603. Song of the Stool Pigeon

Image result for michael cohen on phone picturesMICHAEL
A man walks down the street
He says why am I stuck in the middle now
Why did I help him diddle, how?
The rest of my life’ll be so hard
I need legal immunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don’t want to end up with the baboon
In the baboon’s graveyard
Dirtdigger, Dirtdigger
Connivingly out of sight
Far away from my uptown whores
Mr. Jeerbelly, Fearbelly
Get these cops away from me
You know I don’t find this line of work amusing anymore
If you’ll be my Pardoner
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you DJ
And DJ when you call me
You can call me Al
Image result for trump on phone picturesDONALD
A man walks down the street
He says why am I short of attention
Got a short little span of attention
And wo my nights are so long
Where’s my Ray Donovan
What if I die here
Who’ll be my fall guy
Now that my fall guy is
Gone Gone
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly MAGA porn star girl
All along along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations
Payments and denials
Lies to cover up the fornications
On the pavement like a crocodile
With a steel wool comb over tail
[Hope Hicks, Don Junior, Scaramuccio
Omarosa, Michael Flynn, get in, let’s go
Manafort and Gates, Price and Pruitt too,
Rudy get the back door,
Make sure you burn the emails thru and thru
Call it all fake news, one big conspiracy
Don’t tell Pence, he’ll wet himself
Before we hover down in Sochi]
If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
If you call me DJ
And Michael when I call you
Call me Al
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Mueller walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
It’s not his first time around
He sees their subterfuge
He holds no Kompromat
He is a patriot
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound of
Russians in the White House
Lying about orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees agents in the NRA
Michael Steele’s dossier
Bootlicking in Helsinki
He says, “Whoa!  Hast La Vista, Baby!”
Image result for trump and comey together pictures
If you’ll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
You can call me Godfather
But Jim, when you call me
Call me Al
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VLAD (to himself)
A man walks down the street
He says “God, this is too easy,
So K G B easy
How dumb can the clown be?
Everything is Hillary
He can’t get enough of me
Like my name is Stormy”
If I am your body guard, Don
Then you must be my long lost pal
Just blow up NATO for me
Like you did your favorite Playmate gals
If I am your bodyguard
Donald when you call me
Don’t call me Vlad,
no no
If I am your body guard, Don
When you call me
Call me Dad
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Image result for trump putin pictures

602.Proud to be a Trumpublican

 Image result for trump hugging flag gif
If tomorrow all the things were gone
I didn’t work for all my life
And I had to start again
With my five kids and three wifes
I’d thank my lucky stars
To be lying here today
Cause I won the electoral college
And fake news can’t take that awaaaaaaayImage result for trump singing gif
And I’m proud to be a Trumpublican
So I can practice bigotry
And forget about the men who died
So I could live in luxuryImage result for trump in army uniform pictures
And I’d gladly take one more deferment
And bend the truth my way
Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love my brand
God Bless the Trumpy WaaaaaayImage result for misty eyed trump pics
From my steaks to Maralago
To the bills of bankruptcy
Across the lips of mistresses
And the bogus university
Image result for trump and putin meeting helsinki pictures
From Moscow up to Putin’s butt
And here to Helsinkay
There’s pride in every Trumpublican heart
And it’s time we stand and saaaaaaaaay
Donald Trump is pictured with North Korean general.  |POLITICO screenshot
That I’m proud to be a Trumpublican
                                                             Where I  speak hypocrisy
And forget all those who gave their lives
                                                               While I practice misogyny
Yeah, I’m proud to be a Trumpublican
                                                                 And salute stupidity
So proud to be a Trumpublican
                                                                 So blind I refuse to see
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When Donald sets fire to the world
                                                      and puts it out again
Then he claims a victory
                                                       when it’s actually all the same
When he says what you heard
                                                       was not what he meant
And sells conspiracies
                                                       that’s when my chest fills up with pride
Cause he knows how smart we beeeeeeeeee
                                                        And we’ll gladly stand up next to him
And defend his lunacy
                                                       Cuz there aint no doubt we love his Spam
God bless His Infancy
God Bless the D.   J.   T.!!!!

601. Loss

Related imageI didn’t expect to be writing another remembrance of a friend so soon, but here it is. One of Coffee Nation’s regular members passed away last week from throat cancer. Kevin Riedy, good guy, witty, kind and funny. A good witness to life. I don’t get it and don’t pretend to understand how or why folks die and in what order. I just know I wanted to honor him in some way with the gift we shared:  words.

Related imageYears ago I met him in my Sunday School class. He was always dressed and groomed sharply, even on Sunday mornings. Spoke crisply also. Business casual just in case he had to sell some “fake rock” as he often said. When parting the Thursday morning coffee soirres, he’d usually say,”Well, fellas, I gotta go sell some fake rock.” He sold fabricated stone veneer for a living all around the east coast. He put a lot of miles on his car and his credit card. He had lots of neat stories as well about characters he met along the way. He was just easy to be with, non threatening, intelligent, clever. This despite coming from the border of New Jersey, aka, Allentown, PA.

Kevin’s doppleganger was Rick Moranis of “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” micro fame. Not just in looks. From what I’ve learned of Rick Moranis, he left acting to take care of his two kids after his wife died. And that seems like something Kevin would have done. He was all about his family.Image result for rick moranis images

He struggled through tough issues in the time I knew him. His wife was knocked down with an auto immune disorder many years ago, which could not have been easy to cope with. But he never complained or griped to my knowledge. He just kept moving forward.

Related imageWe got to chat more often at the coffee shop where he’d stop in to guzzle three shots of espresso to my one medium regular coffee. I’d sweat just watching him swig that radioactive mahogany juice. Often Brother Joel would join in conversations about politics, which is strictly prohibited from the formal Coffee Nation meetings. Kevin was a red meat Right wing nut Republican, but he was also civil enough not to do anything more than make Hillary and Bill jokes. He was actually fond of Obama’s style and skill set, as I recall. He’d relate tidbits he’d gathered from Morning Joe on MSNBC. That’s something I relished: two folks who knew they were far, far apart on the political spectrum who still enjoyed one another’s company and what they did share.

Image result for books on shelves picturesKevin was a rock and roll encylcopedia. He must have stayed up late to watch documentaries on rock icons because he often schooled me on Springsteen or Keith Richards or Clapton. I was surprised that he had such a passionate music streak parallel to his conservative politics. After he visited Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I believe he loaned me Ronnie Wood’s biography, and I loaned him Clapton’s or Richards’ or Jaggers’. Could have been Dylan’s or Hendrix.  In any event we shared the same admiration of these rockers. I wondered what his bookshelves looked like at home– a shelf of Rush Limbaugh, a shelf of Max Lucado, and a shelf of rock legends, maybe.

Related imageIn 2012 our daughters both became pregnant. They delivered around the same time in 2013, only his grand daughter had numerous complications at her birth whereas my grand daughter was healthy and flourishing. As I celebrated the joy of being a grand father, Kevin’s grand daughter teetered on the edge of life and death. Tragically, horribly, she died that spring before Easter. I know what losing an infant feels like, as my wife and I lost our second daughter in 1984. It was both a traumatic and dissociative experience. The psychic pain pierces your heart and mind, and you think you’ll never move beyond it. Fortunately for us we had our next daughter Grace four and a half years later, and the silent curse ended there.

Image result for easter sunday church picturesI’ll never forget that Easter Sunday when I walked into the narthex of our church with my infant grand daughter in my arms. Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus, and I could clearly relate to that since I was carrying the daughter of my 26 year old answered prayer, Grace. Across the way stood Kevin with empty arms. I hurt for him in his empty moment. Fortunately he was likewise blessed with his grand child a year or so later, after the awful pain of loss was replaced by hopeful joy.Image result for grandad with infant in arms picture

A couple of years ago Kevin reported having a stroke while eating dinner with a friend. The friend pointed out slurring in his speech and some trouble with word recall. They rushed to the nearest hospital and sure enough it was a stroke in progress. Kevin recovered without any noticeable lingering symptoms. In fact, he used that story as a testimony to his faith in God. Like I said above, he was a good witness to life. Witnesses tell the truth, don’t you know?

Image result for frozen charles river picturesOne last memory hangs on. He had just gotten back from a trip to Boston in early spring down our way. He was glad to be out of the Arctic Crush of New England. “Man, I don’t know how those folks do it. Why don’t they just jump off a bridge and end it?” he asked rhetorically. I replied that I knew why if he wanted the answer. “Sure, Doc, (he liked to call me Doc) tell me why.”

“Because the Chahhles Rivah is frohzhen and they’d just bounce ahhwkwahhrdly on the ice.”

We both chuckled. “Yeah, that’s good”, he replied.

Many things are good in life. The best leave a hole called loss when they are gone. Image result for hole images


600. The 600 club, greatest posts

Related imageThe 600 club, I just made it in. Hallelujah!, sing it Leonard Cohen. Now if this were the MLB home run club, I’d be in pretty rare company. Only 9 men ever did it, and three of them were indisputably steroid advantaged– Bonds, Sosa, Rodriguez. That leaves six naturals. Just for the record, I have not used any steroids to enhance my key stroking output or psychedelic drugs to enhance my mindfulness… though some still question the legitimacy of my mental health. Nope, it’s all natural. I have listened to hours of my Pandora feed along the way and referred to Wikipedia quite often for micro research. Occasionally I’ve indulged in a second cup of coffee before noon to fuel my frenzied production. Full disclosure: no major league or college stadium is named for me yet, and I am not currently in negotiations of said naming rights.. Hmmm, The Burritospecial Emporium of Sports. Sounds sweet, but it’s only a dream, dream, dream. But that’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spot light, losing my religion, trying to keep up with you, and I don’t know if I can do it. Oh no, I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough.

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Six years ago the journey started with no destination and no followers. I still don’t have one, a direction that is, but I do have 599 posts in my rear view mirror spread out over six years and countable topics. Oh, and three faithful followers– Larry, Moe and Curly. I love you guys, man. Occasionally I get hits that are obviously foreign men looking for teen porn. I wrote a post called Wanderlust a while back that attracted lots of knuckle draggers seeking cute nude girls. It was about growing up in the late 60’s in the D.C. suburbs. Likely a lot of deesappointed eastern European creepers hit on that post because it did have one internet picture of naked girls at a concert. “Vat is dis nonsense? I vant young girl titties.” Sorry, Boris, Vlad and Olric, it was clearly a bait and switch deal.

Image result for black butterfly imageAnother surprise response was to the one I wrote on butterflies, hummingbirds and seahorses. For some unknown reason hundreds of folks bothered to hit on that post. Perhaps the images I scammed off the internet drew in curious viewers who wished to read further about these unique creatures. Perhaps it was just a series of random choices and accidents. Maybe not. Might have been Russia; could have been China; could have been a 400 pound guy on his bed. But let me say this: there was no collusion! No blog meddling. I have great confidence in the security/intel community in charge of WordPress. I am not Putin you on.

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My biggest hit counts come from eulogies I wrote for folks I admired. That factoid pleases me most of all. Since I had no destination to begin with, it was nice to discover that other bereaved folks found some comfort in my words about two very different friends I loved. Strange how the road twists and turns after you start walking aimlessly forward. We do not know what tomorrow holds; so go cautiously with confidence and integrity in every step. On the other hand, it is disturbing that blog traffic is linked to death. Not a precedent I wish to follow but one that may be unavoidable.

Image result for mickey marche elizabethtown kentucky images

[Not Mick but close.]

A special guest appearance showed up a couple of years ago in the form of an old neighborhood friend from my childhood home, Virginia Hills, outside Alexandria, Virginia, the one and only Mickey Marche. Through the magic of Facebook he found and read my blog from start to present, some 600,000 words all told. That’s a greater feat than me writing all this crap. Tossing chum off the back of a Bayliner in the Chesapeake  is easy compared to swimming through it. I’m the chummer; Mick is the Olympic swimmer blue fish. The Michael Phelps of Blogdom. He is a gold medal fan and much appreciated.

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And then there is Joel, my favorite comic punching bag, world traveler, attorney extraordinaire. He has been the second most consistent character in the blog posts, second only to DJT, my most hated human being ever. Satan with a comb over, I mean DJT not Joel. I actually like Joel a lot. So does my wife, who thinks I am too hard and mean with Joel. I try to explain to her that he had no brothers and missed out on horrid brotherly mistreatment. For instance, he was never shoved into a dryer and then set to permanent press. I am simply reprogramming him for his own good to make up for his lost opportunities to be pummeled into competitive yet wrinkle free manhood. And he likes it. I mean, look at that smile.Image result for scared smile on man

I am skipping over the Elephant in the blog. There is nothing more to say about the object of my constant derision. Until tomorrow. With no direction or destination, I’m sure he’ll be back in the cross hairs of my focus. For now, poof! Be gone.

I’d rather end with a favorite poem that is hopeful and yet circular in meaning.

There Were No Signs  by Irving Layton, Canadian Poet

By walking I found out
Where I was going.

By intensely hating, how to love.
By loving, whom and what to love.

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.

Out of infirmity, I have built strength.
Out of untruth, truth.

From hypocrisy, I wove directness.

Almost now I know who I am.
Almost I have the boldness to be that man.

Another step
And I shall be where I started from.

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599. In Dig Nation

Image result for groundhog and mole pictures“Can you dig it?” Said the Republican ground hog to the Democratic mole. “It’s cool down here in our bunker holes. I mean, out in the blazing sunlight of truth we’d cook down to the last tooth, but down here we’re as good as mossy covered stones.” Image result for groundhog and mole pictures

“Oh no you don’t”, said the eagle swooping down. “Your clown show is over. There’s a new sheriff in town.”

“What the hell! What the hell! Have the Capitol Police ring the fire bell.”Image result for heroic bald eagle

“Too late, you lazy vermin scum. The party game is over; I’m throwing out the bum. The blood of a million patriots drips from his lying, narcissistic lips. Or have you all suffered a massive concussion? Donald is leveraged by a rat poisoned Russian. ”


Image result for indignant sculptureIndignation, to begin with, requires dignity that is then negated. And what is that, you ask?  Here’s a taste. It might startle you because we haven’t seen or heard much from dignity in years. It has been missing in action and presumed dead.

dignity, the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
“a man of dignity and unbending principle”, from Latin dignus, meaning worthy
Bob Dylan wrote a song about Dignity a long  time back. These three verses will have to represent the total…Related image
Searchin’ high, searchin’ low
Searchin’ everywhere I know
Askin’ the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity
Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams
So many roads, so much at stake
Too many dead ends, I’m at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
To find dignity
To lack worth, then, is to be undignifiedappearing foolish and unseemly; lacking in dignity, say, for instance walking in front of a foreign Queen while reviewing her troops at her royal palace while being entertained at a level one does not deserve, to begin with. Yep, he did that. Absolutely unconscious of others and protocol. He needs no stinking primer in how to behave. It’s a freaking miracle that he didn’t grab the queen by her pubic hairs, because, “When you’re a star, you know, they let you.”
But even more telling of his putrid gracelessness was the NATO shove of the dude from Monte Negro last year. Totally classless and grasping for stage center. Image result for trump shoving leader of montenegro gifPig, pig, pig in a hungry race for his ego pie.
So now we have one nation under Don, the nation of in dig. Crude, crass, mendacious, petty, hypocritical, and so on. Words fail to capture the nauseating revulsion in the nation’s guts; we are reduced to dry heaving. There is nothing left to upchuck. He meant what he said in the campaign,
“My people are so loyal, I mean, I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and  shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
I have to agree with the man.understand donald trump GIF Oh, look! Vlad has him in a walking wedgie hold. So, I guess Vlad could shoot all his supporters on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes either. Man, where do I sign up for that team? Makes sense as much as anything else the troll has uttered in the last two to three years. Make that a lifetime.
Image result for jim jones photosTrumpeteers, for God’s sake, what more do you need to see, hear, feel, reason out, process? Wait, what am I saying? For the true blue believer in the MAGA hats and tee shirts, no proof is ever enough to break the cultic bonds. They will die in the bunker with their Fuhrer. Burn in the house with Waco Whacko David Koresh. Drink the Kool Aid with Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana.  Forget that. What was I thinking? What nation was I digging into? Trump nation is not so different from North Korea without the big Chrysler hubcap general hats. Don not so different from Kim, Vlad, Erdogan, Duterte, and other dictators, just not as clever or strong. His problem is the underlying inconvenient deep state democracy of this country and that pesky free press. Down below the sycophantic hogs and self serving Congressional moles, we have a Constitution that supersedes the man holding the office of president. Somewhere in the fractured red and blue states dignity is rising from its grave. Outraged and indignant at the circus clown who escaped from the New York zoo to run the U.S. government… and those who should have known better.
In Fascist states after the fall of the Great One, the once rabid fascists change the subject to the lovely weather and away from their previous alliances. They move to South America, change their names, deny facts. They say things like, “Those were different times”. Time is what we make of it, folks. If we listen to dark, divisive urges and practice victim politics, we reap the harvest of chaos, which always ends with bloody hands. Hosea 8:7 is familiar and haunting,
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up.
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Donald’s claim to fame was The Disrupter, like some WWF pro wrestler’s name. In a viral gif his image slammed the characterization of the free press, CNN. But those were the heady days of campaigning where anything goes to please the rabid crowds, the scared, the shrinking, the huddled asses at the foot of Indignity. His favorite and only tool in negotiations? The hammer mace of Chaos. Attack the other, and then at the hairpin turn, praise him/her after achieving precisely nothing. Relabel unwanted old ginger ale as champagne and jack up the price. His beloved, deranged followers will not know the difference. “Heck, he said it was champagne and that’s good enough for me.”
Image result for trump as puppet gifAnd now we have the uncaged baboon nodding as our country’s snake eyed adversary denies any negative actions toward us. The Don makes his simian grin and announces in gibberish talk, “Heck, he said it was champagne and that’s good enough for me.”
Dig that, nation.


598. Bald Eagle Perched

Image result for bald eagle on a post pictureYesterday on the way in to my office, maybe 8:00 a.m., I noticed a large bird on top of one  power line pole at Norlo Park, to my left as I drove west on Route 30, the section that is elevated where a stream runs underneath. So I was pretty high up, not 8 miles high like the Byrds song that was censored in the pornographic days of  Vietnam, but a good twenty feet above the parkland. This large black bird had a pure white head, so I knew it wasn’t one of the ugly turkey buzzards I see occasionally waiting for carrion carcasses along highways in central Pa. Nope, this bird was fit and trim, poised, and majestic. Yep, an honest to God bald eagle. Not a raven with a styrofoam cup in its beak, like Ed from my peer group reported mistakenly identifying as a bald eagle, to his wife, another avid birder, recently. Wow, that’s as bad as misidentifying one of your grand kids at an amusement park. He might have to turn in his Audobon Society card or at least do some supervised probation, a minimum of six months I would guess.Image result for far side cartoons about birders

“This is a robin. What is this, Ed?”

“It’s a robin, Bob.”Image result for robin pictures

“Good, Ed. Now moving on…this is a blue jay. What is this bird, Ed?”

“It’s a blue jay, Bob, but look at that goldfinch over there!”Image result for blue jay pictures


“Ouch. Bob, why did you hit me with that truncheon? I thought we were friends.”

“Unauthorized practice of birding, Ed. Get in line, man. We cannot be friends until you are rehabilitated.”Image result for far side cartoons about birders

The majestic eagle perched facing west, with an unobstructed view of groundhogs and mice below. I could not tell if it held olive branches in one talon and arrows in the other. I was past in a flash and did not turn around to take a picture. It’s actually not my first local experience with a bald eagle. I saw a pair flying way high above the reservoir at Lone Pine Dam. And then one flew over head at my buddy Gary’s farmette while I was hunting the wily groundhog. Still, it was a majestic moment to see the symbol of our country in the wild.Image result for bald eagle on a post picture

Reassuring, too. You see in eighth grade I had a melodramatic science teacher who proclaimed to us naive students that “the Great Lakes are dead”. He was a real downer dude, as were many of my teachers in the late 60’s and early 70’s. One English teacher told us about the young men who went blind on LSD from staring into the sun without sunglasses.  He failed to mention that they were also naked and got a nasty sunburn in paler regions, but no matter. They were blind from sun spotting and could not see how awfully red and shiny their hineys were.

Image result for naked hippies in sunglasses

I pondered the great bird all the way in to my office. Pleased that our environment is now more suitable for sustained eagle population growth. Back in the hinterlands of my memory I recall DDT affecting bird shells and endangering many birds in the 1950’s and 60’s. Rapid micro research led me to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, c. 1962. Image result for rachel carson pic

THERE WAS ONCE a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in
harmony with its surroundings. The town lay in the midst of a checkerboard of prosperous farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchards where, in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields.

Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community: mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens; the cattle and sheep sickened and died. Everywhere was a shadow of death.

There was a strange stillness. The birds, for example— where had they gone? Many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed.

No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves.

Now sure enough, the one negative article on banning DDT came from none other than Fox News. But what else would you expect from perverted peddlers of poison pablum?Related image

Anyway, I’m pleased that the symbol of our country is healthy in fact. However, I am concerned that our country is in a helluva mess these days. The Environmental Protection Agency that protected the bald eagle is being dismantled, no, imploded by the fox in charge of the hen house. Replacing one environmental rapist (Scott Pruitt) sheep turd with another, slicker goat turd (Andrew Wheeler) seems like a great way to continue the dynamiting of the agency. Nothing like a coal lobbyist to run the EPA. Next we’ll get a former KGB agent running our CIA. HMMMmmmm. Let me think about that for a second. Is this Helsinki meeting with Putin a job interview?  Or a surgeon running HUD, whoops. Already been done. But, let’s see, a totally unqualified politically connected billionaire’s wife running the Dept of Education. Check for Betsy DeDunce. Or a physician buddy bragger with boundary issues to run the Veterans Administration.  Oh, you get the point. How many clowns can get into the mini-Cooper at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?Related image

Irony gets old after a while. An unexpected, contrary outcome that is often humorous, isn’t humorous after too many repetitions. A. because it is no longer unexpected. B. it’s too damn serious to be funny.

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Isn’t it ironic that Rick Perry runs the Department of Energy, the dumbest guy who ran in the Republican primaries? Isn’t it ironic that Ben Carson’s only qualification for running HUD is that he lived in public housing? Isn’t it ironic that Elaine Chao is married to old Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and that she has to provide security for old Mitch when hecklers harassed them in public?  Isn’t it ironic that the HHS Director Alex Azar, grandson of a Lebanese grandfather who emigrated to the U.S.A. from Lebanon, speaks so blithely about modern immigrant families being carelessly ripped apart?

Maybe our eagle should look away from this latest shameful poison, aka, DJT.Related image

597. Peace Capsule

Image result for man on a raft in swimming pool pictures

Not the absence of conflict but  freedom from disturbance; the presence of quiet and tranquility; mental calm, serenity. Floating in the pool on a soft raft with the sun toasting your toes as the birds flit overhead and a slight breeze lilts by…relax and feel the pax pulse through your every cell. MMMMMmmmmmmm, recharge to live large. Peace like a river or a pool pump or your own calm blood flows….

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Amber sap flows through every inch of an old cherry tree, sometimes oozes out of nicks and breaks in the bark’s shield, healing wounds while discouraging pests. We suburban hoodlum boys picked sap balls off the old trees at the edge of what we called “the woods”, a few acres with a stream bed running through it behind and below Dorset Drive circa 1965.  An old apple and cherry tree or two were abandoned there for older kids to nail board steps on the trunks and then attach a rope swing to a sturdy branch. Peace like a tree swing pendulated with a small smiling child floating in the shade of a hot summer day in Virginia, as sticky as the sap we hurled at one another before central air. Did we chew it? Sure. Try to ignite it? Of course. Boredom was the enemy, though, not the sap balls.

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Amber balls of sap, so I found in micro research, were used to make cherry brandy and as chewing gum by Native Americans. [I don’t recommend either and will not be held liable for any tomfoolery you engage in after reading this post. You were unstable before you met my words, so don’t give me that! I am the victim of your prying eyes here. I am not click bait.] No, I like to think of the eternal peace offered by insects or objects trapped forever in amber.Image result for bugs in amber picturesHow did that even happen? Excellent question, and here is the convenient answer, kids…

Amber is sticky, like honey or glue. The insects land on tree sap either intentionally or by accident, and can’t exert enough force to remove themselves from it. The tree sap continues to flow and coats the insect. The sap hardens into amber, preserving the now dead insect forever.

Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

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I find that eerily charming somehow. The bugs are attracted to the feast they desire and then suffocate in it. Seems like a pretty peaceful way to go, like death by chocolate, pizza, beer, circus peanuts, Twizzlers, cheesecake. Pick your favorite and prepare to be embalmed. Balm is a nice concept too, a fragrant healing ointment slathered all over your body to renew your skin. Sounds good, right? So being embalmed seems like a good deal, times infinity, and you have the sap ball existence, frozen in amber time and space.

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How can you go on? Floating, lighter than water, swirling along the river of time. Bouncing in and out of whirlpools. Encapsulated till the end of time. Imagine an eternal carousel made of such creations going round and round and round, no weirder than unicorns and tigers.

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Epicureanism is what results from such a path. Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquillity, freedom from fear (“ataraxia”) and absence from bodily pain (“aponia”). This combination of states is held to constitute happiness in its highest form, and so Epicureanism can be considered a form of Hedonism, although it differs in its conception of happiness as the absence of pain, and in its advocacy of a simple life.Image result for epicurean images

Simple desires fulfilled but not to excess, because excess would be a new problem to solve. That seems like a good description of childhood. As we grow into our abstract moral compass we use to map out the world, we swing on ropes and blow blooming dandelion heads into the air, and follow creek beds wherever they lead. Back in my childhood day we caught birds with shoe box traps and wrapped up bumble bees inside Rose of Sharon flowers…only to release them unharmed. In those brief moments we gained amusement and amazement in our mastery of animals.Related image

We walked between damp bed sheets on clotheslines to feel the cool air between.

“Don’t touch those!” sweaty mothers would shout. “I just washed them. Go play in the woods.”

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And we boys would revel in the faint smell of fragrant detergent or bleach that lingered in the cool sheets’ dampness. Delectable peace hung in the honeysuckle vines that covered our rear neighbor’s hedge line. Following the bees, we’d pluck a blossom and lick out the tiny droplet of sweet nectar, wondering how we could find a real honey hive.

Image result for bee hive picturesOn the edges of our development were some old timers who kept bee hives. We didn’t dare risk the stings to invade them like Black bear cubs do. No, we threw rocks and stirred up the bees just for the thrill of seeing a swarm of honey bees come out to defend their hive. Off we’d run lickity split through familiar woods and shortcuts, alongside a creek or ditch, in and out of hidey holes in order to avoid “aponia” and increase our “ataraxia” moments. Life then was richly inexpensive.

Related imagePeace again is lying down laughing in moist grass after not getting caught for some minor vandalism. Listening to your own heart beat as your chest heaves up and down in relief. “That was fun!”

Walking along the shady trails, watching for any wildlife to chase…

“Now what?”

“Catch rusty lizards on the edge of the gravel pits.”

“Oh, crap!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Look at this sap on my pants. It’ll never come out. My mom’s gonna be mad.”

“Nah, turpentine is the thing. It melts the sap.”


“Hey, what are you gonna do when you grow up?”



“I mean I’m not growing up. That’s all.”Image result for boys walking along a trail images

Peace out.



596. If not for me…

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If DJT does not get the Nobel prize for Peace, perhaps he can get it for a mash up of Bob Dylan’s song “If Not For You”. Remember that one? I think Olivia Newton John covered it later on. Never mind copyright infringement or plagiarism. He’s been playing the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” despite their protests for the last two years plus. Keith Richards in particular would like to B Slap him for many infractions. You can bet the Donald will never be within 300 yards of Keith without becoming instantly incontinent. Sort of like facing Robert Mueller at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For reasons we have yet to learn, Don gains intestinal fortitude around Kimba, Putin, Duterte, and other dictator toughs. Delta Dog Don feels safe when the dark side alphas wag their tails in his face and let him sniff their butts. “You are one of us, Don.” He-he-he…. “until we barbecue you on the spit of your own grandiose delusions.”

Image result for vomiting cartoon gifDylan had the audacity to focus on someone else, which we now know is totally wrong in our post modern, narcissistic sociopathic era. Dylan didn’t put America first and make america great again like Donald is doing with all the winning he’s been up to. I mean, we are all projectile vomiting from his excess winning. It could be food poisoning. Hmmm, what did all of us eat recently? Yes, the rainbow stew.  He is truly a gift like ipecac syrup, steroid infused prune juice, or electro shock therapy. Convulsively wonderful. Biological geysers erupt spontaneously. The Chaotic beauty of a rabid squirrel running through L.A. rush hour traffic.Image result for squirrel in traffic gif

Anyway, thinking of yet another of his village idiot claims, I wondered how it might play with the rest of Dylan’s lyrics. The Donald whips up solutions for which problems never existed, and then rides in to fix them as only he, the Strong Man, can. Reminds me of the evil priest in Angels and Demons who creates a false threat in order to take over the Papacy and mimic Jesus rising from the dead after saving the Vatican from the bomb he constructed, but he flies away from the populace in a fake act of self sacrifice, only to return three days later. Like Stalin, Mussolini, Duterte, Putin, Kim Young Fool, Erdogan, Hussein, Assad, Castro, you get the picture. Quite a frightening fraternity: Mega Lo Maniacs. Imagine their Rush Week.Image result for assad and putin pictures

“Uh, I wanna join the frat house, you know, get babes and be politically incorrect in the comfort of my own silo with like minded sociopaths.”

“Okay, Donnie. You have to bankrupt ten innocent people in your real estate game. Then plunder a shit hole country. Run a scam university. Break up two faithful couples. And then pass a lie detector test at the end.”

“Oh man! This is gonna be fun!”Related image

All have the gift of hypnotic lying. Like criminal advertising, “This beer will make bikini clad super models adore you. This beer will make bikini clad supermodels adore you. This beer will…” repeat the lie until it is the new Gospel. Hit it Don…

If not for me,

we’d have a Korean nuclear war

Be overrun by rapist poor, 

Have Obamacare and even more

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures


If not for me,

The night would see our allies sigh

The Russians would have to say good bye

Porn stars would not be in view,

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures


If not for me,

Wild eyed Muslims would call

MS Thirteen too

Without me you’d be nowhere at all

You’d be lost if not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures


If not for me, 

Canada would invade in spring

Trade deficits would be crippling

You just wouldn’t have a clue,

If not for me.

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If not for me, 

Decency would have a place

Our country wouldn’t be disgraced

We could practice diplomacy

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures


If not for me,

Women could breathe easier

Politics would not be sleazier

Crowd size could be ignored

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures


If not for me,

You wouldn’t need a knife in each back

Or lie and lie to counter attack

The village would get its idiot back

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures



King of hypocrisy

White trash aristocracy

Killer of democracy

yep, it’s just me.

All the chaos that you see,

If not for me.Image result for trump singing pictures

After his faithful clap themselves silly and cry for an encore, Don will pass the hat for his legal defense fund because his taxes are under audit and cannot be revealed at this time. Because he cannot be bought, being a really rich guy and all, he will make that gorilla smile/shoulder shrug shimmy move of his with both palms up, as if to say, “You guys really love me” and then authorize a second offering be taken for his reelection campaign because he knows that it would be rude to stop sucking the last cent out of the zombie crowd who can’t distinguish chicken salad from chicken shit.

Where to honor him, oh where?  Earlier I speculated that he needed the Pentagon to house his ego, but that is too far from the heart of D.C. It’s shabby and undeserving of  his brand. Mt. Rushmore is crowded with losers that beat him there simply because they died first. Hmmm, where or where can Donnie go? Oh where can he get his due? Let’s see… Image result for mt trumpmore pictures

In the Greek myth of Sysyphus, this arrogant petty trickster king was condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity. Once he managed to reach the summit, the boulder rolled down the other side. If he didn’t exert himself, the boulder rolled over him or else the birds of Hell would peck at him.Image result for sisyphus images gif

Sisyphus was the founder and first king of Ephyra (supposedly the original name of Corinth). King Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce but was avaricious and deceitful. He also killed travellers and guests, a violation of xenia, which fell under Zeus‘s domain. He took pleasure in these killings because they allowed him to maintain his iron-fisted rule. 

Hmmmm, getting warmer.Image result for trump in hell cartoons









595. Family Fabric

family:  a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not…Image result for 1950's black and white infant photos

The or not part piques my interest. Many folks have dwelt apart from their parents and/or siblings for a variety of reasons, some forced and others by choice. As I reported in earlier posts last year, my lovely wife grew up apart from her biological family, cloaked in the shadows of sealed adoption records. Her adoptive family moved all over the world with her CIA operative dad, beginning in Kabul, Afghanistan, while her biologicals stayed Stateside, mostly in Pennsylvania. However, thanks to the intersection of affordable DNA testing and the internet, she found and was found by the remnants of her birth family at the tender age of 60. The timing may seem tragic in that she will never meet her birth mom and dad, but it is also poetic in that there seems to be no drama left to fuss over. All the growing pains are over, I believe; there remains only the joy that comes with creaky joints and wrinkle-laden smiles.

Related imageHer recent  journey has been enlightening as we have met living Uncles, an Aunt, cousins, a sister and a brother, plus their spouses and children. There are photos and videos as well as taped music in the family archives. Her birth father was a very accomplished jazz trombonist. Her mother was a reserved and much loved smiler. Sister Susan and her hubs Dave are just across the Bay Bridge, one of my wife’s most feared pieces of architecture on the planet. Love births courage, though, and across the BB we have gone several times without incident. Ah, courage, the ability to do something that frightens one.  As Brene Brown says,

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

Related imageFabric… is what you make from fibers and threads. In the old days people recycled their rags, so I heard my Boston Irish parents tell. A rag picker in Cambridge, Massachusetts named Edsy Finucane used to call to the housewives, “Rags. Bring out your rags.” I suppose he paid a few pennies for a pile of old cloths. No matter. We used to laugh at his name while playing penny poker on long summer nights. I’ll bet he was a boozer, but I’ll never know for certain. There isn’t all that much which we know for certain come the later years when memories and senses fade, as well as futile drama.Related image

And so when loose family ends comes together, as they did at the Hotel Hershey this weekend, it is a magical bit of weaving that comes out while four generations mingle. My two year old grandson Max was fist bumping two Uncles who fought in World War II. Later Max did some serious floor surfing instead of taking his nap. Uncle Phil is a sparkling 93. Uncle Werner, 88, grew up in Nazi Germany but served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Their very different threads intersect through marriage: Werner married Biagina, Phil’s little sister. And so instead of travesty, the family tapestry grows in forest green, ivory, and robin’s egg blue strands.Image result for italian tapestry pictures

Biagina, is a lovely retired schoolteacher from the Philly area who always wears a hat, usually a fedora or a trilby. What?  I just learned the difference a minute ago.Image result for older woman in a fedora hat pictures

She’s in the trilby camp for sure. Cute and spunky and short, but not short on love and intellect. Her husband Werner said, “Some women are pretty sharp, you know?” while we were waiting to join the rest of the party. “Really Werner, sometimes you say the darndedest things.” He replied, “No, some are. One engineer we had was a woman, and man, she knew it all! Sharp like a tack!”, missing the point yet again. They fuss like couples of long standing do with a mix of tart vinegar and honeyed words.Related image

Uncle Phil and his lovely bride Desi came down from Clearfield, a three hour drive. Phil was proud that he drove down solo, unassisted. If I make 93, I’d like to make the same claim. They fawned over my grandkids, which helped me realize that I never had a real relationship with my grandparents. The grandpas died before I was walking, and the grandmas were in diminishing bonus time. They had lived through both world wars and the extreme changes that came with radio and television. Figure skaters were scandalously unclad in their opinion. Fortunately for them neither Miley Cyrus nor her father had been born yet when they checked out of Hotel Earth.Image result for miley cyrus wrecking ball images

The cousins, Michael and Nick, solid guys with chunks of real Italian charitable chutzpah, like a pair of amicable linebackers, ready to hug anyone within arms reach. Grab, cuddle, then take them to the mat. Not really, but something in that description resonates with my warped mind. I imagine both men as wrestlers of affection.

Image result for camel picturesThe closest of closeness, of course, is brother Joey, the man behind the camera. He has both a smooth, quiet charm and fifty grit humor. His lovely fiancee of twenty some years is Karen, mother of Chelsea and fiancee of my wanna be son-in-law, Chris. Little does Chris know that the road to achieving the Big Burrito’s son-in-law status is wide, but the gate is narrow. It is easier for a camel to pass through that gate than an elephant to inherit the kingdom of BS.  It is that narrow. Karen gets a free lifetime pass because she insists on pre-tasting Caesar salad dressing in fine restaurants. “It can’t be too fishy.” She will read to this point and say, “When is this gonna end? C’mon.”  Jersey driver talk.Image result for narrow gate images

Gather round, my children, and it will end soon: There once was a pretty little girl with round brown eyes who could not stay with her parents, and the kingdom grew thorny for six decades, until Prince Deoxyribonucleic Acid touched the princess’ lips and lit up a data base in faraway Ancestry. Com. And that made all the difference. Distant hearts were woven together into the finest silk vision– strong and beautiful.Image result for ancient art silk weavings pictures