Saturday, February 29, 2020

Lest We Forget

There have been a number of pundits and a like percentage of private citizens calling for certain Democratic candidates to relinquish their white knuckle grip on their campaigns and surrender to the inevitable. That inevitable is, currently, Bernie Sanders. Which is quite interesting from a number of different standpoints. First of all, it was not so very long ago that Bernie was being asked to let go of his white knuckle grip as the Democratic Party chose to "go another way" and hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton. If your political memory does not stretch back that far, all the way to 2016, Bernie went down swinging. The result of that tenacity may have been to spring a divide wide in the party wide enough for a Trump to sneak through the electoral college. Then there's the now somewhat outdated notion that the nomination belongs this year to Vice President Joe Biden, so much so that he has vowed to fight on in spite of placing near the bottom of the primaries and caucuses held thus far. And then there's Amy and Pete and Elizabeth and Tom, all of whom have made gritty statements vowing to carry on in the face of adversity. Or ambivalence.
What will happen on Super Tuesday? Difficult to say, since that shows up a lot like the playoffs for a team headed to the Super Bowl. On any given Sunday, or Tuesday in this case, a team can surprise us. The Tennessee Titans were that way this year. That is until they came up against the eventual Super Bowl champion from Kansas City. Forgive the sports metaphor, it seemed applicable. Or at least accessible. Mike Bloomberg was the hyper-funded guy to beat a couple weeks ago. Before he ever took the debate stage.
Then there's the story of a candidate for the House of Representatives in Arizona who chose to suspend his campaign. After he overdosed on heroin. Chris Taylor, who currently sits on the city council of Stafford, Arizona said in a statement, “Today, I have suspended my campaign for the US House of Representatives and am seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder. “I will fully cooperate with local authorities on any matters arising from my recent relapse and overdose.” This probably qualifies as a "common sense" decision, but please remember the context: This isn't football. It's politics. 
Please remember to vote. 

Friday, February 28, 2020


Harvey Weinstein is no longer an alleged rapist. He is a convicted rapist. After thirty years of allegations and eighty women making those allegations against him, the former king of Hollywood is headed to jail. Even as his lawyers decry the unfair conditions under which their client was found guilty, and Harvey stumbles out of the courtroom clutching at his chest, what seems like justice has finally been done.
One man. Eighty accusers. Thirty years. And yes, this could be the breakthrough for which our culture has been waiting. Or maybe it's just an aberration, the outlier. With all this toxic masculinity lying around here in heaps reminiscent of a sanitation workers' strike, what expectations should we have moving forward?
The other day I made a quiz out of the misogynist quotes from two of our current seventy-eight year old candidates for President: Donald J. Trump and Michael J. Bloomberg. I don't actually know what Mister Bloomberg's middle initial is, but it seems appropriate to give him the same one as our "president" because they seem to share so much. Especially when it comes to women. I had to look up "the male equivalent of misogyny." What I landed on was "misandry." That's the combination of Greek roots misos (hate) and andros (man). You can find examples and articles expressing this relatively new and somewhat obscure sentiment. And sometimes it gets lumped in with Feminism. Which shouldn't be.
Because the truth is that men are better at hating men than women are. Men are better at hating women. Men are better at hate. Which should send some folks scurrying about searching for examples of women who are hateful, but these would most certainly be the exceptions that prove the rule. Getting others down and keeping them down is a male habit that is a fact in our patriarchy. The assertion that strong women are ugly is one of those bizarre non-equivalencies that drive this machine. There is a wealth of information found in the fact that our "president" didn't attend or judge a beauty pageant. He owned one. Objectifying women keeps them in a place where they can be furniture. Replaceable. Interchangeable. Seen but not heard.
Eighty women were finally heard this past week. It gave one man heart palpitations. Maybe the answer to hate is as simple as listening. No need to have a heart attack over that.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Touch The Sky

I was a big fan of Evel Knievel. This was back in the days when a guy jumping a motorcycle over various inanimate objects qualified as a part of The Wide World Of Sports. Whenever Evel got it into his head that he might hurl himself and some substantial hunk of machinery over this or that group of buses or fountain or other, cameras would show up. This wasn't simply because they wanted to capture the ersatz "thrill of victory," but rather because they were interested in taking in the full measure of that "agony of defeat."
Even as a kid, I understood that Mister Knievel was not indestructible. On the contrary. Evel was as destructible as they came. He made it known that he had suffered more than four hundred fractures of various bones in his body over the course of his career, and the cane with which he walked was as much a necessity as a prop. It did help that in the movie that was made about his life in 1971 starred George Hamilton, who may have lacked some of the wild-eyed enthusiasm of his subject but oh that tan! The film helped normalize Evel's self-destructive tendencies and generated the mystique of a guy who thumbed his nose at the traditional laws of physics. Only to be proven wrong. Over and over again.
It wasn't the disregard for gravity that eventually caught up with Evel. That would be complications from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Not an allergy to the concrete that he slammed into so many times. Not a final crushing blow from the skies. Just a final white flag from a body that was used up far in advance of his sixty-nine years. 
Which brings me to Mike Hughes. "Mad" Mike Hughes, the daredevil who not only flaunted gravity by hurling himself into the air via various versions of homemade rockets, died last week at the age of sixty-four. "Mad" took his disregard for the laws of nature by going a few steps further than Evel. He insisted that the earth is flat and all his attempts to go every higher and farther were made in hopes of proving once and for all that we live on a pie plate, not a basketball. Or something like that. Mike used his flat-earth stance to help him fund his various tries at slipping the surly bounds. And finally Isaac Newton caught up to him. It was probably the math that got him, actually. 
Aloha, Mike. You ignored the Terra and preferred to stomp in the skies. The Science Channel will miss you.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

At Last

Okay, let it begin.
The feverish anticipation for the Friends reunion. People my age, who were essentially people their age back when they first became Friends, are excited. And why not? It has been twenty-five years since we first met Ross and Phoebe and Monica and Chandler and Joey and Rachel. It has been sixteen years since matters concerning this group of acquaintances got all tied up so neatly. Haven't you been curious what the gang has been up to over the past decade and a half?
I will be honest with my answer: Not really.
Twenty years ago, this was must-see TV. By definition. NBC's definition. And in the days before streaming services and cable outfits tailored to every niche, you were loathe to miss it. You didn't want to be the one who did not see what Ross did and Rachel said back and were Monica and Chandler really and Joey. What about Joey?
I was in a state in which I cared about Sam and Diane as much as I worried about Ross and Rachel and that nice Doctor Green on ER. So much so that if you had told me that I could only keep one channel it would have been my local NBC affiliate because these were my stories and these were the people for whom I cared. I saw somewhere that Jamie and Paul came back in a limited series on one of those popup streaming deals and I was going to be allowed to find out how Mad About You kept going even though the last episode of the original run would have us all believe that they were just Mad and not really about as much as at each other.
I did not line up to see that one.
And I don't think I will be waiting anxiously to see what the Bings and the Gellers and so on have become. It will be an event for many, I'm sure. But I have only recently recovered from the letdown that was the "last" Star Wars. Putting several years between openings and closings of sagas doesn't always help them age. They aren't all wine and cheese. Cheese and whine? Perhaps.
Yes, I know there are plenty of people outside of my sphere of influence who will gladly sign up for this new HBO service that will launch with the gathering of this caffeinated tribe, and their problems will once again become the fodder for water cooler conversations that used to be about Jon Snow. Do people still gather around water coolers? Aren't they stuck at their desks with their non-BPA hydration vessels? And isn't Central Perk now a Starbucks? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Run Through The Jungle

My ballot for the California presidential primary has been sitting on my desk for about two weeks now. I have another week to get it in the mail.
Or not.
Each time I feel that I have a clear path, a choice, a candidate with whom I can relate and trust, something new comes tumbling in. Sometimes it's a revelation. Sometimes it's an omission. Sometimes it's even more simple: the person whom I have chosen drops out of the campaign. Somewhere back there in the distant haze we called 2019, there were twenty or more choices. Attrition has taken care of most of them. It is ridiculously expensive to run for President of the Untied States. Banners and stickers and street signs and those inflatable things you bang together to make noise. It all adds up. Millions of dollars. Michael Bloomberg has spent more than four hundred and fifty million dollars on ads alone. There was no quick estimate for the amount of money he has spent on those inflatable things that you bang together to make noise.
Probably a lot.
This past weekend, it became common knowledge that Elizabeth Warren's campaign was looking into taking out a three million dollar loan. This was in addition to the ten million she raised in January (one month) which was more than any of the other Democratic hopefuls. Mister Bloomberg doesn't have that particular challenge. He is a billionaire. He is one of those folks who benefited from the current "president's" tax cuts. Maybe somewhere in the four hundred fifty million dollar range? Money makes more money, which puts me in mind of the scene in It's A Wonderful Life, when the Bedford Falls Savings and Loan survives a run on their institution and George takes the two remaining dollars left from his travel fund and suggests the put them back in the safe so they can propagate.
There are not very many working class candidates for office. Once upon a time, Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle ran for governor of California. Mister Sinclair was not exactly "working class" at the time, but he ran an EPIC campaign, as in "End Poverty In California." So alarmed by this potential redistribution of wealth, Irving J. Thalberg who ran MGM at the time, created some of the first attack ads in American history. Bit part actors were paid to perform as "working class" Californians who expressed their views to the "roving cameraman." These newsreels, as they were billed, were such effective propaganda that Sinclair lost the race for governor to his Republican rival. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Upton Sinclair was the Democrat in that race, and he lost by just three hundred thousand votes.
I checked my ballot, and Upton Sinclair is not one of my choices.

Monday, February 24, 2020

What Are The Odds?

"I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one."

"Look at that face. Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"

"Why didn’t they ask you to be in the picture? I guess they saw your face."

"I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn't work."

“It’s a f***ing baby! All it does is eat and s**t! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black who doesn’t even have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building!”

 "[S]omeone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)."

"All of you girls line up to give him [oral sex] as a wedding present."

"You never get to the face because the body's so good."

"What, is the guy dumb and blind? What the hell is he marrying you for?"

"Unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man — he made a good decision."

"I’d like to do that piece of meat."

"What do you think of Lindsay Lohan? There's something there, right? But you have to like freckles. I've seen a close-up of her chest. And a lot of freckles. Are you into freckles? ... She's probably deeply troubled, and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women — deeply, deeply troubled — they're always the best in bed?

"Look at the ass on her."

"I've got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything." 

"If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people."

If you discerned that the odd number comments came from Mike Bloomberg, give yourself a point. If you knew the even numbers were from our current "president," I am sorry. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Game Over

The electronic waste I have accumulated over the years was balanced off by the comments of a fifth grade boy. He was playing a game called "Two Truths And A Lie," in which the players each create one fiction about themselves while playing it straight on the other two. One of the suggestions he made was, "I own every game console." When I heard this, I figured this kid of eleven years was probably talking about the most recent updates to the gaming world, which itself would be a mild accomplishment. Or maybe he was lying. I waited for the other kids in the room to make their guesses about the three things he had said. Each time the video game consoles came up, he assured us all that he was speaking the truth. When my turn came, I asked, "Do you have a Sega Genesis?"
"Yes." Without a flinch.
"Really?" I decided to probe further. "What games do you have for it?"
"Sonic," he began to list several more, but I knew I was busted. Sega Genesis was the machine I played on before I was a father and "responsible adult."
Suddenly, I had no doubt that this young man did in fact have a sequence of Playstations from one to four, a Game Cube and a number of different Xboxes. He probably had an Atari 2600 kicking around in a closet somewhere. All the hardware that had driven my video gaming was now out of the house, in pieces or intact. Most of it lives with my son, who is a bit of an archivist himself. But not a full on historian like this kid. I wondered briefly about how much homework he could avoid with a closet full of various devices intended to keep that from happening. It was the teacher in me. It was the father in me.
My own video game experience probably peaked when I was in college and I owned a full-size arcade version Battlezone game. Not a console, but a six and a half foot tall, three foot wide machine that played one game and one game only. It was not a party in my apartment until that baby was plugged in, and there was just as many evenings when things were slow and there was nothing else to do except open up the front and put a dozen free games on and play until I was too tired to stand in front of it. And my homework didn't get done.
It occurred to me that I could ask my fifth grade friend if he ever owned any full-sized arcade games, but to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Pardon Me?

The newly emboldened "president" is spreading his influence far and wide after being "acquitted" on two articles of impeachment. His current modus operandi seems to be based on his old chestnut, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters." While the "president" is not currently taking up arms against the people in the streets, he is certainly making a mockery of our justice system. 
This past week he pardoned former San Francisco Forty-Niners owner Eddie DeBartolo who had previously been found guilty of failing to report a felony. This particular felony involved DeBartolo paying former Louisiana governor four hundred thousand dollars in order to get a gambling license to run a riverboat casino in that state. This investigation eventually removed governor Edwin Edwards from public life and sent him to prison, until he was released and ran for the Senate in 2014. DeBartolo stepped down as owner of his NFL franchise, handing it over to his nephew, who continues to run a tight ship. Not a riverboat casino, however. DeBartolo did not serve any time in jail. He was fined, given two years of probation, and suspended from the NFL for a year. His nephew was not. Apparently failed casino owners need to stick together.
The other high-profile pardon last week was that of Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois. The "president" commuted Blagojevich's fourteen year sentence for corruption. You may remember back in 2011 when Rod was convicted for, among other things, trying to sell Barack Obama's old seat in Congress. Ex-governor Blagojevich was once a contestant on the "president's" game show, Celebrity Apprentice. Fun fact: the "president" fired Rod on his TV show. But he felt the prison sentence imposed on him for fourteen counts of corruption was excessive and in Rod's words, the former game show host “saw a wrong and corrected it."
Stay tuned as this bankrupt casino operator and former game show host attempts to get a new trial for his convicted pal Roger Stone.
Before he shoots somebody on Fifth Avenue. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Transfer Ticket

What happens come November when Trump loses and refuses to leave?
This is no longer a "what if Mighty Mouse and Superman got into a fight?" scenario. This is a question that is coming up more and more as we approach next November's election. The potential for a disorderly transfer of power is something that is currently getting laughs for Pete Buttegieg, who has suggested that if Donald Trump hangs around the White House, "he could do chores." In an interview with comedian Bill Maher, Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar insisted that when she wins all those states that Trump has dismissed as "flyover" that there would be no question. Maher countered that Trump has a lot of people on his side too, "the ones with guns."
Now we're starting to face the real challenge: All that talk of protecting the Second Amendment comes down to that "well-maintained militia." Not that I hope to stir any fears that are not already extant, but rather to talk about the past three years and change during which the country has been divided like it hasn't been in more than a century and a half. Is it possible that things could go so wrong that an election would not be sufficient to settle the matter?
It hasn't been so very long ago that it took the Supreme Court to decide who would be President of the United States. Al Gore didn't move into the White House, so he went out and invented climate change. I'll bet there are a lot of people out there who wish they could have that one back.
Again, without being flip, the current administration continues to redefine outrageous conduct. They complained about "nasty notes" being left for them by Obama's outgoing staff, but barricading themselves in their offices or chaining themselves to the gate seems more in line with what could happen if Trump lost an election. This is a guy who won and then continued to whine about how the whole thing was rigged against him. Why would we expect any sort of reasonable response?
This is a man who recently responded to his impeachment acquittal by quoting Emerson: "When you strike at a king, you had better kill him."
Okay. Points for quoting someone besides Fox and Friends, but King? "You had better kill him?"
Sleep tight, America.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Imagine that you are a world traveler and you drop into Oakland for a few days, only to come down with a severe cold and sore throat that hijacks the last two days of your visit. You are a foreigner on American soil and you appear to "have come down with something." Your hosts insist that there is nothing to fret about. It's the cold and flu season, after all, and people all across this great land of ours have succumbed to one sort of sniffles, cough or combinations thereof.
In our non-hypothetical version of this scenario, this suggestion came as little or no consolation to our guest. He was convinced that the police would see him coming, wiping at his nose, and pull him aside. A cursory look at his carry on luggage would provide all the evidence they needed: cough drops, Alka Seltzer cold medicine. Obviously a carrier. He would be handcuffed and taken off to isolation someplace where he could not infect any of the healthy Americans who were in danger of contracting whatever vile strain of plague he had dragged into our country.
He didn't have to say it.
His cruise had come to a somewhat abrupt stop at our doorstep, and when he was ready to attempt to push off on the next leg of his journey he had a real concern that he might be kept from moving freely about the planet due to his depleted condition.
It was just a cold, after all. It wasn't something more deadly or rampant. We were sure. My wife and I assured him. Nothing to worry about.
And then these little twinges came to me: The same twinges that appear each time there is a case of lice at our school, even though I haven't had any hair north of my eyebrows for decades. That and the one that causes me to sneeze every time I open a copy of Stephen King's The Stand. No one expects to be patient zero. Or patient lebenty-seven. We expect to take our Alka Seltzer and drink plenty of fluids and eventually this too shall pass. Except when it doesn't. And that's the one that gets you. That's the one that reaches out and grabs you by the ankle and won't let go. That's the one they make the movies about. That's the one you don't want to get when you have to be at work bright and early on Thursday morning. If you can call to say that you won't be in, you're still fine. It's when you can't make that call. Because the flu police came and took you away.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

This Is Not A Drill

This week we are having an earthquake drill at our school. Each time, before we have one of these rehearsals for calamity, we remind kids that we need to take it seriously because if there really was an emergency they should be ready. Ready for the Apocalypse, or something like it. Once upon a time, we had an earthquake drill and a group of fourth grade girls took their time giggling about how silly it all was, crawling under desks and staying quiet. It was a big joke. Until about an hour later when a little tremor rolled through for real, and those same girls were in tears, clambering to safety. Or something like it.
Which brings me to active shooter drills. In elementary school, we call them "lockdown." And even though most of what we do is for practice, over the past few years there have been a couple instances where all that practice made perfect. Or something like it.
Recently, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association and the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund had a drill of their own, in the form of a white paper on the Impact of School Safety Drills for Active Shooters. In their version of being prepared, they suggest that maybe we should avoid giving our kids post-traumatic stress as we prepare them for the Apocalypse. Or something like that.
The alternative would be a world in which the National Rifle Association doesn't hold the key to gun safety, when their answer to school shootings is to bring in more guns into the equation. Armed guards. Armed teachers. Good guys with guns. In this model, it becomes necessary to teach our kids to cower in a corner until the bad guys with guns are sent away. Put away. Shot and killed. Right now, we are asking children as young as five years old not to panic when we ask them to come to one side of the room, staying away from the windows and doors, sitting quietly on the rug. As if their lives depended on it. Because in the National Rifle Association's vision of the world, it does.
The alternative is a world where we have a few more hours each year to teach kids to read because we don't need to train them what to do when guns come to their school. A world where we can give them hope and not PTSD.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Up The Street

A few doors up from The Branding Iron stood The Pioneer Inn. For me, it was a world away. Even though I grew up in those seventies summers rubbing elbows with the freaks and flower children who descended upon Nederland back in those days, I wasn't ready for the level of freakdom or flower power found just up the street. The Branding Iron was our safe space. Our little family established a place there. We were regulars. Like the rest of the folks who hung out at the BI, we shared an outlook and a love of onion rings that was easily negotiated. The currency then was Nixon, and we were all in it together. Three doors down, things were roughly the same. But rougher.
There was a time in my life, when I was ten years old or so, that I was pretty certain that any time I saw more than two motorcyclists in a group that it was a gang. By this reasoning, the Pioneer Inn hosted its share of biker gangs. Lined up in a row, not unlike horses at a hitching post were more than two Harleys, most of which were driven by burly men wearing denim. The neon sign above the Branding Iron shouted to the world "Bar," but the wooden designation hanging in front of the Pioneer Inn declared it a "Saloon." I felt comfortable in a bar, for what it's worth, but threatened by a saloon.
There was a jukebox in the Branding Iron. The Pioneer Inn had live music. I was pretty convinced that meant rampant drug use was taking place just inside the doors.
Not that I would have known, since I never went inside.
Not ever.
But the stories about those who did were legends. Just up the hill from these two establishments sat Caribou Ranch, a recording facility nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains where all manner of artists worked on songs and albums away from the furor of New York and Los Angeles. Billy Joel, Chicago, Supertramp, and even Michael Jackson made a home away from home above Nederland, waiting for that muse to strike. And every so often, one of these stars would feel the need to wander into town. And while there were tales of food delivered from the Branding Iron to the Ranch, none of them graced the BI with their presence. John Lennon had a few drinks at the Pioneer Inn. Joe Walsh even tended bar there on breaks from the studio.
I never got to see any of that. Too afraid of the bikers and the drugs. And all that music and excitement. Just a few doors down. The Pioneer Inn is closed now. The Branding Iron burned down in 1978 as a result of faulty wiring in a beer cooler. Recently a "new" version of the BI opened, serving a new generation of freaks. Caribou Ranch's recording studio went up in flames in 1985. The rock and roll memorabilia was sold off over time, and the land was eventually sold to a developer. The Pioneer Inn lasted until this past November, closing its doors to bikers and rock stars for good.
Now I can finally feel safe.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Pop Quiz

Can you name all forty-five presidents? Of the United States? On Presidents' Day, I believe it is worth trying to account for all of them, hence the apostrophe coming after the plural. What used to be a special day commemorating Washington's Birthday, and another full day in honor of Lincoln's Birthday ten days before that has become an amalgam engineered to keep us all at work just a little more than we aren't at work during the month of February. The union to which I belong even negotiated to have an additional day added as a three day weekend in May to make up for this obvious injustice.
So I've given you a moment's diversion to consider the question, and how you might want to attack it. Maybe your strategy is to start at the beginning: Washington, Adams, Jefferson. Those three are free, leaving you with just forty-two more to recall. Maybe keeping it fresh is better, since those who have served during our lifetime may be easier to envision: Trump, Obama, Bush (W). And so on. Another tack might be to list all the war presidents. How about the ones who were shot? Let's see, you probably got Lincoln. And Kennedy. How about James Garfield? Ronald Reagan was shot, but he survived. Gerald Ford was shot at, but he ducked. Or fell.
I suppose what I'm getting at here is that we have been a nation long enough to have favorites. Everyone loves a star. And oddly, in the case of Kennedy and Lincoln especially, we love a martyr. Sorry about that, Mister Garfield. I don't know how to explain your lack of ascension. Maybe because he lingered on his deathbed for seventy-nine days after being shot, giving the nation a chance to mourn, but also to get on with business as usual.
So, there's ten or so. That leaves us with another thirty-five to mull, and since there have been two Bushes, two Roosevelts, and two Adams, it should start getting easier. Leading me to believe that there should be some sort of qualifying quiz for those unbelievable deals at Toyota's Presidents' Day Sale-A-Thon. Those who believe that Alexander Hamilton or Benjamin Franklin ever served as President of the United States are immediately disqualified. And if you had them on your list, shame on you.
And with any luck at all, we'll have a new name to add to the list by November.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

What Price Freedom?

During his State of the Union address, the "president" awarded the Medal of Freedom to (shuffling paper, checks notes) Rush Limbaugh. 
That Rush Limbaugh. 
"Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?” 
That Rush Limbaugh.
”Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud.”

That Rush Limbaugh.
”Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“I think it’s time to get rid of this whole National Basketball Association. Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call ‘em gangs.”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“Women still live longer than men because their lives are easier.” 
That Rush Limbaugh.
“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“Holocaust ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos, what’s to complain about?”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose, and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don’t know where all this got started. I love the women’s movement, especially when walking behind it.”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“Obama says he’s a Christian, but where’s the evidence?”
That Rush Limbaugh.
“Those of you who are not mobilizing to change the Second Amendment, those of you who are not mobilizing to make it more difficult to get guns and weapons are the modern equivalent of people who sat around and let Bull Connor turn his dogs loose on the marches at Selma. … If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? I don’t know, I’m just asking.”
That Rush Limbaugh.
(shuffling paper, checks notes)
Sleep tight, America. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Can We Just Make It America Again?

The "president" tweeted a clip from Larry David's show Curb Your Enthusiasm. He added the caption, "Tough Guys For Trump." Well, not exactly that. He made sure the caps lock was on before he did it, but the actual content of the clip is Larry who is confronted by a motorcyclist who he had cut off inadvertently. When the beefy biker comes up to the driver's side window, Larry quickly dons a red MAGA cap which in turn causes the biker to immediately back down having found a fellow MAGAt. No matter that the scene in question is all part of illustrating how weak-willed and ineffectual Larry's character is, without the slightest conviction to any of the "principles" held by the "president's" minions, he merely dons the uniform and gets all the respect afforded a red baseball cap. Never mind that the rest of the episode points out in detail just how reprehensible his behavior is, including the part where he wears the hat to keep other diners away from him in a restaurant, convinced that the hat itself is "a great repellent."
Not that this kind of misguided bluster is anything new. On Monday evening, he told a crowd in New Hampshire that he expected the Coronavirus to be gone by April. He told his followers that they had nothing to fear from "the virus" because warmer temperatures would make it go away. Without any sort of scientific explanation to back it up. “The heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus,” he said.
And the red hats nodded.
The chants of "lock her up" that used to come as a response to the call of Hillary Clinton are now in full throat upon the mention of Nancy Pelosi. Apparently many of those red hats were infused with the notion that tearing a copy of the "president's" State of the Union was illegal. All a part of Making America Great Again. 
All it takes is a bunch of red baseball hats and the capacity to have your will mandated by a former game show host.

Friday, February 14, 2020

How Long?

Once upon a time
is an easy enough
way to begin.
It wasn't forever
or always because
that doesn't happen.
It wasn't a dream
because that would be
far too mundane.
We fell in love
overnight or
was it a weekend?
It could be that it took
decades or scores
of year after year.
There aren't any cards
that tell the story
of how we met.
There aren't any songs
that make me feel
like spending a life.
With you.
Not without you.
Close to you.
I wouldn't want to miss
a moment not a wink
of the days together.
Because now we have
something significant,
a monument.
It's much more than
a bushel or a peck
or even a ton.
This love goes on
and on but this poem

Thursday, February 13, 2020


When I sat down on the couch this past Sunday, it had only been a week since I sat down on the couch to watch another three hour-plus spectacle of sound and fury. In both cases, I comforted myself with the notion that even if the Super Bowl was awful, or the Oscars were dull, that at least the commercials would be a diversion.
As it turns out, there were surprises to be found on both Sunday's broadcasts. With nine minutes left, the Kansas City (Missouri) Chiefs rebounded from a ten point deficit to win by eleven. I can't remember any of the commercials. The Oscar telecast had its share of surprises, most notably when Parasite took home the best picture award. This shock was only matched by the fact that presenter Jane Fonda did little to take advantage of her bully pulpit in front of some thirty million viewers. But of course even the notion of "surprise" may be an overstatement.
Yes, Parasite is the first foreign language film to win the Academy's top honor. But it's not as if it had flown under the radar. The business end of show business had taken care of the promotion of this South Korean production and it had moved past the point of consideration into a nomination. True, it was up against heavy hitters like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and 1917, but it was financed by CJ Entertainment, a spinoff of media giant Samsung. It's not like this was made on a shoestring or for the pure love of the art of film. This story of income inequality was paid for by a tentacle of a giant corporation.
In my head, I heard my wizened voice announcing in advance that Renee Zellweger would win the best actress category "because Hollywood loves to congratulate itself." Which is really the point of that three hour tour through the "best" that Hollywood has to offer. The notion that white males were somehow pushed into the background was quickly diminished when a full list of winners was on display. Eleven of the two dozen statues were handed over to white males, which certainly pales by comparison to previous years (please groan here). But I never felt as though I was seeing anything like a revolution. I was watching the business of show, and the victory lap of the corporations that put those flickering images up on the screen.
Was I surprised? As surprised as I was when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, after coming back in each of their previous playoff games this season after being behind by ten or more points. Pretty much a sure thing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

TV Tough

Sadly, it was just a few days ago that I brought you the news of Kirk Douglas' passing. Joining him in heaven this week was Robert Conrad. Mister Conrad will also be remembered as a Hollywood tough guy, even if he was never quite as tough as Kirk. It could be that Bob Conrad's need to be tough stemmed from his compensation for his stature. As a pretty short adult male, I still had him by an inch. This probably had something to do with that series of commercials where he dared us to knock a battery off his shoulder. I was frankly impressed more by his ability to get a D cell Eveready to perch so nicely there.
Robert Conrad was not just a tough battery salesman. He was also the star of Baa Baa Black Sheep, the flying version of McHale's Navy. A band of "screwballs and misfits" who just happen to be extraordinary fighters led by a gruff but lovable commanding officer who plays the game by his own set of rules. A decade before, Bob starred in The Wild Wild West, as the somewhat titular character Jim West. He played a frontier version of James Bond, aided by Artemus Gordon, played by Ross Martin. We knew that Jim West was tough because he wore those tight pants, and still managed to mete out justice before their private train pulled out of the station.
These were the images of Robert Conrad from my youth: TV reruns. It wasn't until I was in high school and caught one of his early big screen entries, Palm Springs Weekend. Initially, I was caught up on the hijinks of Jerry Van Dyke, Dick's banjo playing brother. But soon I was face to face with spoiled rich boy Eric Dean, played by Mister Conrad. He's in Palm Springs trying to get a little action, and hopes to woo Connie Stevens. In all the worst ways. This slick playboy needs a lesson in manners, and this tough weekend on the beach turns out to be just what he needs to grow a conscience. That chip on his shoulder gets knocked off by Ty Hardin, competing for Ms. Steven's affections.
Which is probably how he got into the battery business, replacing the chip with a battery. Robert Conrad was a tan, tough piece of my youth. He stomped on the Terra without every letting that battery slip. He will be missed. Aloha.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Naive Melody

I stopped when I heard "Oakland." My wife regularly records the BBC America news, but we don't often watch it. That program (programme) happened to be on when I turned our television machine on and the first choice I had was to look and listen as I comprehended my choices. I confess that hearing that erudite British inflection applied to "Oakland" was enough to hook me. What could the British Broadcasting Company find interesting in my neck of the woods?
It seems that a homeless couple was invited to live in a millionaire's home in the ritzy hills overlooking some of the Bay Area's priciest real estate. Greg Dunston and Marie Mckinzie had spent nearly a decade living on the streets, surviving the way so many folks do, sleeping in doorways and pushing a shopping cart around with their meager belongings. This is where Terrence McGrath steps in. Mister McGrath, living in a forty-five hundred square foot home alone, with an empty in-law unit with separate entrance and facilities. Why not invite Dunston and Mckinzie to stay as his guests?
Well, if you are A) familiar with the story or B) familiar with the way things have a tendency to go in these United States, then you may have surmised that there would be trouble. A sixty-something year old African American man and his fifty-something year old partner walking around the rarefied air of Piedmont, the suburban island that sits like an island surrounded by the very urban Oakland attracted attention.  The wrong kind of attention. In stark contrast to the land below, Piedmont has just a two percent African American population. Concerned neighbors made numerous calls to police, concerned that their idyllic existence might be in peril from outsiders. 
As it turns out, Terrence McGrath had grown up poor, one of nine children whose family were on and off the welfare rolls for years. Eventually, he turned that hard luck story into something more akin to Horatio Alger, becoming an investor and real estate developer with a four million dollar house with an empty in-law unit. And what does this millionaire want in return?
Except maybe to have his neighbors lighten up. 
And that Greg and Marie could realize their dream of having their own place.
And perhaps that more people would look to right the ship that lists so heavily starboard

Monday, February 10, 2020

A Thing

Stanley and Blanche were married a year ago. They decided on a site that suited them best: the corner of the playground where they used to play kickball. The bride and groom wore matching black hoodies and jeans. The guests carried with them the handwritten invitations that had been generated by their friends the day before. There they stood, in front of God and the fifth grade, ready to spend the rest of their lives together, or at least until promotion carried them off to different middle schools. Or they realized what they had done.
This union was not ordained or sanctioned by any adult, and the chances are great that if Stanley or Blanche's parents had found out what was going on in the corner of the playground that day, there would have been a much swifter annulment. It was much to the chagrin of the teachers and most of the students that such a gala event took place. Eyes on the yard are most often searching for unpleasantness, vague or otherwise. A wedding was a much more civilized affair than we were prepared. We weren't invited. Besides, what do grownups know about love?
That was the memory that unspooled for me a week ago when I saw Sam chasing Diane across the yard. My trained eye told me that since they were both giggling, I could ratchet it down the priority list. I did make a point of asking Diane, on the way out of school that afternoon, "So, are you and Sam," using air quotes, "Sam and Diane?"
As shocked look. "Noooo!" came the low growl of a response. "Why would you say that?"
I started to explain about how when I was in elementary school a grownup had explained to me that sometimes when boys and girls chase each other they're not always trying to hurt one another. Sometimes it's the way they show that they like each other. That and I noticed how Sam had been hanging around the front of school after dismissal, even though he usually walked home.
Incredulity. "What?"
"I don't know. It's just what I heard."
A week passed. Heading back into the school to get a drink of water, Diane stopped, turned and in a stage whisper, "Sam and I are a thing."
"Is it a secret?"
"So you don't mind if I tell your teacher?"
"No. Yes! Don't tell our teacher."
"So it is a secret."
Not anymore. Valentine's Day is coming.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Tough Guy

If there is some way to mitigate a tragedy, maybe we could consider that Kirk Douglas and Kobe Bryant died at a median age of seventy-two.
Which is to say that Kirk Douglas, father of Michael, has passed away at the age of one hundred three years old. I first became acquainted with Kirk Douglas via Frank Gorshin. Frank passed away fifteen years ago at the ripe old age of, you guessed it, seventy-two. If  you're not familiar with Mister Gorshin, you may be familiar with his incarnation as The Riddler on the Batman TV show. That laugh. But before we go too far afield, it was Gorshin's impression of Kirk Douglas that brought me into his sphere of influence. He suggested that you began by pointing a finger into your chin in order to generate the pronounced dimple in the jaw of Mister Douglas. This would in turn cause a mild aggravation which would cause one to growl with exasperation, leading to a facsimile of Kirk Douglas' voice.
It was somewhere around this time that I first saw The Vikings. It starred Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, Tony Curtis. Mister Curtis passed away at eighty-five. Ernie beat that by ten years, but Kirk, who played Einar outlasted them all. Douglas and Curtis were reunited in Spartacus, which might have been a career peak for anyone, if they could ever figure out exactly who Spartacus really was. It was also Kirk Douglas who worked to get blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo credit for writing the script for that epic of sandals and chains. The only thing missing was Burt Lancaster, who starred alongside his buddy Kirk in seven movies.
Burt Lancaster lived to be eighty-one, and it was Frank Gorshin who taught me how to laugh like Burt Lancaster.
Kirk Douglas made almost a hundred movies. Some of them were Spartacus. Some of them were Saturn 3. And he helped end the Hollywood Blacklist. And along with his wife of seventy-six years he started the Douglas Foundation, "committed to helping those who might not otherwise be able to help themselves." For more than a century, Kirk Douglas stomped on the Terra and made some great films. And lived to be a legend. He was Spartacus. And he will be missed. Aloha, Kirk (with a finger in my chin). 

Saturday, February 08, 2020

And What A State It Is

The state of the union?
It lies in tatters on the floor. I know this because I watched the Speaker of the House tear it to shreds and leave it there. Okay, to be fair, Nancy Pelosi didn't so much shred the "president's" speech as much as she defiantly rose and methodically ripped each set of papers in front of her in half. I suppose it could be that she was expressing a relief for having put the impeachment behind her and those were the articles that she and her colleagues in the House of Representatives had sent along. But it didn't really have that "all is well" feeling to it.
No. Something is wrong here. America is a tough town, and it's getting tougher. Having been emboldened by his lack of removal, the "president" felt free to spout his special mix of venom and fear into the cold night air. He gave Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom. And if that sounds like a joke or some gesture of sympathy for the cancer in Rush, maybe we should turn our attention instead to the cancer in our nation's capital.
And while the Democrats had enough moxie to impeach this sitting (except when he's golfing) "president," they didn't have enough gas in the tank to push it through to the Senate where he could have been removed from office. So there he stood, without a golf club, rambling on about building a wall as a way of uniting our nation. And he wants to roll back penalties against oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds “incidentally,” arguing that businesses that accidentally kill birds ought to be able to operate without fear of prosecution. No birds were available for comment after the speech. 
There were a number of empty seats in the chamber as well, where several members of Congress chose to be elsewhere rather than sit through an eighty-two minute version of exactly what they had been fighting for the past several months. That fight is not over. The smoke has not cleared. The House is on fire. So is the Senate, many of them suggesting that what the "president" did was wrong and bad, but not necessarily worth removing him. Why not censure him, the presidential equivalent of sending him to bed without supper.
But don't take away his phone. That would be far too cruel. 

Friday, February 07, 2020

I Owe the World an Apology

I know. It's the fourteen year old boy's voice inside my head that repeats anything that even sounds dirty. It sets off a chorus of giggles in there that tends to limit my focus. Heh. Heh. "Focus."
And not the reality for those who do not suffer this odd impairment. In the weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus, the American political machine had all of their chips on this mid-western state with a population about the size of the number of votes Hillary Clinton beat the guy who eventually found his way into the White House: Three million. Two million of them are registered to vote. A third of them are registered as Republicans. Another third is registered with no party affiliation. The final third, six hundred thousand of them and change, are Democrats. It is this group that got all the attention last Monday night, the night before the State of the Union address, two days before the impeachment trial concluded.
And the best that Iowa could deliver was "not yet." Through a series of what was labeled "inconsistencies" by the Iowa Democratic Party, the world that was holding their collective breath awaiting news of any sort was told to wait. Which had the effect of doubling down on the doubt that had been circling this quaint tradition of having a bunch of folks milling about a school gymnasium or living room and, according to the Des Moines Register "At the caucuses, participants will discuss their presidential preferences, elect local party leaders and discuss issues that make up the party’s platform. The caucuses may last a few hours."
Heh. Heh. They said "a few hours." 
What caused the holdup? Some point to the new app that was supposed to speed things along for the precinct captains. That crashed and burned. The backup plan of calling in the results of how voters milled about in their gyms and living rooms did not seem to be able to keep pace with the heavy turnout. Troy Price, chair of the Iowa Democratic party assured us all: “We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion. In preparation for the caucuses, our systems were tested by independent cybersecurity consultants.” 
Why would you need cyber security to monitor a bunch of Iowans walking from one side of the of the room to the other, or why not just register as a Democrat and stand in the middle of the room just to mess with the "process.?" Not that any such thing would happen. Could happen. 
Meanwhile, the "president" cruised to victory with his party's glowing endorsement and a full head of steam while Democrats across the country tried to figure out what happened. It's enough to make you think that caucus is a dirty word. 

Thursday, February 06, 2020

That's Sick

My son texted us the other day, letting us know that he had been sick over Super Bowl weekend. My mind immediately went to the phrase that has been used so often at my elementary school: "Well, there's a lot of that going around." Exactly what "that" is remains a bit of a mystery, but since this is the cold and flu season and I take a fistful of Vitamin C each morning in preparation to wade through the petri dish of five to twelve year olds, it could be any number of things. Hopefully whatever strain it is of whatever virus it is, I have been inoculated against it. Or perhaps, as I have suggested many times to my colleagues, we are all just a little sick from the end of October to mid-March and carrying a little bug around with us is just part of the job.
All that said, I never thought to ask my son about the coronavirus. It was last week when a fifth grader showed up to school wearing a surgical mask, and I asked him why. "My dad says I have to wear it." I nodded. "Should I take it off?" he asked. My first inclination was to suggest that it would be a distraction and that it might confuse other kids and his teacher. Then I had another thought: "You know, if your dad told you to wear it, you should probably keep it on."
I may have saved a life.
Or made a fifth grade classroom a little more chaotic as discussion of this new plague swirled about a group of prepubescents. Panic might set in. Unsubstantiated rumors of who is an who is not a carrier could run rampant, like a more scientifically based game of Cooties. Interestingly in the midst of all this chaos we have a number of teachers and students who continue to be vigilant germophobes, carrying their hand sanitizer with them, squirting out handfuls to anyone who looks suspect. Meaning anyone they encounter. On the flip side is the natural state of all children, who share bags of hot Cheetos and bits of clothing as if they were living in a leper colony. "Hey, we're already sick. What's going to happen? We're going to get sicker?"
I read the clickbait about the Bay Area coronavirus case, certain that this would be the harbinger of the stateside eruption of the epidemic. My mind leaped to scenes of geometric progression used to describe the way the Andromeda Strain burst forth, or the way zombies multiply in those first few hours.
And me without my anti-zombie inoculation. I need to make an appointment with Kaiser.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

A Numbers Game

I watched plenty of Schoolhouse Rock when I was a kid. I know how a bill becomes a law. I know that  the  forty-fifth "president" of the United States has been impeached. I know that in previous impeachment trials, witnesses have been heard. Ask Monica Lewinsky about that one. Bill Clinton, an impeached president, gave a deposition to prosecutors that was videotaped and shown during his trial. I didn't have to watch a Schoolhouse Rock episode for that. I remember it without a catchy song.
I also understand that the framers of our illustrious Constitution had a clever way to make sure everyone got represented in our democracy. The House of Representatives is by population, where there are just two senators for each state. Yes Virginia, you have two senators and so does California. California is home to forty million residents. Currently there are just a shade under nine million Virginians. For example.
Now let's look for a moment at the most recent reason that math is a civics lesson: The forty-nine senators who voted to include witnesses in the impeachment trial of the forty-fifth "president" represent nineteen million more Americans than the fifty-one senators who decided they were okay without hearing any more evidence. When we do these kind of word problems at school, we ask kids to read them over a couple times, checking to see what the question is and what numbers are involved. If you tried to make sense out of the disparity between the number of Americans who would like to know just how far down the rabbit hole the current administration has gone, then you have a dilemma on your hands. Like the three million voters who were cheated out of their choice for president in the 2016 election because of the arcane bit of governance called the electoral college, this is not the fight you get to win. If you answered "none," then you're probably ready for the advanced course.
The requirements for the advanced course are these: A strong stomach and a willingness to believe that our republic can withstand a few more months of an orange maniac behind the wheel. It will take a sense of hope and resilience that we haven't needed since our country put a former game show host into office as a goof, just to see if our government really worked. I don't have a catchy song about this one, but for now I'll keep singing about Tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020


It is a wonder that we don't feel crushed
every time we open our eyes.
The thoughts that are in our heads
all those visions and dreams
Out there in the world they diminished
smaller, duller, quieter.
Symphonies composed in our sleep
don't sound like much.
The colors that shone so bright
behind closed eyes
don't exist out where the clouds
often obscure the clouds.
Moving so slowly in the world defined
by gravity and equations.
I wish that I could build those houses
that appear in my mind.
There is more than enough room
inside our heads
to get things done, to create and expand
to fill the rooms we imagine.
I can play guitar, and not just pretend
I can hit all the notes.
When I open my eyes I lose that magic
I can't sing and I can't dance.
But there is one thing that doesn't disappoint
when I open my eyes
All of those imaginary kingdoms and compositions
can be forgotten when I see you.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Orange You Glad?

There was a time when I spent a lot of time fussing about how much those folks with the orange vests get paid to stand there on the street and flip a sign from "slow" to "stop." It bothered me that what appeared to me as the simplest form of manual labor could be elevated to a salary that puts them in a bracket beyond what I was making at the time. I was installing modular steel furniture, making the world safe from collapsing typing returns. Many was the time when, on my way to deliver and install some of that modular steel furniture, our crew was waylaid by one of those folks with the orange vest and the sign on a pole. They seemed to watch us so callously, as if they were waiting to maximize the delay they could enforce with their absurd level of power.
So there I sat, fuming.
Just the other day as I rode my bike to school, I encountered a group of orange vests, some of whom were milling about, another who was making the most awkward possible eight point turn in the middle of a block, and one whose job was to direct traffic while nothing else was allowed to happen. This gentleman looked up and saw my two-wheeled approach and gruffly waved me past. "C'mon, c'mon," he grumbled as I rode past. I felt a twinge on that tired old nerve that made me want to stop and fuss with this fellow, but then I remembered where I was headed.
I was going to school, where a great many hours out of the scores I spend there are spent wearing an orange vest. A good portion of my day is spent directing short people to various destinations, monitoring pedestrian matriculation, and shooing stragglers. While I wear an orange vest. And I often use orange cones of various sizes to impede or restrict movement across the playground. I do not wield a sign with "slow" and "stop" on it, but I do have a whistle.
And I'm getting paid.
Not like Caltrans getting paid, but I'm getting paid.
So I've got this great gig with an orange vest and cones where I get to boss people around, albeit mostly shorter than me and vehicles aren't involved. Which is nice. As authority goes, it helps me understand the power that surges through those carrot colored vests. Sometimes I say that my job is herding cats. I would expect that might be the polite version of how those of us happening upon road work get mentioned.

Sunday, February 02, 2020


I have been in a lot of living rooms in which a Super Bowl featuring my favorite team was playing. Eight of them, to be precise. Three of those were happy experiences that kept a crowd gathered around the television to watch the aftermath: trophy presentation, interviews, advertisements for championship swag available exclusively from Sports Illustrated. The other five, not so much.
It was back in 2014 when I last got to savor the agony of defeat with the Denver Broncos. This was billed as the shootout between the high-powered offense of Peyton Manning and the Legion of Boom defense. I had a house full of fans and hangers-on, all of whom swore their allegiance to the Broncos upon entering, and while I was busy making sure we had enough guacamole, the snap from the first offensive play went sailing past Peyton, and though it was covered in the endzone by a Bronco, resulting in a safety and thereby setting a record for the quickest points scored in a Super Bowl: twelve seconds.
From there, the rout was on, and by the time I had found a seat in the arm of a couch, despair had set in. The Seattle Seahawks were ahead twenty-two to nothing by halftime, and even the frenetic halftime show presented by Bruno Mars couldn't bring hope to the orange and blue clad well-wishers who began to remember there are other things to do on Sunday afternoons in February. I knew that I would be facing my co-worker and Seahawks fan the next morning and the final score, 8 to 43 could hardly be described as a "contest."
Unless it was to define levels of incompetence on sports' biggest stage. The Denver Broncos have all kinds of Super Bowl records. Almost all of them have the Broncos on the ignominious end. They gave up fifty-five points to the super-powered San Francisco Forty-Niners while scoring only ten themselves. Forty-five point differential, if you're still stuck on the math. Denver does not have the second place on the list, but the thirty-five point loss to Seattle puts them at third. And fifth. And that loss to the Washington Redskins featured one of the best performances by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. It was not John Elway. It was Doug Williams, the Redskins' backup who threw four touchdown passes in the second quarter. Against the New York Giants, the Broncos scored their traditional ten points in the first quarter, then gave up thirty-two points in the next three, providing Phil Simms with an historic quarterback performance.
Go team.
Which is why I am just as happy to sit and watch the Chiefs and the Forty-Niners go after one another this year. I will probably be able to enjoy the food and the commercials and if there happens to be a game in there somewhere, that will be fine too.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

In The Ballroom With A Lead Pipe

We are living in a world in which twelve seconds of cell phone video can, and has, changed lives. As an educator, I flinch every time those snippets of a teacher losing their composure and doing something that is instantly regrettable. This doesn't excuse the behavior. Not at all. What is missing is the world that brought them to that point. Social media does not have the bandwidth to carry all that around. What we tend to see is the moment when things go bad.
That is what Paula White is insisting about her one minute thirty second moment in the sun. For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. White, last year she officially joined the "president's" administration in the Office of Public Liaison to advise on the Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which seeks to provide religious groups a greater voice in government programs related to issues such as defending religious liberty. If you knew who she was, but managed to miss her widely viewed outburst, the moment everyone seems to be hanging on is her insistence that "In the name of Jesus, we command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now. We declare that anything that's been conceived in Satanic wombs, that it'll miscarry. It will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm." 
It was that call for satanic pregnancies to miscarry that ruffled feathers. As we might expect. Just as we might expect Ms. White to insist that viewers were missing her context. Her defense runs a little deep, but she was referring to a specific Bible passage, Ephesians 6:12. “I was praying Eph 6:12 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” she said. “Anything that has been conceived by demonic plans, for it to be canceled and not prevail in your life.” She went on: “Let’s be clear what is really going on. This is a disingenuous attempt to use words out of context for political gain. I will just keep praying!”
This is the "president's" personal pastor, and has been for years. It is no wonder that she would insist that she gave a "perfect" sermon, seeing as how her friend and former game show host insists that he made a "perfect phone call" to the Ukrainian president. All the reading I've done both transcripts has made both items all the more sinister and self-serving. 
I pick Mr. Orange and Ms. White in the White House without a Clue.