753. Leonard the Sex Magnet

Leonard used to be the Boro meter reader, and a cracker jack one at that. He’d step over comatose bodies and wrestle live pythons to get to the gas or electric meters all over town. He knew the inner workings of old buildings, every cellar, every back alley, every cut up apartment building utility closet. He wore a ring of brass and chrome keys to a hundred locks. It must have weighed five pounds.

Image result for barney fife picturesPicture Barney Fife from Mayberry but with a meter reader’s uniform. Same bantam rooster physique and strut, only no gun belt. He came into the coffee shop religiously at 2:45 p.m. most weekdays, on his way back to the garage and the time clock. “Best job I ever had”, is what he’d say about his work. Image result for sex magnet pictures

In the winter he wore insulated pants with hand warmers. In the summer he wore shorts that showed off his parboiled chicken legs. It was on a summer day when I was sitting with Leonard shooting the breeze across from a table of five middle aged women. Leonard stood up and stretched his legs, rattling his keys simultaneously. His knee caps bulged suggestively. I took the opportunity to say a little too loud, “Leonard, you are a sex magnet!” He smiled and struck a pose while the female table exploded in laughter, which caused me to laugh, which caused Leonard to keep readjusting his rooster pose. It was quite a moment, deserving of more than mere blog memorialization. Image result for civil war soldier monuments pictures

As his retirement from the Boro meter reader career approached, we discussed the appropriateness of replacing the Civil War soldier, who faces south from our town’s main square, with a bronze sculpture of the ever vigilant Leonard wielding his keys like a Ninja throwing star weapon. The general enthusiasm, however, was not matched with exuberant donations in the Leonard Bronze Statue jar I set up. After two weeks on the counter, we raised only eleven cents, a Bingo chip, a magnet, and a couple of funny notes. Eventually he started visiting the local Starbucks and our ways diverged. Once in a great while our paths still cross at his antiques business, but it’s nothing like the Barney Fife days. Maybe we should have just made something in wax or fiberglass, ice or butter. History cannot and should not be forgotten. And yet… it is. Image result for trust building chambersburg pa pictures

On the other side of the Square, the old five story bank building was recently torn down to make way for a sleek new courthouse project. Here again history has become mystery. As Coffee Nation’s official historian/consigliere Joel taught us years ago, a significant event occurred there about one hundred years ago. Are you ready for this factoid?  The Human Fly fell to his death there, right there, in our little town!! Now, inconceivably, not so much as a bronze plaque or a chalk outline tells the story … how a brave World War I veteran scaled the edifice in front of several thousand under entertained spectators. And how as he struggled to pull himself into the fifth floor window via an old bicycle inner tube, it snapped. Whap!  The Human Fly hurtled to his pesticidal death below. He did not expire on the spot, my good citizens. No. He struggled for another 24 hours and died in the local hospital. There was some salty talk later on regarding his female traveling companion who was not his wife.  She was on the other end of that dry rotted bike inner tube, guilty as sin of, uh, something too terrible to type. Old newspapers did not report  her name because, I would guess, of her shame. Okay, it was Dolly.

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What a shame it is when history is literally burned to the ground! This second picture is roughly of the same intersection as the previous photo. Note that the Neoclassical columns are the same in both photos. If you are not from around here, then you would not know that Turtle Town was incinerated by the invading Confederate Army in 1864 on their way to Gettysburg, where they got what was coming to them. Local historians tell us that the Rebels wanted horses, money, and other booty. They were also pissed off that local men were not in some military uniform and spoke German. Can you imagine it? The Human Fly fell to his death at that very spot about fifty years later!

Some think it’s a stretch, but I firmly believe if we’d had the Mighty Leonard protecting our town at the Square in 1864, fully armed with his Ninja key chain and inimitable smile, I really don’t think the Rebs would have dared extort our fair town. I mean, would you?

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752. The Boy Who Failed Himself

Image result for cherub faced boy with curly hair picsMike was the nicest kid you’d ever want to meet. Helpful, bright, polite, cheerful. He was generally kind to others and did above average work in all of his classes for one marking period. Short, curly brown hair, with a round cherub face, his pants were always longer than his legs. He had a good sense of humor and wit, but somewhere in the second marking period of seventh grade he quit doing homework and anything outside of class. He also seemed to intentionally fail quizzes and tests in class. Otherwise he continued being a cheerful helper to his classmates and likely the smartest student in my fourth period English class.silent-teenager-boy

Naturally I and my team of fellow teachers scheduled a conference with his rather distracted and ditzy mother. She seemed to listen and not be present at the same time, in addition to being late and generally lost in the school building. It was not clear to us that Mike even lived with her. His was a fluid family that did not include a dad, but did include an aunt with cousins in another house or two. In any event there was not a lot of structure wherever home actually was.

When I approached Mike about the inconsistency between his in-class knowledge and performance versus his failing grades and nonexistent homework, he nonchalantly replied, “Well, I’m dumb.”Image result for I'm dumb pictures

I was surprised at this answer from a clearly above average student. I responded, “No, I know dumb, and you are not it. Plus truly dumb people don’t tell others that they are dumb. They change the subject and hide their deficiencies. What’s the real deal, Mike?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Uhh, you’re just wrong.”

“What’s going on is wrong. I’ll spot you that much. But I am not wrong about you, Mike. You are the brightest kid in this class. You might as well be my teacher’s aide. You help others learn. Dumb people can’t do that. You have to know what you are teaching, and you expect me to believe that you can teach the material but simultaneously not know anything?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Okay. I hope you change your mind. I hate putting F’s next to your name. Actually I’m not the one putting them there. You are.”Image result for middle schoolers on stage pictures

Mike did not bail out on chorus or the school play. He shone brightly in both. He was a good actor and had a nice voice. You can’t hide talent. Despite further attempts to dissuade Mike from his academic suicide mission, he persisted in sandbagging himself to failure. My team of teachers all liked and enjoyed him, but we could not break through the mystery of the boy who failed himself. He had to repeat seventh grade with a new team of teachers.30 pk. - VA612 Honor Roll Certificates - 8 1/2" x 11"

Not surprisingly he was on the Honor Roll all the next year long. The snarky teachers on the other team took credit for some sort of academic breakthrough. The evidence (at least some of it, but far from the entirety) pointed out that this boy had failed the second half of seventh grade on our team and was an academic star on theirs. Yep, partial truths are all you need for a good conspiracy theory. The truth was a bit more slippery.

Mike continued to shine in eighth grade and through his high school years. He’d occasionally drop by the middle school to visit with his former teachers before the days of school lock downs began. One day in his late senior year he dropped in to share with one of his eighth grade teachers that he was gay. Stunned and befuddled, she sent him down to talk to me. Image result for high school graduation pictures

When he shared his “news” with me, I told him I’d known he was gay in seventh grade. It was not a secret.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Not my story to tell. You figured it out eventually anyway. Now you are tutoring kids in elementary school, and Mrs. Kim tells me you’re going to college to be a teacher.”

“Yeah. Ironic, huh?”Image result for images of irony

“More mysterious, I’d say. Are you ready to tell me why you flunked yourself six years ago?”

“Well, I guess…you remember the kids in seventh grade that year?”

“Yeah, a lot of them were mean and rude.”

“Right. See I’d been moving along through school with them for years. They mocked me and bullied me for being girly and short and a goody goody.”Vegan Bullying

“I didn’t know that. I only saw that you were well liked in general.”

“It took a lot of work to manage that balance. Anyway, I knew the kids in the grade below me were way nicer and more accepting. So I decided to repeat seventh grade and let them catch up to me.”

“So that was your secret mission? You played miserably dumb in order to happily flourish a year later?”Image result for double agent images

“Yeah. I’m glad I did too. I’m way happier than I would have been with those thugs. Plus, with the gay thing I was already a double agent.”

“Mike, I’m so sorry that was the only way out or through your struggle. I hope we didn’t make it any worse for you.”

“No. I mean I knew all of you cared for me. You were nice and encouraging. All of you told me you believed in me. It was not your failure.”Image result for penn state educators images

“Still, I have to believe there was another way through that crap.”

“It’s okay. I’m fine. I’m going to Penn State in the fall.”

“I’m glad for you, Mike.”


Four or five years later I was attending graduation for another late bloomer friend of mine at Penn State. I heard names called that were familiar– former students or friends of my children. However, the biggest heart thump I had that day was to hear Mike’s name as he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Education. Fortunately for me I ran into him in the lobby as I was leaving. He was still short with curly brown hair and a cherub face. Only now the face had some stray hairs on the chin and upper lip. His pants were still too long for his legs.

Ironic, huh?Image result for images of irony

751. 2 Yacht

Image result for silver mercedes sl500 picturesYep, you can’t make this up: in front of me in the merging lane coming in to town this morning was a silver SL 500 Mercedes Benz with a middle-aged male driver. His vanity license plate read “2 Yacht”.  Okay, I guess he wants the guy behind him literally and figuratively to know that he is on his way “To His Yacht”… and you’re not. I get it. If you need to flaunt your advantages, you are in the right lane, right time, right culture to do so all day long. Narcissism is rampant. It’s not enough to be successful materially; you must grind those behind you in line. “Yes, I have an eight million dollar house, and I noticed that you don’t.”Image result for million dollar homes pictures florida

Being me, my self-absorbed self thought of my own imaginary vanity plate on the backside of my 12 year old Civic, so I could pass this dude and make him read mine at the next light. “Tupac”, or “2Pac” would do if someone already beat me to the first one. Now he’d have to read my obtuse reference to Tupac Shakur, and he’d have to wonder how the other side lives, what they think, and maybe feel. I’m not a rap historian, but I do like break out biographies. Tupac’s bio seems as good as any. Singing about the very mean streets of life (his parents were real Black Panthers back when that was a non fiction thing) actually led him to great success… until he was shot to death in a drive by.Image result for tupac license plate images

I’m not suggesting anything here. God knows we have enough gun deaths in the U.S. without adding another. Still, I’d like to see a reversal of the “I’m ahead and better than you” attitude that seems ever increasing in our culture. Maybe it’s always been there and I’m just catching up. Dunno. In my six plus decades of life I’ve found more and more dividers placed between the social strata in America with labels and brands and a general prissiness about making sure those of position and status are recognized as such. If you manage to find success or wealth, you’re nouveau rich or some such impostor. Silly stuff, really, but labels are needed at the zoo so we don’t confuse panthers with hyenas; likewise in traffic. Hmmm, but we all pay the same taxes for the right to sit on a backed up but recently paved highway.Image result for panthers and hyenas in zoo pictures

So I guess that’s why I’m an admirer of Warren Buffett. He was born in the Depression but was not defined by it. Even as a kid he found ways to make an honest buck.Image result for warren buffett pictures in youth

Buffett displayed an interest in business and investing at a young age. He was inspired by a book he borrowed from the Omaha public library at the age of seven, One Thousand Ways to Make $1000. Much of Buffett’s early childhood years were enlivened with entrepreneurial ventures. In one of his first business ventures Buffett sold chewing gum, Coca-Cola bottles, and weekly magazines door to door. He worked in his grandfather’s grocery store. While still in high school, he made money delivering newspapers, selling golf balls and stamps, and detailing cars, among other means. On his first income tax return in 1944, Buffett took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. In 1945, as a high school sophomore, Buffett and a friend spent $25 to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in the local barber shop. Within months, they owned several machines in three different barber shops across Omaha. The business was sold later in the year for $1,200 to a war veteran.Image result for old pinball machines pictures

I know his dad was a Congressman, and that helped. His grandfather owned a grocery store. No surprise that one generation sits on the shoulders of a previous generation. However, it’s highly unlikely that any of Buffett’s progeny will sit on his $90 billion shoulders… especially since he is determined to give his wealth away. Sure, he’s had his multi million dollar home and private jet, but those are more the exception to his conservative rules with money. I can’t imagine sitting behind him in Omaha, Nebraska traffic and reading a vanity plate of his. First of all, there are not enough digits on a license plate to spell out $90,000,000,000. Then again the smartest guy in the room and the richest guy in the room never has to tell you that he is either. It’s usually an insecure punk trying to look like the Made Man.Image result for nebuchadnezzar's image

Back to Tupac… he was a self made man as well, though he started with less.Image result for tupac photos

In 1984, the family moved from New York to BaltimoreMaryland. In Baltimore, Shakur attended Roland Park Middle School for the eighth grade, and then attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for two years. After completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Shakur transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays and in the role of the Mouse King in the ballet The Nutcracker. Shakur, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana “Mouse” Smith, as his beatbox, won many rap competitions and was considered to be the best rapper in his school. He was remembered as one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor, superior rapping skills, and ability to mix with all crowds.Image result for tupac shakur images

How about that? I’m guessing you didn’t see that coming any more than I did… Shakespeare and Tchaikovsky and ballet? Hmmm. Lots of rhythm and music and dance there. Maybe there is more to the guy than a thug mug shot reveals.

“The seed must grow regardless of the fact that it’s planted in stone.” 

When no one even cared
The rose it grew from concrete
Keepin all these dreams
Provin nature’s laws wrong
It learned how to walk without havin feet
It came from concrete

So Mr. 2 Yacht, Mr. Buffett, Imma sit this one out and roll with 2 Pac. Real. Life is gonna be short if you grow outta concrete. Image result for flowers growing from concrete pictures

 

750. Conspiracy Theories

witch-broomstickYou can’t swing a witch’s broom around without hitting a conspiracy theory these days. Remember the 3 million illegal voters who changed clothes at the voting sites to pump up the Hillary votes in California? After a thorough investigation by bootlicker former Kansas attorney general Chris Kobach, he didn’t either. They just disappeared again! Dang, they are some crafty phantom voters.Image result for chris kobach pictures

He launched an unsuccessful bid for Kansas’ governor in the 2018 election, earning Trump’s endorsement. But he remained wildly unpopular and lost to Democrat Laura Kelly.

 

In 2018, a judge also overturned the restrictive voter ID law that Kobach had championed, saying he failed to provide evidence that it was necessary or that there had been widespread voter fraud.

What’s most surprising to me is that Kobach did not launch another investigation into voter fraud after he lost his election. That would have been even better if the conspiracy theorist launched a voter fraud investigation into his own losing campaign as a conspiracy. Hmmm, who would hire a guy like that? Oh, yeah, the Loser in Chief, author of the Cheato Diet, #45. Image result for kobach and trump pictures together

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[Editor’s note: the first dumb and dumber photo is Trump and Kobach.]

I like to get into the etymology of words to unlock their meanings. Let’s do this with conspire.  Con- means “with or together”; spire comes from the Latin verb spirare, “to breathe”. If you put them together, you get “breathe together” or “to be of one spirit”. When I imagine a conspiracy I think of a group of pirates or criminals breathing together, chatting in hushed tones. “Now, no one else can know what we’re doing here. It’s illegal and nefarious, so the fewer the better, maties.” That’s a conspiracy. Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no piracy in conspiracy. It’s just a weird coincidence that sailors and sea robbers where once called pirata.Image result for pirates pictures

Anyway, in our book club’s recent selection on American conspiracies there were a baker’s dozen minus one of conspiracies. We had the birth of income tax/federal reserve in 1913; Pearl Harbor in 1941; JFK and MLK’s assassinations; 9/11; AIDS and much more. The thing about conspiracies is similar to mythology: you can’t prove or disprove it… unless you get science involved and go through rigorous examination.  But who needs that kind of energy investment? Aint nobody got time for that! So we throw a bunch of crap against the wall and see what sticks. “There’s our proof!!! It’s linkage, so it is.”Image result for throwing crap against the wall gif

The following is a conspiracy theory interview with Norman Poorman, conspiracy theorist. Today’s topic comes from 1963, the JFK assassination.

“Please, Norman, slow your emotional roll and explain it in simple terms.”

Deep breath. “I don’t like to go slow. It takes the carbonation out of my juice. That’s exactly what the CO2 lobby wants.”

“Try.”

“Okay. So Jack Ruby once served LBJ a whiskey in his bar in Dallas.”

“Uh huh.”

“And Ruby later shot Oswald as the cops were taking him to court.”

“Yes, we have photographic evidence which proves that beyond doubt.”Image result for ruby shoots oswald photo

“And Oswald killed Kennedy.”

“So the Warren Report concluded after an exhaustive study of the testimony and evidence of hundreds of folks.”

“Right. So there’s the link from Kennedy to Oswald to Ruby to Johnson.”

“Okay, you have a link. But by your “logic” everyone Jack Ruby served a drink in his bar has a link to Kennedy’s assassination.”

“But LBJ had the most to gain from Kennedy’s death. Plus it was his home state where he could control all the investigators.”

“True. LBJ grew up in and represented the state of Texas forever before he became JFK’s unlikely Vice President. They did not like one another.”

“See. There’s the proof. LBJ hated Kennedy, so he orchestrated all these folks to kill him in Dallas. Plus he was in the car behind Kennedy so he had an alibi.”

“And your theory rules out everyone else who hated Kennedy and might gain from his death?”Image result for two men whispering to each other photo

“Duhhh!! Conspiracy theories don’t rule stuff out. They are inductive. They are like vacuum cleaners– they suck up a lot of stuff and the truth is in there. Somebody on the fringe has to go through it all and sort out the pattern. [In sotto voce, i.e. Italian whispers] Our government can’t be  trusted. They’ve  been compromised. Local police too. Academics are even worse. They are on the payroll of the One World Government crew. Only a handful of really special patriots like me can know these secrets. Otherwise it’s just general knowledge.”

“Norm, how is this any different from gossip?”Image result for mockingbird pictures

“Are you flippin’ kiddin’ me? Gossip is petty stuff. Nobody cares about whether you embezzled a few thousand dollars or had an affair with your sister in law. That’s so much chump change in the bigger scheme of things, Dude. Conspiracies involve HUGE issues, cover ups, byzantine plots, double agents, false flags, and stuff like that. Most of my favorite conspiracies are global, man. Like multinational intrigue with cabals, secret societies, and secret treasures buried under old churches.”

“I think I saw that movie with Nicholas Cage, right?”

“It was based on a true story.”

“No it wasn’t. Nick Cage movies are always fake.”

“That’s what they want you to think.”Image result for national treasure movie posters

“Norm, who are THEY?”

“The conspirators, the Illuminati, Masons, World Council, Rockefeller Triumvirate, and the Pope/NATO alliance. They are the they.

“Like The Davinci Code with all the intrigue and the pope gets murdered and then the guy takes the ticking bomb off in a helicopter and returns three days later as the New Messiah?”

“Exactly. Based on another true story.”Image result for the davinci code movie posters

“Norm, it’s a book of fiction, that means NOT TRUE.”

“No, there’s where you’re wrong. Non fiction is not true. Fiction is true. Look it up.”

“Norm, I don’t need to look it up. Non fiction is true stuff; fiction is made up stuff.”

“Oh, I see. They’ve gotten to you too.”

“No, I’m coming at you with facts, Bro. Just ask a librarian.”

“Sure. Is that your code word? Are you recording this?”

“Ahhhhhhhh!!!”Image result for the all seeing eye image

 

 

 

 

749. That Dream

Image result for dream imagesI had That Dream again last night. It’s the one where I have to go back to high school to get my 1974 diploma. You see, I graduated a year early (1973) from a night school program while attending Hayfield High School in Northern Virginia during the day time hours. Why? Well, my buddies were doing it. Somewhere, someone got the word that if we just took Civics and English 12 at night school for a few months, we could skip out on the drudgery of our entire senior year, thus starting the work/party mode early. Night school was an odd collection of like minded stoners and other fellow travelers from nearby schools, plus green card adults from El Salvador or Guatemala. Maybe a single young mom or two in the mix as well. Image result for welcome back kotter photos

The Dream is not about night school or the “free” year I gained thereby. Night school was pretty easy and unchallenging. We got credit for attending a play. I think I went to see Oneill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” at Arena Stage, maybe? I memorized and recited Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us” for another dog bone of credit. I can still do it from memory.  “The world is too much with us, late and soon. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers—“. And yes, we laid waste our powers. I believe the oddball wanker teacher would have given out much more grade candy if he could have gotten away with teenaged boy sex crimes. Funny what you remember and cannot forget…things you just know. Overall I don’t have any bad memories about the experience. It was nothing more than a terminal bus ride away from the steaming drama of high school. Image result for night school images

No, The Dream I have unwinds in a hauntingly familiar fashion– I start out at my childhood home in Virginia Hills and hitchhike down King’s Highway toward Telegraph Road, on the way to my alma mater. I might put my thumb out at the intersection of The Parkway or over the first hill where the chained entrance to the gravel pit used to be. Those touchstones are as clear as the keyboard I’m typing on today. In last night’s version I was picked up by a couple of drugged up mullet heads who were driving what appeared to be a pimped out Acid Test tour bus. Each end had a complete dashboard with steering wheel and pedals. Each hippy driver could go either direction. Symbolic.Image result for washington d.c. open sided tour buses photos

I sensed something not quite kosher, but I got on the bus, so to speak. The next thing I recall is being at a building just past my high school, telling folks who showed concerned interest that I needed to go over and pick up my official diploma. “I know, I know”, I reassured the dream people. “I am old and graduated undergraduate and graduate schools, but this diploma thing must be straightened out. You see, I went to night school, and there must have been some confusion. Plus I never got credit for that geography class I suffered through with freshmen in my junior year. I have to fix this hole.”Image result for hayfield high school photos

That’s The Dream. I’ve had it in one form or fashion for 40 years. It’s sits in my unconscious, an undigested leopard seal. It’s illegitimate, like a murder of someone way long ago that needs to be expiated. Only… how? There is no conscious way back. Heck, I even lost my high school ring in England in early 1974. The finder tracked it back to my alma mater but made no attempt to repatriate it with me. Damn Brits! Trainspotters and bird watchers who call french fries chips! Image result for sleepwalker images

Other versions of The Dream have a prelude where I am looking for a car I once owned. I know I can drive to school. I just need to find my primer gray ’59 Volkswagen bug. I parked it in my unconscious around 1972. I have a key sometimes but no car, or the car and no key. You know how fickle dreams can be. Still the goal is to get down the road about four miles to my high school, from where I have never actually graduated. Thus the unconscious dilemma.1961 VW Beetle Sunroof Ragtop Clip Complete with Sliding Mechanism

Last night had an unwelcome bonus dream reel. My eldest brother, whom I have not seen in 15 years, was also trying to get back to a place in time. A place where he made chaos and confusion a habit. Williamsburg, near the campus of William and Mary College. He did bad things to good people I knew, and later practiced revisionist history to excuse himself. In The Dream he needed to go and correct his past in Williamsburg. “How will you get there?” I asked him. “I have a red pick up truck”, came the answer, though I did not see his face. He had a bag of fast food on a tray along with a tall cup of Hardees coffee. Maybe it was Dunkin Donuts. No matter.  As I was about to tell him he had no such truck, he hit the floor and the large cup of coffee was empty. Still no face. Just him curled on the floor like a semi colon.Image result for victim curled on sidewalk photos

I’d seen him splayed out different times like that. Run out of a bar or a party where he was not welcome. Cursing wildly on a greasy pavement. Winded. Stunned. I remember running him out of Richmond before he landed in Williamsburg.  With perfect strangers he practiced nasty smugness as if he were some intellectual sophisticate, deigning to be with such impoverished peons. I had to sucker punch him in the gut and drag him down a steep flight of stairs to keep him from a more serious beating that he seemed to be courting at a Halloween party. Yeah, he gasped for breath and raged at me for evicting him from his sure destruction. No matter. By then it was a pattern I’d learned. You can’t save a person from his past.Image result for moody blues future passed images

748. Man Nations / Damnations

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Is a country a man? In totalitarian states this is the case. North Korea is Kim. Russia is Putin. China is Xi. Turkey is Erdogan. Syria is Assad. The Philippines is Duterte. Saudi Arabia is Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Any action of disobedience or words of criticism of these men are met with expulsion, imprisonment, torture, or death. The boundaries, treasuries, and natural resources of these countries belong to these monarchs, whether they call themselves divine right kings or not. Each of these totalitarian rulers has unbridled control over their law enforcement and military services. Oh, and the press is bent to their will; there can be no free press in such compromised nations. Strong men autocrats are prison wardens who cannot lead free men with logic, modeling, and vision, so they cower their unfortunate captives with fear and extortion. They run propaganda loops over and over to hypnotize and anesthetize their people into compliance. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Franco, Mussolini, et al lived in a fragile ego state of paranoia. These self anointed gods allowed no distinction between the Fatherland and their own bodies. Any threat to the Fatherland was a threat to their persons.Image result for symbolic images of the law

Here in the United States one would hope for different outcomes since we were founded on democratic not autocratic principles. Law is the high standard established in our Constitution, under which three co-equal branches of government are supposed to abide in the glare of a free press. For over two centuries we have witnessed the pull and push of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency as they occasionally stray out of their appointed lanes. The press has not been innocent either.  Balance is built in to the original design to prevent runaway mavericks in any of the three branches. We are fond of saying in our courts, “No man is above the law.” But reality is another thing entirely.Image result for image of a man above the law

Unfortunately, human beings are greedy, selfish, power hungry creatures who need to be limited in the exercise of their freedoms. We limit speech in some instances, although it is the first and most important amendment. We limit firearms to some degree although it is near the top of the founding fathers’ hierarchy of amendments. Oddly enough, the third amendment guarantees no soldier shall be quartered, in a time of peace, in any house without the consent of the owner…. That does not get too much airplay these days, I suppose, because few wars have been fought on U.S. soil. We hear more about Amendment #4, no unreasonable search or seizure. And so on, and so on as we wind through law upon law, most of which were written to correct previous injustices. Law seems to follow crime not precede it. Sort of like traffic signals follow deadly wrecks. Image result for image of a man above the law

And now we come to the inevitable point. Our current President posits himself above the law. He always has. He was above the draft. Later he was above fair housing laws in avoiding renting to black citizens. Then there was the Central Park Five debacle wherein he decided he was judge, jury and executioner in the matter. He would avenge all the God fearing whites and non blacks from these rapists. Massah Trump was gonna open up a can of spray tan on them boys, or make sure that they were given the death penalty. Not a trial, mind you, but a lynching. Mr. Above the Law was gonna make sure that those thugs were below the law. Hell, that’s his penthouse address. Image result for image of a man above the law

Trump’s crooked lawyers are legendary, starting with the horribly perverse Roy Cohn, celebrity and mob boss attorney. Roy was disbarred shortly before he died for the following infraction….

In 1986, Cohn was disbarred from the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court for unethical conduct after attempting to defraud a dying client by forcing the client to sign a will amendment leaving him his fortune. (Ironically or not, he, Roy, died a week later. Yeah!)

One hospital attendant testified in a Florida court that Cohn “tried to take (Rosenstiel’s) hand for him to sign” the codicil to his will. The lawyer eventually emerged with a document bearing what the New York judges described as “a number of ‘squiggly’ lines which in no way resemble any letters of the alphabet.”Image result for roy cohn

Top shelf talent for a Mafia Boss. But, heck, Roy could be an anomaly, you know, except that he isn’t. Michael Cohen followed in the storm trooper thug boots years later as Mr. Trump’s personal attorney. As you know, Michael is sitting in federal prison now for a variety of charges. Roger Stone was not an attorney, but he did dirty deeds for Trump and many others in politics. Here’s a nice triptych of three Trump Stooges– Stone, Cohen, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s criminal campaign manager and Ukraine operative. All three have been convicted of a variety of crimes. All of them sat on Trump’s lap at one time, though he claims he hardly knew them. A similar claim he makes about the women he either sexually assaulted or paid to have sex with. Quality through and through, Massah Messiah of the Far Gone Right Wing Chic Filet Crowd.

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But still on the loose is free range, deranged Rudy Guiliani. He used to fight crime as mayor of NYC. Now he is crime for DJT. Nuttier than a squirrel on crystal meth.

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The point is this: when a nation becomes enmeshed with its cultic leader, bad things happen. His royal guard rise up to defend his wee boo boos. No one can be harsh to the Donnie Llama. His tender feet will never touch road tar, nor will his tender butt ever be spanked for his many transgressions. His Royal Indulgence will continue in the same perverse arc of his life. He simply can’t be wrong, so the world outside must be wrong. His sibilant sycophants sing in unison, “Make the World Go Away”, and it does in an opium dream. Good night, Man Nation. Hello Damnation.Image result for white house on fire images

747. Contrafiction

Image result for groundhog day images movie"Here we are on an unusually warm February day in central PA with the windows open, trying to avoid using air conditioning. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow on Sunday, whatever that means. If he sees it on a sunny day, then it’s six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it’s 42 days till spring.  I think Punxsutawney Phil is covering his dirty little groundhog butt. Like the drunk who drinks if his team wins; who also drinks if his team loses; who also drinks if it’s a tie, a bye week, preseason, or his team is out of the playoffs. Every answer is right– let’s have a drink. No wonder the eponymous Bill Murray movie was set on Groundhog Day; it is the nadir of winter in the northern hemisphere, i.e., predictably miserable in Punxsutawney, PA. Every day seems like yesterday. What an awful revolving door to be stuck inside with no hope of escape.Image result for revolving door gif"

Snow in July would be just as odd as this warm, humid winter day. Something weird is coming this way. I can feel it with my invisible antenna and feather hairs. My personal aura is vibing virally. Even my Accujazz feed is playing Cole Porter’s Love For Sale. So nasty and contrary, forcing two things into one– sex trafficking and love. Nahhh!Image result for steamy day pictures"

When the only sound in the empty street
Is the heavy tread of the heavy feet
That belongs to a lonesome cop
I open shop
When the moon so long has been gazing down
On the wayward ways of this wayward town
That her smile becomes a smirk,
I go to work.
Love for sale, appetizing young love for sale
Love that’s fresh and still unspoiled
Love that’s only slightly soiled
Love for sale
Who will buy?
Who would like to sample my supply?
Who’s prepared to pay the price
For a trip to paradise?
Love for sale.
Let the poets pipe of love
In their childish way
I know every type of love
Better far than they.
If you want the trill of love,
I’ve been through the mill of love,
Old love, new love,
Every love but true love.
Love for sale.

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First of all, it’s not love. It’s anonymous jaded street sex masquerading as love. All motion and no emotion. So it is… a commodity exchange. Joyless drudgery, grinding grain into flour by the price per hour. “That’ll be $100.” Slink back into the shadows. Lather , rinse, repeat. Image result for bangkok street scenes" A mutual cheat.

And how is a lyrical contradiction related to a meteorological conflux? On an affective level they both feel unnatural. Too much, too soon, the heat and humidity served in a microwaveable dish within mere seconds. Both are false promises whispered behind translucent veils in foreign breaths. Currency is swapped for sextricity. It’s like comparing a sultry fall night in Amsterdam’s De Wallen district to a crisp spring day in Paris with the love of your life. The one feels like morphine; the other like heaven’s glory coursing through your veins. Not the same from start to finish– silver plate versus sterling silver; vinegar versus champagne.Image result for amsterdam's red light district photos"

Long ago a former friend described to me in hushed tones his visit to Amsterdam as a smorgasbord of delights– sex from an exotic menu and hashish from the Middle East. “Whatever, whenever you wanted, man, the works!”  The darkness hung in the air between us. My wife and kids, his kids too, couldn’t know of his pornographic excursion. Too greasy, too salty, too bitter to share.  It was a case of what you talk about talks about you. Absinthe. It’s not a good look for a father of tweenagers to be discussing porneia issues. Not a good smell either, tobacco mixed with sweat and stale beer over a two day body stink. The travelogue had as much appeal for me as his overnight stays in jail for public drunkenness, back when his Sundays were spent looking for his car following black out Saturday nights… Amsterdam, Punxsutawney, Groundhog Day, the entrance hall to Hell. “The last thing I remember was putting the baggie of pills on my car’s roof. Some of the acid on my fingers must have tripped me out.”Image result for psychedelic skies"

Some folks prefer the view of a revolving door. It’s a classier version of a dog chasing its tail because it appears that there is something wrong with the door instead of the dog. Especially if the door anchors a really shiny hotel, glass and chrome with architectural lighting. Yeah, with the right art on the walls and designer brands all around, it doesn’t look like the doorway to Hell. Any day can feel like spring if you crank up the heat and vaporize some essential oils. Add bird calls. A light breeze. Fake light. Any brothel can be tricked out to look like paradise to the desperately empty consumer.Image result for fake movie rain storm set pictures"

Now one more stretch of the ever so thin filament of connectivity and relevance. The greatest fakery of this day happened during the POTUS state of the union speech. The serial adulterer is now a serial political adulterer, if that is not redundant. Yes, he got caught and lied about it, but his clean up people lied and dissembled enough to get him off the hook of accountability one more time. Like his many bankruptcies and out of court settlements, Donnie Boy slinks back into the caverns of Hell claiming exoneration and a martyrdom of sorts, since he is both the greatest victor and victim in world history.  It wonders me how a man can be so self aggrandizing and constantly pull the thin skinned victim card. You cannot be both a whore and a virgin, a sultry and a midwinter day, or a genius who is stuck in a revolving door. Only on reality television is it possible to pull off these mirages and facades. On this midwinter day it’s clear that our White House is a Hollywood facade for a shameful soap opera… as Big Baboon Donnie sings, “Love For Sale”.Image result for trump as a baboon"