Friday, December 31, 2021

The Asterisk



("I Investigated Bonds and Clemens. Yes, They Belong in Cooperstown")

Is there such a thing as an asterisk in the Hall of Fame?

Was our anger at the failings of Mr. Bonds and Mr. Clemens, in part, a misplaced disappointment with the system that enabled the abuse to occur and with ourselves for turning a knowing blind eye? Have we done these two a grave injustice?

Or is it the hubris of possibly the two greatest players of their day, maybe of any day, the ultimate basis for denying them entry into the pantheon of the gods? Like Pete Rose, the man who accumulated the most hits in MLB history but remains banished from the game for, at least in my mind, having the nerve to continually lie about his transgressions, is the lack of capacity to repent the worst sin of all? 
I have struggled to reach my own conclusion here, as I long felt the Hall of Fame exclusion was the only retribution, the only punishment that fit the crime committed by two men who received adulation and riches for bending the rules of the game. But maybe I now can see the fault was somewhat equally with ourselves as with the stars.

So let me now cast aside my doubts and grievances and cast my vote, with an asterisk, for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Time may not heal all wounds completely, but it can make them sting a lot less.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021


 It was a year to forget. From the attack on the Capitol to the one in Kabul, from Delta to Omicron, from the threat on Roe to the one on our planet, from emotional and physical tornado to hurricane, from death to death.

It was a year to remember. From the lives lost to Covid, to the life we once took for granted, from friends and relatives we no longer held in our arms to the emptiness we now held in our hearts, from the freedoms we once assumed were forever to the weight of realities  under which we now staggered.

It was a year in which democracy seemed to buckle around the world. A year in which our Congress seemed unable to even pretend to govern. A year in which for every step forward we seemed to take three backwards.

This was the year we were ready to fight back. We had the vaccine. We had rid ourselves of Trump. This was the year we were to heal our bodies and our souls. This was the year our 2020 vision would fade and we would clearly see the path ahead. 

But 2021 disappointed us in so many ways. And so we hope with every ounce of our strength that 2022 is the year we actually build back better. That this is the year we are able to defeat the worst our enemies can throw at us. That our democracy proves resilient, That we prove resilient.
We remain in the middle of the worst storm we have ever known. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But we persevere because we can. Persevere because we must. If we have learned one thing through these never ending hard times, it is that we do not give in. We do not give up. We have survived. We will survive. 

We will survive.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Battle Hymn of the Unvaccinated

 ("As Omicron Spreads and Cases Soar, the Unvaccinated Remain Defiant")

You say you want me vaccinated
Well you know I would rather that I not
For I've been anti-facts-inated
And I know I don't need your fake news shot

And if you talk of my destruction
Well you know that you're damn wrong no doubt

Cause you know I'm gonna be alright
I'll still be alright, alright

You say I've been hallucinated
Well you know I'd say I see things right
I'm done with all your hate hate hated
And you know I am itching for a fight

And if you think I need instruction
Well I know what I talk about

Cause you know I'm gonna be alright
I've still got real insight, insight

You tell me get inoculated
Well you know that's just not in the plan
I'd rather that you concentrated
On showing love to your fellow man

I will leave with this deduction
You're walking blind into the night

Can't you see I'm alright 
Just let it be alright
Just let me be alright
I'm just me alright
Alright, all right

Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Christmas That Wasn't

 Santa's flight cancelled. 

This is tough to report. Three of Santa's reindeer tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid on Christmas Eve. And with the rest of the reindeer having been in recent close contact with those infected, all having taken a few practice runs around the North Pole in the preceding days, and with no backup reindeer available, Christmas was officially cancelled at 11:59 PM on December 24th.

The word is that Santa is taking the news pretty hard. After all, this broke a streak that was thought to be even greater than that of Cal Ripken.  "Twas the Night Before Christmas" first reported the work of St. Nick in 1823. This would have made 199 consecutive appearances by the Jolly Man, and planning was already underway for a 200th extravaganza.

At the Pole, presents for good little boys and girls were stacked even higher than an elephant's eye,  thoughts of long term storage never contemplated or considered.

None of the infected reindeer have reported serious symptoms. Rudolph is suffering from a red nose, but no one is quite certain if this is a sign of a cold or merely his natural state of being. Cupid was forced to put down his bow and arrow and Dancer is not, but none have needed any veterinary hospitalization. A statement from Santa's spokesman gave thanks that it seemed all would fully recover in short order.

The question hanging in the air today is whether Christmas can receive a one year special exemption and be permitted to occur sometime in January. I mean Hanukah is always either early or late so why not allow the immutable to be, well, mutable this one time.

Thousands of other flights were cancelled this year due to short staffing from Covid. So many people around the globe have been disappointed, their holiday plans scuttled, laid low by the virus. What better Christmas present could they receive then to be advised there would be a makeup date that would permit the celebration to happen after all. A true Christmas miracle.

So, I ask if you would sign the annexed petition, declaring January 8, 2022 as the official Christmas Day 2021. By John Hancocking, you will be making one old man in a red outfit, along with millions of boys and girls very happy.

A speedy recovery to those laid low, emotionally or physically, by Covid on this most special of days.
And Merry Christmas, with an asterisk, to all.

Friday, December 24, 2021

A History Lesson on Why Donald Trump Will Not Be Charged with Inciting an Insurrection

 ("Will Donald Trump Get Away with Inciting an Insurrection?")

Michael Cohen in 2018, while acting in "coordination with and at the direction of individual 1... a person who ultimately ran a successful campaign for President of the United States", committed campaign contribution violations in buying the silence, for $130,000, of Stormy Daniels. While Mr  Cohen pled guilty and went to jail, Individual 1 has still not been charged.

Robert Mueller's investigation of Mr. Trump's possible involvement with Russia's attempt to undermine the 2016 election revealed a laundry list of the President's efforts to obstruct justice, from trying to have Mr. Mueller fired, to directing Paul Manafort not to cooperate with the investigation. Mr. Mueller's report, despite the proclamation to the contrary of Attorney General William Barr, did not exonerate the President. Donald Trump has still not been charged.

President Zelensky of the Ukraine was asked for a "favor" by Donald Trump,  to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, as a possible quid pro quo for Mr. Trump authorizing the release of military aid to Ukraine. This would constitute bribery, if proven. Donald Trump has still not been charged.

Mr. Trump requested that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger just 'find' 11,780 votes so that the President, who had lost this state by one vote less than the number referenced, would now be declared winner of their electoral votes. This constituted, if proven, a number of felonies including solicitation of a public official to commit election fraud.  Donald Trump has still not been charged.

The President's "charitable foundation" clearly believed in the immutable concept that charity begins at home. Further, New York State has filed charges against a Trump accountant for the practice of overvaluing Trump assets for Mr. Trump to be better able to obtain loans against these assets. Yet, Donald Trump has still not been charged with tax fraud.

The President repeatedly directed others to ignore or defy subpoenas issued by Congress. He has still not been charged with obstruction.

So forgive me if I am more than a little skeptical that Mr. Trump's role in the actions that took place at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 will lead to the filing of charges against him.

Mr. Trump once stated he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot someone, and not lose any voters. And he could have added, and not been charged with a crime.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

My Competition

 So, at least in my own mind, my inadequacies are beyond comparison. What I can't do could fill a book the length of War and Peace. Each day an opportunity to present another, more radical head shakingly dismal performance.

But, it now appears, I may have to share the podium with an interloper who seems destined for greatness in the land of the absolutely not so great.

My niece married a wonderful young man several years ago. He shared much of my resume: same high school, same college, same profession. On paper, much like me, he appeared as if he had the makings of a competent human being.

Over time I have heard rumor of his lack of attention to details of the universe. But really, nothing that would make me fear I had competition.

This week, their family rented  a house near us for the holiday week. Given the realities of having two young children in tow, it was not surprising to learn one of them had left significant evidence of a spit up on one of their sheets. The problem was that after my niece washed the damaged item in the sink, she was informed by her husband that the rental premises lacked a washer and dryer. Could she come over to our place to do the laundry?

My wife and my son were naturally suspicious of the declarative statement by my heir apparent doppelganger. A quick perusal of the rental listing corroborated their  belief that something, apart from the smell of the sheet, was foul.

Several minutes later, we were at their house, entered the basement and stared directly at a fine looking washer and dryer. Sitting, as the clear centerpiece of this room.

Even I would have been hard pressed to miss these appliances. The protestations came rapidly. "There was an unplugged washer in the room." And it was true. If one merely poked a head in, for an instant, and then decided not to spend an extra nano-second perusing the balance of this space, an argument could be made that this was a mere mistake of omission, not commission.

But, as one who has spent most of a lifetime making excuse for my incompetence, this was, on a scale of 1 to 10, feeble fodder.

So I go to bed this evening knowing there is another unfortunate wife in my family saddled for what will surely seem an eternity with a partner who finds myriad ways to make each day "interesting."

I think I may have to up my game, if I am to keep my well earned crown.

Where Have You Gone Joe Biden?

 ("Where's Joe Biden?")

First there was Barack Obama, extraordinarily eloquent, able to touch our hearts (Amazing Grace), to move mountains (Obamacare, a big f-ing deal) and give us hope this nation could one day, someday, see past race.

Then there was Donald Trump who was seemingly everything we did not want a leader to be. Every day sucking the air out of the room and making certain all eyes were turned towards him.

Each man in his way redefining the office, each gathering our undivided attention.

Joe Biden seems not so much to have slipped into old slippers but into the shadows. The urgency of the moment, of every moment, of each utterance from the President, that carried us for twelve years suddenly vanished. It does not help that the wrong Joe (a wolf in donkey's clothing) has taken center stage, apparently eviscerated Build Back Better and taken control of the political life of his party.

Where have you gone Joe Biden? Our nation (well, half of it) turns its lonely eyes to you. 
For now at least, what you don't see is what you get. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

What's More Ferocious Than A Tiger?

 ("Charlie Woods Dazzles, While Tiger in Return, Grimaces and Grinds")

Who is the most popular player on the PGA tour right now? Of course, the answer is Woods. Charlie Woods that is.

At 12 years old all eyes are upon him as he and his dad captured the tournament yesterday. Ok, technically they didn't win, but really, does anybody actually care that two other guys took a couple of shots less than Charlie and what's his name.

And that five iron on 17 from 169 to about three feet, I expected the announcers to bolt from the booth, run down to the green and hoist the new king on their shoulders. Has there ever been a better swing in the history of this sport?

I know it was hard for Charlie to carry that limping, cart riding father of his for 36 holes. But he did so with such grace, never once making it appear he would have preferred another partner.

I am certain there will be thousands of words written in the coming days whether Charlie will be the family member to demolish Jack's record of 18 majors, maybe before his twenty first birthday. Or if he will wait until he finishes junior high before turning pro.

Is he truly Tiger 2.0? Without the bumps and bruises? 

What's more ferocious than a Tiger? Charlie Axel Woods.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Deja Vu All Over Again

 Yes, Yogi, it is like deja vu all over again.

No, Donald, it didn't just disappear one day like a miracle.

This week a tsunami hit New York City. The lines that formed. The shows that closed. The disease that spread. The Greek alphabet everywhere. All at once.

The fear swallowed us whole almost two years ago. It has returned, reduced, for now, by being three shots in. And believing those with breakthrough cases, at least those we know personally, and they are suddenly many, are doing ok.

This has been a bad week. Yesterday was a horrible, no good, very bad day. As in VERY. Today we open our eyes and peak out from under the covers. And wonder and worry what we will see.

Yes, Yogi, it ain't over 'til it's over. 'Til the fat lady sings. And today she woke up with a cough. And laryngitis.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Twas the Night Before Christmas

 Twas the night before Christmas 

And Santa was pissed

His sleigh was half empty 
Half the houses he'd miss

No it wasn't the supply chain
That would keep St. Nick out
Not a scarcity of elves
Willing to scurry about

It wasn't the North Pole
Where the snow turned to rain
It wasn't the reindeer
That stopped his refrain

But this man was old
Overweight and aware
Of the power of Covid
And he knew not to dare

To go down the chimneys
Of the homes anti-vax
Of the places where protection
For Santa was lax

Though he had the vaccines
And the booster too
His doctor had told him
And well Santa knew

He could not take the risk
He could not take the chance
Not if he wanted
To continue this dance

So he took to the sky
With light sleigh, heavy heart
Passing over so many
Kids only doing their part

Their stockings would be empty
When they woke in the morn
And instead of good cheer
They'd be sad and forlorn

If only, if only
Was what Santa said
If only, if only
Then I and my sled

Would bring them their presents
Those good girls and boys
My bag would be filled
With millions of toys

But now I am empty
And so I am mad
So little to ask 
So many are sad

All I want is good cheer 
My wish every year
To lessen the heartache 
And wipe away tears

But this time is different
It did not have to be
It would have been easy
For them to see me

No Dancer, no Prancer
And no Rudolph too
For those who refused
To do, just to do

So on Christmas eve
As Santa took flight
He knew for too many
This was not a good night

Not a jolly St. Nick
No ho ho ho man
Not what he had pictured
This was not his plan

And all he could hope 
As he wandered the sky
Was that maybe tomorrow
They could bury the lie

And just have the will
And just have the might
To take a shot in the arm
And make Santa's night

Merry Christmas to all
May your dreams all come true
May your stockings be full 
May Santa find you

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Reigning (Not So) Supreme

 ("As Roe Teeters, Belief in Court Could Tilt, Too")

The court as political weapon?

Hobby Lobby.  Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado.

An appointment to the Supreme Court has forever been a tool by which a President attempts to impose his executive will over another branch of government. Its independence more a work of fiction than reality. Only now, thanks to the pronouncements of Mr. Trump and the blatant refusal of his party to consider the nomination of Judge Garland, this charade has been more fully exposed.

And when the neutering or worse of Roe occurs will there be any to confront the inescapable truth and declare that, even as with the office of the President, term limits should be imposed on the power of nine to reshape this country?

Maybe this time will be the tipping point. But if history be our guide, we will once more turn a blind eye to the injustice of Justices reigning not so supreme from here to eternity.