686. Swimming with Donald

Image result for trump in a swimming pool pictureWhen he called to say he was gonna test the waters, I thought ‘Good, get in there and blow things up a little. Make some waves.’ We soybean farmers need a man with cold blooded cojones who will make rapacious deals in our favor for a change. Ya know? Smack the Chinese and the EU. And be an Equalizer Deal Dog who’s not afraid to pull the damn trigger.  Everyone likes to claim they are with and for the farmers, but really, it’s all window dressing, you know. A Currier and Ives print you bring out in November for the holidays and elections, show to the relatives before they start fightin’. Not Donald. He can’t be bought off cuz he’s so blingy rich. So rich that he can afford to lose more than a billion dollars as a successful businessman in real estate  and casinos in the go-go 80’s when even blind idiots was making money.  Plus a hot wife. And I liked his bluntness and her butt. He spoke out loud what a lot of us only thought in the dark. He legitimized political pornography for us.  Took the shame away. We’re unapologetically conservative and white Victims with a capital V. America first. YUP.

Image result for MAGA soybean farmers pictures

Those lyin’ liberals don’t understand hard work and pressure. They live off the milk of a state welfare system and suck it dry. If they do work, it’s for the government or some slick lobbyist agency around the Beltway. I know this cuz Tucker Carlson tells me so. And Laura and Sean. They’re real people like Trump and me. I could drink a glass of milk or a beer with them comfortably. Yep, my kind of Middle Americans. They just live on the coast because that’s where the media centers are huddled. Given a choice, I’m sure they’d move to Iowa tomorrow and shuck those fancy suits. If the Don can stay in power for a full ten years, lots of Fox Newsers are gonna move here. I just betcha.

Image result for group photos of hannity, ingraham, carlson together

Yeah, I’d like to have Donald over for a barbecue and a swim in the pool. I hear he’s a heck of an athlete, best ever to play golf and baseball. Why that doctor said he could live for 200 years. Remember that? Like a redwood tree he’s got endurance for sure. How many folks in his administration couldn’t  take the heat and left or got fired? A whole pile of them. Some even got indicted for crimes and such. Loyal? He sure is loyal. He hated to fire all them leaking weasels, but what are you gonna do when the world is closing in and there’s a illegal coup d’etat goin’ down? Why Comey was workin’ for the Russians, I heard Rush say the other day.Image result for angry rush limbaugh photos

Now when the first tariffs went into effect, well, I got uncomfortable. I figure I’m gonna lose $40,000 this year even after the bail out money. I hate welfare when others get it, so you can imagine how upset I am when I cash my Department of Agriculture subsidy check. See, we figured it would only be a one time deal, ya know? Teach them China commies who’s boss. Now it looks like it could run on another year or more. So my television just got $150 more expensive while my soybeans are worth half what they were a year ago. Some nights me and the mrs. and the kids stare at our autographed red MAGA hat in the center of the dining table and wonder if the Donald will ever show up to swim with us. I’ve never seen him in anything but a suit and a red tie as long as a tie down strap on a tractor trailer. But aint no never mind anyway.

Image result for discarded MAGA hat photos

Now that Mueller has exonerated him, things will get back to great again. Seems like Hillary still pulls the strings of a deep state coup, according to Sean. I don’t know what he is meaning, but I do trust him. He’s Mr. Trump’s friend so he’s gotta be good people, right? Then there’s Kelly Anne’s husband bad mouthing the President, his wife’s boss!!  Who does that? I guess since he don’t work directly for the president that Don can’t fire him. I like Kelly Anne too. No one can talk like she does. If she came over to swim, I’m pretty sure she could give a full press  conference underwater on one breath. I don’t know how the woman does it. I believe she breathes through her eyes.

Image result for kelly anne conway photos

But…now that these new tariffs is goin’ up, and I stand to lose another pile of money, I might not be able to buy the chemicals for the pool. You know the chlorine and algaecide and electric and all adds up quicker than the summer heat. And I don’t blame Donald one bit. It’s that cheatin’ Xi dude, who wrote Donald a real nice letter. I guess they’re friends too. I don’t rightly understand how he can be friends with Putin and Kim and Xi and all them other dictators and still be friends with Rush and Tucker and Sean and Fox and Friends. It bewilders me some. I just wish he’d stop in for a dip in our pool some time. It don’t got to be long cuz I know he’s busy. I mean, he never sleeps. He’s on that Twitter like a addict with a sex toy. It would be enough, I guess, if he’d just Tweet us about dippin’ in the pool. At there, it’d be something fine.

Image result for sad farmer face photos

“Billy and Sue. Thank you for the invite. I’d love to swim with you. Busy saving the world. Thank you for your undying love and admiration for the greatest president this country has ever seen. MAGA. DJT”

Boy that would be something to carry us over the hard times after the farm gets auctioned off and we go to work at the Walmart in Davenport. When Sue and I’d greet the shoppers, we’d show’em the tweet and tell about the time Donald came to swim with us.

Image result for walmart greeters photos


685. Wish Again

Image result for photos of a spring dayThe sun and temperature match the faint breeze today, finally, after months of cold drizzle or shingle ripping winds. The wood pellet stove has been quietly shut off for about a month now. My lawn is a thick green mohair sweater that resists any attempts at grooming, choking out my rotary mower every few feet. Birds wake me up at dawn without complaint. In deep sleep lately my dreams take me back 45 years to college streets and vaguely familiar apartments I’m sure I never stepped into. Yet that reality is as real as the sunlight on my pale arms today. Just as I am turning to an old college roommate in dreamscape, the door closes and another scene drops in. Many special feelings linger back there, traversing time in the middle of a fragrant spring night.Image result for paintings of dreams

Those sentimental journeys bring an excited joy, an old brotherhood that dried up once we all coupled with our life partners or lost our way in bitter woods… or both. I’m no sentimentalist, but it’s cool to visit with my old, young friends at age twenty. There’s Sam in a room just off the side of a busy bar. And I wonder aloud how he gets any sleep with the noisy bar outside, and does he use the communal bathroom. Then there is Richard in an enormous apartment that makes no sense on a side street in Richmond. He never lived there, but how do you argue with a detail rich dream. And then the attic apartment I shared with three or four other guys way down on Franklin Street that never existed… when I woke up. The joy of being joined with my old friends does exist in etchings on the wall of some cerebral cavern immune to time. Most of the time this cavern is filled with busy waters that seal off such cryptic treasures.Image result for cave paintings in wet caves

Something from that era calls me back to finish or relish what was. I’m never sure which it is. Perhaps it’s a lost camaraderie that can’t be replicated, just remembered fondly. Or maybe it’s a late appreciation for what was merely common wine at the time, that over decades became a rare lost vintage.  Mark, Bob, Bruce, Chris, Darvon, Mark 2, John, Bill, Jeff, Paul, Jack, Sam and the various visitors who floated in and out of our unlocked apartments linger like old songs pulsing through smoky air from the late 70’s. Our spreading oak tree of friendship grew wide and separated over time. I can see where this branch had been closely connected to that one, till one drooped and the other turned skyward. Some branches are cut off or dead rotted. Each black ink line has a mirror image in my brain that tells a tale.Image result for old oak tree images

I was often included in my friends’ memories during events I did not attend. Now they were under the influence of alcohol and/or substances at the time, so naturally their testimony was sketchy at best. The famous streaking party that got out of control at the Floyd Avenue apartment was one such event. That’s when the ultimate one-up act of the evening’s debauchery was for Darvon to sprint down Franklin Street and into the Governor’s mansion while Bruce and the the knucklehead gang rode in the Green Snake Buick Skylark pace car. Obviously no one predicted the consequences of a naked man with a wild Afro wearing only high top Chuck Taylor sneakers meeting the capitol police. Related image

They were all justifiably detained, but only Darvon was incarcerated. (He was released about a week later due to overcrowding in the city jail. He learned many lessons in jail; humble remorse was not one of them.) Meanwhile the knucklehead gang assumed that I was in the pace car, even challenging my recollection as a truth or dare scheme. The truth was I stayed home and went to sleep. Bruce brought home a blank arrest sheet from the police station and filled it in with the beginnings of his fantasy story about Gurmoil Tushkin’s Private Army, a sort of Confederate Army Don Quixote tale revived for the 1970’s. I may still have that paper in my old files along with letters and drawings and poems that demonstrate a delicious naivete and ignorance that I occasionally miss.Image result for confederate army photos

Another adventure that I was reported to have attended with most of this same gang was a trip out to the famed train trestle that spanned the James River toward the west end of Richmond. Again, it was a pile into the Green Snake while inebriated and do dangerous things outing. In this case the gang walked out onto the trestle in hopes of a train’s appearance so they could see their lives flash before them as each hopped into the shelters on either side of the tracks. The idea of tempting fate did not appeal to me or else I was already asleep. In any event, the next day and maybe till this day, some would swear not only that I was there but could quote me and testify to my actions that never happened. I’m pretty sure I would remember a near death experience like that. Image result for train on a trestle pictures

So, just as I insert my old friends in dream realities 45 years later, back in the day they inserted me into their false realities… perhaps for the same reasons–that it was a bonding experience not to be forgotten, a fraternal intimacy of some value. Factual truth did not matter so much as emotional truth, which is really not truth at all. The cast of characters has faded like old ticket stubs to see Clapton or the Eagles. Kindling a friend fire is much easier than tending to the coals that last as long as you will them to last. Mere desire is not enough to keep the blood flowing through a living, lasting relationship. Wishing it into existence again is just that– a wish.Related image

684. Miasmas and Mimosas in Miami

Miasma was considered to be a poisonous vapor or mist filled with particles from decomposed matter (miasmata) that caused illnesses. The miasmatic position was that diseases were the product of environmental factors such as contaminated water, foul air, and poor hygienic conditions. Such infection was not passed between individuals but would affect individuals within the locale that gave rise to such vapors. It was identifiable by its foul smell. It was also initially believed that miasmas were propagated through worms from ulcers within those affected by a plague.Related image

No, Blogatos, Miami held no miasmas for me or my bride while we were away. Whatever miasmic pollution (cow manure vapors and tree pollen) we brought south from our mid Atlantic home was instantly blown away by an ocean breeze heated to seventy five degrees at 35% humidity. Delightful! I just like the word miasma; it rolls out of my mouth like mimosa. Three lovely syllables rolling along in a frothy wave on Miami Beach.Image result for waves gif

I made promises to others not to write up any adventures involving my new found family who reside there. Seems like a simple and proper request except I can’t comply. The person I play in real life surrendered to the blog poster boy that I am. But wait! I can explain. You see I was promised about a year ago that my brother in law Joey and his long time fiancee Karen were going to tie the marital knot this year, during our visit no less. We sort of made plans. I offered to get a one day minister’s license in Florida to do the honors. I thought about the vows and words of marital wisdom that I could impart. I even bought a captain’s hat in the event that we needed to do the wedding on a boat. Well, the closer we got to the “wedding date” the less energy the prospective bride and groom demonstrated. Mostly the bride to be got ice cold feet and sent the marital souffle back to the kitchen. It just didn’t smell right.Image result for pouty faced blonde picture

Meanwhile, I pictured a morning service on the beach with the waves breaking on my bare Achilles heels as Joey and Karen stood in front of me, staring out to the rising sun above the teal blue ocean horizon. No shoes– just shorts, Hawaiian shirts with bow ties for men, and flowing silk tops with flowers in the ladies’ braided hair. A Slovenian cellist at my side playing “At Last” with the fifty guests singing along while the bride and groom processed,Related image

At laaaaaaast……. my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah
At laaaaaaast……. the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover the night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill I’ve never known, oh yeah
You smiled, you smiled oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in Heaven
For you are mine at laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaastImage result for etta james photos

After I had said the formal vows and fired a .38 caliber pistol in the air to signify that the vows were done, sealed in lead, the cellist would glide into the recessional song, “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds, or the Eagles as Joey would falsely claim. Really, Joey? You were a professional musician!!Image result for the byrds photos pictures

The assembled guests would then be served mimosas and ceviche by two barefoot waiters in tuxedos before boarding a 362 foot yacht bound for a week long Caribbean cruise. Are you feeling my disappointment yet? This may have been the greatest bait and switch operation ever. Like Taylor Swift said, “We are never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.”Related image

So, that was the bait. Now the switch. We flew down to Fort Lauderdale and the engaged couple picked us up. Not a word about lace or tulle, cake or party. I kept my captain’s hat on alert status in my red suitcase. I wasn’t going to bring it up if they didn’t. If they did not want my blessing, that was their terribly perilous, self defeating, awful choice. Silent mental warfare began. I tried to will them into matrimonialness with my Trumplike super brain power. I achieved similar results to Donny’s========= nothing.High Quality Trump pointing to his head Blank Meme Template

This impotent tug of war went on for several days and nights. The rope of contention held no tension. Instead, it was limply wound like a dead snake on the sandy ground. We wound up on the Quarterdeck Pier restaurant on Saturday night. We had drinks and drinks and a late dinner. The place was packed. It was nice, too nice to waste the opportunity, to order champagne and pop the cork after popping the question. Alas, nothing.

We drove back to our air bnb hotel room on the beach. We sat at a round table and drank a bottle of wine on the deck out front. While the wind blew in on us, we huddled beneath a shared blanket, Karen to my left, Joey to my far right on the other side of his sister/my wife. I had my captain’s hat on just in case the moment turned to a Cialis interlude and bathtubs appeared on the deck. It was too precious as a full moon shone down on us. I reached over to take Karen’s coolish hand as I stretched to grab Joey’s warm, willing hand, and began, “Do you, Karen, take this man to be your lawful, loyal, satisfactory, will do in a pinch, only horse in the race husband?” As she stuttered to come up with a Congressional hearing type non-answer, Joey blurted out an emphatic yes.Related image

Continuing in my ministerial duties… “And do you Joey take Karen–”

“Yes! yes! I’ve been asking for twenty years.”

Karen weakly retorted, “But there was the hurricane, and then it was hot…”

Related image

“I’ll take that as a yes, Karen. Now, by the power invested in me by no man or state, in the witness of your sister and sister in law, the Good Lord above, beneath a tropical full moon, I pronounce you man and wife. Please kiss the bride.”Image result for brides walking away from weddings

I played a terrific mouth trumpet recessional “Here Comes The Bride”, but no one moved. We just all held hands under the blanket and laughed in three syllable guffaws.

“My asthma.”

“Yo assaH?”

“My assah.”

“My ami!”

By brunch the next day an annulment was in place. We sipped mimosas in Miami. I put my magic hat away till next time, the next miasma.Image result for plasma miasma gif



683. Stephen Miller Goes to Hell

Satan:  Welcome to Hell, Stevie. We’ve been expecting you, Dude. If anyone deserves a parade in Hell, it’s you. On behalf of all your former Trump advisers and cabinet members, welcome back. You know Jeff, Kirstjen, John, Kelly Anne, the Mooch, Spicey, Reince, Mad Dog, Rex, Steve B…

Stephen: But, but, wait a second! I was walking across Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a bright warm day in April. The cherry blossoms were just finishing their bloom. A bus full of illegals was going by on their way to deportation.  White nationalism was gaining steam. It was a great day. What happened? Why am I here? I was doing YOUR work at the White House with Donny the Messianic Puppet.

Satan: We wanted to reward you, Steve. You hit your hate quota long ago. I don’t know if any other political animal will achieve your kill records. You are the Michael Jordan of xenophobia. Clutch, Steve, clutch!! There is nothing more to prove, my assassin. We wanted someone else to have a chance, you know?  Greed needs to be shared or it will go extinct.

Stephen: But I was just hitting my groove, Satan! There was 2020 and my Islamaphobia Palooza campaign. Did the Clintons get to you? Was it Soros? Or Bloomberg? No, Ivana? Jared? Silk pants sycophants.

Satan: Steve, relax. You are among fiends here. No need to be so defensive. You did a great job for me with zero tolerance and separating families at the border. Brilliant stuff, Steve. Cages and intimidation. And asylum seekers? You picked apart the Statue of Liberty’s fake news compassion poem, proving that America has always been for privileged white people. I admit that I get to have favorites here in Hell, okay? and I just love your work.

Stephen: Thanks? I mean, I guess I appreciate your appreciation, Satan. I just can’t help feeling I’ve been demoted. An hour ago I was one of the most powerful men on earth, and now, well, it’s better than a Motel 6. However, I was getting jazzed about Maralago over Easter break, and then drone strikes in Tijuana in May. I could almost taste the singed illegal flesh…

Satan: That’s my boy!! You really had a good time up there, didn’t you, son?

Stephen: Absolutely!! I was an ugly conservative Jewish dork in high school and college, but when I figured out how to hate hard, man, my life came into a beautiful focus. I stopped playing defense and started pressing forward like a drunk Russian commissar on a wild racial purification pogrom across the vermin-filled hinterlands.

Satan: Steve, you’re Jewish. Your mom’s people were refugees from Russian pogroms. Your great grandmother only spoke Yiddish. I mean, I am the devil and prince of darkness and all, but even I wouldn’t do that to my great grammy.

Stephen: You’re too soft, Satan. That’s your problem down here, I noticed on the way in. You lack border security. Anyone can sneak in here and open a taco stand without an identity card. Pretty soon they’ll mate with the Asian guy making shrimp rolls and you will find yourself in the minority in your own kingdom. I’ve seen it in New Hampshire, busloads of illegals are gonna be bussed in from Massachusetts to vote for Hillary, and pretty soon Hell will be a Blue state run by libtards like freakin California where I grew up.

Satan: Steve, I never thought of it like that. I always felt that the more souls I persuaded to forgo salvation and party hard, you know, the better for me. My numbers will be up by the 2020 census and I’ll get more representation in the House and Senate.

Stephen: That’s why you need a citizenship question, Satan. All these border jumpers are gonna vote Democrat and then Hell will belong to them. We can’t lose Hell. It’s like Ohio. If Puerto Ricans can vote, then so can Hellians. Okay, you need a hurricane to get on the gravy train.

Satan: Okay, okay. I get it. We need to take names and kick ass. I have been too soft, I guess. So, ya think we need to build a wall too?

Stephen: Duh! Of course. That River Styx is a medieval idea. It doesn’t stop anyone. You can’t think that death scares off the walking dead. Nope, they’re coming here for socialism, AC/ DC live, Obamacare, Food Stamps, welfare, free housing with wi-fi. They are parasites, Satan, enemies of the people, thugs, gang members, rapists, vermin, fleas on the buttocks of civilization… mutants from–

Satan: Okay, okay, Steve, breathe… But they’re dead, Steve, just like you. I mean, I hate to use the word down here, but isn’t this a bit of overkill?

Stephen: Seriously?  What happens when tyrants stop killing, Satan? When the hangman’s noose is empty and clean of blood stains, and the guillotine is idle? Huh? Right, the people lose their fear and tyrants get murdered upside down in a piazza. Is that what you want? Open borders and free champagne for the bloodthirsty savages?

Satan: Steve, did you ever study hyperbole in school?

Stephen: Absolutely, Stan, mind if I call you Stan? You know, just drop the first a and there you go.

Stan: No, sure, go ahead.

Stephen: I LOVED hyperbole, Stan. When the other kids went to prom and homecoming dances and sporting events, I studied hyperbole and played Magic the Gathering by myself. Waiting stoically for my revenge on the libtards, the Democrats, the brown and yellow man, the Muslims, and my own self loathing self.

Stan: Wow! Steve. You are one sick puppy. I’m a pretty tolerant guy without any prosocial values, but I mean, I love my great grammy…

Stephen: What are you saying, Stan?

Stan: Kirstjen, will you tell him?Related image

Kiersten Nielsen: Sure, Stan. Steve, we have to deport you.

John Kelly: You’ll never assimilate, Steve. You are too sick.

Stephen: But, where are you gonna send me? I have to hate someone. It’s in my marrow.

Stan: Russia is nice this time of  year.Image result for putin head shots


682. Traveling

Image result for emma gatewood photosMiddle English travailen, travelen to torment, labor, strive, journey, from Anglo-French travailler. Whether you travail or travelI suppose it depends on where you are and the company you keep. I just finished reading Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, all about an Ohio grandmother who fearlessly hiked the Appalachian Trail three times when she was in her sixties and seventies. That’s 2,050 miles each trip– up and down mountains in tennis shoes. She also walked two thousand miles from Independence, Missouri to Portland, Oregon one way… all by herself, alone, unaccompanied. You get the picture. She traveled, yes, but her travels were intimately connected to the travails of her abusive marriage. Though she gave her husband 11 kids, he never gave her respect. No, he beat her and beat her and beat her. So, by comparison, hiking alone on an isolated mountain ridge was not nearly as scary for Emma Gatewood. Feeling one’s feet pound the rocky trail would naturally feel more comforting than an angry man’s fist pounding on one’s already bruised face. Nature may be cruel at times but not malicious like humans can be.

Image result for old white farmer in 1930Unfortunately, men like her husband, P.C., are not rare. They fit a pattern of obsessing rather than loving. They must possess the objectified target of their passion. Impatience and impulsivity mark their courtship, as they bull rush the woman in their cross hairs.  Possession is the end game not co-equal love, because these men confuse control with love. The two could not be more different. And that’s how it went for Emma. She wanted to be away from P.C. for decades. Then, at 67 years of age, she began walking out a legend, claiming to be a widow rather than a divorced woman. The powerful social difference in the two words is lost on us today.

There are other women, I’m sure, who bide their time and fight the urge to flee for years. But once these victims go, brother, they are never coming back. Emma Gatewood was proof of that truth. Rattlesnakes and porcupines were better company than a misogynist.

Image result for single woman hiking beside a stream pictures

Her story calls to mind an old favorite poem of mine by Irving Layton, There Were No Signs.

By walking I found out
Where I was going.

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

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.
Out of infirmity, I have built strength.Related image

Out of untruth, truth.
From hypocrisy, I wove directness.

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

Another step

And I shall be where I started from.

Image result for a figure walking into sunset photos

Sometimes that’s how we find out where we are going, by walking forward, away from trouble and misery until we come full circle. But divorce in the 1940’s and 50’s was not an easy thing to come by. Nostalgic folks like to pine for the good old days when couples stayed together through thick and thin, but that is a sentimental narrative told by a severed ostrich head in the sand. Men beat their wives then… because they could… and they got away with it.February 26, 1996 P. 170

I remember a neighbor lady who, in the 1960’s, was in an abusive marriage with her awful husband, a drunk plumber. Several times late at night she came to our back door crying for my mother to let her in… “Lee is drunk and after me again!”, she cried hysterically. My mother would let her sleep on the couch until dawn, and back she’d go to a hungover louse, who would thrash out at her at another time. No one thought to call the police. It may not have done a bit of good anyway. Being divorced was a worse fate than being in an abusive marriage. You say no? Well, there was another divorced woman who lived down the street, Wayne Kent’s mother. I don’t believe I ever saw the woman. It was as if she had stage 4 cancer or ebola. Divorced! Inconceivable for a single or un-widowed woman to have custody of her own child. Something taboo was associated with that leper woman, but the leprosy was in her fearful neighbors’ eyes and hearts. Image result for pictures of lepers

As the laws changed regarding divorce and abuse and drunk driving, more abusers went to jail and more battered wives got divorces. Which is not the same thing as getting justice or child support. I’m not sure it’s an even playing field yet. So many men claim that their child support keeps the ex wife living in luxury. Well, it’s not about the ex-wife, is it? The bottom line is what does it cost to raise a child, not what is the cost of upholding your entitled male ego.Related image

So Emma walked and walked and walked into notoriety. She inspired countless others to get up and walk through nature at a time when American cars were enormous rolling pleasure carriages on the new interstate superhighway system. ‘If she could do it’, many couch potatoes reasoned, ‘then I can too.’ Funny how the overt story parallels the covert one beneath. Much more important than her walking records, I believe, is her legacy as a survivor who ultimately thrives. Her dying ex-husband asked for her on his death bed. She declined to visit the perpetrator of horror. Some might see this as a refusal to forgive. I can’t tell you what to think; however, I believe Emma rightly saw it as the unrepentant P.C. trying one last time to control her with pity and guilt as the the only weapons at his disposal. The way I see it, she left a house on fire with violent rage and only a fool would travail back there.

Image result for bed ridden old man photos

681. Ex One Ration

Image result for classical latin busts picturesLatin exonerare to relieve, free, discharge, from ex- out + onerare to burden, from oner-onus load.  When you put it all together, exoneration is the process of discharging someone from blame or burden. In short, you, the prosecutor drop their, the defendant’s load. So what are we to make of this statement from the Mueller report….Related image

The report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Does this mean that in the cross multiplication of negatives that the President still holds the burden? It seems like a nun saying, “I am not not pregnant”. Well, there it is in black and white… the President is not discharged from the burden, the original onus when it comes to obstruction of justice. It will be interesting to find out the rest of the story, i.e., the cover up attempts that appear to be obstruction of a non crime. Are you confused yet? Image result for obstruction pictures

Here’s where I get hooked: why did all of Trump’s horses and all of Trump’s men dissemble and dodge if there was nothing to hide and put back together again? Negative language confuses the brain. Most folks can only process one negative per sentence. For example, “National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lied.” However, when you introduce the second negation, “Michael Flynn did not lie”, that is not exactly equal to “Michael Flynn told the unabridged truth.” Nope, he lied and then lied about his lies…which cannot end in truth.Image result for mike flynn as humpty dumpty pictures

Now I understand that one example does not make a pattern. But thirty six examples of the same thing do.

Let’s try another one. “Jeff Sessions did not meet with the Russians”. Compare that statement with this one, “Jeff Sessions met with the Russians but he forgot about it until he remembered it under political pressure at his Senate confirmation hearings.” The edited version lacks the strength and integrity of an unequivocal “Jeff Sessions never met with the Russians!” So cracks appeared in the foundational truths and values needed by the chief law enforcement officer in our country as his nose grew. Then, when he later recused himself from the Mueller investigation, his lawless boss exploded on him for following the guidelines of the law, choosing the rule of law over the blood oath of loyalty to Don Corrupto.Image result for pictures of sessions with russians

Okay, but surely two do not make a pattern, right? Here again it’s just too easy to find the third, fourth, fifth, sixth example of improper contact and conduct with our country’s chief adversary.

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates…did not just meet with Russians, they worked with and for them to manipulate the Republican platform at the Republican Convention regarding sanctions connected to Russia’s interventions in Ukraine. Now Manafort is convicted of multiple crimes  while Gates continues to work with authorities in order to reveal more corruption in and around Trump World. These guys were gangsta overseas… and ran Trump’s campaign during the critical later months. Trump’s response?  I hardly knew them. Clearly that is a lie.Image result for manafort and gates pictures

So I think we have a pattern now, a spider web of unseemly connections to corruption, deceit, and a common national adversary. What holds the web together, i.e., who is the spider in chief?

Image result for spider web images

All threads lead back to the Mango Mafia Don.Image result for trump as a spider image

He has not been exonerated. That’s like saying the occupants of a car crash have not been extricated from a crumpled up car. The bodies are still in the wreck. So, it’s not over, folks. We do not have peace at home and security abroad. Bodies are still in need of recovering. Investigation fatigue and subpoena dysfunction have set in, which is very dangerous. Trump World’s tortured verbal torrents of denial, denial, denial, wear our the media and the law. A fifth grader can see Donnie Boy is a fat liar and stands at the nexus of criminal activity, but apparently he is immune in his gross malfeasance.  However, because he is shameless, he flaunts his two year legal base on balls as a grand slam, when it very well might have been a strike out. We’ll have to see when the other closet full of shoes falls.Image result for a shower of shoes gif

Why is truth so important? In the absence of truth we wind up with chaos, deceit, and skulduggery, a favorite word of mine. Order collapses. Gravity pulls the fakes and falsehoods into disintegration. Imagine a false brick wall that is not level or plumb or square, not even real brick. What do you have?  A pile of faux bricks. They cannot be stacked or remain that way.  Calls to mind W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”….

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Image result for falcon ignoring the falconer pictures

Yep, in a world without truth things most certainly fall apart. The center cannot hold nowadays because there is no center, only polar opposites demonizing each other. Such a world is a scary place. In scary places civil liberties are often suspended or ignored. Strong men rise to power offering illusory power to the victims. And as it so often turns out, strong men deceive their followers and everyone else except the military and police. Because such authoritarian regimes are built on fear, the public must always be afraid of some imminent danger, real or imagined. It’s basic bully logic, the oxygen of autocrats.Image result for police in north korea pictures

On the other hand, truth adds up to trust, something in severely short supply in Washington, D.C. and the Nation as a whole. Trust projected into the future is faith. Man, we could use some truth, trust and faith these days. Faith is the opposite of fear. It’s a positive projection into the future that produces unity, whereas fear is a negative suspicious energy that needs a target and produces division. Countless politicians and pundits sell fear for a living. We don’t have to buy it, folks. The burden is yours to pick up or reject.Related image


680. Morocco Polo

Image result for sean connery picturesLong time readers of the blog know that my coffee shop buddy Joel is a world traveler, and when he goes to exotic places, I write envious posts about unlikely outcomes for him. I do combine just a pinch of truth in these exposes. Like the nude spa in Switzerland where he pretended to be Ray Charles; that was partly true. And he did go to Iceland and the River boat cruise in Prague. I took a few liberties with the details of these trips. Then there was the infamous Grand Canyon journey to Phantom Ranch on his beloved mule Sheila. Some things you just can’t make up. There was Hawaii and Bermuda where he recruited gorgeous young girls to come back to central Pennsylvania with him and enroll in the local university. Parts of those stories were true, just not the salacious parts. I inserted them for comic relief and to juice up the narrative. [I will be compiling the best of Joel for a blog book spin off this fall. Stay tuned.]Related image

But I’ve never lost one minute of sleep worrying about the way things might have been, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on a river. However, he is now venturing to Morocco for the Humphrey Bogart look alike contest in Casablanca and I’m justifiably concerned.

You see there has been civil unrest in Morocco recently. Now this may seem a redundant statement when you consider the Arab world since the Arab Spring. But there, I said it. The Middle East seems to never have been at rest, so how can it now be in unrest? Don’t the double negatives cancel each other out?

2011 Moroccan protests 1.jpg

I’ve cautioned Joel to disguise himself like Obi Wan Kenobi as he travels through Morocco. Having extra batteries for his K-Mart light saber is just due diligence. Wearing a native hoodie robe will help as well. If he is approached by Al Quaida or ISIS dudes, he can do the Jedi mind trick and tell them, “I am not the anthropoid you are looking for.” It’s not going to be as easy as getting off the pirated cruise ship or out of the nude sauna in one piece. No. And he can’t very well be frozen in a block of ice and FedExed home. Moroccans are famous for… uh, well, marauding, no, actually they are known for mint tea and carpets.Image result for obi wan kenobi

Joel has my phone number. He knows if he should be kidnapped, or eldernapped in this case, we at Coffee Nation cannot pay more than $6.00 in ransom money, plus some local coupons for 10% off of vacuum cleaners. However, we can mount a Liam Neeson or Rambo style rescue mission. Let’s say Joel gets in a kerfuffle in Marakesh over the price of a rug while sipping mint tea and eating falafel balls. In a hot Moroccan second he gets whisked away by two masked men with curved scimitars, which is further redundancy since all scimitars are curved.Related image

Once these desert thieves realize that Joel has no money on his person and had wisely locked up his valuables in the room safe at the Marakesh Motel 6, then the tension firms up like liquid butter on a chilly night.

“Meesah Joel. Money. Get money or we cut your head off like infidel.”

“But, but I’ve told you. I never carry cash or credit cards. I spent my last Traveler’s Check in the bazaar where you kidnapped me.”Related image

“Meesah Joel. You no kid. You old guy. You got money. We want it.”

“Habib is it?”

“Haboob. I was named for sand storm in desert.”

“How unfortunate.”

“Tell my twin sister that.”

“What’s her name?”

“Haboobs, is the feminine form of Haboob. Many, many jokes follow us like biting camel flies.”Image result for haboob pictures

“I’m so sorry, my good man. Have you ever considered a name change? I am a lawyer back in my country, and it would be a real honor for me to help you change your monikers to something more suitable, like Steve or Bob, you know, like those Indian phone jockeys you get when you call Comcast?”

“Do not mistake me, Haboob, for a fool, Messah Joel. How much you charge?”

“I could probably get it done for, let’s see, do you have a calculator?”

“Do you see calculator, Meesah Joel?”Image result for arab assassin pictures

“Haboob, no need to be testy, my good man. Pressure grooms a gentleman and unhinges a thug, and I tell you that with all due respect.”

“Thank you, Meesah Joel. I am gentleman of thieves. Now, how much?”

“Five hundred American dollars.”

“Five hundred dollars to make Haboob into Steve and Haboobs into Bob?”Image result for arab assassin pictures

“Actually, that’s per person. I could do both Haboobs and you for $750.”

“Messah Joel, I must think on this before I keel you.”

“Haboob, you are a kind desert gentleman, it’s obvious to me that you are not the type to shed blood. Besides, I’ll have to be alive to file the paperwork for the name changes.”

“Then I keel you?”

“Yes, once we are all back in Pennsylvania in the district court house, then you can keel me.”Related image

“Oh, very, very good, Meesah Joel.”

“I only have one last wish.”

“You want cigarette?”

“No, I’d like to step across the square to say goodbye to my coffee nation brothers, maybe introduce you and Haboobs to the boys.”

“We will be Bob and Steve by then, Meesah Joel.”

“Precisely, my good man. I’m sure they’d love to meet you and maybe assist in the beheading.”

“Your friends are very honorable, Meesah Joel.”

“Yes, I believe Doug will film it. And brother Steve who wants to be tazed may want to be beheaded also. Perhaps he could go first to test the sharpness of your scimitar.”

“Oh, Meesah Joel, what friends you have!! A man can live whole life in desert and never find camels like these men. What others?”

“Well, there’s Josh. He’ll probably want to shoot you. It’s just a habit he’s trying not to kick. He goes overboard for politics and religion. You know, Haboob, zealots?”

“Yes, like Iranians. How I hate them! Perhaps I start with Josh to behead?”

“Now there’s a thought…but no, I couldn’t entertain that a moment longer. Come on, fellas, let me show you my light saber.”Related image

“When I say Morocco, you say Polo.  Morocco….”

“Polooooooohhhh noooooo.”


679. Shoes and Women

Related image

It has dawned on me before today, but this morning while vacuuming my bedroom I began to count the pairs of shoes and boots and sandals my wife owns. Without conducting an exhaustive inventory I quickly counted 40 pairs. It’s always wondered me why women seem to need so many shoes. When we were first married, I was shocked at the abundance of female footwear. All my life I had owned three or four pairs of shoes– one casual pair, maybe a dress pair, sports shoes, and another casual pair, if that. I grew up with three brothers. None of us had a shoe obsession. We could not afford such a luxury. So when I first encountered all my bride’s shoes at once in one place, I was horrified. And that was long ago when she had maybe a dozen pairs. Now it feels like Imelda Marcos has immigrated to Pennsylvania.Image result for imelda marcos shoes pictures

The truth is that I was simply ignorant. It took years and years and three daughters to educate me. I did not know that a girl/woman buys a pair of cute shoes for a particular outfit, like a pair just for New Year’s Eve. Maybe a pair just for one wedding dress/event or an Easter outfit or a prom. Then there are seasonal adjustments, the ever higher boots as weather gets colder. And who does not like sexy boots? The open toes of spring and summer give way to enclosed shoes in fall.  Not to mention fads and fashions.  Let’s face it, girls, 40 pairs of shoes is barely covering the bases. I mean, there are flats, kitten heels, pumps, platforms, low heels, and of course high heels in a range of materials and colors. This before considering that sports shoes can be dressy or functional and have to match most zingy outfits. It’s the law.Image result for ladies shoes and matching bags on models photos

Meanwhile a man thinks he has winter boots. Check. A pair of athletic shoes. Check. A pair of casuals. Check. A pair of sandals. Check. And a pair of black dress shoes. Check. Beyond that level of coverage is like having 200 television channels, 195 of which you don’t ever watch. To me it feels indulgent to have two pairs of dress black shoes and a pair of brown ones to boot. Three or four pairs of casuals. Good running shoes. Keen sandals for the desert. Hiking boots. Loafers. And more. However, whoa, wait!! come to think of it, my wife has purchased most of these for me. What does this mean? It means that I could have effectively ended the first sentence of this paragraph at “meanwhile a man thinks”. That’s always a mistake.Image result for rodin's thinker picturesIf you think too much, you’ll wind up naked and alone in a park watching pretty women strut by in pretty shoes.

Peach 03 T-StrapHere’s what’s really weird: Over time I have begun to notice women’s shoes and how they fit a certain look and communicate authority, playfulness, confidence, etc. It still feels unnatural for me to compliment a woman on her cute shoes, but I must admit it’s getting easier. “Oh those are fun!” “How cute!” “OOOhh, stilettos. Dangerous.” These are my semi-gay man words now. What’s happening to me? Perhaps estrogen levels are rising in me with my advanced age. I’ve heard that men become more feminine with age, like cheese we ferment and crumble. Young men are like cheap, oil drenched, stringy mozzarella sticks, but older dudes are dessicated hard Parmesan, strong and fragrant and expensive. Old guys can concede that women’s shoes are wonderful and necessary accessories. They have outlived pretense.Image result for crumbling parmesan cheese pictures

Man does not live by bread or cheese or loafers alone, but on the words of the women in his life. There is something communal and intimate that I see occurring among my daughters and wife and grand daughter when it comes to clothes. It’s a female thing. I rarely discuss clothing choices with my guy friends. Occasionally a guy will tell me he likes my shirt or a tie that is interesting. That’s about it. We don’t go into details about where we bought our accessories or how much we paid. These fashion taboos are guardrails that protect us from crashing over the cliffs of androgynous exposure. I get a bit squeamish when I hear my guy friends say too much about their clothes or offer me fashion pointers. “Thanks, Steve, but I don’t know what to do with that advice.” But women!!! Oohs and ahhs erupt as skirts and blouses and sundresses are swished about for scrutiny and, more likely, approval. “Oh, I love it!! It’s your color, and the fabric is so feminine and delightful!! It feels like heaven.”Image result for women complimenting each other on fashion pictures

I’m sorry. I can’t tell another man how awesome his tweed jacket feels or the spell his  burgundy cardigan casts on me. I can’t. It feels like petting sharks at an unregulated Sea World exhibit. Blood will spill and no one will be held accountable. I don’t want to die that way.Image result for sharks at sea world pictures

On the other hand I believe I could die watching a pair of high heels slip down the sidewalk, listening to the clickety clack, as I stopped to check my heartbeat. Aye Carumba!  She is here, stepping out in a catwalk on the concrete. It’s not a fetish; it’s an acquired taste. Yes, it took decades for me to get here, but I made it, Jimmy Choo.Related image

678. Debatable

Image result for middle school debate teams pictures

At the risk of repeating a previous post, I am offering this old memory from back in my middle school English teacher days. It was later in the academic year, maybe March or April. I know because that was when we covered the debate unit. The unit was half research and half dramatic tricks on stage, and one more half that involved working in a group. (I know, impossibly improper fraction; it was not math class.)

Image result for middle school debate teams picturesSome kids were quite adept at faking it on stage with clever gimmicks. One such unforgettable trick totally intimidated the opposing team. Team A came onto stage dressed up, holding their opening statements for the occasion. That wasn’t the gimmick.  Once the other team came out, Team A lugged in a stack of paper that might have contained 2,000 pages– 1,997 of which were blank. Two boys, probably politicians by now, dropped the bundle on their table with an audible thud. It reverberated like Gideon’s trumpet in the Midianites’ camp. Team B bought the trick and visibly shrank into their seats. Yep, they were deceived and intimidated by 1,997 blank sheets of paper delivered with a certain level of swagger. Before one verbal shot was even fired, they surrendered. Related image

It’s not so much what is real that disturbs men and children; it’s what they interpret reality to mean, i.e., their beliefs or expectations of available “evidence”. Scared, angry folks often jump to defensive conclusions. Just recall the Red Scare of the 1950’s and early 60’s. Communists, supposedly, were everywhere– at universities, the State Department, Hollywood, labor unions, etc. All you had to do was ask a scared or angry person like Joe McCarthy or Dick Nixon. The House Un-American Activities Committee gave the accusers great power and fame even if a lot of their accusations were rubbish. Sound familiar?Image result for the house un american activities committee

It was not until television journalist Edward R. Murrow called out their nonsense that the tide turned away from their witch hunt. Even then, Joe McCarthy accused Murrow of being a communist or fellow traveler without any supporting evidence. Murrow’s words resonate today with relevance…

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

In our current times it looks like we’ve deserted freedom at home and abroad in the name of some nativist greed grab. Insert Trumpublican talking points here… the Wall, welfare, voter fraud, socialism, fake news, the press is the enemy of the people, the system is rigged, etc.

Not ironically, there is a direct line from rabid Joe McCarthy to perverse Roy Cohn to Tricky Richard Nixon to Jolly Roger Stone to Rotten Rupert Murdoch to, yep, you guessed it, Delirious Donald J. Trump. Why, there’s Don and Roy together in 1984.

Cohn, who had been an aide to Senator Joe McCarthy, in the nineteen-fifties, was a political fixer and lawyer who represented New York power brokers, from the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to the mob boss Carlo Gambino. Trump was one of his favorite clients; before Cohn’s death, of aids-related complications, in 1986, the two men talked up to five times a day and partied together at Studio 54 and other night clubs. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told the writer Tim O’Brien, in 2005. “He brutalized for you.”  [The New Yorker, April 14, 2017]

Cohn’s frequent phone pals included Nancy Reagan and the former C.I.A. director William Casey, who “called Roy almost daily during [Reagan’s] 1st election.” Cohn also enlisted his friend and the owner of the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch, to help bring down Geraldine Ferraro’s campaign: “Whenever Roy wanted a story stopped or item put in, or story exploited, i.e Ferraro—and her family, Roy called Murdoch.” Cohn killed stories that would hurt his friends. When he found out that “60 Minutes” was about to do a negative story about Reagan’s potential Vice-President, Senator Paul Laxalt, of Nevada, “Roy called the producer of 60 Minutes and asked him to take it off the schedule.” The longtime “60 Minutes” producer Lowell Bergman, who didn’t talk to Cohn himself, confirms that the story never aired amid pressure from lawyers, including Cohn. [The New Yorker]Image result for roy cohn pictures

A truly charming fellow.

What’s amazing is that the same Cohn recipe still works in 2019.

1. Create an atmosphere of raw, irrational fear.

2. Fertilize it.

3. Bring to a boil on state news (Fox).

4. Serve piping hot so it burns the mouths of consumers.

5. And then focus that fear and pain on the target–> liberals, foreigners, gays, Blacks, Muslims, Jews. Pick one or a combo. Tucker Carlson can demonstrate for you on any given night.Related image

Corruption and abuse of power is not news. However, a straight line of their succession from the 1950’s to now is a bit unusual. Unlike a Trumpian conspiracy theory, these players are all real overlapping cast members who have indisputably operated outside and above the law for decades. No magic elixir is needed to tie these con men together. Just read the researched articles, though intuitively you probably already knew the outcome.  Why? Because you just know a vulture when you meet one. They smell of death.Image result for vultures pictures

Oh yes, back to the debates. If you can distract your audience with fear and anger, as DJT did in the 2016 campaign, you can turn the demonizer beam on anyone and burn them up for your gain.  In the top ten targets of Trump’s rage we see a pattern that befits any good dictator…

Things Trump Has Insulted on Twitter more than Putin (a partial list):
Amazon, i.e. The Washington Post, free press
NFL players who kneel,  S.O.B. Black men who exercise first amendment privilege
Judges, i.e. the coequal branch of government        
Robert De Niro, New York Hollywood celebrity who can’t be intimidated
Harley Davidson, American iconic company opposed to Trump’s tariff wars
Mitch McConnell, an elderly frog from Kentucky
The Red Hen, a restaurant that evicted Sarah Sanders
Jeff Sessions, an elderly demented supporter of Trump
UCLA basketball players, Black athletes who didn’t appreciate Massah Trump
Oprah, Black billionaire who rejects Trump
Maxine Waters, Black Congresswoman opposed to Trump
[Chris Cilizza, July 2018, CNN]
Just the facts, ma’am. No debate.Image result for detective joe friday pictures


677. Sleep

Image result for image of sleeping manSometimes I struggle with sleep and wake up unrested after nine hours of unconsciousness. Coffee or tea late in the day can unsettle my sleep, preventing deep REM sleep. At other times I may be overtired and unable to stay asleep after falling off quickly. I never look at the mocking clock. I don’t want to input more data to consider while I am trying to fall back into the arms of Morpheus, Somnus, and Hypnos. Instead of thinking random thoughts, I count backwards from 100 with each breath I take, so that I have a mind/body connection that is anything but stimulating. My goal is the shrinkage of stimulation. Usually by the number 75, I am elsewhere, paddling down a river in the unconscious again. Still, when I wake up unrefreshed, I wonder what’s up down there.

Last week my gitter done wife downloaded a sleep app for my cell phone. It’s amazingly simple to use. I’ve set it up to listen to my breathing all night long. It seems to do exactly that as well as providing statistics that seem real. I can see a graph of my alpine sleep valleys and peaks every morning. And there is a minute total of my snoring along with the actual snore recordings– greatest gags, huffs, wheezes, and snits of all time. It’s amazing but not so helpful. I still wake up tired and a bit paranoid that the FBI is listening to the Russians listening to me snore.Image result for spy vs spy cartoons

“Boris, he is usink Morse code, with breaths for dots and snores for dashes.”

“Vhat does he say now, Vlad?”

“Uhhmm, he is sayink, ‘My nose hurts my feet’.

“Vlad, that is total vitch hunt. Nonsense. It makes no collusion.”

“Boris, his code may be in code. Think!! comrade. Theese is very clever American sleeper cell.”

“Vlad, have you read his blog? Is nonsense. He is vorse liar than Putin.”

“Boris, you are so naiveskay. Even his blog is in code. He eees very deep state operative.”

“Vell, ve vill see. Vhat does dis blog code say?”

“Ve must vait for ze report from Mueller. It vill all be clear den. Everythink vill make sense.”

Image result for hugh hefner in silk robe picturesThat was just one dream that was picked up by the phone recorder.  In another I am smoking a pipe in an abandoned Playboy mansion. I’m wearing Hugh Hefner’s silk robe and wondering what in the world is going on. My smoke trails become Playboy models who vanish after I write a series of checks to Michael Cohen. As the smoke clears, I see I am not alone. I am naked in front of the House Oversight Committee and what a sight they are seeing. A bunch of angry Democrats are looking at me suspiciously until I demurely cross my legs as I lower the pipe. Image result for kamala harris pictures

Suddenly giggling Kamala Harris wants to know what brand of tobacco I smoke.

“Prince Albert cherry vanilla in a pouch”, I reply.

Amy Klobuchar inquires if I drink beer.

“No. The carbonation bothers my acid reflux.”Image result for house oversight committee members candid pictures

Jim Jordan challenges me, “You want to wrestle, right here and now like real men?!!”

“No, Jim. Uh, Congressman, I forgot to pack my singlet.”

Jordan, “We’ll go Greco-Roman with just extra virgin olive oil. Whadya say?”

“On the advice of counsel and my trauma counselor, Congressman, I must pass.”

“Sissy, queer, commie, socialist, Democrat, traitor….I got a can of Whoop Ass here that’s just dyyyyin’ to meet ya.”Related image

A chill passes over me. My wife must have kicked the covers off my feet again. It’s a nightly Goldie Locks struggle from too warm to too cold to just right. My brain waves prove the internal weather raging in my unconscious mind. Definitely a cold front.  I sit up in bed ready to kick Jim Jordan in his sweaty tights only to realize that it was just another bad dream. Insomnia seems like a good choice for the rest of the night. It also sounds like a good name for 100 proof bourbon. Image result for insomnia liquor label pictures

99, 98, 97, 96, 95, 94… down the silent spiral stairs again I step with each breath cycle. Debussy’s Claire de Lune starts to plink in my unconscious mind, drawing me deeper into the moonlight beneath my eyelids. Enchanting. I wander across a moonlit forest floor, picking up bread crumbs on the pale gray path to Hansel and Gretel’s house. I must be hungry, too hungry to recall that the kids left those crumbs as a trail back to civilization. The kids, a boy and a girl, well, I know they’re my precious grandchildren who are moving away, far away soon. There is no witch or oven or cage to fatten them up for eating. No, just a slumbering grandpa whose smoldering brain is firing off all sorts of emotionally charged visuals. I arrive at the end of the trail at a gingerbread house and begin eating the door. Once inside I see the fire is out and the place is abandoned. Hugh Hefner’s silk smoking jacket and still warm pipe are on a chair by the fireplace. “I must have just missed him”, I say to myself.Related image

Suddenly, Boris and Vlad burst in behind me, blocking the only exit from this cookie jar house. Image result for marx brothers  pictures

“Ve have been trackink you, Burrito Boy, recordink every yawn and snottle. Ve vill have zee truth vith or vithout Comrade Mueller’s report.”

“Yes, Boris. Give it to heeem. Make heem vish he had stayed in dream vith Jim Jordan.”

BS, “You must be Vlad since you called him Boris.”

Vlad, “You are very good, Comrade. I vill hate to keeel you.”

BS, “That’s just it, Vlad. You don’t have to. I have something you want and you have something I want.”

Vlad, “Vhat vould dat be, Comrade?”

BS, “The Code, of course.”

Vlad, “Vell, ve could use such help, but ve must steel keeel you.”Image result for marx brothers  pictures

BS, “No, if I give you the code and you give me a head start back through the woods to the spiral stair case, then you will have the code and I will wake up with another sleep record. It’s a win-win.”

Vlad, “Yes, so vhat did you mean in code vhen you said, ‘My nose hurts my feet’?”

BS, “I am going to write down the decoded message which will unlock the entire Mueller report for you. I’ll leave it on a scroll of papyrus just down the trail. When you read it, I’ll head back up the stairs, counting to 100 up to my bed. Deal?”

Vlad, “Deal. Like blackjack: dreamer alvays vins.”

BS, “Good, let me just scribble this down here… the subject was actually feet not nose. The message means ‘my feet stink’. And that is all, Comrade.”

Vlad, “But the report, vhat do ve make of it?”

BS, “Something stinks. Read the dossier. Something is rotten in Moscow, Comrades. Follow the money. Bye.”Image result for marx brothers  pictures