630. The Maples on Squirrel Hill

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The maples on Squirrel Hill are oozing a crimson red today, not sap or boiled down syrup but bold spatters of holy blood. It’s a ruby red Rorschach ink blot test that is seen in dramatically different ways. Some see the spatter as a radical reaction to the fires stoked by the Fake News media, so inflamed that a well armed maniacal assassin felt a raging sense of righteousness as he slaughtered eleven lives on the altar of his hatred. Others see the carnage as the result of a conscious abandonment of filters and boundaries on decency, i.e., seeding the angry political wind and thus reaping the whirlwind of chaos and holocaust, by those who ought to know better but persist in willful ignorance. The predictable outcome is shocking but not surprising. Wicked consequences are fueled by feelings that originate in wicked thoughts/beliefs that are allowed to go unchecked. But where, you may ask, does all this genocidal hatred come from?Related image

Let’s begin with the magic trick in maple leaves:  The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor. At the same time other chemical changes may occur, which form additional colors through the development of red anthocyanin pigments. [Wikipedia]

The red, yellow and orange were always there. The green chlorophyll obscured them throughout spring and summer…i.e., as youth obscures old age and eventual death. But they were always present beneath the green glow of pliant youth. The leaves die, let go of their branches, and float to the ground in fall. They molder and break down into their basic elements and become nutrients for the forest floor. Where a maple seed pod lands next year and the cycle repeats. All along the journey that vibrant bloody red is always there waiting to be revealed. Always there.

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If you live long enough, you will attend more and more funerals and burials. Eventually you will attend your own, not as a spectator but as the headliner. Coming to grips with the yellow, orange, red and black concepts of aging and death, and eventually the personal experience of it, is a difficult task for most folks in our youth oriented culture to master. Most of us would like to skip over the pain and trauma of life’s end and just die in our sleep. Ideally we want the natural order to progress, where the oldest die painless deaths first. Even then it’s a struggle for living, thinking beings to think of no longer thinking or being. Human minds don’t process negatives very well, and Death is the ultimate negation.

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But these days death comes capriciously and early to kids in schools and worshipers at houses of God. Concertgoers in Vegas. To congressmen playing baseball. To shoppers in a grocery store.  To marchers in political rallies. How? Like the hidden colors under today’s green leaves, racial and religious hatred and mental illness are just below the surface of our society, locked and loaded awaiting the trigger. Once a tipping point is passed, out come death and destruction. In trees the trigger is dwindling sunlight. In humans it’s not so clear what the trigger is, perhaps dwindling empathy.

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A license to kill sounds like a James Bond line, but somewhere along the internet highway twisted minds believe they have somehow earned such a license, as if they are merely pro-social exterminators of vermin. Sound familiar?  The run up to the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, intellectuals, socialists, and many other groups in Nazi Germany began with crazed propaganda that depicted enemies of the state as infectious rats that would sell out and destroy the Fatherland.

nazi anti-semitic propaganda

Grievance politics and dramatic victim posturing fanned the flames of murderous rage. “You can’t start a fire without a spark, this gun’s for hire….” Hmmmm, getting warmer. “Only true Aryan patriots could and should inherit the Fatherland.” Others needed to be locked out or locked up, as the rallies grew more and more incendiary, unapologetically racist and nationalist. Irrational, fervently irrational. And the alt right jury in the silo agreed. “Kill them” became the final solution.

How ironic that in Mr. Fred Rogers’ Pittsburgh neighborhood a white supremacist anti-Semite would murder Jews in 2018. This white extremist felt entitled to take the lives of others for no other reasons than their otherness and his inadequacy, their audacity to breathe his air and live and worship while being Jewish. In gangs initiation murders are required, and Mr. Hatred seemed to be trying out for the NeoNazi Olympic team. He was fueled by nonsense conspiracy theories that he imbibed from leaky, squeaky online urinal fountains of hate. He could have used a season in Fred Rogers’ diverse neighborhood of secure kindness and compassion and a probationary period away from social media, which has turned into antisocial jungle media. Come back, Fred. We desperately need you.Image result for mr rogers images on television

Instead, Mr. Hatred gobbled up the right wingnut propaganda cashew mix that likes to deal in conspiracies with George Soros and Michael Bloomberg and other Jewish elites. It is an old trick to blame Jews for a society’s failures. No one can prove or disprove a conspiracy theory after all. That’s their perverse beauty. But a free press helps keep the b.s. limited with daily fact checks.

Over a century ago it was the Rothschilds and the myth of their supposed greedy manipulations.

In the summer of 1846, a political pamphlet bearing the ominous signature “Satan” swept across Europe, telling a story which, though lurid and improbable, left a mark that can be seen to this day.

The pamphlet claimed to recount the history of the richest and most famous banking family of the time – the Rothschilds – and its most enduring passage told how their vast fortune was built upon the bloodshed of the battle of Waterloo, whose bicentenary falls this year.

Here is the story that “Satan” told.

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Nathan Rothschild, the founder of the London branch of the bank, was a spectator on the battlefield that day in June 1815 and, as night fell, he observed the total defeat of the French army. This was what he was waiting for. A relay of fast horses rushed him to the Belgian coast, but there he found to his fury that a storm had confined all ships to port. Undaunted – “Does greed admit anything is impossible?” asked Satan – he paid a king’s ransom to a fisherman to ferry him through wind and waves to England.

Reaching London 24 hours before official word of Wellington’s victory, Rothschild exploited his knowledge to make a killing on the Stock Exchange. “In a single coup,” announced the pamphlet, “he gained 20 million francs.”

And so on and so on. Lies repeated for two hundred years that somehow get woven into pseudo history, aka, old conspiracy theories that stick around. Today’s purveyors of hate have woven together modern yarns about the infamous caravan, the blood thirsty Muslims, LGBT outrages, all tied together by a liberally biased media determined to ruin our nation and eat our young. It is utterly fantastic and completely lacking evidence. No matter, light the fires. The witch hunters have found a new crop of witches to burn with the fallen maples trees on Squirrel Hill.

 

629. The Penguins are coming!!

Image result for penguin herd in antarctica picturesI don’t want to seem alarmist, but marine biologists from the Southern Hemisphere report unusual migration patterns for all species of penguins, from Argentina, South Africa, Antarctica, Australia and Chile. Apparently the combination of global warming, drug use, and gangs is driving them northward from their natural habitats. As reported on Fox News this morning, Dr. Ernesto Estuario has documented a penguin convoy of sorts swimming toward North America, making a temporary stop in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.Image result for John Leguizamo

“They are remarkably organized and seem determined to break through any borders in their way. Many other left wing species are giving them food and lodging and encouragement.”

He speculates that the penguins are headed to the United States in time to break through the southern border, where they will be met by Democratic funded immigration lawyers, ready to get them welfare, temporary housing, and free Rolls Royces if they can pass their drivers license test. (Penguins are notoriously near sighted and will have trouble reaching the floor pedals, according to Dr. Estuario. Then there’s the challenge of parallel parking. So we’ll have to see on that one.)Image result for marine biologist with penguin pictures

Fox and Friends Host Steve Ducey wondered aloud if these penguins could swim up rivers undetected; waddle to polling sites without any identification; vote for Democrats; and then swim undetected back to their Southern Hemisphere colonies. “I have no evidence that they are doing this, but anything is possible in the post-truth world we inhabit today”, he stated earnestly. Co-host Brian Kilmeade simply nodded in agreement like a bobble head village idiot action figure, finally sputtering, “I-hop, Wapner, K-Mart.” In the past both hosts have admitted to blatant black and white thinking, as well as no thinking at all while interviewing articulate guests that do not spout Trumpublican rhetoric. On more than one occasion they have been flummoxed during live interviews with his Royal Anus, the president, babbling incoherently.

Image result for little blue penguins colonies photosFarther west,  Australian researchers are finding their native little blue penguins have also begun the arduous journey toward the west coast of the United States. They are roaming together like mobs, flipping and flapping as fast as their little blue flippers can flap. Apparently socialist Democrats under the orders of billionaire George Soros have poured out billions of cans of Campbell’s tomato soup in a direct line to San Francisco, a sanctuary city where imaginary riots have erupted recently in preparation for and cooperation with Trumpublican mid term election propaganda. Again, no evidence is readily available to verify these claims made by an irresponsible orange pelted baboon at pep rally love fests two years after his messianic election. But, hey, it puts butts in seats. Right? Nothing sells like sex and fear.Image result for riot pictures from san francisco

Dr. Archibald Ferguson, a renowned penguinologist at Sydney University, believes the little blue penguins will arrive on the California coast like a blue wave in time to vote illegally and throw the mid term election to the the socialist Democrats.  According to Breitbart News, little blue penguins cannot metabolize processed tomato soup. “It’s like liquid cocaine to them”, claims Dr. Ferguson. “There is no telling what these little guys will do when they run out of soup. Rioting in the Bay area is not out of the question, and being a sanctuary city, ICE can’t do much about it. It’s like giving sharks the keys to the penguin house.” Steve Bannon could not be reached for comment. He was attending the White Nationalist Convention in Las Vegas, rooming with Roy Moore and his 13 year old “niece” from Tuscaloosa. They were reportedly going to see the Klu Klux Klan’s rendition of  “Spamilton, A Corrupted History of America where white people win it all, all the time”.

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Meanwhile Border Patrol agents are beefing up their watches in preparation for the penguin caravan. Miguel Incarnacion, head of Border Patrol and Fieldworkers Union Local 16, warned, “If they come at night, we will need flares and killer seals to protect our border. Penguins are slippery when wet and hard to cuff. Tasers don’t faze them. It’s really a unique challenge. Remember, they are birds and lack hands for the cuffs. Duct tape only works on the dry ones.”Image result for emperor penguin photos

He does have a secret weapon, however. “Although polar bears do not normally interact with penguins due to inhabiting opposite poles, they will eat a mess of penguins when given the chance. Of course, a mature polar bear will eat a kennel full of house cats in one sitting”, as Alaskan SPCA director Michelle Ulcero has stated in previous interviews.

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Back in Washington Homeland Security Secretary Kirjsten Nielsen has called for a tariff of 25% on all large swimming birds from the Southern Hemisphere. Liberals have framed this action as floater suppression, but Ms. Nielsen claims it is an old Norwegian tactic that worked to ward off invading Vikings back in the Middle Ages. Ms. Nielsen, a native of Minnesota, said, “Although I am a big Packers fan, I’ve always had a thing for marauding Vikings. Which is why Mr. Trump has chided me in public. Actually he said he wanted to spank me naked over his wall. Is this microphone on?”

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Secretary of Education Betsy Devos offered a back up plan if the marauding mobs actually make it past our heroic Border Patrol, National Guard, various state militias, and  gun toting Trumpublican volunteers. “If any of them survive the massacre, we’ll enroll them in our public schools and reteach them geography so they think north is south. Black is white. And lies are truth. We have a patented proven method that was approved by the Electoral College in 2016. If that does not move their asses out, then we will unleash the nuclear option: the comedy team of Ben Carson and Mike Pence reprising the best of Dumb and Dumber. The GSA has already approved funds to buy the fur covered panel truck from MGM studios.”Image result for betsy devos pictures

“Those two can clear out a room of lobbyists faster than a pair of wild eyed street preachers breathing fire, let me tell you.”

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So, America, another disaster has been averted by the very best foxes ever to guard a hen house.

 

 

628. Same old song from new mouths

Image result for woody guthrie picturesSome time in the 1930’s Woody Guthrie wrote his song “Dust Bowl Refugee”. He recorded it in 1940. The Dust Bowl, as you will recall from 20th century U.S. history, was an area that suffered severe drought in the Great Plains, including Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, and states as far north as North Dakota The agreed upon cause was man made deep plowing of what had always been sufficiently rooted grasslands. When droughts came in the 1930’s, the unanchored topsoil blew away in awful dust clouds that turned the sky dark, causing dust pneumonia in many folks who breathed in the weaponized topsoil.
Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath followed those desperate Okies, the Joad family’s journey to California. This classic black and white movie was fear filled and fragile. Yeah, it was a sad movie too. No, tragic… infuriatingly tragic. A maddening travesty.
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That time is just far enough removed from our dizzying dramas of today to lack the pop and sizzle of breaking news. Yet, we see other man made disasters causing migrations and social restructuring breaking in to our breaking news. In the 1930’s the victims of drought and poor farming techniques were American citizens who migrated west by the millions. They were not well received in their destitution. Poor folks feared even poorer folks competing for THEIR scarce resources.
The Joad family fell apart as they headed west toward the promised land of California, hoping to just pick someone else’s fruit crops.  Their fellow Americans mocked and feared the Okies and Arkies as if they were dangerous foreigners. Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) became embittered as he came to see how petty and mean his fellow man turned under desperate conditions. Tolerance and empathy blew away with the dried up soil of yesterday. Instead of pulling together and sharing the overwhelming burden, the haves hired guards and private security services to prevent the have nots from gaining any leverage with wages or labor concessions. Never has the one percent shared either burden or plenty. That would be socialism, dontcha understand?
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Divide and conquer has always worked to keep the less powerful, uh, well, powerless. These days racial dog whistles and xenophobic rhetoric are used to pit fearful, less educated Whites against minorities, foreigners, and the different. The same bag of rhetorical tricks that have been used by previous populists are being recycled by our mango tinted anointed one. Progressives and the free press are labeled as socialists and enemies of the state. American nationalism is touted along side White supremacy. I mean, it’s the same thing, right?  It’s disturbing just like The Grapes of Wrath was. Tom Joad just wanted a fair chance. He was labeled an agitator. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted a level playing field. He was labeled a communist. Bernie Sanders wanted equitable insurance coverage for all Americans. He was labeled a whacko socialist.
As the much hyped caravan trods northward, remember Woody Guthrie’s ballad. Remember the Joads and the two tiered America.
I’m a dust bowl refugee,
Just a dust bowl refugee,
From that dust bowl to the peach bowl,
Now that peach fuzz is a-killin’ me.
‘Cross the mountains to the sea,
Come the wife and kids and me.
It’s a hot old dusty highway
For a dust bowl refugee.
Hard, it’s always been that way,
Here today and on our way
Down that mountain, ‘cross the desert,
Just a dust bowl refugee.
We are ramblers, so they say,
We are only here today,
Then we travel with the seasons,
We’re the dust bowl refugees.Image result for dust bowl photos
From the south land and the drought land,
Come the wife and kids and me,
And this old world is a hard world
For a dust bowl refugee.
Yes, we ramble and we roam
And the highway that’s our home,
It’s a never-ending highway
For a dust bowl refugee.
Yes, we wander and we work
In your crops and in your fruit,
Like the whirlwinds on the desert
That’s the dust bowl refugees.
I’m a dust bowl refugee,
I’m a dust bowl refugee,
And I wonder will I always
Be a dust bowl refugee?
In our present time we are seeing waves of refugees seeking a better life in the U.S.A. Despite what the poem on the Statue of Liberty proclaims, the U.S. has only welcomed those who can turn a profit for established interests– farms & orchards, heavy industry, mining, construction, landscaping, and janitorial/ housekeeping jobs.
Other waves of migrants have come from Europe and Asia. They were not welcomed despite our national myth of inclusion and e pluribus  unum. It sounds good, but only in nostalgic minds does it ring  true. Decades after the Dust Bowl (1995) Springsteen wrote an ode to old Tom Joad’s ghost.Image result for springsteen black and white photos
Men walking ‘long the railroad tracks
Going someplace, there’s no going back
Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretching ’round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleeping in the cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest
Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody’s kidding nobody about where it goes
I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad
He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and he takes a drag
Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
You got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city’s aqueduct
Go!Image result for hobo camps photos
Well the highway is alive tonight
Where it’s headed everybody knows
I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad
Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there
Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me”
Yeah!
The highway is alive tonight
Where it’s headed everybody knows
I’m sitting down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad
Funny without any laughs how stories and songs and movies are woven into our collective culture. Sure, and we read them and sing them and watch them in high school. Only to betray their purpose and meaning when a Honduran refugee sings along in Spanish. Then it’s not nostalgic or familiar. Image result for honduran caravan pictures
Wasn’t too long ago that Black Americans marched for the rest of their rights, and LGBT’s marched for a fair deal. Our moral clock seems to be fifty years slow and running backwards lately. What’s morally correct now was deadly dangerous fifty years ago. We still have a long way to go if we are ever to overcome. And what exactly must we overcome?  The Roman candle of fear.Image result for roman candle photos

627. Linkage

Related imageI’m not sure how memories link up and what algorithmic filing system is used. I just know it gets weirder than a patchwork quilt sewn by a blind woman on some dreamy nights. In dreams, you know, images randomly flash by, or so it seems. Maybe it’s like the gears in a Swiss watch, where little gears turn and tick off a larger gear, which turns and ticks off an even larger one. Once you understand the pattern, it’s not random any longer. It is a known pattern like a metronome’s beat. Or the pattern could be a dropped word or image in a sequence. Disrupting continuity draws one’s attention while it also frustrates the audience. David Bromberg’s “Trying to Get Home” is an example. He drops out a word from each line in the song, starting with the last word and continuing to the first. The frustration created makes you listen more critically, more cognitively. Dreams can be just as frustrating as they imprint on the dreamer’s memory. Wouldn’t you _________? Agree is the missing word there. Wouldn’t ______ agree?  ________ you agree?

Image result for a couple beneath a willow tree imagesImage one is my beautiful wife lying in the deep grass beneath a weeping willow tree. It’s clear from the context that we have been lounging on the edge of shade and sunlight with our heads in the cool shade, eyes wide open and clear, staring through time at infinity. Suffused with joy. No date or time stamp comes with this image. No hint of when or if it occurred. Timeless… ripe peach skin complexion and long lashed chestnut eyes, supple rose lips drawn back so slightly in a smirk revealing her pricelessly pragmatic smile. Lighter than a pair of butterflies…Gravity barely holds us on the grass as a faint breeze sways the many braided willow branches above. Is this heaven? Sure feels like it, and I want to linger longer here, drinking tropical fruit drinks through impossibly long straws… and then it’s gone.

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The breeze strengthens. It could be my blanket has fallen and my sleeping self feels a chill roll across my feet.  Maybe. Green flurries blow sideways while I feel speed growing. Can’t see the destination, only the trails on the lime green subway tunnel wall flashing by. Whooooosh. Could be 42nd Street. Must be New York City, I try to rationalize; trying to weave some order and sense into this kaleidoscope.

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A goat comes next, a kid actually, little tufts of white hair around his budding horns.Image result for little goats pictures

What? Why? “Baaaaaa, baaaaa”, is all he says. Innocent milky breath wafts out of little Billie. What is he doing here in this lovely shade tree experience? “Baaaaa  Baaaaa” is all he says. Waltzing beneath the now abandoned willow tree oasis. Like a fifteen year old boy I once was, he is both fascinated and drawn close while also scared to move in and assert himself.  He gnaws on the fabric of the dream and chews up the green grass upon which we all lie. Why?  It might as well be a Pink Floyd music video filled with juxtapositions and wild donkey kicks into the summer air. “Hey Kid, one day you’ll understand it all. Today is just another brick in the wall.” The collide a goat continues.

Image result for blake's innocence and experience imagesInnocence and experience were themes for William Blake. So dark, Gothically dark. How can a kiddie goat fit into the languid layout of two passionate persons beneath the swelling willow? Where does his innocence intersect with the older beings’ experience? Oh, and then the spiky narcissus flowers arise beside the stream near the tree where the billie goat grazes. Majestic stems of vanity. Where will my goats come home?

Image result for white rabbit picturesImage three is the rare white Playboy rabbit that hops along ever so randomly like a drunken sailor on leave in Manila. He finds a bar where women do exotic and erotic things for money and the hoarse gasps of Westerners. Guys like Steve Basham share their Navy memories at your dad’s funeral about how a woman in a side street bar there smoked a cigarette without her lips ever touching the filter. And that conversation floats along the stream of consciousness just as large and substantial as any other thing in the the dampness of connectivity. Electric currents jump and crackle. How can these images overlap? There is no thread that can hold the absent weight of such ethereal things. And that is what ether does: Evaporate quickly, taking brain cells with it.Image result for evaporation images

Dark brown is the river.   
  Golden is the sand.   
It flows along for ever,   
  With trees on either hand.   
   
Green leaves a-floating,        
  Castles of the foam,   
Boats of mine a-boating—   
  Where will all come home?   
   
On goes the river   
  And out past the mill,   
Away down the valley,   
  Away down the hill.   
   
Away down the river,   
  A hundred miles or more,   
Other little children   
  Shall bring my boats ashore.

This old nursery rhyme sputters across my sleeper’s mind, the implied thread that holds a five year old boy sailing his Popsicle stick raft along the swollen curb and gutter on Dorset Drive in a warm summer rainfall to all of the above who came into being later. “Gooooo, goooo” is all the boy says. It will be decades before I understand where that raft arrived. Over the big hill beyond my permitted range, into the storm drain that rushed to the creek at Telegraph Road, on and on into Hunting Creek, slower when merging with the Potomac… the Chesapeake Bay… the Atlantic Ocean. Google maps could not locate my little woven raft… perhaps my grandson will.Image result for little boy with toy boat in stream photos

626. Believe me, him, us– not you, her or them.

Image result for trump picturesWell, he said they didn’t meddle in our elections, and I mean he denied it forcefully, so I have to believe him. A very strong denial. I mean, it could have been China or a 400 pound guy on a couch. Could have been anybody but Russia.

Roy said he never diddled with underage girls in ‘Bama, and he was adamant, so I have to believe him.

Well, he said he didn’t expose himself to the one or attempt to rape the other one. No drinking problem either. And he denied it forcefully, so I have to believe him. I mean we all had a good time in prep school and the Ivy League, right.

Jared just forgot all his Russian contacts, and I believe him. He was preoccupied with solving the Middle East problem. Genius.

Well, he said they didn’t have Khashoggi murdered. And he denied it forcefully, so I have to believe him. It’s worth over $100 billion, you know.

Paul is a real man and never did anything that’s alleged. It’s disgraceful. I believe him.

Kim said he’s gonna denuke North Korea, and I believe him. I fell in love with him. We cuddled.Image result for trump and kim pictures

Believe me. I make deals, that’s what I do. I make deals with the truth, not truthful deals.

Kanye touched my special place with a MAGA hat on, so, yes, I believe him. Plus his wife Kim is my kind of woman, busty and voluptuous, and married to an idiot.

Admiral Ronny Jackson is a great physician. You heard him gloat about my health. Great guy. I believe him.  It’s a disgrace what’s happening to him. Those women he bothered were likely asking to be bothered. It’s an entrapment smear campaign. Believe me. Happens all the time to me.

Believe me, there were good people on both sides of the racist demonstration in Charlottesville. Very fine Nazis and white supremacists.

They said they didn’t rape the white female jogger in Central Park, and denied it forcefully and all, but I still took out full page ads calling for them to receive the death penalty. When their convictions were overturned, I refused to apologize. Never will. Believe me. Image result for trump ads for central park five

They said they were kneeling to bring attention to Black Lives Matters, but I saw a political windfall and slaughtered them with my rhetoric. Fire those sons of bitches. You’re fired!! I said. Believe me, people are saying so. Plus, the NFL refused to sell me a team back in the day. Who’s crying now? Huh? I can’t hear you.

These women made all sorts of claims about me, but I deny all of them. It’s a disgrace, really. They all want fame or power or money.

Yeah, I ran with the birther scam and never had a shred of proof. It put me on the map politically, but I’ll deny it to my death. Believe me.

Sure, I promised to release my taxes, but I was lying. You’ve seen just a speck of my taxes. Are you kidding me? There is no way I could lie all those lies away.

I know my self-made man story is bullshit, but it sounded good. I can’t deny that.

I hardly knew Paul Manafort. He only ran my campaign for free. He knew I was a winner.Image result for manafort and trump pictures

I’ve never met Stormy or Karen what’s her name. Michael Cohen wrote them checks. I don’t know why. Believe me. He was a good man until he left the Death Star.

I was first in my class at Wharton Business School. Believe me. Don’t believe the numbers or other witnesses.

I have nondisclosure agreements with all my friends and family members. Don’t you?

No one respects women more than I do. Stop laughing!

Mexico is gonna pay for my wall. Believe me. Promises made. Promises kept.

I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet.  Believe me. My gardener at Maralago is Black. I believe in giving the Blacks a chance.

Everyone is gonna get a tax cut, not just the super rich. Believe me. 13% is gonna get spread out over the 99%.

That’s not my voice on the Access Hollywood tape, although I said it was earlier. I believe NBC edited in my voice to make me look more stupid. Believe me. I’m a high IQ guy. I never would have said that if I’d known I was being taped. Image result for access hollywood trump pictures

What you read in the Fake News media is fake news. Believe me. Two negatives don’t always make a positive when there is nothing positive to report. But two wrongs make a right wing in my book. Just look at Devos and Carson.

You can’t trust the FBI or DOJ or CIA. Ask Steve Bannon. Believe me. Deep State conspiracy.

I had lunch with Frederick Douglass just last week in Nambia. Great guy.

I love all people as long as they’re white or rich or dictators. Believe me. I love strong guys. Tight glutes.

Believe me, you’re gonna be sick of winning. I’ll be so presidential that you’ll be bored. Yep, you’ll be sick and bored. Promises kept.

People are saying I am the greatest president since Lincoln. Imagine that. Who put the con in Lincoln? I did.

Believe me, no president has ever accomplished as much as I have in my first 18 months. Bigly.

Sessions recused himself!! Weakness, I hate weakness. He should have denied and denied like I do. Who hired him?

I never said that, believe me… that I fired Comey over the Russia thing. Lester Holt was doing ventriloquism with me as his dummy. I’ve had NASA study the film. It’s been doctored. You can see Obama laughing in the glass reflections with his birth certificate in his hand. I will get my revenge!!

The U.N. great crowd. They weren’t laughing at me; they were laughing with me. Believe me, I know comedy.

The failing New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Saturday Night Live, if it weren’t for me, they’d be filing bankruptcy. I should know: I’ve filed five times. Believe me.Image result for trump pictures

 

625. Mothly Shades of Grey

Related imageThe unrelenting grey of this early fall has been messing with my ability to tell time. Is it 8:00 a.m. or noon, maybe 5 p.m.? Can’t tell in the pewter haze. It’s later only because I can see more water in the rain gauge, not because shadows have grown long and languid. Light, or rather the lack of it, messes with one’s internal clock. If you can’t tell external time by visual cues, it’s harder to tell internal time, like lunchtime. Am I hungry? Can I be, I mean, if time has not moved perceptibly, how can I be hungry? I don’t eat according to the rain gauge after all.

Image result for graffiti photo times does not exist clocks do‘Time does not exist,’ goes the existential wall graffiti; ‘clocks exist’. Unpack that and we find that time is a man made concept used to explain and ultimately to control nature. Mankind likes control after all, so much that He gets out of control in order to control His world. He over hunted and over fished some species into extinction. He burned down acres of trees in order to produce buckets of iron ore back in the 1800’s. He ravaged mountains pregnant with coal or copper, gold or silver, in order to reap a harvest of energy or wealth or both. When the last nugget was raked out, the open pit mine was abandoned, left for nature to heal or poison herself alone.

Image result for abandoned strip mines in pa photosMan is a rapacious opportunist, not a trustworthy lover. ‘Hit’em and quit’em’ is the frat boy slogan, but it is just as applicable to American industry as you drive through the Rust Belt of abandoned coal mines and steel mills in Pennsylvania. We know Man was there because of the scars He left behind… unholy caverns where an insatiable monster roamed. Oh, but He is not finished yet… there is the issue of fracking nowadays, and like all nature rapes in the past there is only an up side, dontcha know? Jobs and money for now. Just don’t think long term and you’ll be alright. So you can light your tap water on fire? Get a fire extinguisher and smoke outside. Buy bottled water. Shut up, we’re making billions here… same old story.Image result for fracking water on fire images

The heart of time is change: if you don’t see change, then you don’t experience time. You begin to float or freeze in the scape of a desert or ocean or prison cell. The mind becomes unhinged from what passes as reality’s doorway when reality does not swing and revolve. Studies have been done on subjects in artificial settings where no clocks or external time hints were available. No sunlight, no television or radio to chart time. Only artificial light was available in the Max Planck Institute’s time bunker. In very short order the experiment’s subjects began to stay up later and get up later. Time slithered out of the environment when it was left up to the humans alone to determine time. Instead of a twenty four hour day, these bunkered subjects were operating on a 25 hour cycle, which messes up nature’s external cycle in just a few days. Imagine Daylight Savings Time happening daily. In six days time you would be eating breakfast at lunch and lunch at dinner and dinner at Manhattan diner hours. So what? you ask.Image result for times square at night photos

What does it cost one who becomes detached from nature’s rhythms? I can’t say with certainty. We all know night owls who are pale creatures with fluorescent light tans. They wake up around noon and work third shift at 10 or 11 p.m. As the sun comes up, these modern day vampires pull into their driveways and head to bed while their neighbors put kids on the bus for school and drive off to daylight jobs. You learn not to expect a call or text from them before 3 p.m. They adjust to breakfast in the afternoon and a mixed drink at 7:00 a.m. Yes, a mothball with a twist of lime. Instead of the evening news they watch the morning shows and go to sleep. Marriages and families adjust until there is only dust remaining. But don’t worry, you can make particle board marriages and families out of exhausted sawdust and glue covered in a thin wood veneer. It’s great stuff until moisture shows up. Then gravity pulls it back to the wet floor… unglued. Irreparable.

Image result for gif of a man checking his phoneHowever, hyper change frustrates time as well. If everything is changing at warp 9 speed, time seems irrelevant also. In the modern day 24 hour news cycle nothing can stick around for long. Today’s hurricane scours the memory of last week’s hurricane or tsunami or earthquake or shooting or whatever. Important news is pushed off the shelf by what’s breaking in behind it. Adult attention spans are now reduced to the length of a gnat’s eyelash. If you check your mailbox every fifteen seconds, it will seem as if time does not exist since the mail, I am referring to post office snail mail here, comes once a day in the afternoon. Ardently checking or begging for change does not make it come.

Image result for hershey garden butterfly house picturesWhat to do in this time warp? Find the sunlit moment and stay attached to it. My lovely wife and I recently visited the Hershey Gardens, which featured a butterfly atrium. To enter, you must wait to be escorted so that no butterflies escape. Once inside you notice the high heat and humidity, which is how butterflies like their weather. All over this brightly lit glass walled room flit amazing butterflies of all colors and patterns and shapes. Hundreds of them alight on walls and plants and rotting fruit. Some have just emerged from their chrysalises. Others are busy busting out of their ornate inchoate chambers. Caterpillars crawl about. A little stream trickles through the space. Change delights the eyes. Time moves along with the beat of these beauties’ wings… gently, disturbing nothing, scarring no one.  Dabs of bright paint float along on erratic wings, inspiring awe and wonder, but no desire to be a blind creature of the dark. Moths claim the dark shades of grey; men should not.

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624. Refugee of Hate Projection

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refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

Two-thirds of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.

Image result for refugees picturesRefugees are exceedingly vulnerable people who live insecurely in legal limbo between two countries. In many ways they are similar to slaves who escaped southern plantations before the Emancipation Proclamation. Vulnerable, however, does not mean weak. Many American families can trace their roots back to refugees from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some of the greatest American minds of the 20th century were Jews who fled Austria and Germany as Hitler turned his spotlight of hatred on them. All sorts of tricks were employed to limit and then exploit these vulnerable folks, some of whom eventually worked to defeat Hitler from afar.

Image result for immigrant detention camps for kids pictures in texasListening to Tom Petty’s Refugee on the treadmill this morning as the news percolated through my neo cortex, I began to make associations and wonder who is the real refugee these days. After listening to the grotesque stories of 1600 migrant kids living in a tent city in Texas as more sites were being prepared for even more kids, disgust rose again for the orange haired baboon who is singularly responsible for this hateful treatment.

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I wondered why Trump hates foreigners, poor folks, women, Blacks, Muslims, gays, and intellectuals so much. As Tom Petty sang, “Somewhere somehow someone must have kicked you around some…”, it hit me that Trump is projecting his own self hatred onto the people he views as weak and lesser. His biggest fear is to be weak, poor, outcast, and powerless, so it seems. Rather than deal with his own insecurities, he tries to exterminate those folks who reflect his fears back to him. Hitler rejected many minorities and blamed them for bastardizing good Aryan stock; something in which he was likewise deficient. First he railed against them as the enemy of the state; then he litigated them into impotence; rounded them up; and finally he exterminated them. Steven Miller would have been so proud to serve the Fuhrer. But wait, he’s Jewish. I know, it makes no sense.

Image result for childhood pics of hitlerAdolf as a child.

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting. [Wikipedia]

If we dig deeper it seems that the Donald has such huge insecurities of his own impotence and insignificance that he must continually lie about how great and wonderful he is. He goes from rally to rally like some bride-to-be, beauty contestant goes from shower to shower and show to show. But that’s not enough to drink in his own self aggrandizing kool aid. No, he must denigrate others, always the easy targets to bully. Long before he ran for office, he convicted the Central Park Five of gang rape of a white woman in full newspaper ads. He was wrong but never admitted it. On the campaign trail he labeled Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers and murderers. One of the first things he did in office was establish the so called Muslim ban. Pretending to be interested in national security, he strained credulity to the breaking point by shutting out all Muslims until they could be fully vetted; something he failed to do with his own lily white staff, including his national security director. No worries along the way that he was ruining others’ lives. Not a bit. He’s got optic protection.

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Then the transgender ban was foisted upon the military, though no one in the military mentioned that it was a problem. The Don wanted to clean up the ranks so no gays were in tanks. He made the bogus argument that transgendered soldiers were costing the country uncounted millions with their sex change operations and expensive hormone treatments. No data, no evidence. Just raw fear mongering. The Don wants good looking soldiers who don’t get captured, see? He’d rather waste millions on needless expenses by his millionaire Cabinet con men.Image result for trump cabinet net worth images

When it comes to women, they are all tramps and gold diggers, except for Ivanka and his flavor of the week chick. Despite his campaign garbage gobbledygook that no one respects women more than he does, or that you will never find someone less racist than he is, he is exactly a misogynist and a racist. They are a notch or two or three lesser than Bully Don. Of course the jackpot is if you are Black, intellectual, and foreign born. Enter Barack Obama. The Don could not abide the ascension of an educated Black man, so he jumped on the Birther train to defame Obama and confuse the segment of the people Lincoln mentioned when he said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time”. That’s Trump’s base of blind moles. He is figuratively shooting people in plain sight and not losing one base vote. Why? They are blind moles.Image result for blind moles pictures

Self hate and fear that anyone might think too little of the Don is at work in his attacks on others. He defamed the magnificently articulate Kizr Khan, father of a fallen captain. Mr. Khan was proud of his dead son and proud to be an American. Little Donnie Trump, on the other hand, shamelessly tried to undercut this articulate man, suggesting that he squelched his wife into silence. Projection, Donnie Boy, once again. Not everyone else thinks and stinks like you do. His family made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. You, on the other hand,Donnie Bully Boy, have avoided any sacrifice and offloaded debt to the government and unpaid contractors.Image result for khizr khan pictures

Tom Petty’s chorus goes, “You don’t have to live like a refugee”. And I wonder, who is the true refugee? The man who flees his own narrative, and lives in some narcissistic far off country of delusions. The man who pretends he’s Swedish. The man who pretends he’s brilliant. The man who pretends he is a self made business titan. Truly, the Donald despises the Donald but lacks the guts to claim his self loathing, so he despises the tired, the poor, and those who yearn to breathe freely. Sad. #the real Donald Trump.

Image result for childhood pics of trumpHow is it possible that the boy born on home plate and told he’d hit a series of grand slams could have such a vacant self esteem? Well, self esteem has to match the facts of one’s environment. In Donnie Boy’s case the environment was manipulated so that his two year old self never had to adapt to external facts. By age 8 he had an unearned million dollar portfolio. And yet, the little bit of rational brain left in Trumpy must know he is a total fraud, a refugee, poor, helpless, foreign, unwelcome. Therefore, he must eliminate the human reminders of his alternative truths.

623. Aghast!

Related imageI’ve been wondering for years about words that seem to only come in one form and are never seen or heard in any other declension or parsing. What’s the deal?  Being a bit of a word nerd, I turn to the etymology of the specimen… and as I do, I realize how birders must feel in their odd pursuit of elusive fowl. “Look, Edna, it is the South African ruby throated thrasher!”

Let’s begin with the title word, aghast. Is it even an English word? It could be Indian or Arabic from the looks of it. Let’s run its license plate in Merriam-Webster’s data base….

Related imageIf you are aghast, you might look like you’ve just seen a ghost, or something similarly shocking. “Aghast” traces back to a Middle English verb, gasten, meaning “to frighten.” “Gasten” (which also gave us ghastly, meaning “terrible or frightening) comes from “gast,” a Middle English spelling of the word ghost. “Gast” also came to be used in English as a verb meaning “to scare.” That verb is now obsolete, but its spirit lives on in words spoken by the character Edmund in Shakespeare’s King Lear: “gasted by the noise I made, full suddenly he fled.”

Example use: I was aghast on November 8 when the ghastly orange haired baboon won the election.

Image result for conch shell pictures on beachSo there it is, a verb that washed up on the shores of England in the 13th century and left behind its shell after dying off, leaving a faint trace of what had been a living word. I sort of figured it had to do with ghosts at one time.  So there’s one mystery solved.

Image result for mouths agape picturesHow about agape? It means to have one’s mouth open in shock, wonder or surprise. But the word gape means the same thing… except gapers seem to be stupidly opening their mouths while having one’s mouth agape is more like a holy experience. It’s not fair, but language is exceptionally eccentric.

*gapōn- (whence Middle Dutch gapen “to gaze stupidly” )

Ex. use: The senator gaped as Judge Kavanaugh raged on about being disenfranchised by the Leftists.Image result for ted cruz gaping pictures

Okay, let’s look closely at abstruse, meaning “difficult to understand”. You never find struse running loose on its own. Well, maybe streusel, but that’s another word completely, and interestingly enough comes from the German word for “strew or sprinkle”, which is what you do with streusel, sprinkle crumbs of sugar and fat and flour on a cake. Back on point, ab means “from” in Latin, and once upon a time truse meant to hide or push away. The “s” is merely magic language glue to hold the prefix to the root. All together abstruse means “hidden knowledge that is hard to know”. Capiche? But how can you understand if it’s so hard to understand? You were testifying to falsehoods, Brett.

Ex. use: The consequences of trade wars and nationalism were too abstruse for the Panderer Bear in Chief to comprehend.

Image result for admiral picturesOnward Mr. Noodle!!  How about admirable. I’ve never seen mirable running about with out ad pulling it from place to place like a large lethargic rabbit on a leash. Yet, miracle of miracles, mirable does indeed stand alone!!  It means wonderful. By itself ad means “to or toward” so an admirable person is wonderful to know. It’s not the cleanest puzzle piece fit, but I’ll take it to the Scrabble bank. When you research admire, you get this…Related image

” from ad-AD- + mīrārī “to be surprised, look with wonder at,”

which gets us back to agape. I can imagine Lawrence Welk uttering “Wundahful, wondahful!!” as some polka crazed dancers in sequined outfits bowed obsequiously to a black and white camera in 1965. And even as I prattle on, you may have wondered if sequins are somehow related to obsequious. And… drum roll, trumpets, rockets red glare… they are not related. Different language bases. You still get ten points for sharp eyes. Perhaps birding would be a good hobby for you after all.

And you thought I was going to examine admiral. But once again, it is another word that originated in another language, Arabic, and was water boarded into English. I know, you are bored already, but hey, I don’t yawn when you talk about model trains or postage stamps or collectible gnome figurines.

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Ex. use:  Even the sequined garden gnomes were more admirable than the foolishly obsequious admiral Trump nominated to run the Veterans Administration.

Alright, alright. Just one more analysis and application. Ambiguous. It’s another prefix pulling a wild biguous by the nose ring.  But there is no such thing as a biguous. In fact, the prefix is amb- which means “both” and the root is a form of “agere”, which comes out as “lead or drive”. So something ambiguous is a message that can go in at least two directions. You’ve seen them all around, I’m sure. The other day on Facebook was a sign that said, “Red Squirrels Drive Safely”. At least two messages emerge: red squirrels are safe drivers; or (Implied YOU imperative) Drive safely because red squirrels are present. In any event you need not worry about feral iguouses or biguouses running across the road while you drive into the deep woods of sanity tonight. On the other hand, if you should make a wrong turn in those very same woods, run out of gas, and lose cell service, just practice your aghast face until help arrives.

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