are the kind of things that occasionally keep me from full joy. Then there is this other school of lyrics: the ones that I have known most of my life, but have only begun to consider them now as an adult as something other than clever wordplay. And example of this would be R. B. Greave's Take A Letter Maria. When I was seven, and caught up in that hook, it never occurred to me that this guy wasn't just leaving his wife, but he was taking the opportunity of being cuckolded to hit on his secretary. Is that the kind of behavior we want to award with a gold record?
Then there's this idjit singing about Pina Coladas and personal ads. It sounds cute enough, but what sort of guy would start fishing around for another girl just because this one has grown too predictable? When it turns out that the two of them had the same idea it's like some Tinder version of Gift of the Magi, they both have a good laugh and carry on as if this were the way that adults carry on relationships? Maybe we can blame 1980, but remind me not to look up Rupert Holmes when it comes time to recommend a couples' counselor.
Of course, Rupert appears to have a sterling character when you compare him to Paul Simon. The clever part of Simon and Garfunkel had us all singing along with fifty ways to leave a committed relationship. It's a regular rhyming dictionary of infidelity. Make a new plan, Stan. Hop on the bus, Gus. Paul introduces the barrage of catchy suggestions as the advice from the woman with whom he is currently involved in a non-monogamous tryst. Even though she tells him there must be fifty ways, she only mentions six, and as the couple drifts off to sleep, the character asks to be consoled just one more time with this list. Generations have grown up with this catchy tune in their head, just waiting for the moment when the advice seems appropriate. Drop off the key, Lee. That's all there is to it. Which would be great except this is coming from a guy who still hasn't quite been able to shake his singing partner in the last fifty years.
I'd like to hear that song.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time Loves A Hero

Before I ever turned a page of a Spider Man comic, before I stood in line to see the latest super hero blockbuster, there was a TV rolled into our kitchen and aerials adjusted so that we wouldn't miss an episode of Batman. I was four years old when millionaire Bruce Wayne and his young ward Dick Grayson set about fighting crime on the American Broadcasting Company. Twice a week, we waited on the voice over: "Same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel." The adventures, we were assured, would continue.
Adam West died last week. Long before there was a question of Michael Keaton versus Val Kilmer versus George Clooney versus Christian Bale versus Ben Affleck and so on, there was only one Batman. Before the rubberized physique enhancing black suits of the late twentieth century, there was the purple tights that only the pop art sixties could suggest as the uniform of a vigilante for justice. Adam West was playing camp as Gotham's Caped Crusader, and he was all in. Sliding down a pole with his young companion into a cave, chasing enemies even more colorfully costumed than himself, he kept a straight face. Straight. Pretty daring.
That was the super thing. As ridiculous as things got, Batman kept his cool. There was always something left in his utility belt for the crisis du jour. When the bad guy was about to encase the dynamic duo in concrete or cut them in half with a buzz saw, you had to believe that there was some danger, otherwise there was no need to tune in for the next episode. That  was what Adam West brought to the role. He wasn't the Dark Knight, more like Twilight. He was walking a fine line. Up the side of a building. We, the audience, were in on the joke. So was Adam West, but he never cracked a smile. At that time, he was probably laughing all the way to the bank.
Then, three years after that ride in the Batmobile began, it was over. For the next fifty years, Mister West traded on his secret identity for acting gigs that relied heavily on his stay in stately Wayne Manor. And he did it with good humor.
I call that heroic.
Adam West slid down the Bat Pole and stomped on the Bat Terra. Aloha, Super Friend.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Bottom Line

It pains me a little to think about the summer I spent in the Well of Souls. I mean that I feel embarrassed about the months I immersed myself in the self-help industry. In my late teens and early twenties, I was what some might describe as "troubled." I had been moving my life closer to the edge than most, including myself, were comfortable. I was very hung up on my high school girlfriend and was having a very hard time letting her go. I had begun a semi-professional drinking career that left me showing up initially as the life of the party and later the thing that would not heave. My friends had grown tired of my antics and it began to appear as though I was headed to a career in managing our local Arby's.
So, when it was suggested to me by this young lady upon whom my life was hanging that I should try this weekend experience to try and get my head together, it seemed that I had little to lose. It would be good to take a week off of binge drinking and scraping up the three hundred dollars wasn't going to be impossible, thanks to all those late nights slinging America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir!
I drove over to the center, which should have been a clue for me, since the "center" was an office in a strip mall, signed my name and wrote a check. I was reassured by the folks at the center that I would look back on that moment as the one in which I finally began taking care of myself and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. I appreciated the nudge, but since my primary reason for being there in the first place was because of what other people thought of me, I pushed that suggestion to the back of my mind.
This was late in the est-era, and I had heard plenty of wild talk about what might or could be happening to me over the course of three days. When I arrived at the center on Friday evening to begin my seminar, I was introduced to Skip and Liz. They would be leading the room full of angsty and confounded individuals who had two things in common: getting their heads together and an extra three hundred dollars. We were up late that first night, digging into everyone's fears and woes. We got up early the next morning and hit it again. Hard. By noon on Saturday, we were given our task: memorize a poem to be recited in front of the group. No big deal, until we learned that we were expected to give a dramatic rendering of this piece, and as we rehearsed we were asked to consider exactly how each word pertained to us and our individual circumstances. As the day wore on, we were asked for volunteers to present, and the first brave few who raised their hands were immediately knocked off their pegs for their lack of sincerity. My instinct to be among the first to run the gauntlet was tested. Would I have the right stuff when it came to my turn?
We ran late on Saturday night, and the walls of the strip mall office began to close in. All of us were tired, except for the apparently indefatigable Skip and Liz. We pushed each other and ourselves. Then, after a break, it was my turn. I was exhausted but the adrenaline combined with the sensory deprivation of the past twenty-four hours gave me the strength to push through my moment:
I know people who love to be the victim. They're either sad, and anxious, or always blaming others. Want to know what keeps them stuck? (the crowd cried "What?") They're so afraid of using their own personal power, that they don't make things happen! So will you use your personal power?
Then it was over. I had passed the line. I had rung the bell. I had conquered whatever demons I had brought with me. I was a champion.
The next day brought the rest of the group their own catharses. We all cheered as whatever had been holding them back was stripped away. Or the appearance of same. That evening, we had our promotion exercise. Our invited guests were brought in to witness our transformation. And shortly after that, we were asked if we knew anyone else who might benefit from such an experience. This is the part where I feel I let the rest of the planet down: I became one of their recruiters. I never got a purple shirt, but I did hang out at gatherings the center held to bring in new candidates. I used the new lingo I had acquired from my own time in the Well, and asked those "tough questions" of strangers and friends alike. I coerced my very good friend and Arby's co-worker into scraping together his three hundred dollars and giving it a go. By the most amusing coincidence, his group included the woman who would eventually become my mother-in-law. It was only after his graduation that I began to reflect on just exactly what I had done. I knew what he was getting paid for wiping down tables and serving up roast beef sandwiches. I knew that he could have used those three hundred dollars. He was on a payment plan. He was on a budget.
He eventually became my roommate, and as we picked up our partying ways as I went back to pining for the girl I had hoped would see the new me, I realized I was still all those things that I had been when I went into the center. And more. I knew this poem.
How embarrassing.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Getting To The Bottom Of Things

We don't have to wonder much about what goes through our "President's" head these days: It's generally the roaring wind that sounds a lot like traffic through a tunnel. No stops for turns or consideration. Just a hole through which random thoughts appear and exit, based almost entirely on whatever was most recently on Fox & Friends. Across the ocean, however, there lives a cat who is much more inscrutable. Vlad "What Me Worry" Putin is the guy we should all worry about. That's why it was such a treat to have him sit down with Megyn Kelly for an interview. Surely, the woman who ruffled the feathers of the great Trump bird could help us gain some insights.
But it was not to be. A former KGB agent doesn't let down his guard for anyone. Ever. Did we really believe that Mister Putin was going to look down at his toes and meekly confess to messing up our presidential election? "Ah, Ms. Kelly. You seem to have caught me in a big fib. I humbly ask your forgiveness and from the American people as well. I kept Hillary Clinton from becoming the first woman president because I was afraid."
Nope. Didn't happen. Vlad is made of stronger stuff. He's not the orange meringue who is prone to Twitter fits in the middle of the night. He is not the most interesting man in the world, but he is the man who could have him killed. And there would be no proof. At this point, we have to hope that the Americans involved in this sordid affair will be the ones who cave. Unless someone comes along who has the gravitas to blow the lid off this whole Russian interference imbroglio. 
Enter Oliver Stone. Champion of the Conspiracy Set, Ollie will get to the bottom of whatever might or might not be going on behind that great stone face. Stone asked Stoneface if he ever had an off day, to which Putin responded, “I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days. I am not trying to insult anyone. That’s just the nature of things. There are certain natural cycles.” While not exactly as trashy as his friend in America, it would seem chauvinism and socialism aren't exclusive schools of thought. Homophobia either. When the director of Any Given Sunday asked Russia's current czar if he’d take a shower in a submarine with a gay man, he replied, “Well, I prefer not to go to shower with him. Why provoke him? But you know, I’m a judo master and a SAMBO master as well.” 
Sounds very manly indeed. Maybe the "Presidents" aren't that different after all. Can world peace be that far behind?
Don't answer that. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Apples And Trees, Don'tcha Know

You have probably grown tired, as I have, of keeping up with the Trump family via Twitter. Knowing that our "President" will continue to badger the Mayor of London until some new shiny object comes along should be sufficient evidence to let our attention slip, ever-so-briefly, from social media. Instead, let us turn our focus to the MSM (mainstream media), and have a peek at what's happening with the forgotten Trump: Eric.
Perhaps Eric Trump believed that the shadow cast by his father and brother and sisters would obscure his presence on the scene. Sadly, the glaring lights have only served to accentuate all the Trumping going on around this great land of ours. On Fox News’s “Hannity” Tuesday night, Donald's next-to-youngest child said, “I’ve never seen hatred like this. To me, they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad. Morality’s just gone, morals have flown out the window and we deserve so much better than this as a country." He was talking about Democrats. Decrying the ugliness of business in Washington D.C., he continued: “You see the Democratic Party, they’re imploding. They’re imploding. They became obstructionists because they have no message of their own.” 
Not that it's easy to get a word in edgewise, but Democrats are spending a good deal of time these days standing around slack-jawed as attacks on various groups and individuals mount. Muslims. Women. Anyone with a pre-existing condition. Leaders of foreign nations. Mayors of London. In the meantime, the current message Democrats are sending is "What now?"
Well, if you're sticking with the Eric thread, how about the Forbes report that has him siphoning off funds from his cancer charity to put back into his business? In the big book of Trump, it seems like a completely natural response to the rest of the world. Sure, these kids may have cancer now, but I've got deadlines to meet. Deals to make. Besides, young Eric might rationalize, kids with cancer aren't even people anyway. Do they play golf? 
Next question, please. 
And now, back to your regularly scheduled twits. Tweets.  

Friday, June 09, 2017


Running to stand still, to paraphrase the Irish poet. That's how it feels at the end of my twentieth year of teaching school. Now that I have worked under more than half a dozen different superintendents and even more principals, I can barely trace my lineage back to that first eager group that came strolling into the building as new teachers way back when. I am the one who is still here. Many others have left to pursue careers outside education. Several have found jobs in this or other districts that afford them the satisfaction that may have been missing for them here. Yet another group has simply moved on to heaven knows where.
I still run into folks I knew back then. At district events, or in the grocery store. We compare notes and inevitably they look at me with a bemused smile when I tell them I am still holding down the fort where my teaching career began back in another century. Before Columbine. Before the attacks of September 11. Before my son started school. Before smart phones. Before I became an institutional memory.
The kindergartners were promoted on Wednesday. They will be next year's first graders. The fifth graders moved on Thursday morning. I will most assuredly see many of them as they return to see just how small the halls look after they have been away for a little while. There will also be that group that will be gone and never come back. They will be the memories that fade, merged with all the faces that have passed before me over two decades. Except for that percentage of a percentage that left a mark. The ones who taught me something while I was busy trying to teach them.
I joke sometimes with my fellow teachers about how easy education would be without all these kids around. That's what we do in those days before school begins in August. And that day after all the short people have left for the summer. We clean up. We prepare. We remember some and try to forget others. We move on.
Even if we're standing still.

Thursday, June 08, 2017


Picket lines. Lines in the sand. Lines on the playground. It's important to know which lines to cross and when. If you are coloring, it's best to stay within the lines. When the lines get blurred, it's difficult to know where to stand. Waiting in line is a sign of respect and patient. Cutting in line is not.
There are plenty more ways in which lines rule or confirm our lives. Some of us are good at them. Some of us are not.
That's why they have to bring in the police. They help, in a very similar way to that which I enforce the line to the four square game on the playground, but with a little more effect. When the line is the kind that has another across the street or park or some other public site pushing toward it, then that "opposites attract" thing becomes dangerous.
This is not news to the people of Portland. They were visited by a herd of competing lines of shouters in the wake of the killing of two good Samaritans who lost their lives defending two young women. That's when Portland's mayor asked if everyone could back off a little while tempers and reason returned to normal.
But that's not an easy request these days. Normal has so many shades, and it could very well be that civil unrest is the new normal. Consequently, extremists from the right and the left met with eyes blazing over last weekend to express their opinions on the matter of free speech. With clubs and knives and brass knuckles. These are the lines that most of us wanted to avoid, but now we can only anticipate more.
Like the ones that formed in Boulder, Colorado over that same weekend. Members of the far-right Proud Boys group showed up in this liberal enclave to exercise their right to riot free speech. From behind their barricades, they pushed and screamed and yelled their vision of the world while across the courthouse lawn, an equal or larger group hollered theirs. All on a summer's day. Red Rover, Red Rover, send Dietrich right over. With a sharpened screwdriver.
This game really isn't that much fun anymore.
Or healthy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Ambulance Chaser

The "President's" response to the van attack in London: "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" And, "Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!" And, "We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don't get smart it will only get worse." Those were the tweets from The Twit in Chief, in reverse order, in the hours after pedestrians were run down then set upon by three men with knives. "Get smart before it gets worse. We are with you. We need to be tough." And we need to keep bad guys out. This is our right. 
He's looking at you, Muslims. 
He's not saying it. But he is. 
He's also not saying in what we we are with the folks in London. Are we sending aid and comfort? Or are we simply closing our ranks and using the suffering of others as justification for our own fear? 
I don't really mean "we." Like when King Louie tweets that we need to stop being politically correct and get down the business of security for our people, I have no idea what "we" he is referencing. Donald Trump does not speak for me. Nor, I would imagine, does he speak for Muslims in this country and around the world. The terror unleashed at London Bridge cries out for some kind of human response other than more terror. Like the Prime Minister of Israel tweeted: "These terrorists worship death. They murder indiscriminately, but they will not frighten us. They will not terrorize us."
How about, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." That's the kind of thing that Londoners expect from their leaders. And themselves. Or, how about, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Back in the White House, where one of its occupants once suggested "that the only thing  we have to fear is fear itself." The current "Resident" of that address seems to have missed that point. He seems committed to the ideal that fear is the only thing, and that is what we have to share with the rest of hte world. This is not the first time that Orangeina has used a tragedy to accelerate his agenda: Isolation. Hatred. More fear. 
I have a message for the rest of the world: Don't listen to the man behind the curtain. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

What's So Funny?

Comedian Kathy Griffin lost her job because she made a joke that went too far. She did a photo shoot that featured her with the severed head of our "President." I looked at it initially and rolled my eyes, thinking that she had  gone too far. Apparently, so did one of her employers, CNN. The Cable News Network seemed to agree with my assessment, which caused me to reevaluate my opinion. To be clear, the folks at CNN let Ms. Griffin go from a one night a year gig co-hosting the New Year's gala in Times Square with journalist Anderson Cooper. She was the comic relief. Get it? She's a comedian. A comedian who now joins a list of funny folk who may have gone to far, too fast, too soon. I'm looking at you, Gilbert Gottfried.
So here's the other thing: There's this guy who got his job by making crude and unsubstantiated remarks, including suggesting violence. Inciting it, even. No severed heads, true, but ugly ugly ugly. And  for his conduct in front of cameras, he was awarded the highest office in the land.
Let me be clear: I was never a fan of either one of these characters. I found them both to be just a little too much, and tended to change the channel rather than give either one of them a chance to make me laugh or cry. But now they have given me a chance to think: What is too far?
If Kathy Griffin had taken the severed head bit out on the campaign trail just after Orange Julius had made his comments about Megyn Kelly, then there would have been context. It would have been more immediate and clear. Would it have played, even then? Hard to say, but then it would have been blood at the expense of the presumptive Republican candidate, not the sitting "President." Was a line crossed? As much as Ted Nugent did, and he got invited to the White House.
Ted Nugent is not a comedian. Not on purpose, anyway. Kathy Griffin is a comedian, and maybe she could know her craft better. Her timing was a problem. Then again, timing has never been an issue to the idjits currently sitting behind the big board. The comedy doesn't need to be mined, currently. It sits so very close to the surface. Of course, so is the outrage. And disgust. And anger. There was something cathartic about what Kathy Griffin did, though I would stop just short of defending it. The American  people are scared and angry and don't know how to respond to all the ridiculousness that surrounds them. A comedian made a bad joke. A "President" made a series of really poor decisions. One of them lost their job.
Not so funny, after all.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Here's Looking At You, Kid

We'll always have Paris.
Just not right now. Our "President" has withdrawn from the international agreement to deal with climate change. We leave the ranks of one hundred ninety countries that have adopted this treaty, most of whom have already moved to ratify it as part of their nation's world view. It's our planet, after all, We share the responsibility for the earth. It's our home, and it's going up in flames.
Okay, the science department just called and suggested that I walk that last line back a little, since there has not been an uptick in the number of spontaneous combustions over the past few years. Which may be unfortunate, since that's the kind of thing that might bring the kind of focus we need here in an America that is attempting to make itself Great Again. Pets, small children, house plants suddenly ablaze with no apparent explanation, except the temperatures globally rising exponentially since 1980.
And so we find ourselves sitting outside the party, along with Nicaragua and Syria. Looking in. According to World Bank dataSyria and Nicaragua produced about seventy thousand and sixteen thousand kilotons of carbon emissions, respectively, in 2012. The United States, however, emitted more than six million kilotons. That's a lot of emitting. We lead the way when it comes to countries who refuse to take part in the Paris Agreement. Way to go, "President" Trump!
Meanwhile, members of his orangeness' own cabinet are left wondering just what was going through that big pumpkin colored dome. And the Pope. And the nation's business leaders. This includes rumored extraterrestrial Elon Musk, who bailed from his spot on the "President's" advisory council on such matters as climate change and space travel. No word about where Michael Rennie stands on all of this as yet. 
So we wait. And bake. And it occurs to me now that maybe this is all part of some intergalactic threat that we hadn't recognized before. The real alien is the guy in the White House, and his spray tan is really the hide of a being from another planet where temperatures and hair styles are more ridiculous than human beings can normally withstand. "President" Trump is preparing the earth for colonization by a herd of orange-y, whispy haired creatures who thrive on planets that resemble a burned-out husk. Making America a Burned Out Husk would not have been a very effective campaign slogan, however. 
The science department asks me to stick to the facts: Climate Change Real. Paris Agreement Good. "President Trump" dumb. That's science. 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Carly Rae Trump

I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked at you as it fell
And now you're in my way
I trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for an arms deal
I wasn't looking for this
But now you're in my way
Your stare was holding
long ties
Hot night
Wind was blowing
Where you think you're going baby?
Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe
Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other world leaders
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe
You took your time with the call
I took no time with the press
They gave me nothing at all
But still you're in my way
Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Saturday, June 03, 2017


I do check my Twitter feed. I tend to do it in the evening, after I have finished the business of my day. I want to see what people have been saying behind its collective back. It's my nighttime snark attack. Sure, there are times when I am offered a viewpoint or idea that provides me with fresh insight. I don't tend to learn from Twitter as much as I am cogitated by it. These are the comments at the bottom of the article of my day. One hundred forty characters does not offer a lot in the way of substance. This may be the reason our "President" uses it as a preferred means of discourse. 
For those of you who are uninitiated, those little blasts of letters and symbols aren't generally used to start a conversation. They are used to end them. Even though there is a "reply" button on which to click, there's not a lot of back and forth. It's a tower from which opinions can be shouted for all those with access can receive them.
And if you really like what you're reading, you can follow that person so you never have to miss a fleeting thought. Thoughts like, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” written shortly after midnight a few days ago by the leader of the free world. He followed this tidbit with, :"Who can figure out the true meaning of 'covfefe' ??? Enjoy!"  And that's when the feeding frenzy began. 
"what makes me saddest is that I know I'll never write anything funnier than #covfefe" wrote Jimmy Kimmel. 
Or, J.K. Rowling's response: "You're all laughing, but perhaps the real Twitter is the covfefe we make along the way."
If this were a presidency marked by its playful use of social media and an easygoing back and forth between the White House and those who pay attention to the words that issue forth from it, things would be different. This is not that presidency. Instead these late night flurries of opinion and conjecture are simply tossed out on the doorstep to see which of the neighborhood cats might wander by and lick them up.
Yes, I am suggesting that Donald Trump is a bad cat owner. Feel free to construct your own joke here about his hair and Morris the Cat. I have already reached our collective time limit for concern over covfefe. By more than two thousand characters. Thanks for sticking with me.

Friday, June 02, 2017


Willie Godbolt said he was going to his house to talk about the custody of his children. In the best of circumstances, this would be a charged situation. Maybe it should be held on some sort of neutral ground where emotions might not be unfairly skewed one way or another. Maybe some sort of family mediator should be on hand to make sure that discussions remain on a positive level, not sinking to acrimony and name calling. 
Or murder.
Because that is what happened outside Jackson, Mississippi over the weekend. Mister Godbolt was having that conversation previously mentioned when things took a turn and somebody decided to call the police. In Godbolt's words, "It cost him his life. I'm sorry." 
When it was all over, Sheriff's Deputy William Durr was dead, along with seven others. Willie traveled around the county, looking for folks to shoot. Victims from the first home were the mother, aunt and sister of Godbolt's estranged wife. She escaped the scene with the couple's two children. That would be the good news. In two more locations, he shot and killed two teenage boys at one and his wife's sister and brother-in-law the other. It was a busy and deadly night for Willie Godbolt. 
When the gunfire was over and the smoke cleared, eight people were dead. Media reports suggested that it was Willie's intent to have law enforcement shoot him to bring the total to nine, but he was only wounded and is expected to survive. To stand trial. And be a candidate for death row. And years later, this horrible mess will all have some resolution. 
Speaking of courts, let's return for a moment to that initial suggestion of a neutral site for discussions of child custody. I'm going to suggest a courthouse. With metal detectors and security. Not that anything awful has to happen at such discussions, but more like a contingency plan in case tempers run hot. Maybe step outside the room and get a drink of water. Let cooler heads prevail. Don't let anyone have a chance to reload. 
The custody case, it would seem, has now been settled. At least one of Willie Godbolt's objectives was achieved. 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Just For One Day

We could be heroes just for one day.
Here's the thing about heroes, not to diminish the sentiments of David Bowie: They depend a lot on perspective. It can depend where you are standing, or sitting. It can depend on the time you look that person up on Wikipedia. Better, perhaps, that we remember Tiger Woods for the golf phenomenon that he once was rather than the mug shot he has become today. Not to mess with the sentiments of Little Feat, but time doesn't always love a hero. 
My hope is that Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, Rick Best, and Micah Fletcher and their actions will stand this test of time and perspective. These three gentlemen were the men who chose to stand up to a nutjob who was yelling hateful and obscene things at a pair of young women. A college graduate, an army veteran, and a poet chose to try and stop a man from screaming venom, and they paid for it with their lives. Not content to simply hurl invective at these upstanders, Mister Nutjob attacked them with a knife. Namkai Meche and Best died at the scene. Fletcher survived and was taken to a hospital and survived, thanks in part to critical aid given to him by others who were standing nearby. Preserving life. Pretty heroic. 
Meanwhile, Mister Nutjob ran away. Jeremy Joseph Christian was then chased a few blocks away, where he was arrested on charges of aggravated murder. Being a nutjob, at least in Donald Trump's America, may not be a crime anymore. It should be noted at this point, that Mister Christian's idea of a hero is Timothy McVeigh. You remember Timothy. He of the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. Killer of men, women and children. Back to that whole perspective thing. Nutjobs are often inspired by nutjobs. 
But maybe these three men will inspire more rationally minded folks to rise up when less rationally minded folks wander into the realm of the real. Perhaps Namkai Meche, Best and Fletcher will lead a wave of common sense and humanity. 
And maybe now is the wrong time to bring up the fact that there are already nutjobs lining up to praise this idjit. Sorry.