Friday, March 16, 2018

What I Will Miss - and What I Will Not

What I will miss when he is gone is the noise. The constant turmoil that churns the mind and the soul, that compels one to consider and contemplate, that makes rest an option that does not exist. The anger and disappointment that forces a visceral reply, that makes one feel red hot with passion, responding with every ounce of strength to that deep well of  trouble which lurks in his every sentence, every wave of the hand, every impossibly wrong action. He does not allow for quiet.

What I will not miss when he is gone is the noise. The constant turmoil that churns the mind and the soul, that compels one to consider and contemplate, that makes rest an option that does not exist. The anger and disappointment that forces a visceral reply, that makes one feel red hot with passion, responding with every ounce of  strength to that deep well of trouble which lurks in his every sentence, every wave of the hand, every impossibly wrong action. He does not allow for quiet.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

17 Dead in Parkland - How Many More?

"Four dead in Ohio. How many more?"

It is as if, a half century later, this land has again been awakened by its youth. In this generation, Parkland is home to the question, "seventeen dead, how many more" and the thunderous response is "enough is enough".

Fifty years ago we were the voice of protest, our hearts unsullied, our anger unwavering, our cries unrelenting. We would not take silent rebuke as an answer. We would not die anymore because our elders were either unwilling or unable to stop the bleeding.

And now, almost twenty years after Columbine, after we have perished in far too many numbers in far too many places, after we have grown old and weary and failed ourselves and our children, after defeat has become an all but acknowledged inevitability, after our voice has been diminished to a pathetic whisper, after all of this we have borne witness to the incredible sight coming today from our nation's classrooms.

From sea to shining sea they rose up as one. They stood united in their commitment to cause, imbued with a spirit we have not seen since the days of Vietnam.

How many more? None. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fire and Fury Redux

This is the real fire and fury.  Rex Tillerson but the latest to incur the wrath of Donald Trump. The "moron" doing his worst once again.

Mr. Trump now promises to form an administration to his liking. But what was his intention in the earlier days of his presidency? Were those he"trump"eted during the transition not aligned with his views? And if not, was that a failure to properly vet, a failure of Mr. Trump to have any policy positions, a failure to understand the role of those working under him or a failure to surround himself with those who primary mission was merely to protect the President (goodbye to Mr. Comey)? The inescapable conclusion is yes, yes, yes and yes.

We worry more each day as the President tries to put together a new group whose primary responsibility is to allow the whims and wishes of Mr.Trump to move forward unfettered and unchallenged. 

Which is exactly when the other fire and fury is likely to be unleashed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Today I Am a Child

 It is not quite 6 AM. The first flecks of daylight are struggling to break through the darkness. I open the shade, my eyes trying to will the brightness forth. I peer out at the streetlight, looking for signs of what is imminent. 

Nothing yet, and I am as disappointed as I would have been six decades in my rear view mirror. A snowstorm is on its way.

It strikes me as strange that a person of Medicare age would still have a visceral response to the sight of white flakes tumbling randomly to earth. If I had asked my young self whether my enthusiasm for this occurrence would remain intact even now, I surely would have scoffed at the notion. You are far too jaded, old man, far too withered of spirit.

 I know it is near but not quite upon us. In detail, almost to the minute, I am informed by my twenty first century devices of  intensity, duration, the percentage possibility of what will and won't be. But yet, I still stand at the window, as if I can somehow compel the result I seek.

When I was in high school, I was assigned a writing task. The prompt I do not recall, but the tale I told was of capturing a snowflake in my hand, studying its size and shape for but a brief moment until it died and disappeared. I remember writing this piece while in the library, looking out upon a world of swirling, tumbling, frenetics. A half century later, it remains one of the few vivid memories of that period of my life. 

I even recall my teacher's reaction. How he spoke of the beauty in my soul. How pleased I was.

I have outraced the storm to this destination, driving in the dead of night. I peer intently at the street now, the light of day ever more intense. Still, the pavement is mockingly black, taunting me for my expectations. Time an enemy, moving far too slowly as it decides to make me wait until it is ready. I grow more impatient with each moment.

Today, children awaken to a snow day, with everything that these two words mean. Today I am a child.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Chief of Staph

("How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?")

John Kelly brings no honor to himself in the task of defending this border, in fighting to preserve a paper thin illusion of presidential competence, in doing battle on behalf of one so wholly unworthy of his station.

For a general who believes fiercely in America, he cannot possibly remotely believe in this American.

And for Mr. Kelly, if he perceives the opportunity to bend Mr. Trump to his will, there are a mountain of bodies strewn along this road who have tried and failed from Steve Bannon to Reince Priebus Jeff Sessions to the President's own son in law. Mr. Trump is far too volatile, far too neurotic, far too easily swayed against as well as for. 

Working for Mr. Trump is a suicide mission. Maybe not today, or even tomorrow, but one day soon. And for those whose necks do not suffer the guillotine, there is ultimately the determination to fall on one's own sword.

It is why so many choose not to go to war for Mr. Trump, thoughts of preservation of career, integrity and sanity outweighing the mesmerizing allure of power.

When will John Kelly go? He is already gone, he just doesn't know it. Defeat in this arena is an inevitable as death and taxes. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

All Star Nose Holders

While Jeff Sessions is certainly an All Star fawner he is far from the MVP of that league. Here are just four of the many worthy candidates for consideration:

1. Chris Christie - what list could not begin with the loud mouthed former king of insults who looked like he needed the bathroom break Hillary took as he stood behind Donald, practically genuflecting for the job the unfortunate Mr. Sessions now holds in his slimy fingers. If only Chris hadn't jailed Jared's dad.

2.  Mitt Romney - after reminding us that Mr. Trump should run a weak second in a race for dog catcher, he was just about first in line to apply for work as his Secretary (of State) as soon as Donald was taking applications. Now seeking to become a Senator in Utah, can he, as a devout Mormon, forgive and forget Mr. Trump's trespasses as a man and as  President?  Endorsement accepted.

3. Rick Perry - after calling Trump a cancer, it appears that this disease was miraculously cured as the man who couldn't remember that third thing that should be gone, now heads that thing, and protects the nuclear arsenal that the President threatens to use against his North Korean doppelganger.

4. Jared Kushner - yes, the President's favorite (and least favorite) son in law, who comes from a family whose political views are allegedly far removed from those of Ivanka's daddy. Maybe he thought he could kiss not only his wife but the Donald's ring and turn his father in law from monster into human being. Now, Jared contemplates banishment and possibly a six by nine foot bedroom as just compensation for selling his soul to the devil.

Mr. Sessions may hold his nose and bite his tongue every day that he has to deflect Donald's slings and arrows, but he should gain a measure of comfort in knowing there are many other qualified nose holders just a sniff away.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Stench

("Ties That Bind")

When the presidency is but the latest iteration of The Apprentice you are begging for disaster.

When your boardroom is mere showcase for family and friends, when experience and understanding of the complexities are not part of the job description, when loyalty is your only demand, when blood is thicker than readiness, you are begging for disaster.

When you have no gravitas, no acumen, no integrity, no interest in the intricacies of your craft, when discipline is anathema to your every instinct, when such is the message permeating and infecting your workplace, you are begging for disaster.

And thus the world according to Trump unravels, as Jared and Ivanka's incompetence and self dealing place them and this nation in harm's way. 

An apprentice is one tasked with learning a craft at the feet of a skilled mentor. When those feet stink to high hell, the ones who are supposed to absorb the lessons of their master only end up smelling horrendous.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

No Hope for the Fool on the Hill

The old gang is falling apart. Hope has decided there is none and, like Elvis, has left the building. Jared has been downgraded to chew toy and may soon be even further down the food chain. And the puppeteer Bannon has been banished to, well, we are not sure in what (shit)hole he has landed. 

What does Donald have left apart from that relationship with Ivanka which leaves us feeling somewhat squeamish? Surrounded now by generals, where are his pals and confidants? Don't you get the sense that the next tweet coming from the Emperor may be "et tu Brute"?

If he weren't such a totally despicable human being one could almost feel sorry for the dictator. Picture him in solitary confinement with his double cheeseburger, Melania as far away from the king as humanly possible, Donald staring at the screen and wondering why his only friends are those staring back at him from Fox News.

"Day after day alone on the hill ...  and nobody wants to know him, they can see that he's just a fool."

And then there were none.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ode to a Patroller


 It is still dark out and the winter cold is strongly suggesting that remaining under the covers would be extraordinarily prudent.

Nevertheless, my wife puts on so many layers of clothing it will take several minutes to peel them off at day's end. Then she heads out to work. At a job that pays her nothing. And never has for more than two decades.

Butternut is a small family owned mountain located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The vertical drop approximately 1000 feet. Moguls normally nowhere to be found. Powder days an anomaly. Just another dot on the ski industry's map. But not to us.

What do you do when your children no longer ski with you but have gone off to find their own adventures on the slopes? You become a ski patroller, or so my wife and I planned. But one chapter into the OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) course I remembered just how much I hated both the rigors of learning and the sight of blood. And thus two suddenly became one.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Last Dance

It was a virtual lifetime of single minded focus, a dedication more accurately considered an obsession. Lindsey Vonn's drive and ability to overcome serious injuries was mythical. Her 2010 gold medal occurring mere hours after clearly sustaining a concussion was both inspiring and terrifyingly unwise. 

But where was the joy, the humanity?

With these being her last Games, Lindsey Vonn the legend became Lindsey Vonn the human. She wept for the loss of her grandfather. She wept for the uncompromising declaration of her body that her time on this stage was ending. She was satisfied even in defeat. She took on the role of cheerleader and mentor for her teammates. She was looking back, not forward, grateful for the gifts that had been bestowed upon her rather than being consumed with what she had not yet achieved.

It was the role of elder stateswoman, able to see in her peripheral vision, soaking it in, being a participant in all elements of the Olympic experience.

And it was in seeing her vulnerability, her sadness and happiness in equal measure, her raw emotions now finally exposed, that the last Olympics of Lindsey Vonn may have in many ways been her finest.