650. Scandal less

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We are in a new era where there are no more scandals. Read my lips: no new scandals. Why is that? my inquiring blog squirrels ask. Because we are now living in a post scandal world. Nothing is shocking or disturbing anymore. And there are many contributing factors to the late appearance of scandal less living.

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First on the hit list is the 24 hour news cycle. When everything is breaking news, then nothing is breaking news. Fatigue sets in. Too much coverage of tsunamis leads to tsunami fatigue. Too much coverage of racism, feminism, militarism, and any other -ism depletes one’s ability to focus on any one of these important issues for more than a few seconds. There was a time long ago when the evening national news lasted for thirty minutes. That’s it. Everything you needed to know was encapsulated in thirty minutes, minus 5 minutes for commercials.

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News then was hard, straight forward. No reporter ever asked someone how he/she felt. That didn’t matter. Hard news included body counts from the day in Vietnam or domestic bombings at home. Crime and drug use came in third and fourth place. What happened in Hollywood never made the cut. However, in the modern cable news era lots of soft “news” gets tossed into the mix as crouton filler to stretch out 24 hours of programming word salad, minus 2-3 hours of commercials.  One result is that breaking news is repackaged every half hour, and the viewing audience is desensitized. It all coagulates into a mind numbing mindscape of white noise.

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Along the way as news blurred into constant entertainment, news anchors became celebrities, prostituting their journalist selves for glamour and glitz. They appeared as guests on late night comedy shows or daytime talk shows in order to groom their lighter, brighter, charming celebrity sides. Along this same slippery path opinions and feelings subliminally clouded out facts. How things felt got more airtime than the actual, factual events of the day. Consequently the news became emotionally charged and directive toward moving a certain affective narrative instead of merely reporting the truth. Earthquakes and hurricanes and political upheavals coverage turned into nonstop soap operas as the new school of reporters crafted a gripping narrative instead of just reporting objectively. The many competing reporters often violated rule one of journalism: they became part of the story. Anderson Cooper was punched by some Egyptian dudes during the Arab spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt and that became the news. In Haiti the effect of the earthquake’s devastation on the reporters or their involvement in the rescue became the story. Framed as Human Interest angles, they grabbed at emotional testimonials first; facts came second or not at all. Certainly there is a place for such stories; it just does not belong under the label “News” any more than this post belongs there.

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Our standards have become saturated, maybe bloated is more appropriate, and have sunken lower than we ever imagined possible. If you look in the water tank of your toilet, there is a float of some sort, a ball or a styrofoam cylinder. [ I’ll just wait for you to check. Okay, now let’s continue.] Over time these things deteriorate and lose their buoyancy. That’s when you will hear the trickling of wasted water gurgling down the overflow pipe, as the float drops and initiates an unnecessary refill every few minutes. Wow! That’s like Breaking News!!! when actually it’s just a faulty standards float that needs to be replaced. Say what?  Yeah, when our public discourse is cheapened, personalized, coarsened, i.e., loses its buoyancy, etc. what had been a decency standard gets flushed down the toilet.

So constant details about sexual harassment and assaults by men in power numb the viewers to the evils of both. The individual horror of one act is diluted by the vast epidemic of me too after me too after me too.  Just to make my point further, me too. One would expect an increased revulsion as the number of Bill Cosby’s accusers passed fifty. Instead, I believe the long, drawn out trial coverage and Cosby’s empty denials just numbed out viewers’ minds like his Rohypnols numbed his victims’ muscles and memories. Which scandal was most scandalous?  The fact that he got away with all those rapes? Or the power he wielded to avoid prosecution for so long? Or the scandal that a person of wealth and celebrity can ride unfettered above the law? Do you see what I mean yet? With so many scandals to focus on, it becomes a carnival game of Whack a Mole among the 16 competing scandals de jour. And when it finally came to our known Misogynist in Chief, hey, it was a civil matter, no crime, despite all the lies, cover ups, and even his infamous “You can grab’em by the genitalia when you’re a star. Anything goes” tape. It was just another order of fries at McDonald’s.Image result for vast amounts of french fries photos

The shock lasted about as long as a shot of novocaine. The pain and insult drifted away in all the repetitive outrage and gobbledy gook that came afterward. Like the Space Shuttle explosion on endless video loops or the twin towers collapse over and over again… it comes to the same thing: Desensitization not appreciation of the tragedy. It’s been called news porn at times because tragedy is sensationalized and exploited in a way similar to how real persons are exploited and monetized in the arena of sexual pornography. And when the two actually overlap, then the ratings pop, as viewers become willing voyeurs of voluptuous female objectifications and the titillating details of Stormy and Karen.Stormy Daniel arrives at the Solid Gold, Pompano Beach, Florida. Porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Donald Trump.  

Karen McDougal (Courtesy of Instagram)

Poor girls hardly have a thing to wear.

The behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner predicted that television would continually devolve toward more violence and sex and putrid shocking behavior in order to keep the audience attending to it. It appears that the jury is back in session. The verdict?  guilty as predicted… and I can’t even call it scandalous because that word has no meaning any longer.  I imagine my grandkids one day asking what the concept once meant…

  1. disgraceful; shameful or shocking; improper.                                                                ” “Grandpa, Is that like a wall phone or a dinosaur?”Image result for trumpasaurus rex pictures

 

“Yep, kids. It was a teradactyl that ate all the morals of a decent society.”

 

 

 

649. The Gettysburg Address Re-dressed

Image result for blue angels photosU.S. Navy jets fly over, misspelling “Pro mi  sesMade, Pro mi sesKept” in jet streams above the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg Battlefield. It is June 14, 2019… Donald the Savior’s 73rd birthday. Folks on the ground cheer and then scrunch their faces in confusion. “Is that Latin? Or Russian?”

“What’s sesmade?”

“I took Latin in high school. Pro means forward or in front. Mi means my or mine. Sesmade? Umph. I can only guess. It’s a fruit spread like marmalade, I think.”

For my fruit spread?”

“What the heck!! I don’t care; he’s my marmalade!”

“I know what it means. I got this:  My Marmalade is up front. Your transitive, genitive and nominative were all pejorative.”

“Yeah, he tells it like it is!!!”

“Trump can make a gluten free bagel taste better.”2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - Runway

30 Victoria Secret Super Models clad only in red teddies, representing each state Trump won in 2016 election, parachute out onto the battlefield as the Rolling Stones play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.  Sean Hannity cha cha’s across the dais with Tucker Carlson in tow on a leash, sniffing his butt. Laura Ingraham slinks around in a skin tight Cat Woman suit, chasing a Hillary Clinton look alike into a cage with a lion. Behind this extravaganza an ivory colored paper mache wall rises twenty feet to ecstatic applause.Image result for broadway stage walls

Michael Flynn steps out on stage in front of sixty thousand rabid fans waving posters that say Make America Great Again, Drain the Swamp, Dumb Women for Trump, Lock Her Up Again, Build The Wall, Live in Fear, Shoot To Kill, Be Mighty Whitey, Don’t Tread on Me, Pardon Me, Russians, What Russians? and other lesser known slogans.Related image

On cue a paper mache tombstone rises in front of the podium. It reads Robert Mueller, 1944- 2019. RIP.  The crowd goes crazier.

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The band takes the volume up a notch and begins the tune for “Sympathy for the Devil”. Mike Flynn leads the crowd with his own orange terrible towel, chanting “We Want Trump. We Want Trump.”

The legendary band kicks into the lyrics…

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste

Dropping down from the proscenium’s arch with arms outstretched like Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janiero, wearing his canoe size fake smile, appears Donald J. Trump, between the great wall and a picket fence of controlled fire.Image result for trump with arms outstretched

Laser beams fire onto nine strategically placed disco balls. When his feet touch the stage, Hannity, Carlson, and Ingraham dive in unison to kiss his feet. Super sized television monitors project their joyous humiliation to the frenzied crowd, who spontaneously break  into “Amazing Grace” as the Stones continue with “Sympathy for the Devil”. Somehow it all fits like O.J.’s hand in a glove.

After ten minutes of his stock stage antics, including Travolta’s famous sword pick move from Saturday Night Fever, Image result for travolta's sword pick move from saturday night feverDonald approaches the microphone…

“Four score and seven years (minus fourteen or so) ago my father Fred brought forth on this continent (in Queens no less), a new man-nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that no men are created equal to his favorite son. I am that conception. Some say I’m the greatest conception since The Immaculate Conception. A lot of Catholics and Jews are saying so too. Just ask Melania, heh?Image result for trump with arms outstretched

But seriously, I mean, look at her. [She is nowhere to be found.] Where was I?

But now we are engaged in a great civil war, it’s an outrage, I’m telling you, testing whether this man-nation, or any man-nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. I mean the Crooked FBI and DOJ, Fake News, the failing New York Times, and everyone else trying to bring me down. We are met on a great battle-field of that alternative fact war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that man-nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, and that these heroes should receive their promised pardons. Manafort, Flynn, Omerosa, Jared, Roger Stone, Bill O’Reilly, Vladimir Putin, Crown Prince Bin Salman, Kim Young Fool, Bernie Madoff, [parade slowly across the stage to receive their expensive pardons.]Image result for people lining up to greet trump photos

Flynn, waving his pardon over his head, shouts, “Who put the Don in ‘Par Don Me’?”

The maniacal crowd responds, “Trump, Trump, Trump!!!”

Flynn, “Who lies sweeter than a gallon of Southern sweet tea?”

Crowd, “Trump, Trump, Trump!!!”

With all these convicts and villains making a human wall around him, Donald continues…

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave man, living in front of you like a fine fruit spread, who struggled here, has consecrated it, far above your poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what you say here, but it can never forget what I did here.Image result for trump face photos

Rather, it is for you the living, rather, to be rather dedicated here to the rather unfinished work which I have thus far so rather nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored rallies we take increased devotion to that cause for which I gave the last full measure of devotion — that you here highly resolve that these super models shall not have dived in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the ParDon, by the ParDon, for the ParDon, shall not perish from the earth.”Image result for people lining up to greet trump photos

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

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“Thank you all, and God Bless Me.”

648. Christhymia, a depressed mood state that comes around Christmas

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The holidays are a time of high expectations, whether good or bad. Often the expectation is for what has never been realized in life– one decent family meal together without drama, if not for the kids’s sake then for the sake of the baby Jesus. You know, all is calm, all is bright. Hope springs eternal that the bonehead spouse will get a personal gift for his long suffering wife this year instead of an ice cream maker or a new, bigger shop vac. But she does not know that he has already bought her a high tech can opener from Amazon. It cuts with a laser beam that, after watching an episode of Dateline, she will be tempted to use on him as he sleeps blissfully unconscious a couple of nights later. She prepares her alibi for the police. ” I was so excited to get it, officer. I wanted to share it with him like I had the ice cream maker and the shop vac. I didn’t read the owner’s manual chapter about possible lethality. It did cut nicely, though, you have to admit.”

Related imageOr there is the Eternal Miss Grumpy Pants who has driven two dozen prospective partners into retreat by jumping the gun and extorting each one for an engagement ring by Christmas Eve or else she’d kill herself. Each Christmas she puts on more make up and hair spray, diets and gets a new outfit, in hope that Saint Nick will deliver her a ring to fawn over. She has had her lines memorized since eighth grade, “Oh, what a surprise!” Flapping both hands to self cool while tears of Hollywood joy rise in both professionally crafted eyes.  Her perfect lips tucked in tightly but not so tight as to undo her lip gloss, bursting into a cry/smile of ohs and uhs. “I’m just soooo happy!!” But it never comes, so she passively aggressively complains about the cranberry sauce being off flavor and the turkey being dry while she is exiled to the children’s table once again. The kids cry out, “Why is Aunt Elaine at the kids’ table again? She’s forty!!” No adult responds. Aunt Elaine lights up a cigarette. The kids all at once yell, “And she’s smoking!!”Related image

Every other family has an Uncle NRA Ernie who wants to take his annual time at the microphone to speak of Tea Party events, the end of Western Civilization, and the threat of foreigners and other races to White privilege. He rides the same exhausted stick pony of bad news express that he has since he realized in his early twenties that society had moved on without him about one hundred years ago. His less reactionary twin brother Bernie asks him if he even owns a gun. Image result for twin men arguing photos

“I have the gun case for my nine millimeter with lots of political stickers on it”, he offers as proof of nothing.

“What?  Did you say you don’t even have a gun anymore, Ernie?” his twin badgers.

“I sold it, okay?!”

“How much did you get?”

“Three hundred.”

“So, let’s see… you paid $500 for it with the case two years ago. That’s some hefty depreciation, Ernie.”

“I still have the case and an extra clip.”

“Oh, that’ll help when the savages come to kill you. You gonna throw the case at them and then fire off the clip with a heat gun? or vice versa?”

“Shut up, Bernie! They’re comin’. Mark my words. They are swarming at the borders like lice ridden vermin, like spoiled Romaine lettuce, like the Clintons.”

“Do you know how stupid that sounds? Ernie, Fox News has rotted your brain.”

“No, you’ll see. When you wake up dead, you’ll see.”Related image

“Ernie, I’ll be dead. So how am I gonna wake up?”

Perhaps you are that every other family and you have a Vain Uncle Billy who brings a new woman he’s dating to every family gathering. You can’t remember the name of the last one and it’s probably better that way as he explains again that he has what every desperately single woman wants in a man– a job and a pulse. “And the job is icing.” He introduces the latest woman who is drinking wine right out of the bottle she clutches. “She’s 36 but looks 25 if you ask me.” Billy is 54 but tells her he’s 45. He’s the baby of the family and can adjust his narrative because he does not have to “age in” between two other siblings. Like last Christmas, he again shopped on the way over to the family gathering at a gas station. “Who needs a can of oil? Let’s see what else Santa brought– Lottery tickets for the naughty. Slim Jims for the nice. A calendar with destination Sunoco gas stations for each month. Let’s see, January starts in Massachusetts. Wow! Is that Plymouth?  A pack of cigarettes for Aunt Elaine. Suckers are up to eight bucks a pack! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, huh, uh? Sugar?”Related image

The by now drunk on white wine new girl friend, “You don’t even know my name do you, Billy?”

“Now baby, sweets, best of three. Of course I do. I was just playing. My family is full of jokers. Sherry?”

“I’m outta here!!”

“But you’re not fit to drive.”

Fast Freddy, 17 years old offers to be her Uber driver. “I just got my permanent license. I can drive you home.”

Billy, “How are you gonna get home, Freddy? Gonna call a reindeer?”

Freddy, “I’ll let Ronda figure that out. If  I need any help, I’ll just call ‘Help me, Ronda, help, help me Ronda.'”

Ronda, “Kid, howdja know my name?”

Freddy, “It’s on your shirt. I figured you work at Wendy’s, so Ronda had to be it.”

Ronda, “You’re kinda cute. Like you could be 25 if I really look 25, like Billy says, ya know?”

Freddy, “Yep, I don’t even get carded for R movies anymore.”

Billy, “Ronda, what’s your twin sister doing tonight?”

Ronda,”Vomiting when I tell her about you.”

Billy, “Don’t be bitter, baby. Remember: I have the two things women want…”

Ronda, “Yeah, you’re gonna lose that pulse if you don’t get outta my way, and I doubt you ever had a job. Let’s go, Freddy.”

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647. The Inner Words of Donald J. Trump

Related imageI don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be my Chief of Staff. I have only hired the very best people, but it’s been very unfortunate and SAD that so many of my appointments and employees have been arrested and/or subpoenaed right after coming on board. Manafort, Flynn, the coffee boy, Cohen, Gates, the Russians…. I am going to have my Space Force look into UFO’s that may be causing this, why lightning keeps hitting MY people. You can bet that the Clintons  have something to do with this. I’ll put Jared on that.  And Obama, right? Nobody in his administration EVER got lit up like my people are. Why isn’t the FBI and Justice looking into Kenyan hackings? Obama Tower in Nairobi. The Fake News won’t investigate that. Oh yeah, no one has ever heard of it, but they have his birth certificate and are holding it over his head.

Related imageI need loyalty; it’s my oxygen… It’s like MONEY in my veins. I don’t want tunas who just SAY they’ll take a bullet for me. I want tunas who WILL take the bullet during their interview, ya know?  Yeah, at least a small caliber into a leg as they take the Omerta oath. John Kelly put his gun to his head at his exit interview and pulled back the hammer, but I told him to stop as the Secret Service guys wrestled him to the floor. No collusion. No chaos. The Fake Media except Fox has been undermining my appointment with greatness. I am THE GREATEST president in U.S. history, everyone is saying so. Everyone I’ve asked tells me so. Sometimes they get very emotional and have to vomit from all the excitement of agreeing with me. Just look at those inauguration photos, the greatest in history. People at the National Archives say two million, but I think it was closer to three. Real Americans, no fake illegals changing clothes every other second to rig the popular vote and make me look bad. I heard the Obama inauguration photos were faked too. The National Enquirer said that Ted Cruz’s dad shot JFK for Obama, but we’ll have to see. I know conspiracies.

Related image I’ve done more than any human or divinity who has held the office of President ever in peacetime or war. Lincoln was good, sure, he was really good, but he didn’t serve out his term. I like heroes who aren’t assassinated and make it to the finish line. You know, Promises Made, Promises Kept. He never could have held the kind of rallies I do. If I’d done the Gettysburg Address, you can bet I’d have had beautiful models and celebrities all over that cemetery. “The Rolling Stones present, Donald J. Trump!” A fly over by the Blue Angels. And a parade that would shrivel  Macron’s noodle in envy. And his wife, pathetic. Depressed all the time. Nothing compared to Melania. Low energy Abe. His mother died from drinking bad milk. His kids all died young. What a loser!

Image result for abe lincoln photosSure, George Washington got the business started, like my dear dad Fred. But really, he never faced the enemies that I have. No one looked into his sex life and taxes. I mean, he had slaves. That’s an outrage. He never built a wall. I’m building a wall and draining the swamp. He created the swamp. Just like that painting of his that was never finished, you know? He never finished. I’m a finisher. I’ve made deals with the greatest deal makers in the world. You know he had wooden dentures? That’s why he’s not smiling. I was born with the perfect smile. My dentist swore to that in an affidavit before he went to prison on tax evasion. Tragic. The gods are jealous of my greatness. And Mueller, he is working for the Deep State to bring me down, but I have done nothing wrong. I have no slaves. No slaves.Detailed painting of head and shoulders of Washington. Over half of the canvas is blank.

Look at Kim. We fell in love, consummated the deal with heavy petting and cuddling, and he got rid of all his nukes. I didn’t have to pay him off. He got what he wanted: just basking in my radiance You know in Korea, Trump means “Savior Sunbeam” and I told Kimba, I call him Kimba, he blushes and ducks his head. Anyway, I told him I’d save him by developing his beaches. And he said, I think he had a tear in one eye, he said, “Truly, you are Savior Sunbeam!”  In English!!  Unbelievable let me tell you. Those Asians show a lot of respect. They’ve got some great walls over there too. They’ve got a lot of coastline too, practically Florida waiting for Disney World. But no one reports the facts accurately. It’s an outrage. Look at us! That is a lovers’ handshake, huh? See? See the love? See how he is pulling my hand toward his heart? Big deal. Big League. Bigly.Image result for trump with kim photos

And Vlad. Man, if he were Norwegian nobody would say a thing about our friendship. Sometimes late at night, when he can’t sleep, he calls me and asks me to sing Edelweiss to him. My nanny Brumhilda was Austrian, and she’d sing it to me when I was trying to molest her. It always did the trick for me. So Vlad speaks to me in a thick Russian accent, “Donnie, vy kant ve be more dan freends vit benefits?” It really rips me up. I have to tell him he needs to understand my constituency. They aren’t ready for a gay president in the White House. The NRA, the Evangelicals, and the White Supremacists don’t understand our kind of love. I sent him a copy of Broke Back Mountain and my Barry Manilow playlist to comfort him through his long winter nights. I’ll sing, “Oh Vladdy, you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away, oh Vladdy, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking, and I need you today.” Boom, he’s out like a light. Related image

I wonder if Genco Abbandando is still available?

646. The Short Happy Life and Untimely Nominal Death of Chief Round Bale

Image result for field of round bales photosI know, it’s an odd title, equal parts disturbing and confusing. Perhaps I should begin with just who Chief Round Bale is before we get to his untimely nominal death perpetrated by algorithm operatives at Facebook, perhaps at the direction of the Clintons, but we’ll get to that conspiracy theory in just a bit. It’s a sad tale of the eradication of a legendary American figure of imagination.Related image

So a round bale is a large hay bale you find all over rural America. There are  smaller square bales that are actually rectangular. Even city folks know square bales. They pay $10 for one at Whole Foods to decorate at Halloween. Round bales are massive cylinders of hay that must be moved by a spike forklift attachment to a big tractor. They are not stacked usually because of their great volume and weight. Well, if they are stacked, they are usually left out in the fields like baby elephants.Image result for field of round bales photos

The Chief Round Bale of our astute and erudite discussion is also known as Kirk. He used to drive a beer truck out in Iowa back in the day. Kegs mostly, from Iowa to Chicago and back again. It was all legal interstate transport of alcohol. I can only guess at the nicknames he outgrew… Kirk the Keg. Fire Hydrant. Meatloaf. Studs. Bull. Rhino. Hoss. Bronco. Bubba. You get the picture, a manly man along the lines of Ernest Hemingway. Also a great hunter of wild things that he eats and stuffs and mounts on his walls.

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What you might not expect is that Kirk/Chief Round Bale is light and nimble on his feet and does a mean two step. We met him and his lovely wife Cheryl in our ballroom dance circuit. He is the man who leads The Wobble dance, and is able to lead fainting females in life saving cha cha’s or rumbas. He has a wealth of rock and roll knowledge also. Image result for best rolling stone magazine covers

For all of the above reasons and more, he used the Facebook handle Round Bale for as long as I have known him. Lots of funny shares and pictures and edgy stuff in his posts. The moniker carried over into face to face contacts, “How’s it goin’ Bale?” No need to clarify that his first name was neither Hay nor Christian.  No one needed to know Cash’s or Sinatra’s first name. Nope, just Round. Like a Bond martini– shaken, never stirred.Image result for sean connery as james bond photos shaken not stirred

And then the strangest set of circumstances occurred. He and Cheryl went on low carb diets and began to melt before our envious eyes. They were here and there and all over, so Round Bale sightings were infrequent. During this time his Facebook handle changed. Away went Chief Round Bale, only to be replaced by the much less grand KL Maurice. [Some people call him the gangster of love.] As the Amish say, “It wondered me” why the name change. Then I naturally and incorrectly concluded it was a re-branding of the same product only with a third fewer calories but still all that same questionable taste. And you know about making assumptions, how they can turn into Forrest Gumptions. Forrest Gump Movie Stills

So last Saturday night at the infamous Dawg Pound bar mitzvah and kosher spa, some of the ballroom gang gathered to drink and dance and cavort a bit. We spotted a familiar pair of faces twirling about the dance floor like a taquito fox trotting with a Pirouline rolled cookie. It was then and there at Round Table 29 that the real truth spilled out like a pitcher of expensive craft beer. You see, my wife had put one and five together and determined that since Kirk was no longer round, he had changed his FB love handle to match. You know, like symmetry.  It seemed really logical and so I agreed… but honestly, I would  have agreed to anything she said cuz she looked smokin’ amazing and I’m usually wrong anyway. Image result for laura kroft photos with short hair

Well, there it was– the low down, skinny truth all dressed up sveltelike in yoga pants. We all agreed that whatever their diet was, we approved of the results. Low carb beer and no junk food seemed to be the ticket to success. When I asked Kirk about the FB change he got indignant. Not with me but with the algorithmic sucking baboons at Facebook. Image result for angry gorilla face

“I uploaded some YouTube video to post, but my YouTube handle is KLMaurice, the gangster of love, and Facebook would not, could not allow that. Not in a house, not with a mouse. Not with a goat, not in a boat. Not here or there, not anywhere. A federal investigation ensued. I was called to testify in front of Bob Mueller and found to have had some Mai Tais with Black Russians back when I used to drink vodka, and that was that. The Facebook FBI blindfolded me and made me erase my Username. I thought they were going to shoot me, but fortunately for me an impending government shut down prevented them from working overtime, so they just left me at my laptop, alone and without a name.Image result for pictures of a blindfolded man

“But let me tell you something: I got a name! I got a name! And I carry it with me like my daddy did. But I’m livin’ the dream that he kept hid.”

The bar mitzah kosher spa erupted, “Go Bale. Go Round. Go, go, go.” He kept going…Image result for wild bar singing pictures

“Like the fool I am and I’ll always be
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Oh, I know I could share it if you’d want me to
If you’re goin’ my way, I’ll go with you

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The Dawg Pound was being wagged by its nubby tail, the tale of a mighty man who would not be denied. “So I changed it to KLMaurice. And that’s the God’s honest truth. I lived a short but happy life as Chief Round Bale before my untimely nominal death. Damn Clintons!!”

645. Forty Years Under the Sun

Image result for sicily photosWe always said that one day we were going to Italy, my wife and I. Whenever we came across Italian landscapes in books or movies or television shows, “Ahhh, we’ve got to go there and savor the sensory uploads. So beautiful, delicious, joyous, etc.”  Watching “Under the Tuscan Sun” was almost painful because of the envy we felt to be there instead of watching at home on Netflix. “Yes, one day you can be Diane Lane and I’ll be the costar of your choice.”

Image result for stills from under the tuscan sun

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“Probably the old man who stops by the wall every day to leave flowers for his dead wife’s memory.”

“Honey, if you died before me, I’d visit the shrine I built for you every day.”

“Yeah, until you met Diane Lane.”

“Well, you can’t blame a man tortured by grief.”Image result for grief stricken man photos

In any event we are finally going next June, a mere seven months from now. All around  Sicily and then across the toe of the boot up to Rome, if we don’t get kidnapped by Mafia types who extort our friends and family for exorbitant sums of money or cheese. If  you receive one of those shady emails from Italy in June, please pay the ransom promptly in Euros. It’ll be real this time. No, on second thought don’t. Then they’ll have to keep us and feed us in paradise until I annoy them into disgorging us like spoiled escargot. Image result for old man eating alone in italy cafe

In any event I am stoked in an old guy kind of way, full of a patient anticipation I never mastered in my youth. Youth was too intense all the time, at least that’s how I saw and felt it. Medication would have helped, but I had no clue then. However, I’ll take the Mediterranean treatment now. I’m getting soft and oozy inside like mascarpone cheese just imagining the light, the breezes, and the living history at every turn. Spread me on some fresh baked bread and eat me with olive tapenade.Image result for pictures of taormina

Dancing with my bride last Saturday also felt like a time travel experience. The band played classic rock songs from back in the day. We did our best to cha cha and swing to them, and we had some limited success; but let’s face it: no single dance can parallel Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Still, you can have silly fun with its many changes in tempo.”I’m just a poor boy. Carry on, carry on. Momma I just killed a man. Galileo (was his name).Magnifico! Momma Mia. Never let me go.”

What struck me was my wife’s enduring beauty throughout the song and more so throughout the changing tempos of our life together. She’s recently had her hair highlighted and layered, which just means a better frame for her gorgeous, smiling face. Her espresso brown eyes were full of energetic fun as we spun around the floor. Her trim figure floated across from me in firm jeans and cute sneakers. I was stuck in a time warp… as if it were forty years ago. We didn’t know how to dance then or how to be vulnerable to one another. She says I dance with my mouth open, and no wonder! I’m in awe. Depending on how you look at it, the result could be a tragic missed opportunity or a wonderful late life discovery. I prefer the latter option. I’m not much for living in the land of regret.Image result for land of regret photos

I found my mind wandering. I swear she is getting younger and prettier as I turn wrinkled and silvery like some old flying carp swimming against the current of time.Image result for silver carp photos

Now most bloggers would simply stop with such an awkward non sequitur, realizing they had lost their audience with the flying carp simile. Not me. No way, Jose. I have just begun to launch into the verbosity zone.

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1979 was the year we married in a dark Richmond, Virginia courthouse. It was July 10th or 20th, of that we can be certain. Only our marriage license knows for sure, and I haven’t seen it in decades. It might be in my high school year book which I have not seen in decades either. My folks were on a cruise to Bermuda, as I recall. Her folks were not fans of mine for many years. Whaaaat? They wanted a tuna with good taste. Actually until we brought their first grandchild home, I was a bad tuna. Then everything was cool. Let’s just say there were mixed reactions to our impulsive marriage. We borrowed a friend’s Volkswagen beetle and away we went. Yes, we had no car, just a pair of ten speed bikes in a one bedroom apartment across the alley from Club Fame. Our unit was on the first floor, no air conditioning.Related image

On the sweltering summer nights some of Club Fame’s buzzed up patrons would sit on the steps outside our bedroom window at 2 or 3 a.m. and talk dramatically about their lives while eight feet away my new wife and I struggled to sleep without sweating to death. On more than one occasion I leaned out and told the little group, “Hey, we’re trying to sleep here, so could you get the Hell out of there?” Although Club Fame burned down later in the summer, I was not a suspect.

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Many other events unfolded in that apartment. One was a gun battle in the alley next to our apartment. I was two hours away in Northern Virginia at the time when my terrified bride called me from the live ammo scene. I had only words to protect her that night… “Call the police!” A week later we bought a used .38 special and practiced shooting it in the countryside. It sat unused for 14 years when we traded it in for a mountain bike for our 14 year old daughter. Strange journey, I know. The bike is long gone, but I bet that .38 special is still working just fine. Hmmm, guns and beautiful women stand the tests of time, I guess.  Maybe the Sicilian Mafia needs to watch out for me.

 

 

644. Associations

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So once again we gathered at the CNN, Coffee Nation Noodledrome. Droll Joel to my right; Doogie Doug at my left; Stoic Steve across from me, whispering, “Taze me, bro. Come on; it’ll be fun.” The chatter was drifting like acrid cigarette smoke in puffs and wisps. Joel was blathering about not joining the Freemasons years ago when a business associate groomed him to at least attach to the Masons for his own financial gains.  “It would be great for business;  he said that to me. ‘Making good men, better.’ What a load of crap! More like ‘Making greedy men greedier.'”

“Now I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but I resisted. He pressed me to just pay the dues; I didn’t have to go to the meetings. Well, I said no to the Masons. I didn’t want in on their secret handshake club.”Related image

I was stunned. “Joel, when have you not compromised yourself for filthy lucre?”

“I knew you’d say that. I have had a few scruples in my life.”

“I’m so glad for you and your few scruples.”Image result for two old guys stare down photos

My mind wandered toward Doogie as he inquired, “Hey, when can I come over to measure your office rooms for laying that flooring?”

”Tomorrow would be good”

”Great Doogie”…  “lay that floor”… “What about those Masons, Joel?”Related image

In a nanosecond I spliced Doogie with Mason and the verb “lay” and a 20 year old memory lit up from my middle school teacher days. It was a pleasant day in my memory, I think. Likely spring since I knew the kids’ names on this day, even the kid ahead of me as I walked out to the buses parked diagonally between the high school and middle school. His name was Mason, an odd duck of a kid. Short, pale, bespectacled, curly haired and slightly warped. He was kicking anything he could get his shoes on– a rock, another kid’s shoe, a tree stump, even the railing of the bridge we were crossing over the creek on the path up to the bus ramp. [I know, I know… a walk on sentence.]

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I approached him. “Whoa, buddy!! Mason, what’s going on here, buddy?”

“I’m pissed.”

“Yeah, I can see that. You’ve kicked everything in and around the path. You’re gonna wear out your Nikes, man. What’s buggin’ you?”

With no hesitation this twelve year old kid who barely knew me sputtered, “All my friends are getting laid and I’m not!”Related image

I had to inhale my laughter so as not to complicate his imaginary grief. Still, I chuckled a bit. “Buddy, dude, they hey, hey, hey, are lying to you. They’re re re re not getting laid. Come on, man. They’re just telling you stories.”

And this is where the power of the television stork laid a memorable neon pink egg on my consciousness. I’ll never forget his next statement.

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“Well, Doogie Howser got laid last night on t.v. !” He said this with as much certainty as I might have reported that JFK was assassinated when I was seven years old or when Reagan or Lennon was shot in the early 1980’s. I mean, I saw it. It was indisputably true. Such was Mason’s passionate conviction.

Again, I had to suppress my bursting humor balloon. “Mason, you know Doogie is just a t.v. character, right? I mean, he’s not real.”

“So? He still got laid and I haven’t yet, and no girl is interested in me, and probably never will be.” He just kicked the bare ground again, this time in total desperate frustration.Related image

I wish I’d been able to tell him that Neil Patrick Harris, aka “Doogie Howser”, would one day announce that he was gay and that the whole Doogie Howser bit was a television fantasy on a grand scale. NPH would one day care more about selling Heineken beer than getting jiggy with a woman, but I did not have access to those secrets on that day. I tried to reassure Mason that he had a lot to look forward to in life, and maybe one day a girl would find him really attractive if he showed his best, but in the mean time kicking stones was not a real impressive introduction to the girls he wished to get sexual with.Image result for neil patrick harris heineken commercial headshots

“Being angry is not sexy, man. Girls like a smiling, smooth approach.” I lied. I had no idea what girls liked. I’m sure I had also kicked rocks when I was in seventh grade wearing my green polyester pants with a new sexual awareness that was seeking expression and validation. I’m sure I imagined my wiser and luckier peers getting all sorts of action while I was getting all sorts of pimples. Life is not fair when you’re twelve and can’t see beyond the moment you are in.Image result for boy alone on beach at sunset photo

It’s tough being a boy without a clue and not even knowing what questions to ask and to whom. I just know that girls spoke a foreign language back then and I had no translator when I was 12. Not too sure I speak their language any better fifty years later. What I did know was that I could have used a sensei or mentor long ago, one who could reassure me that I’d get lucky and find contentment if I just did my own natural thing. You know, spent my energy figuring out who I was before trying to be some junior high stud, which did not exist in my junior high days either. Boys lied to one another then too. Claiming the impossible sexual conquest of a virginal thirteen year old girl was nearly equal to it being reality… sort of, for a hot second or two until it was verified that you were lying. Fantasy precedes facts, right? Believe to achieve?

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In any event we all reluctantly get on our school bus and go home, hoping and praying that our fortune will soon change. Did the cute girl in the second row just put a lingering look of lust on me?  No, but a guy can dream. Maybe one day I’ll get my own beer commercial.