476. Biker News U can Use

Image result for spyder motorcycles picturesJoel was on the road again like an updated Peter Fonda or a dapper Willie Nelson. On the road again to a sexy bank opening near Philly or Lancaster. “I’m driving the Spyder. It will be a different bank board member they’ll be getting this year”, he swaggered audibly, as if rolling an extra large martini olive around his jowls.

“You are a stud, Man. Mardi Gras here I come! Will you be stopping to pick up Dennis Hopper?”Image result for easy rider images

“Uh, no.” He dismissed the question and questioner simultaneously.

“Dennis Rodman?”Related image

“I will be spending a few days exploring the coast of Delaware. I’m going to take the ferry at Lewe’s across to Cape May.”

“Cool. What does that cost? Not that money is an object for a guy like you.”

Image result for lewe's ferry pictures“$10 for me and $24 for the bike. It’s an eighty minute ride, but it will save me a hundred land miles of driving. In addition, you can get a meal or an adult beverage on board. Then I hope to travel the back roads of New Jersey’s shoreline communities until my soul is sufficiently nourished.”

“Fantastic. Try to get me some blog material, will you?  I’m running thin. See if you can get arrested or tossed around in a bar fight. A stud like you needs strong street cred. Dance with a jealous man’s wife, like Jose in ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’.”Image result for mexican bar fight pictures

“I’ll see what I can do. Why, I don’t know…I do read the burrito blog and chuckle.”

“Do you? How quaint.”

“Yes, it’s easier than suing you.”

“Thanks, Joel. I’ll see you in a week if you survive. And if you don’t, remember I get the Spyder in the unfortunate event of your death. We agreed years ago on this, and I have a napkin will that you signed.”Image result for headstone with Joel on it pictures

“Yes, I know. Don’t you think you’re a little self serving?”

“For shame!  I’m just trying to ensure a good home for your beloved bike after you’re gone.”

“So thoughtful.”

“Now that’s more like it.”

============================================================================Ten days later…

“Well, did you want to hear about my adventure?”


“All went as expected in southeastern PA. Then I rode the Spyder over the Bay Bridge. It was magnificent. I haven’t felt like that since I flew F-16’s over ‘Nam.”

“Uh, cowboy, you never did that. Remember? You marched around in ROTC circles on campus, but you never deployed out of the county, maybe even the township.”

“Oh well, I was speaking poetically. Like our esteemed president, those who take me literally don’t take me seriously; and those who take me seriously don’t take me literally.”Image result for angry trump face pictures

“Which means you are lying.”

“Harrumph!! Anyway, all was well as I drove up to Lewe’s and got in line for the ferry across to Cape May.  I chatted with another fellow who had an enormous Honda trike, must’ve cost $50,000. We were loaded with the cars, mind you, since our rides are so wide.”

“Hip expansion happens after you’ve had a child or two, Joel.”

Image result for bike week ocean city pictures“I didn’t mean that way. Oh for heaven’s sake, why do I bother? ”  Long stare of consternation. “Well a bunch of real bikers pulled up on Harleys with their tattooed mommas riding behind them. It had been Bike Week in Ocean City, and they needed to get back to their lives of crime in New Jersey. Oh, must’ve been 30 or 40 of them in leathers and no helmets.”

“Did you pee yourself?”

“I most certainly did not. Do you want to hear my story?”

“Yes, continue, Easy Rider or is it Billy Jack?”Image result for bike week ocean city pictures

“So, the bikers lined their hogs up neatly in the space at the rear of the ferry, quite compactly too. That’s when the Ferry Police Officer came out and made his announcement. He asked if anyone had a gun or drugs.”


“And I knew I needed a diversion since I was packing my concealed 9 millimeter, which I have a permit to carry in PA.”

“So what did you do?”

“Well before I could say anything, one of the big bikers said he had a .357 magnum. The Ferry Cop said he could not carry it across on the ferry. It was against Delaware law. That’s when my eccentric knowledge of maritime law returned to me from my law school days. I asked the officer if I could have a word with him in private, a sort of side bar in next to the real bar on the other side of the windows. He agreed and I began…Image result for sidebar conversations in court pictures

“‘Look, you really don’t need to do this thing’, I told him. He insisted that the law stated it was illegal to take weapons or drugs on the ferry. That’s when I pulled up my ancient maritime law knowledge from 1966. ‘Actually, according to maritime law, which is federally controlled and trumps state laws, it is permissible to carry weapons at sea. But don’t take it from me, go ask your captain. He’ll tell you the same thing.’

“‘But what about the 10 mile sovereign water laws?’ he asked.”Image result for cape may ferry pictures

“That only applies to fishing rights, my good man.”

“Oh.”  Long pause without any breath in or out.

“He looked around and out the bar window at the unwashed heathens and dropped his officious posture to that of a beaten basset hound. We exited, him first as I deferred to his authority, and he announced to the pagans, ‘You can keep your guns; just don’t be waving them around or nothing.’ Then he beat a hasty retreat.

Image result for biker crowd pictures“The big biker in front, Sonny, came forward and slapped me on the back. ‘Dude, you sure yanked his balls off. You’re the man!! ‘  A mild cheer arose from the real bikers and their mommas. Big Biker said, ‘You must be a lawyer. Let me buy you a beer, counselor.’

“And that is just what he did. And the others kept them coming for the next 70 minutes. I felt validated and included as I have never been since my days in Presbyterian Sunday School class with Miss Moltley.”

“You are a stud, Joel.”

Image result for man on a tricycle pictures

“Thanks, Burrito. I’m sure you’ll paint me in a positive manner in the blog.”

“Of course. My prose will be fierce, just like the content.”



475. The Conflating Rakist

Image result for garden rake picturesIn a historical context, a rake (short for rakehell, analogous to “hellraiser“) was a man who was habituated to immoral conduct, particularly womanising. Often, a rake was also prodigal, wasting his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, and incurring lavish debts in the process. Comparable terms are “libertine” and “debauchee”.”  Wikipedia. DJT, check, check, check. 

Image result for infectious fleas picturesI have pondered what term applies to our crusted over, orange headed, lightning rod, big bang chaos leader, Little Pocket Man. My disgust has plumbed new depths as I watch him delve into his bag of tricks to continually stir the poop pot with no eye toward resolution, only further division. Yep, that’s where the ratings are. He jumps like an infected flea from dog to dog, biting, infecting and turning them against one another in apocalyptic frenzy. DJT could start a riot in a Buddhist monastery and piss off Egyptian mummies. He is the most infestering manflea in the world.

Clearly he is a racist, though he once opined to a journalist, “I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet.” As in all other arenas of comparison, he is always in the superlative zone– the most, best, brightest, richest, most nauseating blow hard ever hatched. His hands are the biggest, his wives the most beautiful, and his daughter has the creepiest father ever. It’s a package deal. But Pocket Man is not simply a racist; he is a race baiter, a master race baiter. During the campaign he famously declared to Blacks in Michigan and all of America, “What the Hell do you have to lose by choosing Trump?”  Well, now we know: Hope of change. Dignity.  Understanding. Sanity. This insulting gambit was offered after a very negative assessment of the African American community as a whole bunch of disturbing statistics. The kind of crap introduction that tees up golf ball talking points for white racists… all sides being equal and what have you. And there was this…View image on Twitter

Here was the same man who stirred the pot on Obama’s birth certificate, offering a million dollar reward for the official version. Obama was Black, but Pocket Man never admitted his Inquisition had anything to do with race. It was a question of the man’s heritage, although championing sons of the Confederacy’s heritage was unquestionable. Even after his claims have been dismissed and discredited, there was no apology, no righting of his wrongs. This moral moron practiced moral equivalency, a concept beyond his limited vocabulary, between two very unequal parties in Charlottesville. The all white hatriots were compared evenly with the diverse opposing side. And the all white meat Donald chicken agreed they were equal. He defended their permit to spew hate.

Image result for central park five picturesBut there is  nothing new in his vicious world. The Pocket Man also took out full page ads in NYC’s Central Park Five rape case in 1989, seizing on a high profile rape to seek a return of the death penalty. You guessed it, the victim was a white investment banker; the Central Park Five were 4 Black kids and one Hispanic, all found guilty when finally tried in a court of law. Their conviction was later overturned due to DNA proof. But it was never about race, just expediency when two weeks after the arrest …

Under the headline “Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!” and above his signature, Trump wrote: “I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

The accused were 14, 15 and 16 years old. Verdict overturned.

“All five minors had already been paraded in front of the cameras and had their names and addresses published, but Salaam said he and his family received more death threats after the papers ran Trump’s full-page screed. On a daytime TV show two days later, a female audience member called for the boys to be castrated and echoed the calls for the death penalty if Meili (the rape victim) died. Pat Buchanan, the former Republican White House aide, called for the oldest of the group, Wise, to be “tried, convicted and hanged in Central Park by June 1”.

Verdict overturned. Retractions printed? Apologies given? Forget it. In pre-Twitter history, the Pocket Man was moving on impulse not truth, and his impulses were and continue to be very dark, coming from a heart plunged in ignorant darkness. Pot stirred. Dogs bitten. Time to move on. What the Hell do we have to lose?

Oh, yes, my fellow white apologists, we have come so far. Nothing like an impetuous lynching in Central Park in 1989. That’s not domestic terror, right? No more than crucifixion in Roman times was. Public lynching? Time to bring back that honored Jim Crow tradition, dontcha think?

The other –ist that suits the Pocket Man is a rapist. Truly he has “seized” women without their consent. He admitted to habitually doing so on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. And in his grandiose arrogance he seems to think it is the victimized woman’s good fortune to be groped by his big hands. “No problem there, I assure you.”  “No one respects women more than I do.”  “Grab them by the pussy.”  What the Hell do attractive women have to lose around Pocket Man?  Their dignity, their consent, their personal safety, their personhood.  After all, rape is not about sex so much as it is about power, and the Pocket Man lusts for power, status, wealth, and the love of women. Even his attractive favorite daughter.Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump

And yet he is sitting in the chair of great power, of great men. One of the most irresponsible humans ever is in the seat of awesome responsibility. Truly terrifying. The manboy with no moral compass wants to tell the world how to calibrate theirs. Oh save us, Pocket Man, from trans-gendered soldiers who volunteered to defend the flag you now find expedient to exploit for demagoguery points. Save us from solutions for which there are no problems.  “LGBTQ’s, what the Hell do you have to lose with Trump?” Everything it appears.

A rake fits the Pocket Man; so does rakist. I imagine him impulsively scattering literal metal rakes around one of his many golf courses and then walking about stepping on every one. Thwack!! The handle whips into his pursed lips at 40mph.  Let’s just pick some of the easy low hanging political fruit, solutions in search of problems. Pocket Man always finds someone easy to blame for these rake attacks.

Mexicans are rapists. Bad dudes. We need a wall. A federal judge rules against him in court and suddenly the issue is about the judge’s heritage. “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.” So I guess following this logic his third wife is still Slovenian and can’t be trusted as the First Lady if and when she objects to his plans for NATO’s dissolution.

Then there is the endless objectification of women, see Clair Cohen’s article Donald Trump sexism tracker. Here’s one charmer

“I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” said Trump. “Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building. It’s pretty sad.”

Then pick at Muslims. “Some of my best friends are Muslim.” But earlier he claimed, “On 9/11 I saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City when the towers fell.” Funny thing is that no one else witnessed this very newsworthy event. We call this a visual hallucination when someone sees something that no one else sees. It’s a delusion when someone believes something that no one else believes. Like the Russia investigation is a hoax. It’s like claiming that rain falls up. It’s like being psychotic or pathological lying. Pick one.

Editorial cartoon on President Donald TrumpNow this week the Pocket Man is conflating First Amendment speech with anti-Americanism and a hatred of the military. Nixon pulled the same trick, asserting that a vast Silent Majority were with him and opposed to the anti-war protesters during the Vietnam War. He stood for Law and Order as he undermined the Constitutional rights of others. He walked into a bunch of rakes also. Nixon tried to isolate and shame those who opposed him, when finally his own beleaguered party took him to the Watergate woodshed.

Rich, spoiled, overwhelmingly minority, professional athletes who express themselves are an easy target in Alabama. Let’s make the non racist comparison to predominantly white NASCAR fans. They are so well behaved, dontcha think? Why not go to Ice Hockey too? Mighty white audiences for both. Uh, uh, but it’s not about race. It’s about rakes.Image result for rake pictures

474. Blaspheme me, Dude.

Image result for big arm bully picturesWell, it happened yet again. I lost control of Coffee Nation AGAIN. Even though I am the unquestioned Supreme Java Leader, Big Bold Bean, Imam of Indonesian Blends, King Kona, Sumatran Sultan, Emperor of Ethiopian Dark Roast, Head Columbian Water Drip Buffalo, Sir Half and Half, the only member with a tee shirt that says so, I have lost control of Article Two of our beloved Constitution. Again, I blame Lance, our Sergeant With Arms. He began an impassioned monologue on religion last Thursday, even though he is an original signatory of the aforementioned Constitution and knows better. I suppose I should not be surprised: when a good feeling collides with a good idea, we all know the good idea has no chance. I guess Lance was feeling good and ready to preach.

Image result for wimpy from popeye picturesI’m not sure where he began the doctrine dialogue. Might have been something about sin and relationships, or a bit about the last sermon by our pastor. God help us! It might have been residual overflow from the previous week’s political blow out. In any event we were leaning forward on our chairs. Even Gene. He asked Bishop Gary of the Singlet about the concept of crowns in heaven. “What, what, what if you accept Ja-Ja Jesus, but, but, but don’t do anything for the rest of your life?”Related image

Bishop Gary said, “Your salvation is not based on works, Gene. You will simply not have a good seat in heaven. You might have to stand behind a pole or something, but you’ll still be in heaven. You just won’t have any crowns.”Image result for terrible seats in stadium pictures

That’s where I told Gene he could have a crayon, which in Central PA is often pronounced “crown”, as in “I needed a crown to kuller the chimbley in my pitcher, but they were all.” We laughed and clowned a bit about whether he’d get a full 8 pack of crowns or the 64 pack with the built in sharpener. “That there is a lot o’ crowns.”Image result for crayola crayon box pictures

I  believe a reference or two was made regarding clowns, frowns, gowns, nouns, towns, browns, and, well, you get it. In true Coffee Nation form we got off track and seemed to be well on our way to meaningless jibber jabber, when big, dusty Patrick walked in.

Related imageNow Patrick is a piece of work. Truly. He’s a work a holic kind of guy from Philly. He showed up a few years ago and talked loudly, introduced himself, and began buying coffee for anyone near him, whether or not they wanted any. We came to  learn that he was sort of ADHD, bright, tattooed, Christian and committed to turning the former Tito’s Tacos building into an architectural diamond minus the rough. He labored and supervised various guys who looked like they were fresh from the streets of Philly and the cell blocks of her prisons.

Image result for construction workers picturesIn any event he strolled over to our soiree and immediately inserted himself in the verbal discharges. He has a construction connection with Doug and knows his family’s Plain roots. He joked, I guess, that he (Patrick) was ‘an evangelical Mennonite’. I asked if that meant he was liberal.

“Sort of.”

“So you can wear grey?”

“Oh, man! Don’t.”

“Gene, if you were Mennonite, you could get by with just one crown– Black.”

Patrick, “I am a black and white thinker, for sure.”

“Well, you’re in the right religion.”

“No, I choose to limit myself. Look, I wear button up long sleeve shirts and long pants by choice. I choose to limit my freedom of expression. You can do what you like, but I choose humble modesty… and I was a wild Hellian when I was young. There wasn’t a rule that I would  not drive through at 100 miles per hour. See, I thought that was freedom, and I’d fight for that knuckle headed philosophy. Now I’m a pacifist in a buttoned up shirt.”Related image

Lance, “But legalism gets you caught up in rules. We’ve been set free from all that. God says, ‘No man is holy, not one’. And I’m not gonna argue with Him.”Image result for spider web pictures

Patrick, “Well, what’s your position on Salvation? Do you believe in ONE and DONE or in working out your salvation daily?”

All, “One and done, man. You’re talking works with that daily salvation stuff. We are saved by God’s grace alone. It’s not about what you’ve done, Patrick; it’s what God did.”Image result for pictures of heaven

[Meanwhile I’m hearing John Prine singing, “Your flag decals won’t get you into heaven any more. It’s already overcrowded from your dirty little war.”]

Patrick, “But if you accept Jesus and don’t do a thing after that, how can you expect to be rewarded with eternal life?”

[Meanwhile I’m thinking about a guy in heaven with a nice kullering book but no crowns.]Image result for coloring book without crayons pictures

Lance, “You are confusing salvation with forgiveness. They are two different things.”

Patrick, “But you gotta do something. If you claim Christ, then you need to be His witness in your remaining life.”

Lance, “Okay, so what did the thief on the Cross do?  And we know Jesus told him that he’d see heaven that very day.”

Patrick, “Well, I’m not a reader so I can’t quote Scripture too easily, but I am gonna research this and we can continue the debate.”

Me, “Gentlemen, gentlemen. If we can’t agree to disagree, I have a way we can settle this argument for good and ever.”

Lance, “Does it involve crayons?”Image result for single crayon picture

Me, “Please, I did not put syllables in your mouth when you were pontificating, Brother Lance. Here’s my solution:  the two of  you meet in a cage match, winner take all. Looking at the two of you, my money is on Lance (who is a body builder).”

Patrick with his hands up in surrender, “Hey, I told you I was a pacifist.”

Me, “So it will be quick and easy, uh, ONE ( I punched my open left hand, Thwack!) and DONE.”Image result for boxing knockout pictures

Chuckles around. Patrick laughed at me and said, “You were waiting for that opening.”

Me, “Maybe.”



473. United Shades of Greymerica

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It’s just a few shades of grey difference between the asphalt road and the sky above. One of those early fall days that leave you exhaling melancholy vapors.  The remnants of Irma are dissipating over central PA, which looks pretty good in comparison to Florida this week. Not all that warm, but high humidity makes the atmosphere feel close, like sitting in coach on a plane on the runway with a large lady next to you going through a menopausal sweat storm. It will lift by tomorrow, I know,  but the grey effect washes out clarity and crispness, slowing my curious steps.

Image result for grayish white hair on men picturesImage result for stills of steve martin in father of the bride

The wedding approaches. My duties are simple: walk Jess down the aisle and not do anything stupid. Oh, and write a couple of big checks soon. “Oh, and one more thing– color your hair a few clicks darker, not Elvis dark but just enough so that your face is not washed out in the wedding pictures. And don’t you do it. Have Michelle color your hair this time. Not you and Just for Men. Do it Just for Me this time. I don’t want a twenty year old’s black hair on a sixty one year old’s pale face.”

Image result for bad hair dye outcomes for men pictures

“Okay, okay. I will. I promise.”

Well, alright. Men have some advantages in life– shorter lines for the bathroom usually. No monthly cycle, no menopause or self carry pregnancy. So I have no complaints, nor like a good crustacean in a courtroom, legs to stand upon. So I went to Michelle. I surrendered to the dye. I died to self instead of self dyeing. Image result for oyster shell images

‘Shades of grey’ is an idiom that speaks to the differences, the increments, between two poles, black and white for visual imagery purposes. In these very polarized days it’s helpful to remember that a moderate middle still exists. Absolutists dismiss the middle as abandoning their pure positions. Moving to the center is selling out, betraying the light switch slogans that roll so easily off the tongue. Shades of grey require the ability to weigh and balance competing interests and available resources.  Unlike North Korea, governing in a democratic republic cannot be black or white. We live in the United Shades of America.

Related imageSloganeering is simplistic speech that a parrot can utter after sufficient training. “Drain the swamp”, caw. “Lock her up”, screech. “Build the wall”, craaahhhh. I’m sure there were simplistic slogans by the Left also. “Hope and Change”. Cheep, cheep. “Yes we can.” Tweedle dee.  “Change we need”. Whooo, whoooo. All crap repeated ad nauseam.  (Check out  the history of election campaign slogans on Wikipedia. Fascinating historical and hysterical garbage. “Adlai and Estes– the Besties.” 1956  Who knew?)Image result for cheerleader cheering pictures

Slogans are like cheers at a football game– they can’t be too in depth or hard to say. And that is the problem when a “movement” is built on cheers repeated by professional cheerleaders. When programs are actually needed to be implemented, repeating the slogan does not result in structured plans. However, it’s not a football game we are witnessing these days. It’s more of a circus where clowns run out of little cars and chase one another around the center ring known as the White House.

“What to do with health care now?”  Image result for sean spicer pictures

“Repeal and replace. Repeal and replace. Repeat and Repeat.”

“And immigration?”Image result for anthony scaramucci pictures

“Build a wall. Build a wall. Badda bing. Badda boom.”

“How about tax reform?”Image result for sarah huckabee sanders face pictures

“Go team go. Go team go. Thanks Daddy.”

“Crime?”Image result for jeff sessions pictures

“Lock them up. Lock them up. If they’re Black. If they’re Black.”

“Okay, let’s go with the opioid crisis.”Image result for tom price pictures

“War on drugs. War on drugs. If they’re Black. If they’re Black.”

“Why did you turn the lights out at our news conferences?”Image result for lights out  pictures

“You made us. You made us. Dark is good. Dark is good.”

“And education. What’s the plan, Betsy?”Image result for betsy devoss pictures

“Private school vouchers. Private school vouchers. Resegregation is good.”

“Are you reading from 3″ x 5″ cards?”Image result for sarah huckabee sanders reading from note cards pictures

“Yes I am. Yes I am.”

“But, but, surely you have a structure beneath the slogans, right?  I mean, this, this is chanting and conjuring three word spells. Where are the policies, and budget estimates, and programs, and timelines?”Image result for alec baldwin as trump pictures

“You’re fake news. You’re fake news.”

“But these are empty micro sound bites, folks. They are not actionable strategies. You can’t even run a hot dog stand on three word slogans. You need permits and a supply chain, a tax i.d. number, vendor license, insurance, inspections, and…”

“Unnecessary over regulation. Unnecessary over regulation.”

Image result for scott pruitt pictures

“So, if you cut regulations, who will insure the safety, fitness and feasibility of our food, water, air, and the basic requirements of a civilized society? Will planes just land without the FAA? Will we allow drugs to be sold without requiring research? Government’s job is to provide basic safety and enforce legal contracts….”

“We’re deconstructing government. I’m deconstructing government.”

Image result for steve bannon pictures

“So I have some uninspected meat here Steve, a liter of untested water, and what looks like a knock off Viagra pill from China. Will you consume these now in this deconstructed paradise you have made by draining the swamp?”

“Call Shawn Spicer. Call Shawn Spicer.”Image result for sean spicer chewing gum pictures

“Why is it always Shawn Spicer who has to test the food for poison?”

“We love Spicey. We love Spicey.”Image result for reince priebus pictures

“We’re not picking salsa strength here. Can anyone in the Administration put together more than a three word statement?”

“Yep, but they won’t let me open my mouth or my eyes again.”

Image result for ben carson pictures

“Dr. Carson, what do you imagine you will see if you ever manage to open your eyes and look at this Administration with fearless honesty?”
“Chris Christie naked.”Image result for chris christie at beach pictures

“Is that like code for some military plan?”


“I see. Can you share declassified specifics?”

“We’re gonna attach him to an ICBM and shoot him into Pyonyang.”

“Is there more to this plan?”

“If Kim Young Fool does not surrender, we’ll fire Nancy Pelosi on the next one.”Related image

“Is this what the president meant when he said ‘fire and fury’?”Image result for dennis rodman pictures with kim

“The Don sent a message to Kim. A lot of folks know Kim’s a big fan of Dennis Rodman, but he also adores Christie. It’s a thug thing.  He was always the pudgy kid whose pudding got stolen at lunch. Loves a good bully. So the Don said, ‘Christie sleeps with the fishes.’ Now I know they’re actually whales, but the message was received. Guam is safe. That’s leadership, my friend.”

“One last question, Dr. Carson. You are the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, though your only experience comes from having lived in public housing as a kid.”

“That is correct.”

“Can I be Secretary of the Treasury because I have U.S. money in my wallet? It’s like the same as your qualifications, right?”

“I’ll take that under consideration.”

“Okay, will somebody turn the lights back on?”

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472. September Sunlight, Listen to the Lion

Image result for september sunlight photosChilly September morning air slowly warms to the slanting sunlight, as I roll our empty green trash can down my freshly sealed driveway.  Six buckets almost covered the expanse this year, though I spread it ten gallons per weekend, grateful that my lower back could endure the repetitive motion. Time elapsed equals less light and less light equals less warmth now that August has expired. Not surprisingly, I appreciate more the less I can do.

Image resultI notice the sideways growing crabgrass has won another protracted lawn battle. “I’ll see you next year, you horizontal alien hairdo!” Time for a lawn service, I surrender to myself. One war at a time. Terrestrials this year; E.T.’s next.

Dew cuddles the grass blades in a morning after embrace, desiring more than a one night stand. “Where were you in the torrid heat of summer, Dew? You loved the air then, fickle one. Humid hubris”Image result for dew on grass photos

The geese have been honking overhead as they tune up the fall’s symphony of natural instruments– cicadas ga-ga-gaing their last; mocking birds cackle and caw before they are gone for winter; and owls hoot somewhere in hickory trees beyond the neighboring cornfield, while crickets get in final chirrups and giggles.Related image

It’s unfair to call this air, this ever present everywhereness that is scented with an aroma of urgency, potency to move, to harvest, and gather in the splendor. And what a year for bumper crops– Apples are ripening into delicious crispness. The grapes hang heavy along the fence, blushing more dusky purple each day. Never have I seen pears so heavy that they bend branches with their bounty down to the grass.Image result for fruit trees in harvest pictures In the gym these pears would be seen as bullies showing off their pecs and biceps. But man, they are built.

Last night I had the rare and splendid opportunity to see one of my favorite musical masters, Van Morrison, at a stadium venue. Even with binoculars it was hard to see him from the cheap seats where I sat with my daughter and granddaughter. The sound was fine, however. Yep, my 4 year old granddaughter came along to hear Sheryl Crow sing her big girl songs before Van began his set. It was cute to hear a picky four year old known for emotional meltdowns sing, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.” Leah Bideah was in her big girl glory dancing in her sparkle pants while eating blue cotton candy, though she longed for “Soak up the Sun”. It didn’t make the cut.Image result for sheryl crow dancing pictures

I had imagined that something magical from my youth would rise up remembered, and I would dervishly dance along with the music of my younger days, like a Nugenix promise come true. That didn’t happen. Nor did communal joints and bottles of wine get passed along my row, which was common practice back in the day. The evening was surprisingly PG rated and family friendly.  Instead what I experienced was a bucket list wish completed. I had a gorgeous evening with one of my music gods alongside two of my favorite human beings. Never did I imagine as a 16/17 year old kid, when I was listening to Oh Oh Domino,  Jackie Wilson Said or Listen to the Lion that I’d be a father and grandfather one day marveling at time, age, and unmistakable talent at 72 that won’t surrender to time or age. That’s Van’s age not mine in case you were wondering.Image result for van morrison pictures

“And all my love come down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
Oh, listen listen
To the lion
Oh, listen listen listen
To the lion
Inside of me
Oh, oh, oh

Image result for lion growling picturesFunny thing about lyrics on a page versus lyrics exploding from a singer’s mouth: what looks like chicken scratches on paper comes out sounding like chicken cordon bleu from a masterful chanteur chef like Van. When he growls later in the song, it’s like the soul of a captive lion shredding its cage bars. Van didn’t sing any of these songs, by the way, but he still stirred my lion. That lion is not prowling about agitated or melancholic. Nope, he’s pretty content. Far more content that I ever imagined I’d be when I thought love and success were far ahead of me on life’s highway. Now I see they are right next to me: the lion is purring, not longing or hungry.Related image

So, back to the light and sights, sounds and smells of an early fall day. This day seems to match my inner calendar, this year and my life are three quarters over, unless one of us gets bonus time. Life expectancy is around 80 years for old married white guys in reasonable health. (Single men die sooner. Did you know that? They lack a partner to make them [under threat of death] be healthy.) All the planets align sometimes, metaphorically speaking, so that light and sound and smell and all sensory input flows right through the beholder. The senses are flooded like good bourbon floods one’s body in a rush. That’s a storm surge in a charcoal charred oak barrel. How to respond to such moments? Inhale joyfully; hold to saturation; exhale gratefully.Image result for faces of gratitude

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
Oh the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort too
And you fill my life with laughter
You can make it better
Ease my troubles that’s what you do
There’s a love that’s divine
And it’s yours and it’s mine
Like the sun
At the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray to the One
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
There’s a love that’s divine
And it’s yours and it’s mine
And it shines like the sun
At the end of the day we will give thanks and pray to the One
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
Take away my sadness
Fill my life with gladness
Ease my troubles that’s what you do
Fill my life with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles that’s what you do”
Songwriter: Van Morrison
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471. Forget, forgot, not forgotten

To “un-get,” hence “to lose” from the mind. A common Germanic construction  (cf. Old Saxon fargetanOld Frisian forjetaDutch vergetenOld High German  firgezanGerman vergessen “to forget”). The literal sense would be “to lose   (one’s) grip on”  [Dictionary.Com]

I got it. No, I lost it. I had it, but I forgot it. That is, I lost my grip on the umbrella, our anniversary, the password, my client’s name, my promise to call you back, the money I owe you…. I suppose it’s the opposite of remember, which is about grasping a memory and pulling it back into consciousness, like a big carp on a stout fishing line. That line is a neural pathway in your brain. Forgetting, on the other pole, is like reeling in an empty hook baitlessly. You can tell by the tension on the line if anything is there beneath the surface of proof. “OOOPs, guess I forgot my key, wallet, homework, pants.”Image result for carp pictures In Alzheimer’s patients there are many lines that have empty hooks or severed tethers to nothingness. They catch only plaque fish that let go as the empty hook breaks the surface of stark reality.

How is it that we forget so much, so often? For instance, I forget my hair appointments about as often as I remember them. My stylist gives me a card each time in good faith without any lecture or nagging. I go right back to my office and somehow don’t record the next appointment. I “remember” to some degree when my hair starts to curl over my ears that I should be getting it cut again, so let’s see… it’s not written on the calendar… again. Shabingo!! Sorry, Michelle. I buried my reminder card beneath a pack of gum, yellow sticky notes, a few file folders, an overdue bill or two, and a layer or three of  just plain stupid. See, I had that card and good intentions to transfer the time to my appointment calendar, but, aaaahhhhhhggggghhhhh. I didn’t. Beat me with hot vermicelli al dente. Fifty strokes or until spongy to the touch.

Image result for parodies of the thinker statue picturesI suppose there are hundreds of reasons why people forget. Starling distractions come swooping by and pluck up the seeds of thoughtlessness. Image result for swooping starlings pictures Or the “thinker”, i.e., the guardian of thoughts, is multitasking like smoking and swimming the back stroke; one or both will end badly.Image result for swimming while smoking picture I further suppose that there is accidental forgetting and purposeful forgetting. The first lacks motivation and depends on circumstances like sleep deprivation, inebriation, head injury, Electro Convulsive Therapy, brain swelling for other reasons, or coma.Image result for brain scan images

Then there is purposeful forgetting, willful ignorance. When something awful happens to a victim, the last thing he/she wants to do is memorialize it or recall any part of it.  A process of suppression begins, a conscious pushing of the unpalatable memory down under consciousness, until it is unrecognizable, beyond willful recall. Related image“It never happened”, the victim tells himself and anyone else who wants to know. He/she repeats the lie until it is as silkily familiar as the truth. It becomes an alternative factual narrative, maybe with a twist of irony or a dash of humor. Held down beneath the surface of consciousness long enough, the true truth will drown or lose conscious connectivity. In that state, called repression, the horrible truth will stay put at a significant cost. The cost is a nocticeable change in the keeper of the truth as the lies sputter, leaking psychic energy out into anxiety, a sort of free floating anxiety. The gate keeper’s one leg grows shorter and he/she loses balance, stumbles or develops vertigo. He leans like a peg-legged sailor on a rocky boat. Dreams get weird. Panic is easy to find.Related imageTransfusing truth with embalming fluid lies even temporarily is similar to submerging a new boogie board under several feet of salt water. When the downward pressure wiggles a bit and the truth keeper loses his/her grip, the boogie board killer whale comes barreling out of the water. Whoa! What’s that all about? How is it even possible?

Image result for whale jumping pictures

It is both a Biblical and psychological maxim that the truth will set you free. Boy will it ever, especially if you have suppressed it twenty leagues below in the dark undercurrents of your psyche for twenty years. Upheaval, surge, turbulence, tumult, and eruption are just a few words that come to mind to describe such events. Image result for images of munch's scream painting“I remember, I remember now!!” gushes out of a tortured client’s mouth as tears squirt. Odd contortions in face and body follow, like emotional vomiting or rebirth, as the redeemed individual is uncrucified.'Descent from the Cross', Max Beckmann 1917

“It was my father… our pastor… my stepbrother… my bus driver… coach… who did the unspeakable… and took my voice along with my innocence.” Heaving sobs and labored breaths are interrupted by gasping phrases, ” it was, uh, hurt, dark, terror” followed by uncontrollable shaking. You watch and wonder what reality is. My breathing is calm and measured. I see a puzzle being solved, order coming into being. Painful redemption of an abandoned soulImage result for images of munch's scream painting

It’s another day at the office for me, but I can’t forget the privilege it is to be present at a holy feast of vulnerability. Like a birth or a heart transplant, life is palpably on display. Sure, it was there five minutes ago in some lesser shadow state, but now I hold a baby becoming pink on my lap as a middle aged man weeps for his terrorized four year old self. His new pulsing heart is wet and messy in my hands. “I believe this is yours.”Related image

“Thank you so much.”

“No. You did all the work. It’s your gift. Thank God, my friend. He never forgot you.”Image result for man hugging his son photos