Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Donny and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (Mikey talks while Kim and Donny stop talking)

Donny is far away from home and his own bed. He is in a strange place he stayed away from a long time ago because something was wrong with his feet, or maybe it was his knees, he can't quite remember which.

Anyway, back home, his old friend Mikey is telling terrible stories about Donny. He is saying that Donny is a cheater, a liar, a very bad boy. Donny doesn't like Mikey any more.

Donny likes cheeseburgers and french fries but where Donny is, they don't serve him what he likes. Donny misses cheeseburgers and french fries.

It seems that Mikey is going on forever about all the things Donny was supposed to have done. It sounds like Donny committed tax fraud, perjury, obstruction of justice and maybe a lot of other nasty stuff that Donny doesn't understand. And that maybe a lot of people are investigating him. Donny wishes he knew what investigate meant.

And he is also sad that he is so far away because Donny likes to tweet in the middle of the night but it is the middle of the afternoon where Donny wants to be when it is the middle of the night where Donny is. Donny doesn't understand how that could be.

Donny is meeting with a fat man with a very bad hair cut. Donny likes his own hair very much and he would never, ever wear his hair like that other man does. Or ever be fat like that other man. Donny is very handsome, or so the mirror on the wall tells him when he asks. And he asks a lot. But, in this strange land, the mirror doesn't understand English and is not telling Donny how handsome he is. Donny is sad.

Mikey is still talking. Some of Donny's friends keep saying to Mikey they don't believe a word he says about Donny but Donny wishes he could tell Mikey to his face what a bad boy he is being. Or maybe order a hit on him.

And the Fox News feed just went dead in Donny's room. He is very mad now and is screaming and cursing. Donny is not happy. He is not happy, not even one little bit.

Donny is going into a meeting now with the fat man with the bad haircut. Donny says the fat man is wonderful but he really has no idea what the fat man is saying. Donny wishes the fat man had a very pretty translator. And that Billy Bush was there hanging out with Donny.

The meeting with Donny and the fat man does not go well. Donny wants the fat man to stop building all his big toys but the fat man says he wants to still build some, even if Donny stops all his sanctions. Donny likes the word sanctions. It sounds very grown up. He doesn't like the fat man so much anymore. He pissed Donny off. Donny pouts when he walks out of the meeting. And he tells the fat man he should get a different barber..

After the meeting Donny decides he is going to bed. Mikey is done talking now but Donny thinks many other bad boys and girls will be saying some very mean things about Donny tomorrow.

Donny won't sleep well tonight. He had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

If only he could have said what a good boy Mikey was when Mikey was so polite around Donny and kept saying pardon me. If only Donny had said "you're pardoned" maybe he and Mikey would still be friends. Good friends. The kind that don't rat on each other. Who would take a bullet for you.

And then it would not have been such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Shelter from the Storm


("How Much a Dementia Patient Needs to Know")

My sister and I watched for a decade as the mother we knew faded into a fog and then disappeared from view. Her dementia eventually left us with nothing but her physical shell.

But there were occasional moments when my mother would animate. Most often these involved her belief that she was a young girl residing with her parents and was needed to work at the family store. And I traveled back in time with her, asking her questions of her day, her parents and what was happening of consequence. 

We kept my mom in her apartment until the end, hoping that familiar surroundings would prove soothing. But it was truly only when I wandered with her into her childhood home that a certain peace, fleeting as it might have been, emerged.

Dementia is a horrible illness, stripping one of virtually every connection to the universe one has inhabited. But there still remain shreds of a former life waiting to be uncovered, remembered, revived, providing brief shelter from the storm.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Republican Party Backbone? D.O.A.

So this is where the Republicans in the Senate show their fealty to country over party, to Constitution over pouty leader, to the dictates of their position over protecting their chances in 2020? Have you not been paying attention over the last decade?

From that moment in January 2009 when Mr. Obama took office, the mandate from Mr. McConnell was to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Denying that President any victories was their mantra and for eight years they were ever vigilant, from seeking to derail Obamacare, to eviscerating even the most limited measures to rein in the Second Amendment abuses, to the bitter end when they stole a Supreme Court seat in blatant dereliction of their duties.

And with the ascension of Mr.Trump, they have protected him at every wrong turn, an occasional mini slap on the wrist, and John McCain's vote preserving Obamacare notwithstanding. For each random act of insanity, each revelation of another grave error on the part of the President there has been capitulation on the part of those whose couId demonstrate, with their votes, that the line in the sand has been crossed. 

So today is an emergency? We have long ago passed emergency. That first week in office when the initial executive order on the immigration ban was pronounced by the dictator in chief, that was when all hands should have been on deck putting out the fire. 

Now it has spread beyond all boundaries, out of control and creating a conflagration from sea to not so shining sea. And there is no water in the Republican party's hose. 

They ran dry a decade ago.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My First Protest

"This is what Democracy looks like. This is what Democracy looks like."

My first protest. I know I am five months old and late to the party, but I am feeling it now.

There are a couple of loud Trump supporters trying to aggravate everyone. I want to get into it with them but grandma tells me not to. Since I am lying on her chest in a snuggly and rely upon her as my mode of transportation and warmth today, I think it best if I heed her advice.

The crowd is a little smaller than I hoped. Thinking it may be Trump fatigue. I may try to help organize the next rally. They could probably use some new blood.

I wish I could read. There are a couple of posters that my uncle is taking pictures of and I bet they capture the mood. I think mine would show a picture of Trump's big rear end and say "This is what an a...hole looks like. This is what an a....hole looks like." Grandma is telling me to calm down a bit.

I am worried what this idiot will do next, aren't you? I mean I think every day of my life has been uncertain because we have a President with more than one screw loose. In fact, I think every screw is loose. Geez Louise, he is dangerous.

Grandma, grandpa and my uncle are ready to leave now. I hear them talking about being hungry and wanting dinner.

"Stay a little longer. Just five more minutes. There are some things more important than food. I promise I will not make a scene if we can just stay five more minutes. Just five."


"This is what Democracy looks like. This is what Democracy looks like."

Grandma tells me not to yell right in the face of that Trump supporter. We are leaving now.

She tells me I am too worked up, but I can't help it.

This protest stuff really gets my juices flowing.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Our National Emergency


Mr. Trump is absolutely correct in declaring a national emergency. 

We have a President without regard for the Constitution, for the limitations of his office, for the rule of law, for the dictates of history, for truth, for morality.

We have a President whose actions are directed by ego, by petulance, by spite, by whim, by tweet.

We have a President who has alienated his own administration, the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department.

We have a President who puts this nation in perpetual jeopardy, who treats our environmental concerns with disdain, our gun violence fears with flippant dismissal.

We have a President who manufactures a crisis for his political purposes, whose major accomplishment is misdirection, who lives in a permanent state of anger, filled with hate, consumed with bad intentions. Ridiculous and ridiculed around the globe. Doing grave damage to the Oval Office each and every day.

So yes, Mr. Trump, we do have a national emergency.


Friday, February 15, 2019

5 Months Old

So, I am 5 months old today. Hey, can anybody hear me. What am I, yesterday's news? When I was a baby everyone made such a big fuss over each month's passing. Now, it is like, oh really. Just a big yawn. Well this does not make me happy. Not in the least.

I know you care but step up your game a little. I want to feel that first day love every day.

Just recently, grandpa let me cry a full three seconds before rushing in my room to pick me up. What, I thought, does a woman have to do to get some attention around here.

And yes, I understand that I must now become involved in group activities, like music class, but did I really have to learn at such a tender age that there are other children who seem equally important to their parents as I do to mine?

And play dates? Am I supposed to pick out a best friend already? I am not even quite sure of the difference between head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, so choosing who I really want to spend my time with is a daunting task.

This whole undertaking is more complicated than I originally thought. It turns out there is a lot more to each day than just eating, sleeping and pooping.

Just an aside, but is this a particularly strange winter? First it is so cold, then it is warm and rainy. Sometimes I am just cooped up inside all day. Personally, until I am old enough to ski, I think this will have to be considered my least favorite season.

Anyway, I don't want to sound ungrateful. I am learning what love is and it is a pretty awesome feeling. Those smiles I give to mom and dad are real, and the laughs that come from deep inside me do mean I am very, very happy.

I am just putting everyone on notice. I have a big birthday coming up next month. A half year old. I am already hoping for a surprise party. I think I will really like chocolate. Maybe I can taste it for the first time then. And can I see the guest list? I like that little girl downstairs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

One Year After Parkland

("Would Congress Care More If Parkland Had Been a Plane Crash")

Welcome to the brutal reality of this our universe, where money and power corrupt our morality. For these children who witnessed the sights and screams of death, who were irreparably altered and who believed the depth of their pain and the urgency of their pleas would pierce even the coldest heart, this year must have been terribly hard and, in our responses from Washington, tremendously disappointing.

For those of us who have long watched in dismay as one mind numbing tragedy after another was met with immediate horror and soon thereafter with indifference, even contempt, by those at the Federal level who had the capacity but not the will to find a remedy, we have long since abandoned our expectations.

There may come a day when we meet this danger head on when, like the opioid crisis, it touches too close to home for too many of those in power to continue to ignore, or a time when the long reach of the NRA no longer extends deep into the pockets of so many politicians, or a moment when those who would turn a blind eye to the blood and tears are no longer the ones in control of our destiny.

And I hope when that happens that these children will not have lost their faith, but will have persevered in their quest. That they will be the ones leading the charge. That they will be able to rest a little easier knowing that their children and their nation is safer because of them.

But that day, at least in the nation's capital, seems very distant one year after the Parkland shootings.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

("Republicans Got Us Into This Mess, and They Have to Get Us Out of It")

This concept is all well and good until you realize Mr. Trump has, for the main part, merely carried out the Republican agenda: feed the rich, leave crumbs for everyone else, deregulate, give all your love to white men and dole out your enmity to the rest of the masses.

Yes, his trade tariffs have not necessarily endeared him to the powers in his own party and he has trouble deciding if he is hawk or dove (although he exhibits no hesitation in expanding the defense budget for development of new toys), but his is very far removed from a tear down our own house presidency.

Certainly he is extremely dangerous and as unprepared for this office as a nudist is for standing outside in a blizzard. Clearly he is personally repugnant, exhibiting none of the trappings that someone in his office should have.

But if you believe this group of Republican leaders will bite the small hands of Mr. Trump, well I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I think you might be interested in acquiring.

Mr. Trump will not be gone unless and until the walls ( including that one) cave in on him, courtesy of Mr. Mueller or a Democratic led investigation. The Republicans will not cannibalize their own leader for, deep in their hearts, in places you don't want to know about sonny, they understand he is largely a reflection of their own beliefs.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Phone Call

So, the wait time to speak with you is estimated to be 47 minutes? And the hold music will be like fingers scratching on a chalkboard? And there is a 97 per cent chance if I do stay on the line that entire time that I will then either be disconnected or I will be put on hold for 6 more minutes while you check with your supervisor and then you will apologize when you return and inform me that I am calling the wrong department and you will give me the correct number to call and you will apologize for not being able to transfer me to that department and then you will tell me I should not speak in that tone of voice because you were only trying to assist me and then I will feel guilty for yelling at you, a person who I don't know who was just trying to do your job and is probably not very happy in this particular position and has already been yelled at far too many times today and is not making enough money to be subjected to the abuse that I and others similarly situated give you each and every day and then you will ask politely if there is anything else you can do for me today and then I will say no and then you will thank me for calling and wish me a good day and then I will realize that this was an hour of my life I can never retrieve and I will hang up the phone and wonder why I subjected myself to this?

And if I decide not to make this call I will be mad at myself all day knowing that I should not have to pay the balance of that bill because it was not processed correctly and I know that the company is counting on me not spending the time and effort to fight over such a small amount and I know this is why they make so much money and I know this is wrong and this will never change if I don't pick up the phone and spend an hour getting nowhere and then make that call to the second number and maybe the third and fourth until finally I get someone who says that he or she will authorize the payment of this bill and then he or she will apologize for my inconvenience and wish me a good day and I will say thank you and hang up.

So you can appreciate my dilemma, can't you? Thank you for taking my call  today. Do you have any other questions?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Response to the State of the Union

Did President Trump attempt to obstruct justice in his state of the Union address?

Was his "no peace and legislation if there is war and investigation" a not so veiled threat for Democrats in Congress not to try to rough him up if they want him to compromise on say his obsession with the Wall, on meaningful immigration reform, on gun control, on giving more than empty promises to taking on the massive infrastructure debacle, on health care protections for the many millions still uninsured, on actually aggressively addressing our rampant opioid crisis, on acknowledging that climate change is not a fiction and seeking to at least slow its progress, on not treating allies as enemies and enemies as allies, on providing relief to those struggling with a mountain of educational debt, on dealing with real voter protection issues instead of fictitious voter fraud, on making those best able to afford to share in the burdens as well as reap the benefits of this nation do more to meet their obligations, on allowing people to organize and unions to be brought back from near demise, on recognizing the crying need for sensible financial regulations, on mandating a living wage for each and every worker, on protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits and pushing to expand Medicaid to those states who have refused to allow many of those in most dire straits the aid that this program can provide? On doing what sanity, morality and reason dictate?

I noted but the most cursory or perfunctory of discussion on any of these topics in the 5100 words of the President.. Rather I heard him direct a warning to lay off him or he will treat the needs of those under his care with the same disdain and contempt has he has these past two years.

We know how this plays out in the tomorrows to come. The investigations will move forward, Mr. Trump will refuse to do anything but snipe and tweet on any matter of import and lay blame at the feet of the Democrats for obstructing the justice this nation deserves.

Only, as usual, he will have everything bass ackwards.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Black and White

("Blackface is the Tip of the Iceberg")

Let us not wonder the future of the Governor of Virginia for, unlike one of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court, his yearbook page has made him a dead man walking. Maybe if he had just admitted that he liked to drink beer he too could have survived the scrutiny.

Yes, some Democrats are racists. But unlike those on the other side of the aisle who circle the wagons around every Congressman King in their midst, the Dems have been unified in their condemnation and call for the resignation of the man who couldn't quite remember if that was a picture of him in blackface or if he was just mixing this up with the Michael Jackson dance contest he won.

Tonight we will be subjected to a state of disunion speech by the man who made lying great again as he demonstrates to the country he is getting better reading off a teleprompter. If only the Governor had the President's skill in misdirection, maybe he could have turned his debacle into a discussion about why we don't need to build the Wall in Virginia.

Man is an imperfect being as we are reminded each and every day in a land beset with perfidy. Racism our constant companion, even if no longer in blackface, still hiding in plain sight.The Governor the latest, but certainly far from the last, to show that those in whom we place our trust and faith are often far from deserving.

But the distinction between how the two parties address the matter when it rears its ugly head is as different as black and white.

The Sheer Cruelty of the New York Times

("How I Learned to Love the Patriots (Again)")

Is there anything more discomfiting than having to endure a semi self examination turned gloatathon from a conservative columnist rekindling his love for the New England Patriots on the page of the New York Times. It is the sheer definition of the very wrong person at the extremely wrong place at the absolute wrong time.

Mr. Douthat, who heretofore I had little love for, is now to be the recipient of almost Trumpian disdain from me. To revel in the Patriots, with an extra dollop of Red Sox for good measure is beyond cruel.

My Giants are giants no more and my much beloved Yankees have become  almost annual fodder beneath the red socks of my most hated tormentor.

Pitchers and catchers report in but a few days and I can only hope to then begin the arduous process of flushing the bad taste of Mr. Douthat's words from my mind. 

But until I can stand directly on the chest of a New England sport fan, holding aloft proof of World Series #28 for my Yankees or Super Bowl #5 for the Giants I will not rest easy.

Thanks to you Mr. Douthat and to the New York Times for starting my day off on a horribly wrong foot. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

My Worst Nightmare

In today's NY Times there is a long letter to the editor asking the paper to publish more letters from women. There is then a joint response from the editors of the letters department, Tom Feyer and Sue Mermelstein, agreeing that this is a worthy idea. They make a plea for more women to raise their voices (their pens).

Below is my note directed to Tom and Sue, setting forth my (tongue in cheek) horror at this concept, 


("A Woman's Plea: Let's Raise Our Voices")

Wonderful to see both your names in print, but it was like your pen was a dagger to my heart. Equal voice for women, if my math is right, means less voice for men, and in particular, one man.

Now not only do I have to deal with the cruelty of my 60 day detention every time I am in print (and if we are to be truly democratic then shouldn't each letter, each day be judged on its own merit and not subjected to preordained demise based on an arbitrary prohibition), but I must now face the reality that more women, many with far more talent than I, will likely leap over me in the hierarchy of your affection.

Woe is me. Here is a man's plea. Do not forget me, your loyal and trusted friend for a decade now. Maybe you could just cut H.L. back a little and leave me unscathed. Yeah, that could definitely work. (to protect the guilty for purposes of this post, I have only set forth the initials of my mortal enemy, the man who is the most prolific writer of published letters to the Times)

Sincerely (and I mean it)