594. Chief Maka-Bucka

Related imageLast week at the Nation we were discussing the high level of esteem in which my wife holds Joel, our coffee group’s in-house attorney.

“Joel, she believes you are not only a raconteur, but a chanteur and menteur as well. ”

“Oh, my French is a bit rusty. I know a raconteur is a story teller, and a chanteuse/eur is a singer, but what is a menteur?”

“Uh, a liar.”

“Oh, my. I walked right into that one didn’t I?”

“Yep. Once again the banana hits the blender blade. Purrreeee.  She puts you on a pedestal, no, a desert plateau, far above mere humans. In fact, she has erected a statue of you in New Mexico on a high plateau that can be seen for 100 miles on clear days.”

“Even at night”, chimed in Doug.Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro.

Joel took the bait, “You mean, like Christ the Redeemer in Rio?”

“No, Joel. More like the Roadrunner in Taos. Majestic in its own way, however.”Related image

“Well, as long as people treat my monument with respect I’ll be happy.”

“Of course, my good man. Tremendous respect. Littering and loitering are strictly prohibited. Signage is prevented. So is sinus drippage as well as silage storage. In fact, the Parks Department has installed sensors around the base of your monument to detect folks who hang around more than 20 minutes. An alarm is sounded at ICE headquarters just in case these are illegal immigrants who have mistaken your monument for the Statue of Liberty.”

“Really? But, I am not interested in the poor huddled masses or justice. I only want to make a buck, that’s my name after all. Can’t they read any English?”

“Joel, think about your last statement for a moment. Okay? Now, moving on… since the possum cannot exist in the desert climate, the road runner fills its marsupial niche. Let me enlighten you, Great White Southwest Possum.”Image result for roadrunner pictures

The roadrunner eats almost anything that moves–insects, spiders, scorpions, lizards, rodents and small birds. It is also famous as a snake killer. Legend has the roadrunner building a fence of cactus pieces around a snake so that it cannot escape, and while that technique is fictional, the bird’s quick agility lets it capture even highly venomous prey. Darting in to stab a snake’s head, it then grabs the squirming reptile in its powerful beak and thrashes it on the ground. About 90 percent of its food is animal matter, while fruit and seeds make up the other 10 percent.

“Sounds like your dissertation on opossums from last month, yes Joel?”

“Why, yes, it really does sound like the bird version of my favorite marsupial. Again, I am amazed at your genius, Burrito.”Related image

“It’s nothing, Joel. Really. I happen to know a little bit about a lot. And nothing much about any one thing. I’m a generalist, as in general anesthesia.”

“I see. I am nodding off as you speak.”

“Okay, you have packed for your trip to Switzerland, right?”

“Oh yes. I can’t wait to go mountain biking on the Matterhorn.”Image result for the matterhorn pictures

“Joel, do you think you should do such a dangerous activity at your age?”

“I’ll be the judge of that, son!! My yoga teacher says I am limber for a man knocking on the door of 70. And my spinning class teacher said I have good form even if I have no hope of growing abs.”

“Joel, I’ll bet your barber tells you that your hair is that of a celebrity, right?”

“How did you know?”Related image

“It’s flattery, brother mucker. Each of these relationships is vested in you paying them for their time, just like when your clients come to see you. If they don’t flatter you, you are less likely to return and pay their fees. What do you do with your clients?”

“Well, I dodge and bifurcate, hypothesize and speculate, dance around and…”

“And what?”

“I nod a lot and say u-huh…”

“What comes when all else fails you?”Image result for confused old man gif

“Pray?”

“No.”

“Lie.”

“Yes! They are lying to you.”

“That’s harsh.”

“Look, I’m not here as your friend and mental health consultant to indulge your fantasies of youth and sexual prowess.”

“Why not?”

“Article 3 of the Geneva Convention clearly states that in times of war,

outrages upon dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment are not permitted.”Image result for swiss guard pictures

“But we’re not at war. And the Swiss guards look like court jesters.”

“If you touch me we will be. I will weaponize your little mini laptop there and beat your celebrity hair into your abyoulessness while keeping good limber form. And a good kick for the Swiss guards to boot. Is that clear?”

“Well, gosh, you don’t have to go all ballistic.”

“No, maybe I do. You are rushing off to Switzerland like a kid in a chocolate factory, throwing caution to the wind. What if you got hurt or, heaven forbid, died while mountain biking in the Alps? What about your survivors? Especially me? I want you to get the napkin will out and make sure it is safe, and that I still have exclusive claim to the Spyder Cycle.”

“Oh, I was being thoughtless and egocentric, wasn’t I?”Related image

“Ya think?! Joel, your beneficiaries have put up with you all their lives so that they can cash in at the end, like your barber, and your spinning and yoga teachers. And now, now look at you!! Carelessly ignoring your fiduciary responsibilities. I’m shocked. What if your antecedents had treated you so ignorantly, like some random, undefined pronoun? Huh?  I can’t hear you!”

“I, I wouldn’t have a statue in Taos.”

“Louder.”

“I WOULDN’T HAVE A WOODPECKER MONUMENT IN NEW MEXICO.”

“SHEESH!! IT’S A ROADRUNNER!!!”

“You know what I meant.”

“Joel, I feel like the patient telling the dentist about plaque and flossing here. Law is the practice of precise language, microscopic clarity, my man.”

“But, but I’m off the clock. This is not a billable hour.”

“Nonsense. I am billing you. That will be fifty dollars.”

“And if I don’t consent? What then, Brutus?”Image result for brutus and caesar pictures

“Then I lock you in this room to think longer about your freedom while Swiss Air boards for Geneva.”

“You wouldn’t!”

Through the glass french doors, “Uh, I did.”

Yelling hysterically, “Kaitlin, help me. That madman has locked me in here and I need to get to the Matterhorn for my mountain bike class.”

Kaitlin, knowingly nods to me and dials 911. “Yeah, I’m at the coffee shop on the square, and we have an elderly man with nice hair and no abs here who seems to be in a psychotic state. Uh huh, yeah, like biking in the Alps? Okay, I will. Click.”

“No! No! Kaitlin, you can’t believe him. He will steal your mind and then your soul.”Image result for psychotic screams in movies stills

Requiescat in pace, dear Joel.

 

 

 

 

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593. Hypocrisy

Oh what is hypocrisya feigning to be what one is not, or to believe what one does not : behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.

And a hypocrite? Image result for greek actors in masks pictures

The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others. (Hypocrite gained its initial h- by the 16th century.) merriam webster

Image result for nixon picturesWell, we still  have stage actors pretending to be what they are not. Washington, D.C. is remarkably similar to Hollywood, CA in this respect. A lot of pretending going on. My oldest child once told me that ‘Washington is Hollywood for ugly people’, which I find  profound and disturbing at the same time when I think of Richard Nixon and LBJ and DJT. Ugly people indeed on many levels, starring in their own debacles. Image result for lbj pictures

So I was reading about the journalist/genealogist lady, Jennifer Mendelsohn at #resistancegenealogy. She has been combining her skills to push back against the anti-immigrant party line from the Trump Administration by directly revealing the immigrant history of some key players pushing against immigrants.

Starting with Stephen Miller, Miller was an architect of the administration’s poorly-received “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, as well as Trump’s controversial 2017 “travel ban” that affected some Muslim-majority countries. Miller also raised eyebrows that year for the extended debate he held with CNN’s Jim Acosta during a White House briefing.Image result for stephen miller pictures

“I challenge any news organization here: Do a poll, ask these questions,” Miller said, after saying he thought voters would want the immigration system changed. “Do you think we should favor applicants to our country who speak English, yes or no?… Do you think we should prioritize people based on skill?”
Turns out, Miller is a descendant of immigrants who did not speak English, according to Mendelsohn’s research. She unearthed that tidbit after said press briefing, when she found a 1910 Census record that she said notes the language skills of Miller’s immigrant great-grandmother, i.e., Yo no hablo Ingles. [CNN]Image result for old jewish immigrant photos
Oh, but Stephen Miller rails on about the undesirability of people who are not a dollop different from his ancestors. And I think it would be great if he self-deported in order to prove the righteousness of his position, since his ancestors obviously produced at least one full blown idiot of hatred who proposes these policies of national cretinism.
Image result for jennifer mendelsohn pictures
Mendelsohn’s own U.S. family came from Jewish immigrants, not all of whom emigrated from Europe and were murdered in the Holocaust. Policies have consequences, intended and otherwise. I hope to God that we don’t have a Guatemalan refugee’s descendant telling this same story over in one hundred years. You know?  Like the end of Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken,
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There are intersections in roads and deserts, at borders, in railways, airports, and in history. We seem to be at a moral crossroad these days. For the past few years the “us versus them” narrative has been promoted by King Con Don, maybe the greatest hypocrite in the history of the Universe. I mean, he’s huge and ignorant, despite his oft repeated claim to an enormous I.Q.
Image result for king kong trump pictures
Of course, the Con Don lies about his ancestry or so thoroughly floods the atmosphere with hyperbole that it doesn’t matter in the end if he is from Ipswich or Bangladesh. Just like his politics, he has been a Democrat, a Libertarian, and recently a red dog Republican. Remember when he threatened to run as a self funded independent? Oh, yeah.
Donald Trump’s paternal ancestry is traceable to Bobenheim am Berg, a village in the Palatinate, Germany, in the 18th century. Johann Trump, born in Bobenheim in 1789, moved to the nearby village of Kallstadt where his grandson, Friedrich Trump, the grandfather of Donald Trump, was born in 1869. This German heritage was long concealed by Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, who had grown up in a mainly German-speaking environment until he was 10 years old; after World War II and until the 1980s, he told people he was of Swedish ancestry. Donald Trump repeated this version in The Art of the Deal (1987) but later said he is “proud” of his German heritage, and served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City. [Wikipedia]
What? wait– Don’s granpa didn’t speak English? No way. How did he get in?
Image result for trump campaign pictures
No matter where one looks in Don the Con’s life, you find duplicity, pretense, scams, contradictions and hypocrisy. We all have our flaws and make mistakes. The difference with Don the Con is that he has made a flaming four star career out of flaunting his hypocrisy and wiggling out of being held accountable for his uncountable lies. The man who liked to say, “No one respects women more than I do” often groped women and kissed them without consent. Likewise he was quoted as saying to a reporter, “I am the least racist person you have ever met.” As we have seen repeatedly, he likes white people like himself. So perhaps he meant he was very accepting of white men.
Image result for trump properties pictures
Now when a businessman fails to succeed in his endeavors, our laws allow bankruptcy proceedings to relieve him of crushing debt and to keep him out of debtors prison. Our system of capitalism and the legal system that parallels it encourages risk taking. I like that fertile combination, and I admire entrepreneurs. However, Don the Con, self professed business genius, has filed for bankruptcy many times… not personally, of course. That would mean his money went bye bye.
Here are a few of his failures,

Donald Trump has undertaken a number of business projects that ultimately failed (or failed to live up to his lofty projections) without resulting in bankruptcies, including:

Trump Steaks
GoTrump (online travel site)
Trump Airlines
Trump Vodka
Trump Mortgage
Trump: The Game
Trump Magazine
Trump University (Settled out of court for $25 million in damages)
Trump Ice (bottled water)
The New Jersey Generals (pro football team)
Tour de Trump (bicycle race)
Trump Network (nutritional supplements)
Trumped! (syndicated radio spot)

Image result for trump university pictures

Genius at work here. I have no objections to his failed businesses. It is his moral bankruptcy that eats at my marrow like leukemia. Certainly his unethical and illegal business practices are legendary, but when you do business with the devil, it is your choice. His moral bankruptcy is like Nixon’s cancer on the Presidency and affects millions who did not choose his putrescence. Yet we are left with the stench of his moral decay.

Image result for white house on fire pictures

Our “interpreter from below”, which sounds like a description for Satan, is burning down the house. God help the Republic.

592. Driving With Miss Donald

Related imageI was embarrassed to not have a driver’s license at age 34, but growing up in New York City, it was not unusual to be without a license because of the lack of parking and the presence of adequate mass transit. I rode the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back five days a week from age 12 on up past law school and more. What’s that? 22 years, right? But every so often I felt like a terminal teenager when I was in need of a car or out of town. Then I really needed my own wheels, ya know? So I called my buddy Don.

Image result for michael cohen on phone picturesI said, “Yo, Donald! I need to learn how to drive and you are such a smart guy. Remember me from back in Queens and then military school?” I said. And he said, “Sure, Michael. Michael Cohen, old butt suck. How are you? I’ll do it for free. I’ll send a guy over to show you. No charge.”

I was a little put off by Mr. Trump’s lack of validating our brotherly bond. So I says, “Hey, Don, I’d really like you to show me the ropes, ya know?” That’s when he shifted into that smooth voice of his, not the almost yelling voice he uses in front of airplanes and helicopters. He says to me kinda whispery like, “Michael, I need you to do something for me, for the family. You know what I mean?”Image result for don corleone pictures

And I says, “Sure, you want me to knock some heads and dump some bodies, right?” And he says, “That’s it. We’re gonna be huge again, buddy. But, and I mean this sincerely, Michael, I need loyalty. I need one of your testicles as a sign of your good faith. It’s what I do.”

And me? I says, “No problem, I was born with an extra set, ya know. Ha ha ha ha ha.” Cuz I knew he was kiddin’. Mr. Trump is like that, always dodging and blowing stuff up.  A master of chaos. He plays three dimensional checkers backwards in a mirror, so he does. Always a step ahead. I says, “What are you gonna do with these loyalty nads, go golfing? Ha ha ha.”  Image result for trump golfing pictures

Oh, and he played it straight. Said, “Actually, I take a bucket of them to the driving range and hit them into the river at Bedminster. It’s a way of symbolically and literally emasculating men, turning them into half eunuchs so they can never challenge me as king of the pride.”Image result for lion faces

Oh I laughed so hard at him and his straight face. It was great, lemme tell yuz. He cleared his throat and said, “Excuse me. I have a call to return.” I mean I fell out. He seemed dead serious and all. Hysterical. Oy ve, what a comic!

Related imageBut a week later I got a call from Mt. Sinai Hospital for my testiclectomy. It really shook me. I knew my drivin’ lessons were gonna cost me sumthin’, but then I realized it would be more than I could ever repay.

Image result for michael cohen on phone picturesAfter my stitches healed up, Mr. Trump showed up in a silver Jaguar, a real British one with the steering wheel way over on the right side. It was cool. He said, “Get in” and before I could click my seat belt we were flying down the streets headin’ for Jersey like a bat mobile outta hell. I could feel the G forces pushing my head back into the fine Corinthian leather headrests. I said, “Mr. Trump, you’re a genius.” He smiled and looked at himself in the rear view mirror and gave me a thumbs up. “Yes I am.”

“Michael, you’ve passed your first test of loyalty. Now I need you to repeat after me, the Omerta oath.”

That’s when I got scareder. I said, “Uh, uh, Mr. Trump, uh, that’s the mafia code of silence, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Michael. You are astute, my man. It is the original nondisclosure agreement.”

“But, Mr. Trump”, I says, “isn’t that ill, illle, illegal?”

He turned at me and glared into my very viscera. Without any words exchanged between us I knew he now owned my soul forever. “Michael, I’ll need your other testicle one day when I call in a favor. Omerta?”Image result for don corleone pictures

What else could I say? I felt hypnotized by Mr. Trump’s overwhelming presence at 85 miles per hour. “Omerta, sir”, I replied.

Something inside of me died that day. I already had my kids so I knew being a eunuch wouldn’t be so bad. I mean, at least I’d have my kids, but it was something else, like my humanity died. I felt like a porn star. I noticed all the other men around Mr. Trump were like me– adoring him, laughing nervously, talking too fast, rushing to fawn over him like generals in North Korea do with Kimba. We couldn’t help it, not one of us. We were tiny tacks of men and he was the big kahuna magnet drawing us whichever way he chose. We all just jumped to get closer to him, to serve his every whim. To lick his boots with tears of joy.Image result for kim jong un photos

When we pulled into Trump International Resort Spa Esplanade Concourse Palladium, he told me to get his clubs out of the trunk that he automatically opened. I ran excitedly to caddy for the great man. I was stunned to see only putters and a bucket of “balls” in the boot, as the Brits call trunks.

“Mr. Trump, I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake, sir. There are only putters here.”

“It’s okay, Michael. Today we’re playing putt putt. Bring the bucket.”

I did as I was told, so thrilled to be paling around with the Boss. I felt like, well like a prom queen.Image result for michael cohen as a drag queen photo

When we got to the first hole, he said to me, “Put Sessions’ nad down. I hate that inexcusable recuser.”  I looked through the balls until I found one with JS imprinted on it. Mr Trump teed off and launched that nugget right through the metal clown’s mouth obstacle for a hole in one. Amazing controlled rage.

Image result for anthony scaramucci photosHole 2 he asked for Scaramucci’s nut. I placed it gingerly on the tee. “That stupid jerk could not keep his mouth shut for a New York minute”, he said and began beating the nad into the astroturf, while screaming, “Loyalty. I need loyalty!!”

Hole 3 and all the rest were the same, score settling with anyone who failed him in any way. “Rudy!!” “Manafort!!” “Flynn!!” “Spicey!!” “Stormy!!”

I felt squeamish but had to correct him that there was no Stormy nugget to hit.636546450726430840-AP-TRUMP-PORN-STAR-66092104.JPG

He wheeled around on me and stared into my soul again. “Then use your own. Now!! It’s all your fault, Michael.”

I bowed down to do the deed, from far away I heard the theme song to Branded play…

Branded! 
Scorned as the one who ran. 
What do you do when you’re branded, 
And you know you’re a man? 

And wherever you go 
for the rest of your life 
You must prove … 
You’re a man! Related image

 

 

591. Thunder Road

Image result for born to run album coverSpringsteen is on Pandora this a.m. plinking on piano keys from yesteryear’s Born To Run album. “Thunder Road” builds like a summer storm with guitar, drum and bass, a lot like last night’s rumblings across the valley and over our raised rancher house, while Jess and Zach visited as they do on Wednesday evenings.

The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again
Don’t run back inside, darling, you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re alright
Oh, and that’s alright with me

As rain began to fall slowly in fat drops, my wife asked me to switch out the propane tank on the grille so we could finish sizzling the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Well sure! I jumped to it. Five minutes later the sizzle returned and I came in off the deck. Sizzling myself.

Image result for dark skies images

Zack asked me if I’d blown up the grille, an obtuse reference to an old story I have reported here from my college apartment living days when I blew up a gas stove and the kitchen/bath/living room nook surrounding it. “I guess not, since the windows haven’t blown out, and no one is covered in horsehair plaster.”

Related image

“That happened 42 years ago, my good man.”

“Okay. But it’s a classic story.”

Zach likes a good joke, pun, or funny story. He has a crystalline memory and likes to tweak me at dinners when he can manage to penetrate my invisible vest of chain maille. We actually share a strange resemblance in that area, which may explain why he fits in with my daughter and wife so well. He is riding on my abundant coat tails woven of wit, charm, and genius. Image result for ancient golden fabric pictures Or is it self delusions of grandeur?

In any event the thunder rolled on as it does on humid summer nights. I can recall sitting on the steps outside 218 E. Main Street in Richmond,Virginia on obscenely hot and humid nights, smoking a cigarette while watching the one way traffic move west, which was to the viewer’s right. Our second floor flat was hellishly hot. Our window fans merely moved hot air in and through our overheated rooms, mercilessly like industrial hair dryers. My roommates Sam and Mark would hope for an evening shower to cool the furnace. Even if we received a shower, we knew the humidity would start to rebuild as liquid water was reabsorbed into the nearly solid air, which felt like jell-o on one’s sweaty skin.Related image

Maybe out of helplessness or hopelessness we’d buy some cold cheap beer and crank up Springsteen’s Born To Run. Now I know Richmond was not Jersey, but the bleak tapestry of the pre urban revitalization sights, smells and atmospherics were enough to push us into desperate psychic places.Image result for springsteen head shots

Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks

One night we were pondering navel lint and other such worldwide problems when we decided to liberate and relocate an old refrigerator from an abandoned gas station at the corner of Main and Belvidere Street. We figured there was at least a chance it might work, and you can’t steal what has been abandoned. So it was a legal move. Anyway three or four of us carried that dirty old ice coffin two blocks downhill; up two flights of external concrete steps; and then finally up a long flight of wooden steps to an alcove in the hallway. We stood back and plugged it in. “Gentlemen, a moment of prayer.” Hummmmmm. It worked, which was a good thing because we were not going to repatriate it to the debris strewn building ruin from which it came.Image result for four guys carrying a fridge  photos

“Great! Now we can store our beer in the hallway, thirty feet closer to our mouths.”

“Whoopeee! That sucker was born to run!”

“Crank up Springsteen and rattle the plaster, boys.”Image result for springsteen head shots

Oh oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it’s late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

When you are young and desperately powerless, it’s nice to feel vicariously what risky wild passion must feel like. Bruce tapped into that longing for some vague redemption that existed, had to exist somewhere else. We didn’t have a car or money for gas and insurance.  We walked into bars backwards to avoid the $3.00 cover charge or claimed to be with the band. Once we got in to The Back Door or The Pass, we’d sit close to the band. “See?” one of us would claim pathetically, “we are WITH the band”, using the preposition in a very broad spatial manner, because in no way were we affiliated with the band.A street art sign for Handlebar in the

Ah, but we had Bruce on the turntable giving us inspiration for some undefined, very secular promised land blasting through the speakers.Related image

Oh oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it’s late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Downstairs on the worn concrete steps with weeds sprouting out of the cracks, the Wonder Bread store’s neon light glowed like a psychedelic sun that would not set. Cars and trucks swooshed by on Main Street as the dead air rumbled our sweaty butts into torpidity.

Image result for 1970's guys sitting on city steps

Oh, Thunder Road… where have you and Bruce and Mary gone?

 

590. The Price of Everything; the value of nothing.

10 lb. Clear Plastic Drawstring Ice Bag with Polar Bear Graphic - 500/Case

We all know someone who is the penny-wise but pound-foolish accountant of all things material. You know the guy who can quote the cost of a 10 pound bag of ice at WalMart who refuses to pay for ice, so he makes it and stores it at home in his $450 freezer. Nobody is going to take advantage of him, no sirree, and make him pay $1.49 for ten pounds of frozen water.

Related image“Why that’s $.15 a pound for goodness sake! You start with two gallons of water, which is essentially free, and then you’re gonna charge me $1.49 to freeze that into cubes and bag it up and store it until I come to you and buy it? Sheesh. No way, Mr. Scammit. Not when I can buy my own freezer for $450 plus tax and delivery charges and run it for around $53 per year in electric.”      You know a guy like that, right?

Image result for antiques roadshow picturesI enjoy watching The Antiques Roadshow. If you have not seen it, the deal is that expert appraisers set up in a hall of a town, let’s say Cincinnati. Locals bring in old stuff and get it appraised for free. The show cuts to the most interesting objects– often pottery, china,  art, rugs, furniture, jewelry, books, etc. Usually the local person has no idea what the object is worth, i.e. the price. Naturally they hope for a high appraisal.

Image result for bob dylan imagesIn one memorable episode a guy had a song written on the back of a NYC nightclub flyer from the early 1960’s. A songwriter whose name escapes me had written three verses in ink, which impressed the expert. He put a value/price on that side of maybe a thousand dollars. (Don’t hold me to firm figures here, folks; it’s all memory work.) The owner was pleased with the estimate, but there was more. The appraiser said, “You may find it interesting that the other side of this flyer advertised Bob Dylan playing a small club in Greenwich Village. Such memorabilia are rare since they were usually stapled to telephone poles and left in the rain. This one, however, is in good condition. Any guess what it’s worth?”

“Uh, no. It never occurred to me that the other side had any worth.”

“Try five thousand dollars.”

Mind blowing to say the least. Monetized lightning hit the same spot twice, so to speak. Image result for lightning hitting the ground photos

Not always, but usually the owner of the appraised piece says something like, “I’ll never sell it. It’s a part of me/my family.” And there is that price vs. value theme again. The appraiser is keen on figures and comparatives, sort of like a real estate agent. He/she knows the price of objects in their expertise areas. Value, on the other hand, is subjective. It’s in the heart of the owner or not.

Every so often a person will state that they hate the object and brought it to the Roadshow hoping to get rid of it. “My wife bought this hideosity at a garage sale.” When the appraiser gives him/her a high estimate, the excitement of selling and parting with the object rises up in the wink of an eye. You know they’ll sell it as soon as possible because they don’t value the now pricey item. They value its price.

Then there is the occasional over estimation by the owner of a fraudulent antique. In this case the expert has the unenviable job of telling the collector that he/she was duped and overpaid for the fake sword, gun, piece of pottery, or fake Tiffany lamp. Once again, price and value are not in alignment and someone leaves with a sore butt. The fake Pre-Columbian bowl above was bought for $1800 but worth only $200. Had it been real, oh and how the defrauded owner salivates at the prospect, it would have fetched $6-8,000. Bummer times forty.

Related imageIn my business I see devalued folks all the time. Low self esteemers who present as broken, mundane, run of the mill folks. They can’t stand a compliment and suffer from impostor syndrome. This is a combination of downplaying any successes as mistakes or luck, while always over blaming themselves for any mistakes or perceived failures. LSE’s wander around looking for swords of shame to fall on. They do not have any idea of their worth. In the absence of proof they assume the lowest possible estimate…less than zero. Their life experience validates their guesstimates.

Image result for empty glass picturesI try to explain where self esteem comes from. We are not born with it. We are empty vessels, so to speak. Our initial caregivers pour this precious liquid into us by words, noises, touches, and taking care of all our baby needs. Later on we get more esteem in preschool or kindergarten, on sports teams or at dance studios. By the time we get to elementary school, the larger world that includes academic and social evaluation comes into play. Slowly, ever so slowly the big world molds and hardens our sense of self through endless repetitions– “you are fat, smart, fast, funny, sassy, good looking, a leader, a loser, dumb, hopeless, helpful, etc.”

Self esteem hardens through adolescence and crystallizes in young adult life. Unless epiphanies or insights break through the hardened beliefs, the young person carries this self belief template forward into the rest of his/her life… for better or worse.

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I recall a student I had long ago in middle school. He was caught up in immature, imitative goofy behaviors with his not so bright peers. The thing about Dean was that he had intelligence and wit. He didn’t know it, however. One day I called it to his attention.

“You are smarter than you behave”, I told him.

“No I’m not. I’m stupid”, he replied.

“Dean, truly stupid people don’t know they are stupid. If they suspect that they are stupid, then they’ll avoid the subject not own it.”

“You’re wrong. I’m dumb.”

“Well, here’s what I’d like to suggest: I’m going to buy all the Dean stock I can acquire now.”

“Why would you do that?”Image result for confused teenage boy face

“Because I think I can get it for a nickel a share.”

“You’d be paying too much. And why would you do that? I don’t get it.”

“Well, I believe if I sell my Dean stock when you graduate high school, I’ll make millions on my investment. Then I can retire and buy a tropical island.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What are you saying?”

“You tell me. Come back to me when you figure it out.”

Image result for guys playing chess picturesSeveral years went by. One day after school Dean came by to play chess. He said casually, “I figured out what you meant back in seventh grade.”

I’d forgotten quite honestly; lots of kids had come and gone in the intervening four years. My face twisted into a question mark.

“You said you wanted to buy my stock and resell it at a profit. Remember?”

“Oh yeah. That was back when you tried unsuccessfully to be a moron.”

“Yep. Those guys I hung out with in middle school are hall of fame imbeciles now. I finally realized it. Now I’m reading smart guy books. Do you know Machiavelli’s The Prince?”

“Uh, yeah. I read it in college not high school.”

“Well, I really enjoyed it. I’m reading all sorts of books these days. I’m hungry to learn. I’d like to join the Army and see if I can get into med school….”

I’d like to say this Hallmark movie story ended in a harmonious manner. It was headed that way when the truly stupid others in his life sabotaged his dreams. He slipped on the grease in his life and wound up working the swing shift at McDonald’s.Image result for mcdonalds drive up pictures

Value and price. They mix to make a Happy Meal, don’t you know? The guy at the pick up window wanted to be a doctor. I lose my appetite every time I remember this tragedy.Image result for the burgher of calais sculpture

 

589. Swimmigration

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THE WORLD:  Trying hard this morning not to react to the immigration debacle at the Mexican border. The brown skinned imagery and the legal justification for cruelty against kids and their parents is reminiscent of other atrocities we have witnessed in other countries or read about in our dated history books. The law-and-order folks say it serves the immigrants right to be separated and incarcerated for crossing the border illegally. Yep, it was legal to kill an escaped slave back in the day. “If he didn’t run, he’d still be a live slave”, I can hear the apologists across the decades.  AG Sessions even quoted the Bible to add divine right to his administration’s twisted policy.  Enforcing the law does not give Border Patrol or local police the right to be cruel, however. Families illegally entering the U.S. should be detained; the added punishment of separating families is horrifying. If this policy change is supposed to send an ominous signal to poor folks throughout the world, it certainly is doing so. At the same time it sends a message that the United States is no longer the place advertised on the Statue of Liberty. She still stands in New York Harbor, but her heart has been cut out by an orange pelted Godzilla.

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MEANWHILE IN SWEDEN:  Unless you are Swedish like ABBA or Norwegian like Wood. The Donald seems to have an affinity for these Nordic folks. He used to try to pass off his family name as Swedish. (It’s not. He’s of German origins. He knew this when he tried the deceit.) He is highly complimentary of the Swedes. If you’re Swedish, hey, come on in. You are blond and educated. Hey, a sure assimilation bet without any risk. And then he famously insulted the Norwegians when he said the U.S. should have more immigrants from Norway than from shithole countries such as Haiti and African nations. Image result for trump and norwegian pm pictures

Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighboring Sweden, tweeted:

“Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they’re poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole”

Before the “shithole” controversy, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that, judging by Solberg’s visit, “keys to success with Trump is personal charm, a solid trade deficit with the U.S. and buying tons of U.S. military hardware.”  [Reuters, Jan. 12, 2018]Image result for pm bildt pictures

The Don’s gracious offer was declined by the people he admires but who do not admire him. He wants folks like himself to like him. The problem is not with Scandinavians. It is with the reprehensible pariahsaurus that is Donald Trump. Hard to like if you are over age five and can think critically.

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WHILE IN KENTUCKY: Back in January 2018 The Donald was more popular in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky than any other state. He had a HUGE approval rating in the Senate Majority Leader’s home state, yep, Mitch “Frog Face” McConnell hails from Kentucky.  According to an article in the Lexington Herald Leader…

The European Union has already hinted that it would retaliate with tariffs on Kentucky bourbon to get the attention of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Other Kentucky industries could be hurt, too, depending on what products other countries choose to target in retaliation. The end result could be the loss of hundreds of jobs, offsetting job gains in the aluminum and steel industries.

What does all this have to do with immigration? Well, these trade war tariffs seem to be a knee jerk reaction to unfair competition from overseas that have resulted in loss of jobs in the U.S. So when The Don hits back, as he likes to say, he thinks he wins in a zero sum game: the U.S. gains while its allies and adversaries lose. Pretty simple, which is the problem. It’s too simple, and Donald should know this as a graduate of

WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS:  The 1930 Tariff Act is named after its sponsors– Congressman Willis Hawley from Oregon was the chairman of the House Ways and Means  Committee; Senator Reed Smoot wanted to protect the sugar beet business in his home state of Utah.  As the bill wound its way through Congress, every legislator wanted to add protections for their states’ industries. By 1929, the bill proposed tariffs on 20,000 imported goods. 

Canada, Europe and other nations swiftly retaliated by raising tariffs on U.S. exports. As a result, exports fell from $7 billion in 1929 to $2.5 billion in 1932. Farm exports fell to a third of their 1929 level by 1933.

The Smoot-Hawley Act Tariff Act of 1930 increased 900 import tariffs by an average of 40 to 48 percent. Most economists blame it for worsening the Great Depression. It also contributed to the start of World War II.  [The Balance, June 4, 2018]

If the Dotard knows this, as he should, then he also knows the dire consequences he is flirting with. If he doesn’t know history, and this seems more likely to be the case, we have further proof of his ignorance, if we needed any more. If we shut out the rest of the world with protectionist, nativist policies, well, we have the 1930’s road map to follow.

AT MARALAGO:  In Donald’s playbook we must shut our borders tight and deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible, unless he needs help at Mar a Lago. Mr. Patriot does not mind hiring low wage supposedly legal foreigners to serve his rich guests at the Florida White House in Palm Beach. His company did run the famous non-advertisement below:

In July, the club placed an ad on Page C8 of the Palm Beach Post: “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club,” the ad said. “No tips,”

The ad, which ran twice, gave no email address, mailing address or phone number and instructed applicants to “Apply by fax.”

Can’t imagine why no one responded. Hmmm, how about this one?

“Lost cat. No reward. Include shipping and handling costs upon return by carrier pigeon.”

We all know that you apply for jobs via fax, right? And service workers are never tipped, right? Based on the lack of response to this fake ad, Trump’s Mar-a-lago applied for and was granted temporary visas for 70 foreign workers. When challenged about his deceit during the Republican campaign, the Dotard said,

“It’s very, very hard to get people. [In sharp contrast to His D.C. White House, where everyone is dying to work.] But other hotels do the exact same thing. . . . This is a procedure. It’s part of the law,” he said. “I take advantage of that. There’s nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.”

Don’t you love how the law is so malleable and providential for Don? No choice. That’s the kind of leadership I admire, choiceless leadership by a man with both hands tied behind his back, absent a moral compass.Image result for trump as a dali painting

I wonder if he went to Oslo for a fake Nobel prize in the new category of Racism and Misogyny, could we bar him from reentry for crimes against humanity? You know, separate him from his family in a re-purposed WalMart. Yeah, over in pet supplies. The empty shark tank. Soullessly swimmigrating round and round.

588. Talking Tattoos

Image result for totally tattooed bodiesNot a fan of the omnipresent, all pervasive tattoo weather pattern we seem to be stuck in. Too humid for me. I realize that I officially sound like my parents did talking about rock n roll music back in the 1960’s. They could not comprehend what the phenomenon was, even though they had clearly lived through Sinatra and Elvis by then, both of whom were highly sexual and charismatic. However, when the shaggy headed Beatles showed up from across the Pond, something felt threatening. There were four Beatles like their four suburban sons.  Paul was so cute, but John was squinty-eyed and dangerous. The hippie movement was under way in the U.S. and communism was still feared, a leftover from the awful Joe McCarthy Inquisition, who reminds me a lot of today’s reckless and paranoid Republicans. Think Nunes and Cruz. Image result for joe mccarthy picturesNothing like a good conspiracy theory to keep them in office. Nasty cynicism traded fear for power then and still does today.

So, I don’t want to be like that. I’m not threatened by tattoos. Some intrigue me and delight me. But most bore me or repulse me and make me wonder about the IQ of the owner. The other day I was observing a guy with a cut off sweatshirt look that exposed two black symbols, one on each shoulder. They were just big logos for stupidity in my opinion. When I asked what they meant, he said,” Oh nothing, really. I just thought they were cool.” About as cool as a pair of manhole covers in a busy Brooklyn street. Duh!Image result for tattoo images

Another tattoo guy had twenty six tattoos and could not wait to get another. I liked his explanation of tattoos, though, “They are art that you wear.” Neat concept, but like any art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A bunch of disparate demon faces, mixed with an Air Force symbol, next to his kid’s name, which flanked his favorite hockey team’s symbol… well, even if they were arranged in some sort of sequence, would still not add up to art for me. It seemed more like an exhibit called, “Crap I found while walking through the alley and placed in a line.”Tuk tuk

I know, I know… there is no accounting for taste. Everyone has their own sense of beauty and meaning. I just wonder sometimes where it all ends, when too much is too much. I like a single tattoo. I remember seeing a woman with fabulous legs and a multicolored tattoo  that ran from her right ankle up her leg and disappeared beneath her shorts. Image result for full leg tattoos for females

It was a fascinating vine with lots of leaves and flowers and was stunning, and yes, seductive. But just leave it alone. No other adornment was necessary. Yet, like plastic surgery or anorexia, there seems to be no end point for the consumer. If more is better, then why does exhibit number one above and this one below repulse the viewer?Image result for extreme tattoos

Why? Because the overwhelming forced visuals are meant to intimidate the viewer. These are not invitations to be known or loved. Nope. “Fear me! Avoid me!” screams out. Disgust and loathing are drawn out like a cobra from its basket.Image result for cobra snake charmer pictures

I’ve seen the tiny tattoo here and there that was elegant, fitting, and just right. The problem for me is the predictable big heart, someone’s name, skull and crossbones, huge texts from Scripture, or the prolific tramp stamp above the butt crack. After a while they all seem like road signs we’ve seen over and over… bridge freezes first, deer crossing, merge, reduce speed ahead, elbow cobweb net, falling rocks. Here’s what I mean…

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Simple butterfly accent above. Overkill below.

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And the tats on one’s back? Who is the audience for that? The owner of the back tat never gets to see it directly. Connectivity is lost in the overkill and the bizarre. I mean, who is drawn to look at your spinal column and an alien devil ripping out of its visceral cocoon? Exactly! cannibals, zombies, and psychos. Can’t imagine that conversation on the beach when the Jeff Dahmerish admirer walks up to Grendel Junior… “Dude, I love the tat! It grabs me. I can’t look away. Ca, ca, can I touch it? Mind if I lick it with a little salt and lime?”Image result for jeffrey dahmer photos

And what becomes of the old, unfashionable tattoo? Removal seems pricey and dicey, especially since they cost a lot to put on. Old clothes and accessories can be pitched or sold at the thrift store, but the second market for tattoos is pretty limited. My attorney friend Joel says that tattoos are not real property and cannot be conveyed as such. I recently read that some “tattoo masterpieces” are donated for exhibit post mortem in Japan. Imagine that exhibit…severed skins of Japanese folks stretched on tenterhooks for the admiration of art lovers!Image result for japanese master tattoo artist examples

Reading about tattoos in Wikipedia I was fascinated to learn that tattoos have served multiple uses– some for religious purposes; others for cosmetic purposes; some for art; some for horrible dehumanizing markings. I’ve never seen a Holocaust survivor with a Nazi tattoo meant for record keeping, as if the Jews were cattle to be tracked. Nothing lovely or beautiful in the eye of any beholder there. Just horror documenting man’s inhumanity to his fellow man in the numbering of human beings.Image result for holocaust tattoos

Now occasionally some folks seek tattoos for cosmetic reasons, to accentuate their lips or to pencil in fake eyebrows or hairlines. That’s pretty practical and not meant to draw attention. In fact, sometimes this approach is called permanent make up. Here are two examples.

Image result for cosmetic tattoosNice changes, I think. Alluring not repulsive. Value added, yes?

In the end people are going to do what they want to do. My opinion should not sway anyone. I do fondly recall a downtown street party where I was eating hot dog or funnel cake at a table in our town square across from my little daughter Grace. She was maybe 5 or 6 years old at the time. Her eyes grew large as a tattooed man walked behind me. She exclaimed, “Daddy, that man has all kinds of pictures drawn on him!” As I turned to look behind me, an older man next to me said mistakenly, “Oh honey, I’m sorry. I got these a long time ago. Don’t you ever get a tattoo. You are too pretty.” I laughed at the irony. He had the typical green ink Navy tattoos from WWII and sincerely meant what he said to my innocent daughter. But truly, no further adornment was necessary.

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587. Schizophrenic Musings

Image result for trump facing the press picturesMr. President, where are you with relationships with our allies? It seems you are cuddling up to our adversaries, such as Russia, and distancing our country from old allies, such as France and Canada.

Rusher is good. For some reason they have been banned from a lot of stuff. But really, I think, they’re good people on their side. Really honorable. But there is no collusion there. I mean, people are saying all the time, there was no collusion. Putin has been misunderstood, I think. He’s strong, no punk like Merkel or May. Sheesh, who thought women could be anything but beauty contestants anyway. And those two, I mean, just look at them, they make Carly Fiorina look like a model. And did  you hear that Miss America cut the bikini show? That’s un-American if you ask me and we will be looking into this. Watch their ratings fall. A lot of people agree with me on this one. Angry Democrats there.Image result for Miss America swimsuit pictures

What? Oh, yeah, international relations…

Image result for burned white house picturesOn the other hand Canadians burned down our White House in 1812, and I will never forget that, just like I’ll never forget all the radical Muslims I saw dancing in Jersey City when the Twin Towers were hit. Very bad. Or the time I met Frederick Douglas on the Apprentice. Nice man. Very nice. Reminded me of Dennis Rodman who reminds me of my new bestie, Kim Young Fool. Both of them, well, all three of them begged me on hands and knees to be on my show. Ya know? Everyone wants to get on the Trump Train, especially the uneducated. I love the uneducated. They can be pure in their love for me. Logic and evidence don’t get in their way like the failing New York Times crowd. Elitists. Intellectual high brows. Like Kim, I think parades and public displays of autocratic affection are good for the people and the nation. In fact, Melania told me that’s all the affection I should expect….Image result for Kim and Rodman photos together

Mr. President, the script? Let’s get back to the point. Relationships? Allies?

The countries of Nambia and Puerto Rico, I believe, need to pay their fair share for NATO. We’ve been carrying them for too long and it needs to stop. I mean, they are exporting rapists and murderers and gangs and drugs and hurricanes from their shit hole countries. Which is why we need a wall and a net around our water shores, a really big, deep net that will keep out submarines. I’ve been working on a prototype in my bathtub with General Kelly. He tells me he’s never seen anything like it. And I said, “That’s what Stormy said!” Who says I’m not funny?Image result for donald trump in a bath tub pictures

NAFTA may be good, may be bad. We’ll see. I mean, who knows? It could be reworked or not. Or not. I mean, the Civil War never should have happened. I truly believe I could have worked out a deal to keep slavery and freedom for all. My friend Kanye says I’m right: slavery was a choice. I mean, look at Lincoln. Did you know he was a Republican? But he was weak like Macron and Trudeau, afraid to drop a big tax cut on the one per centers.  Plus he got killed. I like living presidents. Those two French fries are really more socialist than Chiner and Rusher ever were. Image result for G7 leaders without trump pictures

Now France has been manipulating us with wine for centuries, ever since we fought them in the Revolutionary War. Why don’t they just read the Declaration of Independence and get with it? We sure showed them up at Versailles and the Battle of the Bulge. And Waterloo, I believe. I liked Macron until we stopped kissing. I mean, he’s eye candy and looks even better standing next to me. Did you see Melania in that white hat? Fabulous optics. And all those Frenchy touches added class to my crass. And now, look at him! Disloyal. Disgraceful. Like a cheating high school prom date just a month after prom. I made him; he betrayed me.Image result for macron kissing trump images

Chiner, on the other hand, sees my greatness and my three dimensional checkers strategies. They invented Chinese checkers, did you know that?  I really respect those currency manipulators. Let me tell you why. When I get the Nobel prize for winning the war in Korea, they have promised me a full dragon parade. Never been done before. Everybody else plays checkers straight on, but not me. I scatter and capture as many of the other guy’s marbles right out of the gate and then I can rule the world.  I like marbles.Image result for chinese checkers pictures

Mr. President? Our allies, ca, ca, can you get back to the original question, please?

Sure. If Mueller wants a fight, and I’m perfectly willing to meet with him to discuss his termination, then I’ll be in Sweden accepting the Nobel on behalf of my self. I’m arguing with Rudy about it all the time. And pardon me, for pardoning all these nice people who were mistreated by the Deep State in The Swamp. God, I love pardoning people! I can stick it to their adversaries, like Big Joe Arpaio. What a guy and all the snowflake pansies had a coniption fit when I dropped that bomb. I like Big Joe, good man, good man. He sticks it to the illegals whether they’re illegal or not. And I respect that. Never apologize, just kick’em in the balls. My kind of guy. Image result for joe arpaio photos

Or Scooter Libby. I don’t even know the guy but I wanted to jerk around the Obama cronies who convicted him. I don’t care a bit about Martha Stewart or Blagoyevich. Scumbags, both of them. I’m sending shots over the bow of DOJ and FBI heavies. I can lie my way out of any tight spot. I’m always big picture, next season.

Mr. President? We’re leaving now. We don’t have the drugs needed to keep up with your illness, your word salads, your freakin’ nutzo rants.Image result for the press corps leaving white house images

Hey, we’re you going? don’t go yet. Your glass ain’t empty and we just met

You’re mean when you’re loaded, I was raised on robbery.

Sir, you’re quoting a Canadian songwriter.

I know that. Gordon Lightfoot, right?  There’s a real man. “If you could read my mind, love… what a tale my thoughts could tell.” He would never burn down our White House. No sir. My kind of Canadian.Image result for gordon lightfoot pictures

 

586. LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MARSUPIALS

Related imageAs usual, Joel provided a flowing fountain of eccentric, even cultic knowledge this morning after the rest of Coffee Nation exited for their real lives. We remained behind in the Twilight Zone of the coffee world, abandoned and purposeless. I made an off hand comment about DJT being such an ignorant snake, and Joel offered to send a box of opossums to the White House. I had a duh moment and asked, “I’m not following you, bromeister.”

“They eat snakes. Opossums eat snakes. They are virtually immune from snake venom and cannot contract Lyme’s disease, even though they eat ticks.”

fountainWow! I was super impressed and asked for more liquid knowledge from the Fountain of the Opossum Spring of Wisdom and Folklore. Joel did not disappoint.

“Opossums are the only marsupial native to this continent. They have exclusive rights, imminent domain, imminenti domain in Latin, so to speak in animal law terms, and do so much to balance nature. They will eat a rattlesnake or copperhead with alacrity and impunity.”

Image result for waitress in diner pictures“Is that like a side salad? Like a meat and two sides? At the Opossum Roadkill Cafe you order the rattler with pinto beans and cole slaw? And the waitress says, ‘Sorry, sir, we’re fresh out of cole slaw. Would you like a bowl of impunity? It’s on special today. It’s like hominy grits only, uh, like, uh, beige mush.’ Am I getting warm here, Joel?”

“No. I think you are attempting to distract me and hijack my marsupial dissertation. And you know exactly what you are doing. And I always fall for your dissembling false sincerity. I try to be kind to the mentally challenged and then you strike me like a snake. You, sir, are no better than Donald Trump!”Image result for trump surprised face

“Et tu, Brute?”

“Aaaahhh. There you go again! I was working up a nice opossum lather and you had to let the water out of the tub.”

“Joel, you are not just mixing metaphors; you are making them march to their own intellectual deaths like hypnotized Norwegian lemmings leaping to their own deaths in frozen fjords.”Lemmings Jumping from a Cliff

“Can we get back to my cryptic opossum knowledge? You are so overly dramatic and factually wrong. Lemmings do not commit suicide. That’s a worn out myth with no factual basis.”

“Certainly. You need not get so worked up about it. Sheeesh! You are rather thin skinned on this day, the day after your return from yet another Florida resort luxury junket.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve been pampered by an incredibly servile group of prostrating attendants at the Breakers Hotel and Spa in Palm Beach. They have ruined me by inflating my already enlarged sense of entitlement.”Image result for breakers hotel in palm beach pictures

“You should see a doctor about that, Joel. Men of your age have to watch for enlarged prostate glands and overactive bladders. I know a urology guy, Dr. Sandy. Actually he’s not a guy any more since his transition. The softest hands you’ve ever had caress you, in a professional setting that is. I have her picture on my phone. Look. Nice, huh?”Image result for prostate gland pictures

“Just stop it!

“Okay. Let’s start over:  you were attending the Maryland Usury Board’s annual meeting, right?”

“You know very well that they, well we, are bankers. Usury is an outdated  needlessly negative term left over from the Old Testament.”

“Like smite? I like that word. ‘Lo, Jacob, thou hast smoten the fly but torn the tent. Come closer that I might smite you.'”Image result for old testament older jacob pictures

“Do you ever stop?”

“Do you ever start?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, like the Stones song, Start Me Up.Image result for rolling stones pictures

If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop
If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop”

“I’m confused, AGAIN.”

“Hey, how about  learning that song on your tuba? You could go to open mic night and just blow away the audience. I’d pay to see that, Joel. That would be startin’ it up. And women love the guys who know how to blow a big horn.”Image result for man playing a tuba pictures

“Well, and I say this with great modesty, I have been practicing… and I’m almost ready to rumble for the lovely tubist Carol Jantsch.”

“Awesome! I’ll call Sandy. She can call some of her friends. We’ll rock the Cash Bar.”Image result for drag queen pictures

“No! There you go again, damnit!! You lure me in with a purple rubber worm and I take the bait every time! Why do I do what I don’t want to do, and then don’t do what I should do.”Image result for fish hitting a rubber worm pictures

“Joel, that’s too much do do for me to process. If I were you, I’d find a good stiff doormat and wipe my shoes firmly. Maybe spray some deodorant on you feet, something subtle that won’t overpower others with sensitive olfactory operations. Maybe Shower Fresh Secret for Women.”

[Hands over both ears.] “I can’t hear you. I refuse to listen to another word. I’m going to recite the rest of my opossum elegy….

They have pouches for their babies And rarely if ever carry rabies.

Grey bodies with white heads; they are expert at playing dead.

Even in winter they’re great ‘cuz they don’t need to hibernate.

Boys are jacks, girls are jills, joeys are what you call the lills

To your compost pile they’ll return, y’all, ‘cuz they’re nocturnal after all.

They are the garbage men of the wild with 50 teeth in each smile

Eating roaches or rats is no hassle; a herd of opossums is a passel.

I can’t say enough about’em; they’re so awesome.

And so I thank God above for the humble opossum.”Image result for possums on mother's back

“Joel, that was beautiful! I have learned so much. I am humbled in your marsupialian presence. Listening to you is like watching Picasso paint; listening to Mozart play. Or staring stupidly as Einstein calculates. Exhilarating.”

“Thank you, Burrito. I feel we have covered a lot of ground and made some real progress here today.”

“Amen.”Image result for statues of curious things

 

 

585. Myths in June

Image result for images of juno roman goddessJune was named for Jupiter’s wife, Juno. She was the goddess of matrimony and childbearing. Most weddings occur in her month of June, and you thought it was due to the nice weather and the low price of roses. She was a jealous wife with plenty of reasons to be suspicious of Jupiter, also known as Zeus when she was known as Hera in earlier Greek times. Jupiter/Zeus was a lusty fellow who took on various disguises to philander about. He was rather crude and misogynistic by today’s standards. Back then, rather than getting a good Greek or Roman divorce lawyer, Juno/Hera simply blamed the females Zeus seduced. Hardly seems fair, but those were mythical times, in the pre-fairness millennia.Tizian 085.jpgHere is a selfie of Zeus/ Jupiter as a bull in a painting entitled “The Rape of Europa” by Titian. Europa conceived three sons after the unwanted encounter, who went on to be the judges of the underworld. She is immortalized in the name for the continent of Europe. Apparently Zeus was the father of the first European Union. Fatally fancy stuff indeed. Image result for flag of the european union

Zeus was a restless immortal with nothing but time, power, and an addiction on his hands. He also fancied a lady named Leda, and ravaged her in the form of a swan. Leda later laid a pair of eggs that hatched out Helen (of Troy) and Polydeuces/ Pollux, half (sort of) twin to Castor in a pre-scientific world. (Same mom, same time, different dads.) I know, I know…weird stuff. But wait!

There is more. He “visited” Danae as a golden shower, conceiving Perseus, who went on to heroic fame by slaying the hideous Medusa.

Image result for trump as an orange rat cartoonWhoops, wrong slide. That’s his father killing the Lady Liberty with Russian Golden showers while draining the swan.

Here is Danae trying to figure out if she needs to call a plumber or an ob/gyn doctor. You can’t make this stuff up because some loony Greek beat you to it. Today’s headlines seem tame by comparison. Gadzooks!

Now I know you are already making Trumpian comparisons, but I urge you not to. Donaldus Maximus always appears in the form of a large, orange pelted rat with a lawyer/accountant/fixer behind him, seemingly stunned by a ball bat, writing checks as fast as he can. He is the attendant demi-geek, Mykale Coheinous. In Donalduckus’s myths it is the model Melania playing the role of Juno/Hera; however, she is so sick of Narcissus Ratboy that she encourages him to go out and play in the sex traffic just so she can slow down her revulsion gag reflex, projectile vomiting, disgust reactions. “Go paw some other bimbo, Donnie. I am worn out!”Related image

In The Modern Tales of Brave Donald Maximus, as told by Donald and attested to by Mykale Coheinous, he rapes the continent of Europe with knee jerk tariffs on steel and aluminum; questioning NATO’s relevance; and publicly kissing Putin’s posterior. Even after sucking up to pretty boy Macron and envying his French military parade, The Emperor Donaldus still slaps silly tariffs on his new bromantic interest. No more kissy-kissy for Emmanuel. “I love you, bro, but I’ve got dues to pay. You broke my heart, Fredo.”Image result for macron trump kisses pictures

In other Tales of Brave Donald there is the Wall of Noncooperation surrounding the sanctuary city of Troy, modern day San Francisco. It was so progressive and gay, that Achilles the Bonespur Don had to find a way to subdue it and take down the smirking liberals who lived there and snubbed him. He told extravagant tales to his populace of Greaseopolis until they frothed in rage and sent ICE agents barging through the slumbering streets inside a huge wooden donkey to arrest as many illegals as possible. Unfortunately for the ICE guys, the people of Troy noticed the big ass donkey and put two and two together. In record time they rolled that splintery beast down to Tijuana where thousands of legal Mexicans reside legally. When they came out of the Trump donkey’s butt, wearing Trump masks and bearing arms, they thought they’d hit the Mexican jackpot until they noticed the wrong jurisdiction.Image result for trump protesters in trump masks

Now, rather than calling off the raid, the ICE guys acted like it was all cool, and you know, they were there for a photo optic at the other Wall on the Border, the one to keep out Asian Minors and Muslims and transgendered folks, except for the Swedish Gate at El Paso. “Tt’s cool. We weren’t played in Troy by illegal gays. Nope. We wanted to make them push us down to the border to save taxpayers’ money. Man, it was so smooth. We just came for some duty free shopping, just like we planned.”Image result for Border wall prototypes photos

Which leads us to the greatest myth of all:  the Trumpator. Due to an incestuous liasion between a half bull/half man and a porn star heifer with enormous mammary endowments, a terrible man eating monster named the Trumpator was birthed without a valid birth certificate in Minoa, modern day Queens. This beast was so terribly erratic that Chief of Staff John Kelly had to contract with Austrian architect Daedalus to build an intricate maze known as the D.C. Labyrinth beneath the White House just to contain the Trumpator, who howled and whined daily until he got his ice cream and cheeseburger.Image result for minotaur images

Every month the fearful congressmen and senators from Capitol Hill would send scared silly bills for human sacrifice to the Trumpator. The legislators knew if they opposed this irrational devil, he would come up the hill and devour them in the primaries or the midterms. In the labyrinth he would sign murderous legislation that would basically impoverish the vulnerable while further enriching the already prosperous. Mercy evaporated. Clocks ran backwards. Power was the new grace. The Trumpator dissected and delighted in destroying any vestige of the previous Emperor Barack of Kenya.Image result for obama with trump pictures

One day, however, the hero Theseus Mueller volunteered to go in place of youthful sacrifices, just as he had gone to Vietnam when the Trumpator had deferred again and again, staying home safe and free from any obligation, protected by his daddy’s millions. Mueller had no sword, only a pen and a ball of yarn that was the law. Despite all the twists and turns and falsehoods designed to befuddle investigators, Theseus found his way in to the Trumpator, slew him and freed the people of tyranny.Image result for theseus kills the minotaur images

 

Finally Melania could breathe again while Congress gave interviews claiming their own virility and patriotism, disavowing all collusion and collaboration with the Trumpator in time for the next election. God save the Republic.Image result for ryan and mcconnell smiling photos