767. Epistles Of Thistles

Using the Internet to Learn English - Learn English with UCT ...So Joel has been unavailable for our formal Coffee Nation and informal daily briefings at the coffee shop now going on three weeks. It’s rough. I have no one’s mind to warp, no nerves to jangle and pluck the last of. Fortunately for me but not him, we are connected on Face Book messenger. He contacted me after reading his name in a recent blog post about having a hobby.  He thought he read “having a baby”. I reassured him that he was past the safe age for carrying a child full term. “It would  be too tough on you and the baby since you are over 70. I’m sorry.” He was consolable but just barely.Terrence Williams - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Joel shared his personal regimen that keeps him busy and well these quarantined days. To which I replied…

So glad that my blog motivated you to be productive and indirectly contributed to public safety by keeping you sheltering in place. May I use your post as a testimonial endorsement? I’m thinking of monetizing my blog with some major advertisers– Gold Bond for Men, Denture Glue, Bunion Relief, and Doan’s Arthritis Pills. They are barking at my door for access to my lucrative silver market.UPDATED: Stores Launch Senior Shopping Hours, New Operating Hours ...

A terse reply came quickly…

That would be a NO!

I quibbled…

As in no problem, go ahead; or no worries, sure? They are wolves at my blog door. I can’t hold them back for much longer, Tonto. I might need that silver bullet. I just got an offer from a stool softener company from Wisconsin… cheese tends to constipate the elderly and they see the imminent propulsion my intellectual property may, no, will provide.Amazon.com: DulcoLax Stool Softener, Liquid Gels, 100 Count ...

Without delay or any appreciation of my humor, Joel replied…

As in no, do not use my name. But I will part with my silver bullet, if I can find it. After all I was hit over the head a number of times and the memory is not what it used to be.

Now, dear readers, the silver bullet is a cherished childhood memento for Joel. He received it at the Zembo Temple Shrine in Harrisburg during the 1950’s from the Lone Ranger himself!! I have only seen it once when he brought it to the coffee shop under armed guard. No dollar figure could possibly be put upon this plastic bullet painted over in chrome.

We passed perfunctory comments back and forth until this morning when I sent him the following.Fyodor Dostoevsky - Alma Books

It feels like we have become characters trapped in a 19th century Russian novel, in winter, waiting for Dostoevsky to write our next thought, feeling, or movement. But Fyodor is out of ink for his fountain pen, so we hang here, suspended in our meaningless existence, knowing that the serfs are better off than we are because they cannot think beyond their grumbling bellies. It is our own mental acuity that is severing our minds from our sensory input via the spinal cord; so we look with envy at the peasants who skulk about with only a spinal cord and no minds.Peasants: 1850 - The Golden Age of Russian Literature

“Never mind”, says Alexandra, and I am struck by the profound truth in her two words on this bleak sunless pewter-domed day. I wonder, ‘Are the gods going to lift the cover off this, their serving tray, and pick at us today like so many grilled shrimp?’ but they refuse to lift the dull gray ceiling. Vodka is our only hope.Sensational Baked Blackened Shrimp Recipe | Hostess At Heart

Some time expired as Joel tried to process and respond to such deep philosophical plumbing. At last it came.

I have 8 bottles of gin in the house. If you keep depressing me with this mindless drivel, I will be forced to start drinking with abandon. (Grilled shrimp? How about oysters on the serving tray?)12 Best Gin Brands 2020 - Best Gin for Gin and Tonic

I pounced at the opening in such a tight canyon of insightful opportunity… but I knew I could thread this intellectual needle with… well, more thread.

I expected more from you, Joel. Mindless drivel is what I do. But what to say of a man who edits mindless drivel? Words fail, so I use an acronym–MDE, mindless drivel editor… in chief. Perhaps a refreshing limerick would put some tonic in your gin.Pre-Game Talk: - Jets at NY Rangers - Thurs Oct 3/19 - 6 PM - TSN3 ...

There once was a man from PA who blew on a tuba all day. When in Antarctica he blew, a flock of penguins flew to his feet for the treat of vibres.

Thank you. Thank you. It was nothing really. A mere trifle. Please, no applause.

I’d like to think that Joel appreciates the creativity that I put into his torture. However, minus the body language, the gestures, the tone, and eye contact, the facial expressions– all I have to go on are the mere words, black on a white background. It’s like reading music instead of listening to it played professionally, and I don’t read music, so there.Strike Up the Score: Deriving Searchable and Playable Digital ...

In the void or radio/internet silence I can only conclude that he found his gin and is having a face to face with himself about ever speaking with the Burrito man lo those many years ago. Then again, he could be waiting like I am for Dostoevsky to refill his fountain pen and write us out of here. Hurry, Fyodor, the situation is deteriorating.

A hand writes MENE, MENE, TEKEL and PARSIN on the wall

766. Dear Mr. Fantasy

How 'Dear Mr. Fantasy' Become Traffic's 'Milestone' SongIf you are old enough, you’ll easily recall Steve Winwood’s Traffic song “Dear Mr. Fantasy“and sing along to its cryptic lyrics.  As I watched the latest Trump COVID 19 press conference today, the song burst through from my memory as the proper soundtrack at such Fake News Conferences. He blathered on about sending a hundred million medical things to Italy. Bandaids? Syringes? Aspirin? A bright commentator later mentioned that journalism and science are both fact-based exercises which is why Mr. Trump, aka Mr. Fantasy, has such death match struggles with those disciplines and those who practice the pursuit of truth. Though many will argue that journalists and scientists inflate and obfuscate and suffocate truth, it is inarguable that Donald Trump is the master of lies. His entire life is a lie, from home runs he never hit in high school, to his family’s Swedish heritage, to the grades he never earned in college, and, of course, his taxes. Five deferments for bone spurs that may never have existed. Those records are gone also. Five bankruptcies by the stable financial genius. All records sealed by NDA’s.An illustration of Donald Trump popping out of a TV set, with a coronavirus above him

The lyrics are credited to Jim Capaldi, an original member of Traffic. Chris Wood later explained the origin of the lyrics this way… One early morning at the Cottage he (Capaldi) was coming down off LSD, sketching in front of a log fire. Bubbling out of his acid-fired subconsciousness and through his pencil came the image of a man hanging on puppet strings and wearing a spiked hat with the words, “Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune, something to make us all happy” scrawled under him.Donald Trump as Lying Pinocchio Puppet Art Print by judgeart ...

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy
I know, he is not musical, Trump that is. Winwood, on the other hand, is gifted in his creativity. He laid out the melody to Capaldi’s lyrics. Where Trump is gifted is in his ability to hypnotize farmers and coal miners and auto workers by pretending he understands their needs. This from a man who poops on gold toilets and drives a golf cart exclusively.  Yeah, there’s the word– exclusive. He cuts folks out of his golden key life while pandering to their victimhood. “I’m like, really rich and I’m like, really smart because I like, went to the best schools, and like, nobody knows business, or anything for that matter, better than I do.” You can tell Trump is lying when he speaks on the inhale. It’s the strangest speech pattern I’ve ever encountered. He has mastered the art of being Messiah and Victim simultaneously while inhale talking. Think Unabomber.Amazon.com: Trump UNABOMBER Design BLOTTER Art Psychedelic Print ...
The birth from an acid trip come down makes sense to me, because our Mr. Fancy Fantasy is so psychedelic, especially in his word salad oratory… where he, he says, he manages to say, and a lot of people agree with him, that he’s a genius. And you know, maybe it’s true. Okay, it’s true. Big smile. Feckless and reckless. Words mean nothing when others speak, but he knows lots of big words; he just can’t use them correctly. So he blurts verbal things out like a drunk plumber.Unseen 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' Sketches Found in ...
You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years
I know, I know. Trump doesn’t cry. He mocks anyone who does cry, which is what sociopaths do. Still, he deserves credit for his mastery of Schizophrenish, a language practiced in Welsh mental hospitals mostly.Why I love … the supporting cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's ...
Here is one of his most precious word salads ever. Good luck making it through this verbal ninja warrior course.  If you understand it, please report to the closest mental hospital in Wales. Sign in as “Mr. Fantasy”.Art Donald Trump L-W Canvas Poster Dope President P-466 | eBay
Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right — who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.
Trump New Sheriff 2017

765. Going Through The Motions… Or Not

footsteps | Taking The World On With A Smile!

Just start and the purpose will appear; the way will be clear; the meaning will be self evident. Whether it’s in yoga, exercise, art, writing, walking, or riffing out in jazz… as you go, meaning arrives. Perhaps it’s just down the Dorset Drive hill, or at the stop sign where The Parkway intersects Berkshire Drive. Maybe it’s at the apartments called Beacon Hill yawning where the Washington Post newspaper route calls every morning over the grave of an old airfield. Or deep in the woods behind Ben Mae Manor where the stream runs into the wetlands, as Harrison Lane turns left 90 degrees into Hybla Valley. Just start and you will realize why you began, like popping the clutch in an old VW Beetle with a dead battery. Second gear, a little momentum, and “Vroom” or more likely “clatter, clink, rattle, sputter, fart”. You are in motion. We have the who and the what, my readers, but remain in search of where and why, with whom?footsteps on desert photo – Free Soil Image on Unsplash

Well, simply enough for a sixteen year old boy the destination was there— for teen girls, and the thrills, spills, and chills involved in their intoxicating presence. The crisis was of an existential nature back then. Trying to answer the question, “Am I good enough, interesting, maybe even desirable?”The Growing Child- Teenager (13 to 18 Years)I placed my fragile teen ego in the tender and fickle palms of the other sex. If you guessed that I had no sister, you are right. Female scarcity was the norm in my childhood. In their absence their value skyrocketed.

Despite the usually pejorative sense of the phrase “just going through the motions”, sometimes that’s just what is called for in order to get back to normal functioning. If you’ve ever had a serious injury that involved injured muscles, you know that physical therapy requires going through the motions to restore range of motion. Raise your hand if you know what a goniometer is.  Good, now lower your hands slowly out there. You with the beer, yeah you. It’s 9:00 a.m., man!! If you’ve ever lifted weights, that is definitely going through the motions for an anticipated goal…buffness, super cut, vein bulging sexiness. Keep doing the mindless, mundane thing over and over till one day, voila!, serendipitous returns on investment present themselves. Like juggling.Iowa State Juggling GIF by CyclonesTV - Find & Share on GIPHY Or doing the polka.POLKA DANCE CONTEST PT3OF3 WITH BRASS EXPRESS AT FRANKENMUTH 1989 ...

In sports and dance it’s called muscle memory; that’s when your muscles know precisely how and when to respond because of endless repetition, i.e., going through the motions. Police and military do the same. It’s called training— so that when the unwanted moment comes, no thought is required. Training kicks in. “Look at him, Lieutenant, just going through the motions. It’s an oil painting in motion. Poetry. Liquid cheesecake.” “Shut up, Corporal!” And it’s a reassuring observation also, as an airline pilot lands a plane in a thunderstorm or a captain docks a ship in pitch black night that neither has to consult some outdated static manual. “Uh, let’s see here: you put your right wheel down, you put right flap out, you put your right wheel down and you shake it all about.”Crosswind landings GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

And here we are going through the new normal motions, trying to gain mastery of an invisible enemy. Masks and gloves and lots of hand washing; sequestering; Skypeing and Zooming and Face Timing. Till it’s automatic, mindfully mindless, unconscious competence. I’m realizing that taking my shoes off in the house is not a bad idea at all. Slippers are hygienic in a weird sort of way. They don’t bring the street germs into the kitchen. And wiping down the groceries with bleach water is not such a big deal if the alternative is a slow, painful death.  I’m down with some extra hygiene, given the unforgiving statistics of mortal risk. And of course my car’s gas mileage is way up… two weeks on the same 1/4 tank of gas and car wash.Risk/Reward Ratio Definition

Each day goes by uneventfully in our quarantine. My wife works from her lap top as I work from mine. We team up at lunch and dinner, and then settle in for some Netflix or Amazon Prime on the couch or reading in bed. Okay, no need to quote B.B.King that the thrill is gone. It’s just none of your business, you perv.  But it’s fine. Just hearing her regular breath rise and fall without laboring is as sweet as daffodils lifting their heads to a damp spring day’s sun. Peace like a river flows wide and deep.Daffodils: How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Daffodil Flowers | The ...

But today she challenged me to a friendly game of Scrabble, but that could result in a prison riot when I defeat her as is usual. It’s all fun and games when the kids are home at Christmas, but without civil witnesses I worry for my very life. “Why fix what’s not broken?” I ask her while walking our dog Kermit through the underpopulated park. “I’m thinking of you, honey. After you kill me with the butcher knife for over celebrating, happy dancing, taunting, bad winning, and other unsportsmanlike conduct, you’ll have to stage the crime scene to make it look like I fell on the knife in my exuberant state of victory. There will be the blood; the cops tracking in all sorts of germs; the heated interrogation; the press; Nancy Freakin’ Grace will be asking you haahhrd questions in that awful accent of  hers; and the eventual clean up. I’m trying to practice healthy empathic prognostication for your sake, my love. Let’s not play Scrabble!! There is no such thing as a friendly game.”Find CNA Classes

Surely cooperation is better than competition at this uniquely challenging time. Going through the motions of cooperation will bring greater rewards and fewer 911 calls during the pandemic. I urge you people of the planet not to play competitive games with anyone older than 4. If it’s not broken yet, please do not attempt to fix it. Like the canals of Venice, just let nature go through the motions till all is clear again.The Canals in Venice Are so Still, Dolphins and Swans Are ...

 

 

 

 

 

764. 9-1-1, What’s Your Hobby?

Excel : Intersection between curve and straight lineOkay, there seem to be two conflicting tipping points in the U.S.A. these days. There is the overt, much covered COVID-19 infection curve that is nearing its apex soon, everyone hopes. It is in the foreground of everything we hear and see and read. However, there is also the covert existential curve of unimaginative folks trapped at home who are losing purpose and meaning in their lives, if they had any to start with. That curve is nearing its apex as well. These two graph lines need to remain separated, socially distant, like gasoline and matches. For if the existentially challenged humans break out of their socially imposed prisons, their herd transmission will spike the other curve, giving it new legs in the name of freedom coupled with ignorance. Ignorance, as you will recall, is the most expensive commodity in the world.

Swimming duck GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Humans are creatures of habit. I guess all creatures are, if you think about it. Each animal has its own set of behaviors that it practices. For instance, I’ve never seen a duck ice skate or play ice hockey. [Don’t bring up the Mighty Ducks, dude. Not cool.] They tend to waddle, paddle, and quack a lot. Humans are wired in such a manner as to repetitively normalize things over time. This phenomenon is at the heart of behavioralism. B.F. Skinner correctly predicted that television would have to increasingly become more graphic in order to hold its audience and the profits they bring. He knew that tolerance is built up over exposure time so that what was powerful and scary becomes mundane and trivial within two weeks. I believe Mr. Skinner proved his hypothesis long ago, and we are reaping the mind numbing harvest today. [Google Kardashians for further research.]B.F. Skinner And The Psychology Of The Markets | Seeking Alpha

E.g., for example: Smoking my first cigarette was a big deal when I was 11. It was so risky since it was one of my dad’s Camel filters that I had pilfered. I had to ride my bike to the elementary school out of sight of nosy Mary Burrington in order to light up and partake of the mysteries of tobacco. I coughed and gasped and could not understand the alleged rush that was supposed to come with cigarette smoking. I did get the cool factor of just holding the cigarette nonchalantly in one hand. (For the record word nerds, there is no chalant in English, like we never say “Oh, that’s a sequitur“. It’s only ever a non sequitur…something I like to indulge in.) Flash ahead ten years and I was smoking 20 to 30 cigs a day, sitting in my parents’ living room, smoking alongside my dad. You see where this is going, right? The normalization of the dangerous and abnormal.Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In a similar vein I recall my Abnormal Psychology prof telling my class that he had lived in tornado alley for several years, in Oklahoma, I think. The anecdote he told was about his experiences with tornado warnings. In my book tornadoes are tied with tsunamis for the deadliest weapons nature can hurl at humankind. They are the Black Mamba snakes of weather. Okay? Are you still with me, bro? So Dr. Abnormal explained that when the first tornado warning sirens went off each spring, everyone would hurry to secure shelter to ride it out, hoping and praying to be spared the ravaging of 200 mph winds. Here’s where behavioral conditioning comes in, kids. After a few warnings failed to produce a Black Mamba funnel cloud of destruction, folks did not rush to shelters. In fact, over time they began to have tornado watch parties on the balconies of their apartment buildings! Complete with beer and hot dogs on the grill. Why? They had built up tolerance to the fear that once paralyzed them, feeling illogically invulnerable. The creatures of habit went back to their old ways habitually… whistling while walking past their own graveyard.Tornado Watch Party - Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance

So here is my thesis: humans need something purposeful to do while in hibernation or else they will make a jailbreak; infecting everyone simultaneously; overwhelming our medical system; and thereby ushering in the apocalypse. The solution? A hobby for every man, woman and child. I.e., what this country needs is a good, cheap hobby. You know, like assembling 1,000 piece jig saw puzzles or creating new Faberge eggs. Everyone needs some activity that requires focused attention for a sustained length of time. Artists already have this sanctuary of sanity, but it’s time for others to realize that art saves minds, souls, and sometimes lives.What to Know About Faberge: Eggs, Jewelry & More

You are reading this blog on a computer screen. So there in front of you is your vehicle for writing or graphic art or composing music or making videos. Before you go all “Yes, but…” on me, let me ask you this, “Would you rather be quarantined without the internet?” Don’t choke on that “No!!!”, good reader. It may be time to organize all your photos into Shutterfly scrapbooks. Even my buddy Joel can do this, “Okay, Boomer?”How to Start a Collection & 50+ Manly Collection Ideas | The Art ...

Rather than overwhelming first responders with calls of advanced ennui and a certain feverish insouciance, get yourself a hobby going that can be maintained inside your home. Collecting dryer lint and counting the individual flecks under a magnifying glass can keep you busy for days. Like fact checking Trump’s misstatements and lies, you will need a big sheet of paper to keep track. Imagine the hours of fun you’ll have disentangling the lint fibers during Lent! Hey, you didn’t see that coming.  And with some laundry starch, you could sculpt lint monuments to inanity.6 Creative Ways to Reuse Laundry Dryer Lint

No Friday fish fries? No problem. Start your own watercolor collection of Japanese koi. Once your internment is over, you might even be able to sell them at the hobby product markets that are bound to spring up like mushrooms in cow manure after the apocalypse. You’ll want to be ready with a stockpile of products to sell to other hungry consumers with their virus recovery checks itching in their hands. When life gives you quarantines, you just gotta make quarantinis.Martini GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

763. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Gerry Goffin, songwriting partner of Carole King, dies at 75 - Los ...I’ve been reading about Carole Klein King and her first husband, songwriter partner, Gerry Goffin, a couple of Jewish kid pre-baby boomers from New York City, right time and place to become famous.  Quite the pair for pumping out popular songs in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I can’t read about them without zoning out into their hit songs, the acoustic wallpaper of my early childhood– rolled out layer upon layer upon layer… until it seems as solid as concrete. In fact, it’s just so many pretty words set to music that sanitize teenage sexual desire. Idealized libido. Sanctified seduction. Perfect orgasmic righteousness.  So many hits to pick on or pick from, like melons in a well stocked grocery produce section. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’d rather live in a world of too many melons or lemons than a world bereft of either.Central American melons climb | Packer
The musical Beautiful is basically a melodious biography of Carole King’s rise to stardom with the release of her record breaking album Tapestry. So many of the songs in the show are autobiographical sketches of where she was in her young life, as her husband slipped away into mental illness brought on by LSD use, and their teen anthems faded then dissolved in the face of less idealized lyrics that spewed out of Bob Dylan and the later Beatles.Beautiful the Carole King Musical Broadway Poster - Beautiful: The ...
Tonight you’re mine, completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow?Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls | Independent School, Elstree
That’s a good question that is asked over and over in teen ballads. Will this evening’s sexual union check be valid in the bright light of morning, or will it bounce when I try to cash it in on Food Stamps? Harsh reality is always waiting outside the door of the candy store, though. I hate to be the bringer of bad news to teens drunk on idealism… because I was a zealot also, once upon a time. Do you stand by and let the self deluded teenager persist in their starry eyed pipe dreams, or do you offer another platform to stand upon, one of reasoned response?Anna Excited GIF - Anna Excited Frozen GIFsYes.
Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure
Can I believe the magic in your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrowPrince Charming Getting a Live-Action Disney Movie | E! News France
I love the first couplet and the question it holds. What’s missing, of course, is the logical debate to define the relationship. Is it just sex and pleasure? Or is it something larger and more stable, like the commitment of unconditional love, which is the lasting treasure? The male lover’s voice and his questions are not entertained, however. AWOL. That might just kill the wonder of the moment, if Prince Charming turns out to be the guys from Sha Na Na. “Geez, I guess so, Carole. We’ll havta see.”Dennis Greene, a Singer With Sha Na Na, Dies at 66 - The New York ...
“Ya wanna make some babies wid me?”

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I’m the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sunNew York City Nyc GIF by Chris Cubellis - Find & Share on GIPHY
What are words unspoken? Body language, folks. The language of jiggification, a racing heart, short breaths of desire, and a surge of hormones… the rush of intense feelings so great that they cannot be sustained. That’s the deal, isn’t it: to engage in high wire sexual acrobatics trusting an ironclad net of security below will never fail; to have your trapeze partner always catch you or die trying. That’s the implied message even though forever and always are based on an abbreviated sample size of good feelings. And feelings change because that’s what they do.Dirty Dancing 80S GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
I’d like to know that your love
Is a love I can be sure of
So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrowMGM to Close 13 Resorts on Las Vegas Strip as Virus Spreads in ...
Here’s the thing: she says she won’t ask again, but then she does –three more times. That is the thing about real life love versus the yoga pants version. It’s the difference between Vegas at night and day. A stark difference indeed.This is what Las Vegas looks like when coronavirus empties the ...
So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Sadly, Carole and Gerry divorced in the late 1960’s. Sad because they outlived their ideal love songs. Real life oxidized their shiny hits as time passed on to the less than ideal versions of love.Albums That Should Exist: Various Artists - Covered: Gerry Goffin ...
Neil Young’s bleak Rust Never Sleeps song comes to mind.
My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue
And into the black
They give you this,
But you pay for that
And once you’re gone,
You can never come back
When you’re out of the blue
And into the black.

The king is gone
But he’s not forgotten
This is the story
Of a Johnny Rotten
It’s better to burn out
Than it is to rust
The king is gone
But he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.Neil Young, Philadelphia, PA 1970 | Joel Bernstein

Such lyrics would have been shot down as commie propaganda and burned in the make believe land of Kennedy’s Camelot. America was at the pinnacle of its greatness; so great that teenagers were liberated with pocket money to fund a social rebellion. Ironic, huh? Artificial sweetness and cotton candy dreams were loosed upon this new market. No one, including the Beatles, ever expected it to live, but here’s Downer Neil saying it can never die in his ode to rock n roll.
Five weird pieces of Elvis memorabilia people have tried to sell ...Carole King - TeachRock
The King was Elvis but it was also Carole to a lesser degree. The dynamic of teen love can extend into a corporate level between fans and their teen idols. The same question can be asked, “Will you still love me tomorrow?” Unless you die in a plane crash or some self destruction, time tarnishes whatever it is you’ve done. Very few artists come through unravaged. Do we still love them now that tomorrow is here? Yes. RIP to all of them.
Rock's Most Famous Graves

762. Ducks on the Pond

Image result for nesting mallard ducks picture

Faithfully they return each spring no matter the weather, momma and daddy Mallard duck. For over twenty years now, a mating pair have claimed our 15 x 15 foot fishpond as their own Air B and B. I have no idea if the current pair are the original homestead settler pair or their ducklings, or maybe grand ducklings. I never needed to know so much that I ever considered banding them. I just know that our dogs have religiously pestered them into flight. Whether that was Nick or Johnnie or Kermit, the birds knew the drill. They’d take flight as soon as the back door opened. Sometimes they’d just fast paddle to the side the dog was not on. Never did one of our dogs actually dive in to crunch down on a duck’s neck. I think it was just fun for the four legged contestants, skill drills so to speak.Image result for mallards on a fish pond images

Over time concrete things come to symbolize something else that is abstract. The ducks are recurring symbols of rebirth, I suppose, even before the buds on the trees show up. Their quacking is like an alarm clock for spring to wake up. Our ducks don’t migrate south. Nope. I think they just hang out at some busier water hole with more to eat. But when it comes time to set up the nursery, they choose our little pond. I’m glad they do; it’s a special honor somehow, a relationship that is mutually satisfying. Hope’s promise is fulfilled in the bargain.proud mom GIF by BBC Earth

Their presence speaks of faithfulness also, of instinctual loyalty, if not to one another then to the species. I like to imagine that just like me and my wife, these birds do care for each other and miss one another when they are not together. And it’s not just about how many eggs they can hatch out or how much food they can attain. After years together, I can imagine the hen still saying to the drake, “After all these years, you still quack me up”. And then the pair of them quacking skyward like it’s the first time they ever shared this pun. Yack, yack, yack. They flap skyward.Image result for mallards flying upward gif

Sacrifice gets a nod as well. You likely know already that male birds are brighter than their female partners. In plumage, ladies. This is not a sexist statement. It’s not about male vanity but distracting predators. When the couple are under threat, it’s the male that flies off low and slow to distract the predator. If the drake is killed, the hen and her eggs or ducklings survive. Call it a male beauty tax if you must.ducks ducklings GIF by The Dodo

Symbols are tokens that take on meaning within a specific culture…

Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture. Thus, symbols carry meanings that depend upon one’s cultural background; in other words, the meaning of a symbol is not inherent in the symbol itself but is culturally learned.Image result for chinese duck paintings

For instance,

In China, ducks, particularly Mandarin ducks (famous for their vivid multicolored plumage) are highly auspicious creatures. Most famously, they are a symbol of marital happiness and fidelity, and this symbolism can display itself in multiple ways; duck imagery may appear on Chinese wedding invitations, it is considered good luck to have at least one duck dish served at a wedding feast, and the imagery of two ducks physically entwined is seen as a metaphor for sexual congress.Image result for chinese duck paintings

My reader, you will never think of ducks the same way again, eh? Avian porn.

Now the expression “ducks on the pond” is used in baseball lingo to refer to runners on base. Apparently it has also been used to warn all-male audiences that women are present so that they will curtail salty talk. Both of these expressions seem nearly antiquated, like dead duck and lucky duck, lame duck; modern life and language have moved away from nature and toward the inorganic… “Dude, Legos on the rise.” Perhaps this is why it is so refreshing to see our pair bonded Mallards take up their short residence each spring. They are a breath of fresh air from a more innocent time.Image result for baseball pictures ducks on the pond images

During the current coronavirus quarantine, our ducks are also a symbol of unsinkable hope as they float atop the rain-speckled water. Peace and calm radiate from them when the sun breaks through later and they turn their heads back into their fluffed feathers for a nap. As this modern day plague plods on in the human domain, our ducks on the pond remain dignified… letting all the what ifs? and then whats? roll off like, well, water off a duck’s back. Leaving me warm, dry, and grateful.Image result for pet duck images

 

 

761. Green Suede Shoes

Image result for green converse pros circa 1972 picturesBack in 1972 I had a pair of green leather uppers Converse All Stars that I wore everywhere and always. They were part of a relaxed post- hippie look below my flared Levis. A flannel shirt or maybe a leather jacket completed the ensemble. I was 16 and bursting at the seams to be or do something different, to break out of the sameness of my earth weary family and my earth weary neighborhood. I didn’t care for Elvis then. I preferred James Taylor and Jackson Browne. You get the vibe, right? Only if you’re old enough, I guess. I did not sing “Don’t you step on my green suede shoes. You can do anything but stay off of my green suede shoes”, although I could have.Image result for jackson browne pictures 1972Instead, I listened to Saturate Before Using every night in a melancholy state of teen angst. “Doctor My Eyes“, “Rock Me On The Water“, “A Child In These Hills“, “Jamaica Say You Will”, and all the rest were etched on my memory’s hard drive before hard drives were invented.

Away is not a very specific destination, but if you are in a burning house, it’s clear enough that any way out is better than staying in the roaster… front door, back door, any window big enough to shimmy through. So away was good enough for me. “Where do you think you’re going?”  Just out, beyond, not here… all reasonably vague answers since I had nothing more tangible to say due to a chronic low grade fever of anger. Anger does not make anyone smarter, by the way. It can seem like a minor prophet when you are a teenager, though. Vague was more than enough for me then. Having read Kerouac’s On The Road and talked about it with my friends, I took as an article of faith that THE ROAD was a realistic goal. Good things, meaning and wisdom, lay at the end of THE ROAD like a pot of gold at the rainbow’s end.  Part of me still wants to feel that nostalgic sentiment; though it’s just the brief buzz one gets from huffing glue as brain cells evaporate. You see running from a burning building is no good if the fire is within your heart and mind. You simply carry it with you… an Olympic torch of acrimony.Image result for freedom on the road images

So as the home tensions built up around Thanksgiving that year, or perhaps it was just my anger that built up, a string of my words/ideas/wishes were met by minstrel show mockery. [Must have been the Friday night after Thanksgiving, still a long,long day in my mind.] I pulled the shades down on my soul and dressed for the November night. I hitched a ride to my buddy Craver’s house and told him what I planned.

“Good luck, man. Where you going?” I hadn’t planned past his house.

“Away.”Image result for 95 north sign

“Where?  I mean what direction?”

“North to Boston. I have relatives there. Yeah, I’ll get on 95 at Newington and just straight on till Boston.” Looking back it would have been a smarter play to go south, but Smart had nothing to do with me then. We weren’t speaking to one another.Image result for carl rogers photos

“Okay.” Like so many Craver memories I hold, it was his presence that I recall, not so much the words. No argument or debate, just unconditional positive regard. He was my Carl Rogers before I knew who Carl Rogers was. Affirmation can’t, however, firm up quicksand.

The next piece of my mad journey I recall was sticking my thumb up south of Springfield, Virginia in the cold black air. Several rides later I was on the Baltimore Beltway, 695. It was raining, so I made my way beneath an overpass. It was hard to be seen. The Maryland State trooper told me so as he wrote me a ticket for being me on an interstate highway on a cold rainy night in November. My charge? Blatantly stubborn stupidity. Part of me wanted him to arrest me and take me to a warm police station for the night. He did no such thing.Image result for photos of 695 baltimore at night

Anger is no match for hunger, or cold, or wet misery. Eventually it sinks in that your body is using more energy to stay warm, that anger is a luxury you can’t afford. Somewhere north of Baltimore I had to put my baked confectionery lemon anger tart back in the display case. I could not afford it. Fear began to overtake me then.Image result for photos of 695 baltimore at night

I started to wave for vehicles to stop. Demanding them to see and pick me up. Desperation ballooned as my hands and feet grew numb. I may have hallucinated as big rigs roared past me, spraying me with wheel wash. Hypothermia was  real as wet seal skin stuck to my shivering body.Image result for hippies in a van photo

An old Chevy van came by and seemed to signal to me that I was welcome to ride with them. I watched the van miraculously pull over and open up the side door. I ran like a puppet, like an unstrung Pinocchio toward Geppetto. It was a band of hippies, high as helium balloons on their way back from a Philadelphia drug run. I hopped in and shared their mirth and stash. It was warm and dry.Image result for old hippie house circa 1970 photos

Before long they were pulling in to an old house in southern Maryland, not far from the highway. We hung out and had split pea soup before I just about fell asleep in the soup. I was given a bed in the finished basement and fell into a deep sleep while the hippies continued to party overhead, my rescue squad.Image result for smiling hippies at woodstock photos

In the sunny morning I had a hearty breakfast with the hippies, said thanks, goodbye, and found my way back to the highway. I arrived home by late afternoon, my clothes still damp from the night in the rain. Questions were asked. I kept the info to a minimum. Finally I took my still damp shoes off. They left green dye like henna tattooed into my feet. The color of shame, I guess. Image result for green feet pictures

760. Under Pressure

Image result for pressure gauge gifHappenstance, maybe, but this Queen/ Bowie song came on the radio as I drove home from closing my office; dropping off my taxes on a sterilized table; stopping at the Giant Store for beer and wine (essentials only); and driving past the closed banks. The song builds in intensity, and yes, pressure…sort of like this coronavirus is building. Maybe that’s why the d.j. put it in rotation today.Image result for uncollapsing building gif
Mmm num ba de       [scat bass notes, please don’t sing along here]
Dum bum ba be          [it only makes sense when Bowie and Freddy do it]
Doo buh dum ba beh beh
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streetsnuclear explosion GIF
Um ba ba be
Um ba ba be
De day da
Ee day da, that’s okay
It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about
Watching some good friends screaming
“Let me out!”
Pray tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people, people on streetsImage result for great depression street life gif
Day day de mm hm
Da da da ba ba
Okay
Chipping around, kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it poursImage result for torrential rain gif
Ee do ba be
Ee da ba ba ba
Um bo bo
Be lap
People on streets
Ee da de da de
People on streets
Ee da de da de da de daImage result for freddy mercury and david bowie together photos
It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about
Watching some good friends screaming
‘Let me out’
Pray tomorrow gets me higher, high
Pressure on people, people on streets
Turned away from it all like a blind manImage result for a blind man on a fence images
Sat on a fence but it don’t work
Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?
Love, love, love, love, love
Image result for insane clown laughing gif
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love
Give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?Image result for give love away images
‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselvesImage result for extreme ledge photos
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves under pressure
Under pressure
PressureImage result for sherlock holmes falling gif
Fortunately you know that beat; otherwise these lyrics fall into the dustbin of meaninglessness. Maybe you’ve viewed the video Queen put out. It’s full of collapsing buildings and social unrest, a bomb splintering, Great Depression images, clips from Nosferatu… finally relieved by dramatic, stylized kisses from the silent movie era. The video rewinds that shattered bomb coming back to integration. It works, I think, without any assist from the lyrics. They could be sung in Farsi for all that. The message that comes through visually is that destruction is followed by reconstruction, unity, love.Image result for uncollapsing building gif
Artists do this stuff better than politicians, for sure. As our society quivers under the multiple pressures of this virus, unemployment, historic losses in the stock market, and the upheaval in oil prices… Politicians get tight and try to ramp up control; even if they have to lie about the dire consequences. Panic can’t erupt or else the demons from Hell will be let loose upon us. Our over matched White House team talks of winning a war. Tough talk, I guess, is supposed to scare the virus into submission while comforting the fearful populace. The tougher the talk, the greater the optics that those in control are really in control, when it’s pretty clear they are not.Image result for anxious white house briefing photos
Rather than keeping a wise laser focus on fixing the problem, politicians look for someone to fix the blame upon, to scapegoat, to demonize. Foreigners, media, Asians, Democrats, liberals. They need lepers to cast all their anxiety upon. To make it clear that they are not to blame while the problem flourishes. “Not me. Not us. It’s someone on the edge of our tribe. Get rid of them and we get rid of the problem. The dirty and dangerous THEM.”
Artists, on the other hand, seek explanation and meaning from reality, no matter how harsh it may become. The illusion of control is entertained; its dynamics exposed. The artist speaks, “We are not in control and never have been. Yet we must have the illusion of being in control, or else anxiety will paralyze us into dysfunction. Our animal survival instinct is activated when control is threatened. Character is revealed not created by intense dissonance. Some rush to the gun shop for ammo for their imagined apocalypse. Others run for toilet paper and milk. Still others wipe out the bleach and tidy wipes. Survive, we must survive.”Image result for survival photos
“And still we are not in control; we just feel better with the pantry full; the car gassed up; lots of cash to spend at stores that are not open. We are defended like campers huddled around a fire on a pitch black night. Our backs to the perilous dark, we stare into the fire.”Image result for campers around a fire at night photos
“But it’s the voice of an artist we need, not a scared politician. There is anxiety, no doubt about it. There are really dire consequences to health and life and our economy. True. True. True. The conversation must remain in the realm of what is, because once what if? thinking is accelerated, there is no braking it. What iffers drive themselves off the cliffs of anxiety and into the sea of dread.”Image result for car driving off a cliff into ocean gif
The Artist says, “Be not afraid. Be still. Be patient. Be kind. Be loving. Be hungry and thirsty for justice. Be merciful. Be compassionate. Be single hearted. Be a peacemaker. Be pure in heart. Be faithful.”
All your do, do, doing amounts to so many scat base notes that make no sense at all if you are an island in the sea of humanity. Hold on to the melody and the meaning, my friend.Image result for smiling faces around a campfire pictures
See you on the other side.

759. Ghost Town

Image result for ghosts in the street images

The streets are starting to resemble the paper product aisles at Wal Mart and Target– empty and sad, alien alleys and sauntering specters.  Surprisingly, my coffee shop was open, but all the chairs were stacked in the back. No  long term seatage permitted. Erica the usually upbeat barrista was off her game. She was shaken by all these changes. “It’s too much too soon. I’ll be fine in a few days, maybe tomorrow. It’s all so sudden and demanding. Twenty too much.”

“Yeah, still there’s a silver lining to every gray cloud, though, and a pony behind every ton of horse manure.”

“You are so inspiring.”

“Thanks. I like to think of myself as the Pied Piper of Mental Floss.”Image result for pied piper images

“I can see that.”

“Like your currently empty space…I see the potential for re-purposing it. What would you think of an inline skating course for local kids who are quarantined out of school? small kids.”

“As long as they stayed six feet apart, I’d be fine with it. They could zoom around the tables and work up a good thirst. As long as they don’t wait around all hyped up after buying caffeine, I’m good.”Image result for jumping beans gif

“Or maybe a waltz studio. Waltzers naturally keep a Demilitarized Zone between themselves and the other dancers.”

“Brilliant. I appreciate your input.”

“Thanks.”

“Even though most of it is absolutely absurd and inapplicable to any situation.”Image result for moon walk imagery photos

“That’s intentional, Erica. I don’t want to be sued for the unauthorized practice of medicine.”

“Is that it?”

“Yes. You see back in my home stellar system, I gave someone bad advice once during an inter-galactic pandemic, uh, and it didn’t work out so well.”

“Oh, tell me more.”

“Well, in that blogisphere I jokingly mentioned making a Quarantini with Visine, Anthrax, and Boraxo, never imagining that one of my readers would think I was serious. You know, like here on your planet you had the Tide Pod wave. Who would ever ingest soap pods?  But, I overestimated the critical thinking skills of my readership. Alas, a certain Mervin Muffley followed my facetious recipe and basically melted into a pool of chemicals and proteins on a tile floor. It was awful.”Image result for wanted: space alien poster

“So you  had to flee that universe to avoid prosecution?”

“Yep. It was tough. I had founded The International Space Station Coffee Nation back there, and I had to leave it all behind.”

“So that was the prototype for this planet’s Coffee Nation?”

“Yes, now mind you, I had more talent to work with back in Alpha Centauri.”

“I don’t follow. I thought you gathered only the best people, the experts. Only the best.”

“I might have oversold the whole expert thing just a tad.”Image result for sesame character around a table pictures

“Oh my. So this whole Coffee Nation thing is a farce? You don’t actually solve the world’s problems in ten minutes like your brochure proclaims?”

“Um, I feel awful telling you this, Erica, but it’s actually an adult male day care program. Just between you and me, I mean this is top secret, the other stakeholders in my Nation’s group send me a monthly stipend in bit coin to run this service in the guise of Coffee Fellowship.”

“Whoa, let me sit down. I’m getting faint. This makes the whole coronavirus pale by comparison.”

“I’m sorry. I was going to tell you after I fled this solar system. Let me get you a chair.”Image result for star wars attack of the mother ship gif

“No, it is forbidden. Man! It’s like Erica in Wonderland around here anymore. I can’t stand nor can I sit nor can I stand to sit. Nothing is what it appears to be!”

“Wow! True and deep. Maybe if I could explain each man’s uniqueness it might help lessen the shock.”

“I doubt it. I doubt everything now. It’s like gravity has stopped working and I’m floating just above my latte, unable to touch it but unable to look away.”Image result for floating without gravity gif

“Erica, that is beautifully tragic…like soap opera dialogue. I love it! Perhaps if we substitute levity for gravity it will free up radical static electric ions and let you float back down to your disposable, state sanctioned coffee cup.”

“Would you? I truly believe if anyone can turn chicken shit into chicken salad it’s you.”

“Thanks for that endorsement. Um, let’s see, starting with Steve. He once added up all the numbers of the roulette wheel and spouted the total- 666.”Image result for roulette wheel images

“No way. He must have known that trivia question.”

“I have witnesses. Lance was doing the Puzzler on his phone app. The other livestock were stumped, and then Steve started making buzzing sounds like a big bumble bee. His eyes rolled back in his head, and then he said it… ‘666’. It was stunning!!! Three exclamation points worth of stun.”

“All right, I’ll spot you that as an anomaly. But what about Iced Tea Joel? What’s his super power?”Image result for iced tea pictures

“That man almost single handedly stopped the Vietnam War.”

“Did he guess the number of jelly beans in Ho Chi Minh’s jar?”

“Don’t be contemptuous now Erica. I’m trying to be historically sober here.”

“I’m sorry.”

“He went to an early anti war demonstration and took a blow to his collar bone for Democracy. He could not reach to grasp even the sweetest fruit thereafter.”Image result for vietnam war protest pictures

“I am truly sorry. Is he alright now?”

“He walks with a slight l imp but he won’t tell many why.”

“I guess I misjudge your circle. What about Doug?”

“This is highly classified stuff. Can I trust you to keep a national security secret?”Image result for james bond inventor character  Q pictures

“Sure.”

“When the CIA gets into something too hot, they call Doug to do “plumbing” jobs, counter intelligence, lock breaking, disinformation via computer imaging distortions, and more.”

“I, I, forgive me. [Falls to her knees.] I didn’t know. You guys are like the Avengers League protecting America, no, the world as we know it.”Image result for avengers pictures

“Please get up, Erica. It’s alright. Just don’t share this convo with anyone or something very, very bad could happen.”

“You mean like back in Alpha Centauri?”

“Exactly.”

“These lips are sealed with Super Glue.”Image result for lips glued shut images

 

 

 

 

758. A Light Green Crisis

Image result for great dismal swamp photos

It has been an odd experience, this coronavirus crisis quicksand we are slogging through. At first it seemed like just a patch of swamp to be avoided, but then it turned into a lake of despair, and now it’s an ocean of commotion. No sports to distract us from the invisible pandemic. Little upbeat news bubbles to pop. Only the relentless drumming of the emphatically somber reporters relaying dire news of bars, restaurants, schools, liquor stores, gyms, churches, etc. shuttering themselves indefinitely. What can be seen is the almost daily trillion dollar plunge of the Dow Jones Index. With it you can almost hear the sighs of retiring folks whose 401 K accounts have gone on a crash diet. “Not again!” Lines at grocery stores and drive up testing sites too are showing up like scared hungry birds returning for the spring.Image result for gas lines 1970's photos

The last time I saw Americans line up for something in their cars was during the 1973 oil embargo.  I was pumping gas ($.29 9/10 per gallon of regular) at the Telegraph Road Exxon just before that road widened and flowed under the Washington, D.C. beltway. Yep, we rationed gasoline– ten gallons a day. The ingenious system was based on your license plate’s final digit; if it ended in an even number, you could buy gas on an even date. Odd digit, odd dates only. Now keep in mind that high mileage engines were not in fashion then. Powerfully muscled eight cylinder engines were. So ten gallons of gas times 15 miles per gallon limited most folks to local travel only. What about long haul drivers and committed travelers? What about fleets of buses and garbage trucks? Obviously exceptions were made, both legally and not so legally. Since bus and truck drivers started their days so early in the morning, like in the dark hours, you could pump gas while the lights were out and it appeared that the station was still closed. I know, so quaint. You could also swap out license plates to meet your fuel needs. Your alphabetical vanity plate would not get you any gas either… “Sexy” or “2 fast 4 u” sat on the side of the roads.Image result for gas lines 1970's photos

Allow me to put on my grandpa Lou Reed voice and talk about those days of yore–

Those were different times.
And the poets studied rows of verse,
And all the ladies rolled their eyesImage result for betty boop eye roll gif

Indeed, in 1973 the airlines were not guaranteeing round trips because OPEC had a stranglehold on oil prices that year. The Middle East was getting rich fast. They had all the leverage back then as the price of gasoline shot up and up and up. And then we had Watergate and the shameful end of the Vietnam War.Image result for saigon embassy evacuation photos

Yes, lyrics from Sweet Jane, circa 1970. See, there was something good from the 1970’s. You just have to look and you will find what you look for. Let me repeat more concisely: We find what we look for. If you look for End Times and Apocalypse, you will surely find it. If you look for beneficial opportunities and positive outcomes, you will sure find them.Image result for lou reed headshots

So, on my drive in to town this morning, before I even made it out of my neighborhood, I noticed everyone else remained parked in their driveways, presumably quarantined. Nobody was backing out or pulling in. I hit nothing but green lights on Route 30 East until the last couple of blocks where traffic pinched together due to local sewer line construction. Even that  pinch point was a good deal because some wildcat driver was coming the wrong way toward oncoming one way traffic. That red light allowed him/her to make a three point turn and get out of harm’s way.  This may seem like a petty, trivial thing, but I’m pretty sure it would have been a big deal had it resulted in a head on collision.Image result for endless green traffic lights gif

The Lord works in mysterious ways, yes? I savored the prospect of social distancing. I figured the Boro would not be enforcing parking meter limits since that’s not life or death stuff. The meter reader dude cannot possibly be considered an essential employee. Right? So I parked close to the office in the wide open, yawning parking lot. No ticket yet.Image result for parking lot images

What other lovely gifts await me today? The quiet of little to no traffic reduces the background staticky tinnitus of life. All the got to’s and must have’s are slipping away also. In the hushed stillness, priorities bubble to the top of calm water. Like the eerily calm days following 9/11, the only planes to be heard were F16’s circling high above Camp David.  Agnostics came to church for a while…until the noise resumed.Image result for f16's circling gif

Today is passing like a nine hour yoga session– opening up, invigorating, grounding. Namaste.

In 1962 we had the Cuban Missile Crisis, the only time I recall my family ever stocking up on water and canned goods… in preparation for nuclear attack. Fortunately that day never came. Little ones like me hunkered down in school hallways for “kiss your butt goodbye” air raid drills. Later in the 1960’s our country had race riots and antiwar demonstrations that turned many cities into war zones. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were not good salesmen for peace, love, and understanding. They were political wolverines, incapable of empathy beyond their offspring. Funny how history repeats and repeats. We have another wolverine at the helm today. After orchestrating the destruction of the public’s trust in government and science, he expects us to now trust in their ruins. Maybe he gets green lighted to defeat finally. Image result for green faced trump images

Let’s not forget the AIDS epidemic or the recessions of the early 1980’s and 2008. And Y2K, the crisis that never was. Many religious phonies predicted the end of the world– Nostradamus, Rasputin, Jerry Falwell, Jim Jones, Pat Robertson, Jeane Dixon, Charles Manson, Louis Farrakhan. And some reputable folks also got caught up in this cottage industry, most notably Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus, Cotton Mather, and John Wesley. Some of the schemes and scams and signs are laughable today. My favorite is Mary Bateman. Image result for the goose that laid the golden egg images

In Leeds, England, in 1806 a hen began laying eggs on which the phrase “Christ is coming” was written. Eventually it was discovered to be a hoax. The owner, Mary Bateman, had written on the eggs in a corrosive ink so as to etch the eggs, and reinserted the eggs back into the hen’s oviduct.

We find what we look for.

Image result for sherlock holmes looking through a magnifying lens picture