Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Top 10 Television Show Titles of 2020 That Evoke Thoughts of the President

1.The Plot Against America
2. What We Do in the Shadows
3. I May Destroy You
4. Big Mouth
5. The Undoing
6. I Know This Much is True
7. Dead to Me
8. I'll Be Gone in the Dark
9. The Last Dance
10. Schitt's Creek

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 - A Look in the Rear View Mirror at the Year In Sports

 We really have come very far this year, sports viewing wise at least.

After getting over the shock of discovering that every sports team on the face of the planet had ceased operations, matters turned around completely when we watched two guys, ranked in the top 1000, square off in a tennis match at some indoor bubble somewhere in Germany I think. 

I called out to my wife and son to come see A, or maybe it was B, miss an overhead, at least it looked like an overhead in the dim light that limited my ability to comprehend what was on the screen. One solitary camera recording every riveting moment. It felt like I was there as Alexandra Graham Bell made his first phone call. Which, by the way, only charged him at a rate of two cents per minute.

Soon, when we turned to ESPN, we were no longer limited to viewing highlights of Rod Laver attacking the net or Yogi Berra jumping into the waiting arms of Don Larsen. Or  focusing our attention on a sport we never watched, and quite possibly didn't know even existed, until that very instant.

No, 2020 was replete with explanations for why this game or that one was cancelled after two idiots walked into a bar (and, no, that is not the beginning of a very, very bad joke) or an entire team decided that six foot rules were enforced less than three seconds in the paint.

But I do not mean to dwell on the negatives. How exciting was it to see twelve relatives of the players, or team executives, screaming with delight from their seats in the stands? Even better was when I searched the cardboard cutouts to see if there was a face I recognized, like maybe Rudy Guiliani. That got my juices flowing. Maybe even more than the piped in crowd noise that roared its appreciation or despair with every occurrence. It fooled me for one.

Some sports stayed fixed in bubbles. That sounds uncomfortably close. Others wandered around. But no matter the obstacles, no matter that a team or two had to field a squad comprised mainly of "who the hell is that", no matter that one group was done with its games while the next was in quarantine hell and had not even met for the (masked) team photo, somehow they all managed to get to the finish line. Every commissioner having done a phenomenal job, all the players having collected their paychecks in full.

But strangest of all was watching Tiger Woods wandering aimlessly around a golf course in search of a crowd. No one there to ooh and aah, move a boulder for him or at least deflect an errant shot back onto the fairway. And then there was the emergence of young Charlie Woods. We watched, brushing away the tears, as father and son walked almost hand in hand down life's long par fours. But why did Charlie get to play from a forward tee? I mean he is 11 and already hits his drive 50 yards longer than I do.

Looking back with 2020 vision, we did not fare too badly, all things considered. I mean I filled up endless hours thinking the Knicks could not get any worse, the Giants were only twenty players or so from being legit contenders and my beloved Yankees would be unbeatable if ever Stanton and Judge could get their very big muscles off the disabled list at the same time.

This was, in countless ways, a horrible, no good, very bad year. And sports did in fact help us crawl to the finish. It served as a distraction, as a place where we could escape the terrible realities of the moment. A spot where, for the briefest instant, all that mattered was whether the receiver stayed in bounds, whether the shooter had stepped over the three point line, whether the pitch had touched the batter's sleeve on its way to the catcher's mitt.

We understand none of this is not very meaningful, in relation to what we have experienced as a nation, as a universe of nations, this year. But sports is part of our very DNA, both as participants and as fans. And we did miss it so deeply when it was briefly taken from us. So on to 2021, with the hope that with the turn of the page, life will return, if not to normal, then at least to a semblance of normal.

And, next year, if we are really lucky, Charlie Woods will win the Masters. From the front tees of course.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Refusing to Get the Shot

So I found myself in the emergency room yesterday, my left leg deciding to take a different path down a ski slope than the rest of my body. Thankfully, the damage appears minimal, a calf muscle that will bark at me for some time and a slight bruising of the ego. But that is not the real focus of this tale.

Among those to address my situation was a young woman, possibly a nurse (a few people examined me in rapid succession, their particular titles not being given). In the course of our conversation, I inquired as to whether she had received her "shot."

"I am not getting it" she replied. "I am being cautious." She had been offered the opportunity and had simply refused. 

We have lived through the most terrible, tragic, tumultuous year this nation has had certainly since the end of the second World War, three quarters of a century ago. Death and suffering our constant companion, nowhere more evident than in emergency rooms such as this around the country, that have been battered and beaten, workers exhausted physically and emotionally. The hope of an effective vaccine our solace, especially in the face of a President who has only taken actions to amplify our pain.

I must confess to being jealous of those who have been inoculated. I am jealous of those who stand in line before me. I so much want to be the next one whose name is called.

But I will wait my turn, with as much patience as I can muster. I will send congratulations to those who can feel the breath returning to their lungs and their lives. I can only imagine their joy and relief.

And I know that each person who takes on that immunity is a benefit to all of us. In time we will be able to open our businesses, to break the shackles of fear that constrain us. One day we will hug again. One day we will live mostly as before, never more the same, but certainly not like this.

I wanted to say all this to the young mother of two, this woman who helped me in my hour of need. But I merely thanked her for attention and wished her a joyous holiday.

I walked out of that emergency room focused not on my minor mishap, but on having come face to face with the choices we make in our lives.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Early Bird Special

 My wife and I are, to put it in the kindest terms, nocturnally challenged. As winter descends,  the early bird special, to our thinking, is akin to midnight madness. Our goal each evening is to stay downstairs long enough to watch the 6:30 news before turning in. So, you can imagine that keeping our eyes pried open to see the ball drop on New Year's Eve is not high on our list of annual priorities.

That being said, we have always joined up with friends in acknowledgement of the end of one year's tale and the anticipation of the next. Has there ever been a year on this planet where we were collectively more anxious to bid so long, farewell to the past 365 days? I mean, if we could all head to Tonga, the country where the calendar first turns over, who wouldn't want to be there to have 2020 in the rear view mirror? Our 2020 vision can only be described as dismal and distorted.

My recollection of December 31's past is dosed out in small snippets. Of the year my dad passed away in mid-December and friends shifted their plans to dine near my wife and me, so we could be close enough to "pop in" for a little; of decades gathered around a dinner table with the same group, with the same assortment of offerings, in our version of Yogi's deja vu all over again; of later years congregating around the kitchen table of dear friends with a disabled daughter who became the centerpiece of our evening; and in recent times at a home where two other couples attempt to outdo each other with culinary skills before the Rod Serling Twilight Zone marathon begins.

Never a big party, not at a restaurant in nearly four decades, decidedly low key. And with those in our company being fully aware that the possibility of our counting down the seconds, first with Dick Clark and later with, well I couldn't tell you, was virtually non-existent.

But no one seemed to mind, or at least the jokes at our expense have been minimal. And the truth is that with each passing year, the importance of staying up to say goodbye and hello in consecutive breaths seemed less critical to many of those closest to us.

This year, we will not gather together. This year we will not be leaving somewhere and hurrying home for our early bedtime. This year we will not be traveling on quiet roads, passing houses and restaurants filled with those who are only beginning to party when we are looking to turn in for the night.

This year is unlike all others. To be remembered not for what happens on this December 31 but what does not. Not to be recalled in later times for its revelry but for consideration of everything that went so horribly wrong. Not a place for easy laughs but of somber reflection. In the company this time only of our thoughts.
But this may be the most important New Year's Eve of all. The moment when we as one count backwards from ten to tomorrow, when we can finally usher in the possibilities and leave behind everything that has held us in its vice-like grip. 

Almost 250 years ago, Robert Burns wrote "Auld Lang Syne", a poem that has become a song which is an integral part of our New Year's lexicon. "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet", a tribute to old friends and long forgotten ties. This time there is a distance between us as never before. And in that space which separates us, a closeness  that likely we never before fully appreciated.

I am quite certain that the stroke of midnight this year will find my wife and me as have so many in the past: fast asleep, long since having given up the possibility of greeting the New Year head on. But if there was ever a reason, ever a season, to embrace the new in person, this is it. So, if I can set an alarm for just before that ball begins its descent and be there as we begin our ascent from the hell hole that 2020 dug for humanity, that would be special.

But, who am I fooling? 2021 will just have to start without my wife and me. Unless of course I can interest it in the early bird special.

Friday, December 25, 2020

50 Ways to Gain a Pardon, 50 Ways to Gain a Pardon (thank you Paul Simon)

The problem is you're inside the pen he said to me

The answer is simple don't you know you have the key

I am the only one can set you free
There must be 50 ways to gain a pardon

He said it's really not my method to be crude
But I will tell you bluntly at the risk of being rude
And I'll repeat it to be sure I'm understood
There must be 50 ways to gain a pardon
50 ways to gain a pardon

Just fill up my till Will
Slip me a buck Chuck
Just hand me a five Clive
So be nice to me
Give me those ones son
You don't have to cuss Russ
Just repeat after me Lee
I hold my own key

Fill up my till Will
Slip me a buck Chuck
Hand me a five Clive
I'll be nice you'll see
Give me those ones son
And please don't you cuss Russ
Repeat after me Lee
I hold my own key

He says I know how you can be on the last bus
I tell you there's one thing you can do without a fuss 
I'm not a blabber so I'll keep this between us
There must be 50 ways

Don't wait, this offers only good for just one night
And every Dick and Harry has a shiv and wants a fight
So you best hurry if you want to end your plight
There must be 50 ways to gain a pardon
50 ways to gain a pardon
Just fill up my till Will
Slip me a buck Chuck
Just hand me a five Clive
So be nice to me
Give me those ones son
You don't have to cuss Russ
Just repeat after me Lee
I hold my own key

Fill up my till Will
Slip me a buck Chuck
Hand me a five Clive
I'll be nice you'll see
Give me those ones son
And please don't you cuss Russ
Repeat after me Lee
I hold my own key

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Pardon Me

 Here are some other notable pardons by President Trump that did not gather enough attention:

1. Al Capone

2. Scrooge

3. Mr. Potter

4. The Wicked Witch

5. The Grinch

6. Nero

7. Marlon Brando 

8. Lex Luthor

9. Hannibal Lecter

10. Cruella De vil

11. Joffrey Baratheon

12. Captain Hook

13. The father of Ted Cruz

14. Golfers who cheat

15. The Poor Boys

16. Yosemite Sam

17. Snidely Whiplash

18. Deutsche bank

19. Anyone trying to steal an election

20. Aaron Burr (in Hamilton)

21. Hans Gruber

22. The Joker

23. Kristin Shepard (she shot J.R. Ewing)

24.  Boris Badenov

25. Freddie Krueger

26. Norman Bates

27. Darth Vader

28 .Lord Voldemort

29. Nurse Ratched

30. Hans Landa

31. The one armed man from The Fugitive

32. Alex Carrington

33. Catwoman

34. Montgomery Burns

35. Marlo Stanfield

36. Audrey II

37. Inspector Javert

38. Roxie Hart

39. Jafar

40. Bill Sikes  

41. Scar

42 . Moby Dick

43. The shark (in Jaws)

44. Professor Moriarty

45. Uriah Heep

46. Lady Macbeth

47. Frankenstein

48. Iago

49. Satan

50. Richard Nixon (again)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Principled Republican


("Will Trump Force Principled Conservatives to Start Their Own Party? I Hope So.")

Mr. Friedman is living in that alternate universe where "principled conservatives" still reside. In this world, they have long gone the way of the dodo bird.

Donald Trump was the result, not the cause, of the disintegration of the Republican moral code. From the Southern Strategy as of the time of the fight for passage of the Civil Rights Act to Barry Goldwater's overt racism, from Richard Nixon's dirty tricks to Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queens, from Newt Gingrich's mandate to treat Democrats as the enemy to George Bush's invented weapons of mass destruction, from Mitch McConnell's directive to make Barack Obama a one term President to his  pretzel twisting logic to steal a seat on the Supreme Court, the six decade trajectory of this party has been only in one direction. 

Donald Trump was merely an accumulation of all the ills the Republican party has long suffered.

It is past time we waited for a different kind of Republican. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are not real Mr. Friedman. Neither is the kind of Republican you imagine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Twas the Night Before Christmas

 Twas the night before Christmas 

A time of darkness without end
When trouble was there waiting
In shadows round each bend

When everyone was distant 
And all just felt the fear
When everything was tarnished
And danger felt so near

When the stars that shone above us
Dimmed a bit each night
And each day's promise faded
Then disappeared from sight

St. Nick and all the reindeer
They knew the task this year
Was unlike all the others
They knew of all the tears

They knew that merely one night
Could not turn the wrong right
They knew that pain and heartache
Were itching for the fight

But love still had a special place
And goodness was not lost
No matter all our struggles
No matter this year's cost

So if Santa could bring solace
And a moment of good cheer
If we could hear that ho-ho-ho
That sound we hold so dear 

Then maybe we could shed the gloom
And bring about a smile
If not a change forever
Then maybe for a while 

So off he went into the night
With Rudolph in the lead
In search of those with heavy hearts
In search of those in need

And every house he came upon
He was armed with but one present
No matter if he met a king
Or came upon a peasant

I bring the gift of promise
I bring tomorrow's sun 
I know today's not easy
I know it's not been fun

But know that better days are near
The storm has almost passed
And I promise if you keep the faith
Your hopes will not be dashed

So all across the nations
On this Christmas Eve 
Santa spread the message
That if you just believe

Just know that come tomorrow 
It will be a better day
Hold on a little longer
This is all I pray

So on this strangest Christmas Eve
Of all that there had been
Santa brought a single gift
To bring some hope within

And maybe this was the best gift 
Santa had ever given
For what are all the toys worth
Without a world to live in

Whatever land that you reside
Don't give up the fight
And wherever Santa finds you
Find peace and a good night

Friday, December 18, 2020

Thank You Mr. President

 Thank you Mr. President 

For providing indisputable evidence that Barack Obama in not an American.

For turning over your tax returns as soon as you were able.

For correcting our misperception about the size of your hands and your crowds.

For making us understand that everything Vladimir Putin says is gospel.

For choosing those who surround you based on their lifetime of service to the public welfare and honoring your pledge to give them independent judgment

For taking full responsibility for the ills that befell us on your watch

For elevating our language and discourse

For fiercely protesting Supreme Court nominations in the last hours of a presidential term.

For confirming that your conversation with the Ukrainian President was indeed perfect.

For your unfettered allegiance to the Constitution and the rule of law.

For showing us an unprecedented level of cooperation with the Congressional inquiry of your behavior.

For demonstrating every day what separation of powers means.

For championing science.

For  your intractable defense of truth over lie. 

For reminding us that a promise made is always a promise kept

For your diligent attention to detail.

For your setting a clear example to the world of what morality looks like.

For your unceasing efforts to assure health care as a basic human right for all.

For  proving that a bromance with autocrats and dictators has no negative ramifications

For mandating that every vote be protected and cherished.

For teaching each of us how we should act in the face of a deadly pandemic.

For treating every person you meet with dignity and respect.

For not taking every slight as a personal affront.

For making certain that you acted as honest broker between Democrats and Republican, helping bridge every divide.

For taking your election defeat with such grace and dignity.

For acting with decisiveness to protect our planet against the reality of global warming.

For building that Wall, long and beautiful, at Mexico's expense.

For opening your arms to those fleeing violence and death in other parts of the globe.

For committing this country to keeping strong its relationship with long time friends.

For not airing your grievances in public.

For showing us, in word and action, what it means to be an effective President.

For making certain that there was not even the slightest hint of impropriety or self dealing in regard to your personal holdings.

For being so personally generous with your many billions..

For not using the power of your office to protect friends and punish enemies.

For calling out bigotry and hatred whenever and wherever it appeared.

For demonstrating such empathy for those who suffered unspeakable tragedy and loss on your watch.

For not seeking credit or personal glory at every turn.

For treating each of your children with equal care and affection.

For making this country a beacon of light once more.

For all this, and so much more, you are owed our everlasting gratitude.

I don't know where we would be today without you.

And I can only imagine what we would have become if you had been given four more years to perform your magic.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

It's a Wonderful Life

What is the value of your life? 

You are born in the heavens, you descend through the skies and then you
may remain for but a second, a blink of an eye, before disappearing. You may well believe that in a million different ways you give ephemeral clear definition.

But whatever the length of your stay know you have provided immense pleasure to those like me who find such happiness in your presence. The ones who wake in the middle of the night and rush to the window hoping you will make your appearance. The ones who stand outside eagerly anticipating your arrival with arms outstretched or tongue extended. The ones who think of you as old friend as you tap their shoulder or land gently in their hair.

And should you not vanish when your descent concludes, should your story be told not in a moment but days or greater, know of all you can accomplish. 

You may become a snowman, maybe as home for a carrot masquerading as a nose. You may provide a runway for a sled, carrying enthusiastic shouts along your path along with a hint of danger. You could be a fort, giving protection against the enemy. Or even a snowball, maybe the most prized of all opportunities that awaits at journey's end.

You make us feel joyful, a medicine for our souls. You are as the fountain of youth for the old and the best playmate a child could ever imagine.

You are the centerpiece of song. You give meaning to the holiday. You are a memory of a smile, a laugh, a fireplace, a hot cocoa.

You may roll down a hill holding on to thousands of others, growing ever fatter on your ride. You may be thrown into the air by a shovel and serve as head covering for a fire hydrant. You may sit aloft on the roof of an automobile, traveling to destinations unknown.

You may find yourself at the top of a mountain or residing on a frozen pond. You could become best friends with a king or a person without a place to call home. You do not care, for you treat all alike.

There is so much you give us. You are endless possibilities. So do not despair as your travel approaches its conclusion. Do not fear what awaits. Do not curse the fates that bring your beginning and end in such close proximity.

Just recognize all you have done no matter the length of your stay. For your worth is measured not in the ticks of a clock but in the meaning and purpose you have shown in the space you are allotted.
You have made our existence better for having been among us. What greater good could there be? 

And understand you will live on forever in our hearts. In that, you are immortal.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Keeping the Night Light On

 We are as two ships wandering the seas in the middle of the night. He, chasing after Morpheus, me waiting for the daylight to reach out and grab hold.

And so it was last evening, as with many before, that we bumped into each other online. While the universe slumbered, we intersected. My new day having commenced at 2:30 AM, his old one only finishing nearly two and a half hours later than that.

My eccentricity a product of age and bladder, his proclivity formed by a career in an industry that demands nocturnal attention.

We are as different as our time zones. He never having met a four letter word he couldn't use as the focal point of a sentence, me trying endlessly to craft phrases like those you have now just wandered into. He wickedly entertaining, me even boring myself as I tell tales that lead nowhere in particular. His beard prolific, my facial hair insultingly inefficient.

And yet here we are the best of friends decades in. Somehow even as we are as distinct as our sleeping habits, there is no one else I would rather exchange brain cells with while the rest of the world is silent and in rem. 

He is witty, though a little bizarre in our back and forth this night. I strain to keep up, for I am forever stuck in his wake in our conversations. He is natural and quick in his retorts. Me, a plodder in real life encounters. We are as the tortoise and the hare in our capacity. 

This morning, at an hour when the rest of the world had at last arisen, we spoke, challenging each other as to the least hours of unconsciousness the evening just past. He won with three to my four. This cannot be good for either of our odds to reach old age with many of our cognitive faculties still intact.

But this is our lot, to meet when the rest of the world is in pause mode, to compare notes, to make each other laugh, to rattle each other's cages a bit.

And then to move on as intersecting lines in parallel worlds. Both of us keeping our night light on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Getting Shot

 There were reports of thousands around this nation being shot on this day, December 14, 2020. 

Isn't that wonderful?

We have waited for today in all the endless tomorrows since President Trump first decided our best response was to ignore Covid 19 until it disappeared of its own accord, "like a miracle."

This is that miracle. This is the shot in the arm we have been dying to receive.

As the horrific numbers have exploded, the daily toll of death becoming ever more unfathomable, hospitals running out of ways to explain the horror within their borders, our heads have found no more room for anguish.

And so what we witnessed today was the beginning of the end of all the fear, all the pain, all the sorrow, all the isolation. 

It is merely the start, but we can begin to see the outlines of a life that had lost all shape and all context.

It will be hard to stay patient in the coming weeks and months until we are asked to roll up our sleeve and make a fist, when it is our turn to hear the words, "this will only hurt for a moment."

It  has hurt for so much longer.. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Our Republican Saviors

 ("The Texas Lawsuit and the Age of Dreampolitik")

There is no line in the sand that keeps fantasy from spilling over to real world consequences. We live with a tidal wave of death because of Mr. Trump's insistence that our universe is full of hoaxes, that we mask up out of delusion not protection. And far too many politicians have failed to act as a rational counterpoint to stop the spread of lies and the disease.

As to undoing the present election results, we dodged a bullet this time not because there were Republican stalwarts who ultimately were champions of democracy but because Mr. Trump and his cronies were so amateurish in their efforts and their case was so absolutely without basis. 

Mr. Trump tipped his hand many months before his defeat, advising us well in advance that his loss could only mean there was massive fraud, not a mass statement of disgust with his job performance. So we were given the script before the event even transpired.

Once past November 3, the Rudy tooty show was replete with ludicrous cartoon characters acting as charlatans and court jesters in what they proclaimed were the Halls of Injustice. 

But next time maybe the outgoing President will be more nuanced and subtle in his argument. And maybe there will be real lawyers making the case before a majority of Justices all too eager to find reason to place a nail in the coffin of our democracy.

So, I would be more than a little hesitant to proclaim that Republicans saved the day and demonstrated that there is a bridge too far even for them. 

Donald Trump may soon be gone but the lesson he taught us about our fragile grip on democracy will not soon be forgotten by those who would have little hesitation about overseeing its undoing at their next opportunity.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

On the Anniversay of My Dad's Passing

 I am getting ready to light the memorial candle commemorating the anniversary of my dad's passing. It is the 41st time I will perform this difficult task.

Earlier this week, one of my cousins forwarded to our extended family a compilation of  their home videos that propelled us on a time travel to another era, a vastly different universe. There we met up with the distant past. In a year where memories are so much of what we carry with us, where the present is on forced hold and the future is agonizingly out of reach, we find ourselves reaching back for comfort and solace.

With a smile and a tear I was able to view my dad vibrant and filled with life, so playful with my mom, so tender with my sister as a baby (I only had a later cameo appearance as a teenager). There he was, in the early years with the same hairline I suffer from, but later on growing a full head of toupee, as he "modelled" his new look for an intrigued family.

My dad has been alongside me every day of the last 41 years but it is a vastly different feeling to be able to greet him "in person." I wrote down every place where he appeared on screen and sent a quick recap to my sister, my kids and her kids to give all the crib notes as to where they could find my dad waiting for them.

2020 vision has been disorienting for all of us. What we have seen this year is not what we ever envisioned in our wildest imagination, our worst nightmare. We are kept distant, physically and emotionally from those that give us strength, give us our resilience in the face of constant adversity. We wear masks but they can't hide what our hearts miss.

So my 2020 vision was made immensely better by the unexpected arrival of this video. And better still by having a few moments again with my dad. Just the two of us. Together once more.

This is what my brain looks like at 4 AM

 Coded Message Attributable to the Zodiac Killer Has Been Solved, 51 Years Later.

In a bizarre twist, it has been revealed that another coded message,  recently sent by 126 Congressional Republicans to the Supreme Court has  been run through a blender and the chilling results have now been revealed. It reads as follows:

"HELP!!! We are locked up in the basement of the Capitol building, forced to watch re-runs of The Apprentice on endless loop. The document we sign our names to today is not worth using as toilet paper. If you know where the secret passage is to get us out of this dungeon, we beg you to tell us. God bless America and God bless the winner of the Alabama vs Auburn football game."

And the last line sent a shiver down my spine as I read words that will never leave me:


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Getting the Treatment They Don't Deserve, Not the Treatment They Do

 ("Covid Meds Are Scarce, But Not For Trump Cronies")

What I have a hard time accepting is why these people get the treatment they don't deserve, instead of  the treatment they do..

Donald, Rudy, Chris, glad you are all feeling well, having recovered from your non mask wearing introduction to reality. Only you have never treated Covid 19 with respect before your tete a tete and virtually none after. 

It sickens me that people have died because of your actions and yet you not only bear no responsibility for your misdeeds but, in your hour of need, you are treated as royalty.

Rudy, these past four years have been a constant search for the bottom. From your foreign forays in pursuit of dirt on Joe and Hunter, to your current job of court jester on the magical mystery tour looking under every rock for those dead people who cast millions of ballots, you have been Donald's main squeeze.

So, you understand why I think you might want to keep a little quiet about how you got the winning ticket to the cocktail hour at the hospital.

Rudy you have done this country a grave disservice. And I do mean grave.

 I would rather you had gone to the back of the line.

Name One Good Thing About 2020

The presidential election - not merely the result, as our democracy was spared the fate of the dinosaur and the dodo bird, but the fact that nearly 156 million of us voiced our opinion through our vote. In a year when the pandemic threatened to make casting a ballot a life and death decision, and the President and Republican leaders did their worst throughout this process, we stepped up in numbers beyond anyone's expectation. And when the President yelled most foul, his bootless cries were rejected from sea to shining sea, and even in one sentence by the highest court.

And so we battled a horrendous disease and a horrid President, and his henchmen, and demonstrated that the reports of Lady Liberty's demise were in fact both premature and greatly exaggerated.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Mind Games

 ("Pandemic Fatigue, Meet Pandemic Anger")

Everything is context.

Run down

1. A review of an occurrence
2. Catch up to
3. Injure or kill in an incident
4. A baseball player caught trying to advance a base
5. Not feeling very well

And so it is with our lives. Something may be susceptible to various meanings depending on one's view point

Wearing a mask

1. Hiding one's true feelings or beliefs
2. Hiding one's identity, as in robbing a bank
3. An act of self discipline, intended to protect you and others from harm
4. An act of repression, a mandate by someone wrongfully impeding one's right to self expression

Life is revealed in our perspective on all that comes before us. We can find beauty or ugliness in a raging thunderstorm, comfort or pain in another's expression of sympathy, fear or peace in the darkness of night.

As we try to survive this pandemic and deal with those who act in a manner inconsistent with what we know to be best practices, what can we possibly do to modify their behavior? 

Voicing our unfettered disgust is how we have addressed it until now. Is it the right approach, for after all these months, whose minds have we altered with our unrelenting condemnations? Is there no better method as we seek at least some recognition by them of the consequences of their undertaking and some corresponding changes? 


1. To meet in the middle 
2. To make something untenable
3. To put another in a difficult position
4. To be untrue to one's own values

It is all in how you look at it.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Don Quixote, The Man of Mar-a Lago

Once upon a time, meaning today, we find our protagonist tilting at voting machines, traveling on his faithful steed Air Force One, railing at his invented reality.

The man of Mar-a-Lago, in his (k)nightly quest, sleeps fitfully, causing his brain to atrophy as it spits out endless tweets of man's inhumanity to one man. He is consumed by his anger and has gone stark raving mad. 

Armed with his red tie and a few defining adjectives and adverbs he sets out to punish the wicked (everyone who does not kiss his ring) and wrong every right. 

He is accompanied on his misadventures by his faithful squire, Rudy, who earlier in his existence, was on his own mythical quest in relentless pursuit of  "A noun, a verb and 9/11." Don has promised the secret of proper hair coloring as Rudy's just reward. The beleaguered man of Mar-a-Lago cries out for retribution against those who do not see the universe through his squinty eyes. 

Villains abound in every corner, all conspiring against him, the vote tabulators and their lieges, in various hideous shapes and sizes, those who would abandon him in his time of greatest need.

His hour upon the stage now in its last curtain call, his majesty having been all but finally pilfered, Don steals whatever he can from others, taking monies from every Peter, Paul and Mary so he can lay claim to the throne in the court of public opinion (and in various state courts as well) in ever escalating bootless cries.

Through this futile quest, this journey into a land of the unbelievable and the unbelieving, Rudy stands resolute in his devotion to Don. No matter how outrageous, no matter the depths of this insanity, Rudy remains forever the faithful servant of his master.

In the conclusion to this tale, Don does not die of a broken heart, disillusioned by the betrayal of those around him. Rather, the man of Mar-a-Lago retreats to his villa and plots out his next quest. It is the remake of The Apprentice, with Rudy at the not-so-round table by his side. The errant (k)night lives to fight the bad fight another day.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Why NOT Prosecuting Trump Is a Very Bad Idea

 ("Why Prosecuting Trump Is a Very Bad Idea")

The arguments set forth in this op-ed for not pursuing Mr. Trump on a Federal level are likely accurate. Further, this piece does not even touch upon the real possibility of Mr. Trump attempting to insulate himself from responsibility by way of a presidential pardon (either given by him to him, or by President Pence to citizen Trump after his resignation between now and January 20th of next year).

But Donald Trump's actions in office were uniquely offensive, a once in almost 250 year slap in the face of democracy and the office of the presidency. And if his blatant and intentional abuses are not worthy of indictment, in multiple contexts, then we have effectively neutered our power to exert any control over the actions of a president.

Mr. Trump has been guilty of so many "crimes" over the past four years, the very worst being his brutal mishandling of our response to the Coronavirus, the countless thousands of lives that have thus been ended prematurely, the millions of lives irreparably damaged by his misguided hand. And the price he has paid for these misdeeds was an election day loss by at least six million votes.

But that rebuke is not adequate recompense. Our nation deserves our day in court to prosecute our claims. And whether we are ultimately successful is not the ultimate barometer, not the right metric. 

To allow Donald Trump to walk out the door of the White House unencumbered by the possibility of one day hereinafter having to answer for the wrongs he committed while in the Oval Office would be an insult to the fabric of our democracy. We owe it to future generations, we have a moral and ethical imperative to attempt to write the history of this moment with clear and complete accuracy. Anything less would be an abject abdication of our responsibility. Anything less would be a crime of our own commission.

Bah Humbug

 ("The Winter Mitch McConnell Created")

"Bah, humbug."

Mitch McConnell not only has the look of Ebenezer Scrooge but his soul, prior to his "awakening." He is cold, heartless and willing to treat all the Tiny Tim's of our present day Covid tale as "cripples" unworthy of his affection, attention or care.

Mr. McConnell has been a most highly visible, and highly effective destructive force in the government for well over a decade, first vowing to make Mr. Obama a one term President, then orchestrating the blatant obstruction of virtually every action taken by the Democrats to try to effectuate their policies. Next, declaring a Supreme Court vacancy off limits for 11 months before the the 2016 election in a successful gambit to "save" this seat for a Republican President and Senate. And now spearheading the effort to choke off desperately needed funds from being delivered to individuals, businesses and state governments staggering under the weight of the pandemic.

If Charles Dickens was writing today, he could scarcely have created a more miserable modern day Scrooge than the Senate majority leader. And unless Mr. McConnell is visited by three very frightening and compelling ghosts in the next fortnight, there is little hope that millions of stockings will be filled with anything but coal this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

'Twas the Night Before the Inauguration

 It was the 19th of January and in the White House

Not a thing had been readied, not even a blouse

Not a tie had been packed, not a shirt had been folded
Don't dare touch a thing, the fat man had scolded 

I will not be leaving, I'm going nowhere
I'm staying in place and I don't really care
If jolly Saint Biden thinks he's taking my place
Well I will not go for I won the race

I counted the votes by myself, every one
It took a few days but I got the job done
And when I was finished, well, you know the score
It was plenty for me, sleepy Joe three or four

They can come down the chimney or through the front door
They can come with their stockings to put in the drawer
They can come with a budget, they can come with a plan
But I won't be moved, for I am the man

Neither rain, sleet or snow so the post office motto
Neither I nor Melania will be moved from this grotto
I'm like Horton on his egg, there is no way I'm going
I have seeds planted here for '24 that need sowing

Tomorrow at noon you may come with a sled
You may try to take off with our marital bed
Hang your pictures, fill your fridge, take away my delights.
But I won't go easy, I will put up a fight

For outside that door with subpoenas in hand
My future awaits but its not as I planned
They want me out now, their visage has hardened
But alas my Christmas stocking included no pardon

I stand here red faced, more orange than Santa
I'm too old to run, soon I'd be in a canter
So like Custer's last stand, here's my line in the sand
I won't leave this place, without pardon in hand

Pardon me sounds polite, it's not me at all
But pardon me President Pence so I don't take the fall
I'll resign, I'm resigned to do what I must
I can just leave in peace if in Pence I can trust

Four years' not so bad, though I wanted four score
I was the greatest since Abe that's for definite sure
But tomorrow and tomorrow, no longer a petty pace
And now Pence won't forgive me, and I lost the race

So out on my bottom tomorrow I'll go
So out on the bottom what a fierce mortal blow
No Santa, no Mike Pence, not even Bill Barr
No Jared, no Ivanka, I've fallen so far
No Dancer, or Prancer or Rudolph will show
All alone with my lies and red ties will I go

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Give Me Liberty to Give You Death

 ("Thank You, Justice Gorsuch")

Religious freedom is not being abridged here. This is not a circumstance where one must practice beliefs in secret for fear of retribution from the state. Rather this is a weighing of the right of free association during a period of  national health emergency against the damage to the public that is likely to occur from said association.

We know that any prolonged exposure to others indoors creates a statistical probability that Covid 19 will be exponentially more likely to spread. Mr. Stephens and Justice Gorsuch would ignore that reality in finding no distinction between a quick trip to a liquor store and a seat at a Sunday service.

There are in fact inconvenient truths here that do not play well with the one size fits all logic of the Justice. This is not an act of trampelling upon a fundamental right but of allowing those professionals we must rely on in times of crisis to perform their duties unencumbered by constraints that would unnecessarily tie their hands behind their backs and imperil the health and well bring of those they are called upon to protect. Their line in the sand is neither arbitrary nor capricious, but directed at the clear distinguishing fingerprints of the moment.

"Give me liberty or give me death" is not, despite the protests of five members of the Supreme Court, the operative phrase herein. Rather, it is "give me liberty to give you death." And that, no matter how hard one may argue, is not a founding principle of this nation. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Competition