481. Five Bullies walk into a bar…

O’Reilly:  Fellas, no bloviating. We’re here without our lawyers so we can commiserate about the rough treatment the lying liberal media are heaping on us. You and I know that boys will be boys and it’s mostly a bunch of locker room talk, and if we happen to score with a blonde, then it’s good for her too. It’s a win-win. Right?

All: Right, here, here!! Misogyny forever. Good looking, status seeking women love to feel the hands of power on their privates. Right, right, right, right!!

Image result for harvey weinstein picturesHarvey: O’Reilly, I need a thirty-second chance to make sure that all my consensual contacts actually were consensual. You know how you can get carried away in a lustful moment and maybe grope before you look at the law? I mean, that one woman had me swear on my kids’ lives that I would be a gentleman. And then I still couldn’t help myself. She was just too smokin’ hot not to grope. She got a bigger part in my next movie, and I got what I wanted.  Fair exchange of goods if you ask me. I was a lawyer in the Air Force, so I know a thing or two about the law.

All:  Sure!! We feel you, Harvey. Where’s the forgiveness and redemption like the leftist media gave Obama and Clinton. I mean, at least Clinton was a groper and what happened to him? Nothing.

Image result for bill cosby picturesBill 2: Well, hold, hold on a second. I was still a t.v.  dad when the Clintons were in office. Bill got an ass whuppin’ from Ken Starr and the Republicans. Remember? All those women who testified against him. I mean the list went way past Monica Lewinsky and the blue dress.

Image result for bill oreilly  picturesBill 1: It’s disgusting what he did to the name of Bill, making it synonymous with rapist. Reprehensible. I am paying now for his sins, and I ‘m mad at God. When I get back on the air, I’m going to run this through the No Spin Zone and redeem the good name of Bills everywhere. I can’t wait to spin my pen around as I sloganeer pompously. God I loved that smarmy smirky version of myself. Chicks dug it too, I know. Ole Billy Blue Eyes will be back, b.a.c.k., BACK!!

Image result for roger ailes  picturesRoger: Billy Boy, you were as bad as I was, so don’t get all sanctimonious on me. It’s just your bimbos didn’t go to the press like that headline grabbing Gretchen Carlson did with me. They took the money without the noise. Bartender, a round of doubles for my friends. Don, straight tonic water?

Image result for arrogant trump picturesDonald: The trouble with you dickheads is you got caught. In all my ghost written books a predator hero is someone who doesn’t get captured.  Sure, there will be accusers, but that just makes it juicier the next time you grab’em down there. You know, break them down into a ‘he said, she said’ deal. I never lose when it comes to making deals. You guys need better lawyers. Remember that woman on the plane? I said she was a 5 out of 10 and unworthy of my gropes. Worked like a charm.

Roger: Whoa, Donnie Boy. You have a list of accusers a mile long. Why doesn’t this fecal matter stick to you?

Related imageDon: Simple: hit me and I hit back harder. Never back down. Go on the attack. Hire minions who will bleed for you. Fire them for frivolous reasons. Demand loyalty without giving any. Keep them worried and they will bleed more for you. Never ever tell the truth. Train yourself to believe in your own lies so you can pass a polygraph that your name truly is Abe Lincoln or Joseph Stalin. It works like a charm. Of course, a giant I.Q., big hands, good looks and ten billion dollars doesn’t hurt, believe me. I’m a pathological liar. You have to go into battle without the possibility of defeat ever entering your mind….

Cosby: But you never served, Bone Spur Defer. Remember?

Image result for arrogant trump picturesDon: Fake news, Bill. I served deep under covers in New York’s Vice Squad all during the war. The fire fights were hot and heavy in five star hotels. I couldn’t march, but I could crawl to fulfill my patriotic duties. Believe me, my generals will confirm my story. My service files are sealed along with my taxes, however. But you? I didn’t see you in ‘Nam.

Cosby: Navy.  Before ‘Nam after Korea, Donnie.

Don: Well, you sure have a list. What is it up to? 50?

Image result for cosby pics selling puddingCosby: Now some of that was consensual after the drug cocktails and they could no longer legally consent.

Don: I’m at least at 500 without any drugs or alcohol. You’re minor league. Stars don’t need consent. My lawyer told me that.

Image result for roger ailes picturesRoger:  I may be dead, but I too had a three digit record when I was alive. All real blondes.

Image result for harvey weinstein picturesHarvey:  You got off easy, Roger. I am suffering now. It’s not fair. I was always the bully, the power broker. Now I’m getting bent over and abused. It’s not right. I may go to ja-ja-jail. I am a veteran and a former public servant, plus I made some damn good movies.  That’s got to count for something.

Image result for roger ailes picturesRoger: I feel like the Ghost of Christmas future, Harvey. We are all forgettable men who have lived regrettable lives. We drove our shiny privileges into lust filled pig sties.

Harvey: So I’m supposed to go buy Tiny Tim the Christmas turkey now, Roger? Is that how it ends?

Bill O’Reilly is seen out and about in New York
O’Reilly: I’m writing my next book called Who Killed Tiny Tim? Got to do something between lawsuits. I miss bloviating so much.

Image result for cosby pics selling puddingCosby: Get used to it, fellas. I can’t even sell Jell-O pudding any more. Might have to sell my sweater collection.

All:  Shhh!! Someone just came through the door. Who’s there? Show yourself. We are five armed angry men. And one of us is dead.

Image result for anthony weiner picturesAnthony Weiner:  It’s just me, guys. I’m here to do maintenance. Where’s the men’s room? Understand there’s a clogged toilet, full of self righteous toilet paper proclamations of innocence and misunderstanding.

All: You sicko!! What you did was so beneath us, you whack job. You gave dirtbags a worser  reputation. You have a lot of nerve just being in our presence. What if the press gets a whiff of this?

Anthony Weiner:  I suppose they’d report that pigs smell exactly how you’d expect them to smell, like spoiled egg salad. Like us. Where’s that toilet?Image result for pigs in manure pictures







480. Sure, why not?

Related imageSunday School Sue told me with an easy wide smile that she so enjoyed my post called “Reflections”. Her compliment was a chocolate-covered lemon, however, as she continued needlessly to add context. “I could understand it, unlike some of your other posts where I wonder what you are talking about.”

“Well, thanks, Sue, for driving that nice shiny new compliment right off the cliff into a slurpy mocha mudslide.”

“Oh, that didn’t come out right.”

Image result for road runner cartoon driving off cliff pictures“No, I think I understood it exactly, unlike some of your other comments where I wonder what in the heck you are talking about. But Sara tells me the same thing. In fact, she commented on the same post, “Reflections”. Let me paraphrase, ‘It was sweet and then you drove it off the cliff with the Ted Kaczynski part. Where do you come up with this stuff?'”

“Well, that was a little strange. I mean, the Unabomber and family love? C’mon.”

“Hey, it was an extreme contrast to illustrate the goodness and power of love.”

Image result for mouse and elephant uneven scales pictures

“Does this mean I’ll be featured in the next blog post?”

“Sure, why not?”


Well, there are two types of people in this world: those like me and everybody else. (Okay, maybe there are other categories like male and female, gay and straight, tall and short, smart and dumb. So, Fake News again. Okay, I’ll walk that comment back. One of my aides told me to say that. My generals said maybe they did and maybe they didn’t. I was first in my class and have a ginormous I.Q. except when fact checked. Many people are saying I was correct, you know. It’s playing well in the media. My base approves.) Admittedly, my group is pretty small. Eccentric for sure. I’ve only met a couple of other me’s along life’s highway. They were hitchhikers with small dogs and a “Hungry” sign outside Walmarts. Which makes me pretty darn special. (I must believe this or else what do I have to live for? Should I run for office to justify my life’s purposelessness?? Go into real estate? Oh, wait, that’s already being done.)

So what happens to Sue now? Will she join the Killer Snarks Hall of Fame? Not so fast. Here is where it gets sketchy. She asked if this snafu would rocket her into the mother of all blogs, i.e. , Burritospecial@Wordpress.com. Not to be manipulated by a Staten Island transplant, mind you, but yes, Sue, here you are in all the klieg lights glory.

Image result for shoe box bird traps picturesShe’s a nice lady, definitely a lady. Kind and winsome with a midwesterny laugh. Would anyone even dare to capture her in words and phrases? No, because some folks,actually most folks, are beyond simple shoe box bird traps. You youngsters would not know about these, but back, way back in the humid suburban summer days between the mimosa tree grove and the honeysuckle hedge that defined my backyard neighbor’s yard, Chris Young and I would set up shoe boxes on popsicle sticks attached to yards of string or twine.  Under the tilted boxes we would sprinkle bread crumbs to attract robins, blue jays, starlings and sparrows. Cardinals and orioles were also invited but never showed up. Underneath the honeysuckle we waited, hardly breathing as the birds swooped in to gobble up the crumbs. A simple flick of the wrist would drop the box on the unsuspecting birds and away we’d rush to claim our prizes. It was comparable to catching bees inside rose of Sharon blossoms. It was neat and exciting to do, but what to do after you had secured your prey?  Let them go. It was sort of anticlimactic as were many things in the early 1960’s. A lot of flirting and near seduction, but no real action.Image result for honeysuckle hedge in bloom pictures

Catching birds in shoe box traps was a half day adventure in the shared back yards of Dorset Drive and Virginia Hills Avenue. My goodness, in the days before the dreaded chain link fences, long stretches of open back yards called out for the children of Baby Boomers to play baseball and hit golf balls. Which is how I got the scar under my right eyebrow. I think it was Tommy Storm who was hitting golf balls off a tee with a one iron as we younger kids happily chased them down, over the hill like trained Labrador retrievers.

Image result for backyard golfing between houses pictures“Here you go, Tommy. Hit it again and we’ll exhaust ourselves running all over the neighborhood trying to track down your old Titleist 1 golf ball.”

It was times like these when older boys realized they could manipulate the crap out of young siblings and their friends who were eager to please them and be accepted into the cool teenager, hair wax museum. Greasers drove hot cars around our streets and did the splits at teen night dances back then at the community pool. They crossed the ultimate social taboo also: smoking cigarettes around the corner of the elementary school.Image result for greasers pictures Girls oohed and ahhed over  these skinny guys in tight jeans and greasy hair, sneering at social norms. They were bad dudes who probably went on to be roofers and beer truck drivers and bowling alley mechanics. Anyway, they were way too tough for Sweet Sunday School Sue or my future wife to run around with. Not unless you wanted to get whiplash in a G.T.O. doing a burn out on The Parkway with Timmy O’Brian behind the wheel. But I digress as I recall the neighbors who populated those simple three bedroom ramblers back in the day…

The Houcks next door. Mrs. Houck was a Mexican cutie who ran off with a teenaged boy or two for research purposes. The Smiths, lots of drunken evenings when Phyllis ran down the hill to stay at our house overnight while her husband the plumber tried to kill her again. The Emkirs behind us, and the bologna sandwich party where Mr. Emkir came home unexpectedly and beat Eric for a long, long time before air conditioning so the windows were open. The Citchees next behind us, with only child Clancy. What an odd nursing home/ funeral parlor that was. And then the home of Rock n Roll early bird Ronnie Dove. Yep, our local claim to fame’s parents and sons lived there. And it rolled on like a trodden fairway through back yards down the hill, exiting on Berkshire Drive’s curbs and tin pan dramas.Image result for storm drain images

One unfortunate day I took Tommy’s 1 iron in my right eyebrow as I stood in the Coopers’ backyard and saw a shower of blood for a while until six stitches sewn in the Old Alexandria Hospital stopped the flow. Such a notorious war wound, worth a lot of bragging points back then.

So, where were were going again, Sue?  Oh yes, over the cliff.

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479. We didn’t start the Liar

Thinking about our Fabricator in Chief … leads to Billy Joel’s descriptive stream of consciousness song of last century’s history… you remember how it goes, right? My respect and apologies to Mr. Joel. This is a hard scam.

Michael Flynn, go away, Kelly Anne gets to stay
Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Scaramucci- GO!!
James Comey, Tommy Price, Can’t avoid the t.v. lights
North Korea, South Korea, Kim Young Man,
Russian trolls, H-Bombs, Nazis march for rebel rights
Jared and Ivanka land, Donald Duck as Peter Pan,

Morning Joe, Brezenski, hits on plastic surgery

Tillerson, Mnuchin, Betsy Ross, Amwaaaaaay

(Melania yawns)

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we couldn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him.

Vlady Putin, Bob Mueller, Nunes in the trees

Trump Towers never bugged no apologies

Russian lawyers, Don junior, but it’s all a hoax

When you’re a star, don’t forget

you never have to coax

Billy Bush, Marla Maples, Little Pocket Man

Thin skinned, comb over, Look at these hands

Pep rallies, screaming mobs, race baiting hating slobs

Alabama, NFL,

Sons of bitches, Easy sell

Kaepernick, such a prick, Roger Goodell

White is good, dark is not

What the Hell have you got

to choose or lose if you’re SHOT?

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we couldn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him.

GOP all in stitches, White House staff

bunch of snitches

Who are the real sons of bitches?

Better not ask

Huckabee paid to sing

No trouble in the West Wing

Hope General Kelly’s up to task

How to curb a ding a ling

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we didn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him.

Coal mines open, borders closed

Air pollution? hold your nose

Tax reform on a postage stamp

More money for the one percent

One thing’s certain and that thing is

Russian hookers took a piss

On the bed where Obama stayed

It’s all in that dossier

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we didn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him.

So much stupid left to share

It’s adult day care

Blame Obama for the drama

Blame reporters anywhere

Breitbart, CNN

it’s disgusting, it’s a sin

But keep on trusting, tune in,

ratings are amazin’

Fox News, New York Times

NBC, bunch of slimes

Build a wall, drain the swamp

Give our allies a good stomp

Crowd size, narcissism

Viral tweeting solipsism

Who’s at State? FBI?

Stick a fork in my eye

Oval Office spinning door

Secret Service going poor

Constitution on the floor

I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we didn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him

In the Senate and the House

Combing files for the louse

Manafort, secret court,

come with us to jail

McCarthy on the podium

Baldwin on point

Can’t wait for SNL

To devastate the joint

Then there’s Pence, no common sense, can he be excused?

Oh my God, what a fraud, Sesssions is recused

McCain says no, gotta go

against Baby Donnie’s pose

Infrastructure, what a cluster,

Regulations no use

Americans in Puerto Rico?

who knew this?

Nambians in the Congo

Now that’s what the truth is

(Melania yawns)

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we couldn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him

Three million bad hombres casting shady votes

Jersey Muslims dancin’ jihads just to get our goats

Trans soldiers pink slipped thank you very much

Christian Right flexed its might, now you’re out of luck

Misogynistic racist tool, do not disturb

Echo chambers messaging set on reverb

Frederick Douglas still alive

Mister Trump C. P. Five

Carli’s face, Marco’s height

Ted Cruz’s ugly wife,

Mar a lago, golf a go go

just can’t get it right

Birther scare, bankruptcies 

then the university

Global warming NATO harming

Flag obscurements

Five deferments


What else do I have to say?

We didn’t start the Liar

He was fully loaded when his mouth exploded

We didn’t start the Liar

No, we couldn’t hide him, but we tried to fight him.

(Melania yawns)










478. Whales. What? Wait!

Image result for rehoboth beach picturesAfter the joy of celebrating Jess’s marriage to Zach, after the 9 months of preparation and deliberations, after the delayed gratifications… my bride and I cruised out of town with little luggage and our bikes in the back of the Honda. To the beach, to the beach. Where I am blogging from a king size bed with the sliding door open to the ocean’s hypnotic sound waves. Boardwalk Plaza, Rehoboth, Hot Pool bubbling downstairs inside and out.  Tension has been transfused out of my brain and body, replaced by liquid tranquility. Yo, it’s October and yesterday we had to wear sunscreen on the beach, 80 degrees with a light breeze. Yet, I still got a mild sunburn. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in October? Yep. Beyond all our expectations. Dinner outside last night at a lovely Italian place with my lovely Italian bride, knowing all is well with Jess in Asheville, Grace in Hershey, Erin in Brooklyn. Is this heaven? Peace covers me like caramel on apples in the showcase I strolled by this morning while exercising extreme self control. Riding bikes all around this sleepy town with no concern for traffic, as if the residents were raptured last week and those of us left behind haven’t figured it out yet. We’re still agape at the free parking.

Image result for submarine surfacing picturesNow we did walk the sparsely attended beach, of course, for miles and miles till our legs grew sore. But the most incredible experience was not on the beach or in town; it was 150 yards off the sand. As we walked along I spotted what I thought was a black submarine surface beyond the breaking waves. A “v” shaped plume of mist blew above it, my friends, like a whale, but that could not be. For in all my years of visiting the ocean I had never seen anything closer to a whale than a porpoise or dolphin. I reasoned alone that I’d seen a very large porpoise, but I could not figure out the mist plume. On we walked past fishermen and retired couples glorying in the exceptional weather. Once again I saw a black form rise to the surface without bending and arcing itself down the way that porpoises swim. “I think there is a whale out there”, I observed to my dear wife. “I can’t believe it. I’ve never seen a whale except that time at Sea World. Never in the wild.”

Image result for humpback whales surfacing picturesAgain and again the black shapes rose to the surface and shot a v plume of mist. I experienced cognitive dissonance in vivo not in theory. My senses were telling me I was seeing whales, but my mind kept searching for an alternative answer that matched my limited maritime experience. “I’m gonna ask these fishermen”, I said. Now I am the last person to ask for directions or help, so this was a Big Boy moment for me. I noticed the two fishermen staring intently in the same direction that I had seen the black phantoms.

Image result for saltwater fishermen on shore pictures“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

“Humpbacks looks like.”

“No kidding. I thought I saw a whale.”

“Whalesssszzz. They don’t usually travel alone.”

I was thrilled to have my cognitive dissonance kicked in the assonance. “Humpbacks!” I blurted out to my bride. “I saw a whale!!”

“Remember the girls used to sing that song?”

“Oh, yeah. I think Jess made it up. Grace on piano, Erin on guitar, Jess on homemade vocals. It was almost as great as their other big hit, ‘This is the Fun Club’.”

“We should make a video and send it to them.”

Image result for humpback whales surfacing pictures“Look!”  A huge head spiraled up out of the water, mouth open, then crashed back out of sight. Wow, an other worldly excitement passed through me, as if I’d seen a polka dotted polar bear swim by.  Then off to the left another black back surfaced, spewing a funnel of mist. Had to be at least two whales, maybe even more. More and more beach goers were taking notice. Out came phones and cameras. On the left at 11:30 a huge head broke the surface like a jet ski rocketing up from the deep. A few minutes later at two o’clock another massive head broke the jade green water and left a white breaker behind its crash.Related image

Majestic. Monstrous. Magical. Meteoric. No word seemed to capture the scene I was witnessing. My mind went to the earliest encounters between men and whales. What would the first witnesses have thought? And the whales? They are sentient creatures. I wonder what they think as they leap and spiral, seemingly at play. They catapult themselves into the atmosphere they cannot inhabit anymore than we humans can inhabit their salt watery realm. I wonder if they get the same sort of charge seeing us in the ocean as we do seeing them burst into the daylight?

Image result for pinocchio and monstro picturesWho knows the answers to these ponderings. Still, in dreams I suppose we can swim with the whales or reside in their bellies like Jonah or Pinnochio. In deepest sleep we cross over into REM slumber, the realm of dreams and deepest rest. For just a few minutes at a time we leave our bodies to rest and recharge, breaking through the cave roof of a deep, holy place. Perhaps it is the cavern of our souls. One thing is certain: you can’t stay there for long. It’s too much, too sweet, too full.Image result for humpback whales surfacing pictures

These great creatures live up to 50 years, though no one has a birth certificate available for any of them. Amazing. They could be having a second honeymoon and grooving along the coastline, just like we are, listening to some Barry White classics, “Oooh, my darling, I can’t get enough of your love, baby girl, I don’t know, I don’t know why, I can’t get enough of your love.” And then, maybe they are simply the huge exclamation point on a fabulous run on sentence. In any event, I suspect love spirals through all the glory, saying simply, “Love one another”.

477. Reflections

Image result for farmhouse reflected in a pond photoIt’s been 36+ years since my wife and I were without a child in the house. Over half our lives ago we began our family in the second floor apartment above the dam behind Scotland School, which is no longer called that. Our little baby girl, whose tiny foot fit into a six ounce teacup in 1981, is a very grown up and accomplished New Yorker now. Her first swimming pool was a five gallon bucket in which she joyously jumped up and down while ignoring the vista of a hog farm and train track behind our rented house in Five Forks, still called that and still not a Michelin restaurant. Her first doll was a Miss Lolly Dolly that was pink and white checked with a pink hat and dress. She carried it around as she toddled and then walked skillfully across the side yard while Coco the sheltie collie with nine lives circled about. Image result for miss lolly dolly pictures

We were all so young then. You can do the math. Shiny hair, thin, vigorous…never imagining our hair colored, our figures plumped or our stamina fatigued.

Image result for wedding couple picturesToday we are loading all the decorations for my youngest daughter’s wedding tomorrow, the tulle, and balloons, and up lights, and decorative screens that have overtaken our basement for the last six months. This is her last day living here. Tomorrow she leaves the nest and we stay behind, happily I trust. First, because she is marrying a wonderful guy. Second, because my bride and I have a lot more life to share together.

Just like when my grandkids and middle daughter moved out in late August, there will be rearranging and a new order to find, less noisy and drippy and busy; we will find a new order in the weeks ahead. More freedom awaits, more choices, more joy.Image result for vigorous older couples riding bikes pictures

I don’t want to wax sentimental or melancholy. I feel neither today. Rather, it’s a positive expectation of the next exciting thing. I am at heart an optimist. I believe things will work out eventually, and my life reflects this pattern. When we married, my wife and I had nothing but our wet behind the ears educations, not even a car. We rode ten speed bikes around Richmond. Borrowed a friend’s car for the justice of the peace ceremony in a dark courtroom downtown. Never imagined owning a house, let alone paying it off. Never imagined children, loving and accomplished. Never imagined having new vehicles or money in savings after the bills were paid. However, I never ruled those out.  Instead, I left the door open for blessings and fortune to come in.

What I do know is that fear and loathing have never worked for me. They shrink life into a defensive foxhole within a bunker inside a medieval fortress. Sure, most perceived risks are outside the citadel, but the worst enemies a man has reside between his ears and the ventricles of his metaphorical heart.Image result for unabomber pictures of man and box Just ask Ted Kaczynski if he is still alive. You remember the Unabomber, right? He was so hurt and enraged at the wicked world he perceived out there that he retreated to a box, completely off the grid of modern society, to craft nearly perfect letter bombs which killed and maimed innocent victims. His Ph.D in pure mathematics from the finest universities in the USA, I suppose, never failed him when human beings did. I imagine he saw the inevitable decline of civilization that could only be saved by his manifesto and strategic bombs aimed at universities and airlines. Well, fear and hate never do win; they just inflate themselves in sleight of hand deception. When we give in to fear, the dark gets darker, the recession gets worse; the madman gets more powerful… they surge upward on the breath of our fear.Image result for ursula from little mermaid pictures

So faith must be pivotal and critical. “We’ll just see what tomorrow brings” is an affirmation that there is a tomorrow, and depending on the tone one declares it, can be positively inspiring. How we could build our house was a daunting challenge.Then furnish it. Landscape and more. Oh, and where will we ever get the money for the kids’ college? One discombobulating what if was followed by another paralyzing what if? We kept moving forward not shrinking back, however. “We’ll just see what tomorrow brings.”Image result for highly anxious faces

Increased prices and salaries were hard to fathom, but our advanced educations seemed to more than pay for themselves. Though we were both in human services careers, we did not suffer greatly for it. Perhaps living in rural Pennsylvania insulated us from exorbitant price gouging and plantation wages. What I know is that with financial planning advice, we began to save a little bit; to refinance our 11%  1985 mortgage rate; to avoid plastic and to pay down old debts before acquiring new ones. Basic stuff, not exotic or sexy investing.Related image

Now, the money is there for my daughter’s wedding; but more importantly validated faith is in abundance. Back in the darkest darkness my girl Jess was lonely and desperate to be loved by a good man. Her desire was palpable in an E Harmony kind of way. Tomorrow seemed empty and arid, a place to wait for disappointments and then death. She tried to make something happen, but nothing good happened. She watered the concrete with her tears hoping for roses to spring up.Image result for roses growing out of concrete

And then through the most unlikely set of barely touching dominoes, a loving relationship was discovered and nurtured, as the gentle collisions played out. The tiles fell not into chaos but into a unique lovely order with God’s fingerprints all around. Unlike the breath of fear, the breath of faith is comforting; it ripples the still waters of one’s soul saying, “You were not, are not, and never will be alone.”Image result for wind ripples on a still lake pictures

So, let’s get the rest of the wedding props into the cars and see what tomorrow brings.


476. Biker News U can Use

Image result for spyder motorcycles picturesJoel was on the road again like an updated Peter Fonda or a dapper Willie Nelson. On the road again to a sexy bank opening near Philly or Lancaster. “I’m driving the Spyder. It will be a different bank board member they’ll be getting this year”, he swaggered audibly, as if rolling an extra large martini olive around his jowls.

“You are a stud, Man. Mardi Gras here I come! Will you be stopping to pick up Dennis Hopper?”Image result for easy rider images

“Uh, no.” He dismissed the question and questioner simultaneously.

“Dennis Rodman?”Related image

“I will be spending a few days exploring the coast of Delaware. I’m going to take the ferry at Lewe’s across to Cape May.”

“Cool. What does that cost? Not that money is an object for a guy like you.”

Image result for lewe's ferry pictures“$10 for me and $24 for the bike. It’s an eighty minute ride, but it will save me a hundred land miles of driving. In addition, you can get a meal or an adult beverage on board. Then I hope to travel the back roads of New Jersey’s shoreline communities until my soul is sufficiently nourished.”

“Fantastic. Try to get me some blog material, will you?  I’m running thin. See if you can get arrested or tossed around in a bar fight. A stud like you needs strong street cred. Dance with a jealous man’s wife, like Jose in ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’.”Image result for mexican bar fight pictures

“I’ll see what I can do. Why, I don’t know…I do read the burrito blog and chuckle.”

“Do you? How quaint.”

“Yes, it’s easier than suing you.”

“Thanks, Joel. I’ll see you in a week if you survive. And if you don’t, remember I get the Spyder in the unfortunate event of your death. We agreed years ago on this, and I have a napkin will that you signed.”Image result for headstone with Joel on it pictures

“Yes, I know. Don’t you think you’re a little self serving?”

“For shame!  I’m just trying to ensure a good home for your beloved bike after you’re gone.”

“So thoughtful.”

“Now that’s more like it.”

============================================================================Ten days later…

“Well, did you want to hear about my adventure?”


“All went as expected in southeastern PA. Then I rode the Spyder over the Bay Bridge. It was magnificent. I haven’t felt like that since I flew F-16’s over ‘Nam.”

“Uh, cowboy, you never did that. Remember? You marched around in ROTC circles on campus, but you never deployed out of the county, maybe even the township.”

“Oh well, I was speaking poetically. Like our esteemed president, those who take me literally don’t take me seriously; and those who take me seriously don’t take me literally.”Image result for angry trump face pictures

“Which means you are lying.”

“Harrumph!! Anyway, all was well as I drove up to Lewe’s and got in line for the ferry across to Cape May.  I chatted with another fellow who had an enormous Honda trike, must’ve cost $50,000. We were loaded with the cars, mind you, since our rides are so wide.”

“Hip expansion happens after you’ve had a child or two, Joel.”

Image result for bike week ocean city pictures“I didn’t mean that way. Oh for heaven’s sake, why do I bother? ”  Long stare of consternation. “Well a bunch of real bikers pulled up on Harleys with their tattooed mommas riding behind them. It had been Bike Week in Ocean City, and they needed to get back to their lives of crime in New Jersey. Oh, must’ve been 30 or 40 of them in leathers and no helmets.”

“Did you pee yourself?”

“I most certainly did not. Do you want to hear my story?”

“Yes, continue, Easy Rider or is it Billy Jack?”Image result for bike week ocean city pictures

“So, the bikers lined their hogs up neatly in the space at the rear of the ferry, quite compactly too. That’s when the Ferry Police Officer came out and made his announcement. He asked if anyone had a gun or drugs.”


“And I knew I needed a diversion since I was packing my concealed 9 millimeter, which I have a permit to carry in PA.”

“So what did you do?”

“Well before I could say anything, one of the big bikers said he had a .357 magnum. The Ferry Cop said he could not carry it across on the ferry. It was against Delaware law. That’s when my eccentric knowledge of maritime law returned to me from my law school days. I asked the officer if I could have a word with him in private, a sort of side bar in next to the real bar on the other side of the windows. He agreed and I began…Image result for sidebar conversations in court pictures

“‘Look, you really don’t need to do this thing’, I told him. He insisted that the law stated it was illegal to take weapons or drugs on the ferry. That’s when I pulled up my ancient maritime law knowledge from 1966. ‘Actually, according to maritime law, which is federally controlled and trumps state laws, it is permissible to carry weapons at sea. But don’t take it from me, go ask your captain. He’ll tell you the same thing.’

“‘But what about the 10 mile sovereign water laws?’ he asked.”Image result for cape may ferry pictures

“That only applies to fishing rights, my good man.”

“Oh.”  Long pause without any breath in or out.

“He looked around and out the bar window at the unwashed heathens and dropped his officious posture to that of a beaten basset hound. We exited, him first as I deferred to his authority, and he announced to the pagans, ‘You can keep your guns; just don’t be waving them around or nothing.’ Then he beat a hasty retreat.

Image result for biker crowd pictures“The big biker in front, Sonny, came forward and slapped me on the back. ‘Dude, you sure yanked his balls off. You’re the man!! ‘  A mild cheer arose from the real bikers and their mommas. Big Biker said, ‘You must be a lawyer. Let me buy you a beer, counselor.’

“And that is just what he did. And the others kept them coming for the next 70 minutes. I felt validated and included as I have never been since my days in Presbyterian Sunday School class with Miss Moltley.”

“You are a stud, Joel.”

Image result for man on a tricycle pictures

“Thanks, Burrito. I’m sure you’ll paint me in a positive manner in the blog.”

“Of course. My prose will be fierce, just like the content.”



475. The Conflating Rakist

Image result for garden rake picturesIn a historical context, a rake (short for rakehell, analogous to “hellraiser“) was a man who was habituated to immoral conduct, particularly womanising. Often, a rake was also prodigal, wasting his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, and incurring lavish debts in the process. Comparable terms are “libertine” and “debauchee”.”  Wikipedia. DJT, check, check, check. 

Image result for infectious fleas picturesI have pondered what term applies to our crusted over, orange headed, lightning rod, big bang chaos leader, Little Pocket Man. My disgust has plumbed new depths as I watch him delve into his bag of tricks to continually stir the poop pot with no eye toward resolution, only further division. Yep, that’s where the ratings are. He jumps like an infected flea from dog to dog, biting, infecting and turning them against one another in apocalyptic frenzy. DJT could start a riot in a Buddhist monastery and piss off Egyptian mummies. He is the most infestering manflea in the world.

Clearly he is a racist, though he once opined to a journalist, “I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet.” As in all other arenas of comparison, he is always in the superlative zone– the most, best, brightest, richest, most nauseating blow hard ever hatched. His hands are the biggest, his wives the most beautiful, and his daughter has the creepiest father ever. It’s a package deal. But Pocket Man is not simply a racist; he is a race baiter, a master race baiter. During the campaign he famously declared to Blacks in Michigan and all of America, “What the Hell do you have to lose by choosing Trump?”  Well, now we know: Hope of change. Dignity.  Understanding. Sanity. This insulting gambit was offered after a very negative assessment of the African American community as a whole bunch of disturbing statistics. The kind of crap introduction that tees up golf ball talking points for white racists… all sides being equal and what have you. And there was this…View image on Twitter

Here was the same man who stirred the pot on Obama’s birth certificate, offering a million dollar reward for the official version. Obama was Black, but Pocket Man never admitted his Inquisition had anything to do with race. It was a question of the man’s heritage, although championing sons of the Confederacy’s heritage was unquestionable. Even after his claims have been dismissed and discredited, there was no apology, no righting of his wrongs. This moral moron practiced moral equivalency, a concept beyond his limited vocabulary, between two very unequal parties in Charlottesville. The all white hatriots were compared evenly with the diverse opposing side. And the all white meat Donald chicken agreed they were equal. He defended their permit to spew hate.

Image result for central park five picturesBut there is  nothing new in his vicious world. The Pocket Man also took out full page ads in NYC’s Central Park Five rape case in 1989, seizing on a high profile rape to seek a return of the death penalty. You guessed it, the victim was a white investment banker; the Central Park Five were 4 Black kids and one Hispanic, all found guilty when finally tried in a court of law. Their conviction was later overturned due to DNA proof. But it was never about race, just expediency when two weeks after the arrest …

Under the headline “Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!” and above his signature, Trump wrote: “I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

The accused were 14, 15 and 16 years old. Verdict overturned.

“All five minors had already been paraded in front of the cameras and had their names and addresses published, but Salaam said he and his family received more death threats after the papers ran Trump’s full-page screed. On a daytime TV show two days later, a female audience member called for the boys to be castrated and echoed the calls for the death penalty if Meili (the rape victim) died. Pat Buchanan, the former Republican White House aide, called for the oldest of the group, Wise, to be “tried, convicted and hanged in Central Park by June 1”.

Verdict overturned. Retractions printed? Apologies given? Forget it. In pre-Twitter history, the Pocket Man was moving on impulse not truth, and his impulses were and continue to be very dark, coming from a heart plunged in ignorant darkness. Pot stirred. Dogs bitten. Time to move on. What the Hell do we have to lose?

Oh, yes, my fellow white apologists, we have come so far. Nothing like an impetuous lynching in Central Park in 1989. That’s not domestic terror, right? No more than crucifixion in Roman times was. Public lynching? Time to bring back that honored Jim Crow tradition, dontcha think?

The other –ist that suits the Pocket Man is a rapist. Truly he has “seized” women without their consent. He admitted to habitually doing so on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. And in his grandiose arrogance he seems to think it is the victimized woman’s good fortune to be groped by his big hands. “No problem there, I assure you.”  “No one respects women more than I do.”  “Grab them by the pussy.”  What the Hell do attractive women have to lose around Pocket Man?  Their dignity, their consent, their personal safety, their personhood.  After all, rape is not about sex so much as it is about power, and the Pocket Man lusts for power, status, wealth, and the love of women. Even his attractive favorite daughter.Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump

And yet he is sitting in the chair of great power, of great men. One of the most irresponsible humans ever is in the seat of awesome responsibility. Truly terrifying. The manboy with no moral compass wants to tell the world how to calibrate theirs. Oh save us, Pocket Man, from trans-gendered soldiers who volunteered to defend the flag you now find expedient to exploit for demagoguery points. Save us from solutions for which there are no problems.  “LGBTQ’s, what the Hell do you have to lose with Trump?” Everything it appears.

A rake fits the Pocket Man; so does rakist. I imagine him impulsively scattering literal metal rakes around one of his many golf courses and then walking about stepping on every one. Thwack!! The handle whips into his pursed lips at 40mph.  Let’s just pick some of the easy low hanging political fruit, solutions in search of problems. Pocket Man always finds someone easy to blame for these rake attacks.

Mexicans are rapists. Bad dudes. We need a wall. A federal judge rules against him in court and suddenly the issue is about the judge’s heritage. “I’m building a wall. He’s Mexican.” So I guess following this logic his third wife is still Slovenian and can’t be trusted as the First Lady if and when she objects to his plans for NATO’s dissolution.

Then there is the endless objectification of women, see Clair Cohen’s article Donald Trump sexism tracker. Here’s one charmer

“I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” said Trump. “Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building. It’s pretty sad.”

Then pick at Muslims. “Some of my best friends are Muslim.” But earlier he claimed, “On 9/11 I saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City when the towers fell.” Funny thing is that no one else witnessed this very newsworthy event. We call this a visual hallucination when someone sees something that no one else sees. It’s a delusion when someone believes something that no one else believes. Like the Russia investigation is a hoax. It’s like claiming that rain falls up. It’s like being psychotic or pathological lying. Pick one.

Editorial cartoon on President Donald TrumpNow this week the Pocket Man is conflating First Amendment speech with anti-Americanism and a hatred of the military. Nixon pulled the same trick, asserting that a vast Silent Majority were with him and opposed to the anti-war protesters during the Vietnam War. He stood for Law and Order as he undermined the Constitutional rights of others. He walked into a bunch of rakes also. Nixon tried to isolate and shame those who opposed him, when finally his own beleaguered party took him to the Watergate woodshed.

Rich, spoiled, overwhelmingly minority, professional athletes who express themselves are an easy target in Alabama. Let’s make the non racist comparison to predominantly white NASCAR fans. They are so well behaved, dontcha think? Why not go to Ice Hockey too? Mighty white audiences for both. Uh, uh, but it’s not about race. It’s about rakes.Image result for rake pictures

474. Blaspheme me, Dude.

Image result for big arm bully picturesWell, it happened yet again. I lost control of Coffee Nation AGAIN. Even though I am the unquestioned Supreme Java Leader, Big Bold Bean, Imam of Indonesian Blends, King Kona, Sumatran Sultan, Emperor of Ethiopian Dark Roast, Head Columbian Water Drip Buffalo, Sir Half and Half, the only member with a tee shirt that says so, I have lost control of Article Two of our beloved Constitution. Again, I blame Lance, our Sergeant With Arms. He began an impassioned monologue on religion last Thursday, even though he is an original signatory of the aforementioned Constitution and knows better. I suppose I should not be surprised: when a good feeling collides with a good idea, we all know the good idea has no chance. I guess Lance was feeling good and ready to preach.

Image result for wimpy from popeye picturesI’m not sure where he began the doctrine dialogue. Might have been something about sin and relationships, or a bit about the last sermon by our pastor. God help us! It might have been residual overflow from the previous week’s political blow out. In any event we were leaning forward on our chairs. Even Gene. He asked Bishop Gary of the Singlet about the concept of crowns in heaven. “What, what, what if you accept Ja-Ja Jesus, but, but, but don’t do anything for the rest of your life?”Related image

Bishop Gary said, “Your salvation is not based on works, Gene. You will simply not have a good seat in heaven. You might have to stand behind a pole or something, but you’ll still be in heaven. You just won’t have any crowns.”Image result for terrible seats in stadium pictures

That’s where I told Gene he could have a crayon, which in Central PA is often pronounced “crown”, as in “I needed a crown to kuller the chimbley in my pitcher, but they were all.” We laughed and clowned a bit about whether he’d get a full 8 pack of crowns or the 64 pack with the built in sharpener. “That there is a lot o’ crowns.”Image result for crayola crayon box pictures

I  believe a reference or two was made regarding clowns, frowns, gowns, nouns, towns, browns, and, well, you get it. In true Coffee Nation form we got off track and seemed to be well on our way to meaningless jibber jabber, when big, dusty Patrick walked in.

Related imageNow Patrick is a piece of work. Truly. He’s a work a holic kind of guy from Philly. He showed up a few years ago and talked loudly, introduced himself, and began buying coffee for anyone near him, whether or not they wanted any. We came to  learn that he was sort of ADHD, bright, tattooed, Christian and committed to turning the former Tito’s Tacos building into an architectural diamond minus the rough. He labored and supervised various guys who looked like they were fresh from the streets of Philly and the cell blocks of her prisons.

Image result for construction workers picturesIn any event he strolled over to our soiree and immediately inserted himself in the verbal discharges. He has a construction connection with Doug and knows his family’s Plain roots. He joked, I guess, that he (Patrick) was ‘an evangelical Mennonite’. I asked if that meant he was liberal.

“Sort of.”

“So you can wear grey?”

“Oh, man! Don’t.”

“Gene, if you were Mennonite, you could get by with just one crown– Black.”

Patrick, “I am a black and white thinker, for sure.”

“Well, you’re in the right religion.”

“No, I choose to limit myself. Look, I wear button up long sleeve shirts and long pants by choice. I choose to limit my freedom of expression. You can do what you like, but I choose humble modesty… and I was a wild Hellian when I was young. There wasn’t a rule that I would  not drive through at 100 miles per hour. See, I thought that was freedom, and I’d fight for that knuckle headed philosophy. Now I’m a pacifist in a buttoned up shirt.”Related image

Lance, “But legalism gets you caught up in rules. We’ve been set free from all that. God says, ‘No man is holy, not one’. And I’m not gonna argue with Him.”Image result for spider web pictures

Patrick, “Well, what’s your position on Salvation? Do you believe in ONE and DONE or in working out your salvation daily?”

All, “One and done, man. You’re talking works with that daily salvation stuff. We are saved by God’s grace alone. It’s not about what you’ve done, Patrick; it’s what God did.”Image result for pictures of heaven

[Meanwhile I’m hearing John Prine singing, “Your flag decals won’t get you into heaven any more. It’s already overcrowded from your dirty little war.”]

Patrick, “But if you accept Jesus and don’t do a thing after that, how can you expect to be rewarded with eternal life?”

[Meanwhile I’m thinking about a guy in heaven with a nice kullering book but no crowns.]Image result for coloring book without crayons pictures

Lance, “You are confusing salvation with forgiveness. They are two different things.”

Patrick, “But you gotta do something. If you claim Christ, then you need to be His witness in your remaining life.”

Lance, “Okay, so what did the thief on the Cross do?  And we know Jesus told him that he’d see heaven that very day.”

Patrick, “Well, I’m not a reader so I can’t quote Scripture too easily, but I am gonna research this and we can continue the debate.”

Me, “Gentlemen, gentlemen. If we can’t agree to disagree, I have a way we can settle this argument for good and ever.”

Lance, “Does it involve crayons?”Image result for single crayon picture

Me, “Please, I did not put syllables in your mouth when you were pontificating, Brother Lance. Here’s my solution:  the two of  you meet in a cage match, winner take all. Looking at the two of you, my money is on Lance (who is a body builder).”

Patrick with his hands up in surrender, “Hey, I told you I was a pacifist.”

Me, “So it will be quick and easy, uh, ONE ( I punched my open left hand, Thwack!) and DONE.”Image result for boxing knockout pictures

Chuckles around. Patrick laughed at me and said, “You were waiting for that opening.”

Me, “Maybe.”



473. United Shades of Greymerica

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It’s just a few shades of grey difference between the asphalt road and the sky above. One of those early fall days that leave you exhaling melancholy vapors.  The remnants of Irma are dissipating over central PA, which looks pretty good in comparison to Florida this week. Not all that warm, but high humidity makes the atmosphere feel close, like sitting in coach on a plane on the runway with a large lady next to you going through a menopausal sweat storm. It will lift by tomorrow, I know,  but the grey effect washes out clarity and crispness, slowing my curious steps.

Image result for grayish white hair on men picturesImage result for stills of steve martin in father of the bride

The wedding approaches. My duties are simple: walk Jess down the aisle and not do anything stupid. Oh, and write a couple of big checks soon. “Oh, and one more thing– color your hair a few clicks darker, not Elvis dark but just enough so that your face is not washed out in the wedding pictures. And don’t you do it. Have Michelle color your hair this time. Not you and Just for Men. Do it Just for Me this time. I don’t want a twenty year old’s black hair on a sixty one year old’s pale face.”

Image result for bad hair dye outcomes for men pictures

“Okay, okay. I will. I promise.”

Well, alright. Men have some advantages in life– shorter lines for the bathroom usually. No monthly cycle, no menopause or self carry pregnancy. So I have no complaints, nor like a good crustacean in a courtroom, legs to stand upon. So I went to Michelle. I surrendered to the dye. I died to self instead of self dyeing. Image result for oyster shell images

‘Shades of grey’ is an idiom that speaks to the differences, the increments, between two poles, black and white for visual imagery purposes. In these very polarized days it’s helpful to remember that a moderate middle still exists. Absolutists dismiss the middle as abandoning their pure positions. Moving to the center is selling out, betraying the light switch slogans that roll so easily off the tongue. Shades of grey require the ability to weigh and balance competing interests and available resources.  Unlike North Korea, governing in a democratic republic cannot be black or white. We live in the United Shades of America.

Related imageSloganeering is simplistic speech that a parrot can utter after sufficient training. “Drain the swamp”, caw. “Lock her up”, screech. “Build the wall”, craaahhhh. I’m sure there were simplistic slogans by the Left also. “Hope and Change”. Cheep, cheep. “Yes we can.” Tweedle dee.  “Change we need”. Whooo, whoooo. All crap repeated ad nauseam.  (Check out  the history of election campaign slogans on Wikipedia. Fascinating historical and hysterical garbage. “Adlai and Estes– the Besties.” 1956  Who knew?)Image result for cheerleader cheering pictures

Slogans are like cheers at a football game– they can’t be too in depth or hard to say. And that is the problem when a “movement” is built on cheers repeated by professional cheerleaders. When programs are actually needed to be implemented, repeating the slogan does not result in structured plans. However, it’s not a football game we are witnessing these days. It’s more of a circus where clowns run out of little cars and chase one another around the center ring known as the White House.

“What to do with health care now?”  Image result for sean spicer pictures

“Repeal and replace. Repeal and replace. Repeat and Repeat.”

“And immigration?”Image result for anthony scaramucci pictures

“Build a wall. Build a wall. Badda bing. Badda boom.”

“How about tax reform?”Image result for sarah huckabee sanders face pictures

“Go team go. Go team go. Thanks Daddy.”

“Crime?”Image result for jeff sessions pictures

“Lock them up. Lock them up. If they’re Black. If they’re Black.”

“Okay, let’s go with the opioid crisis.”Image result for tom price pictures

“War on drugs. War on drugs. If they’re Black. If they’re Black.”

“Why did you turn the lights out at our news conferences?”Image result for lights out  pictures

“You made us. You made us. Dark is good. Dark is good.”

“And education. What’s the plan, Betsy?”Image result for betsy devoss pictures

“Private school vouchers. Private school vouchers. Resegregation is good.”

“Are you reading from 3″ x 5″ cards?”Image result for sarah huckabee sanders reading from note cards pictures

“Yes I am. Yes I am.”

“But, but, surely you have a structure beneath the slogans, right?  I mean, this, this is chanting and conjuring three word spells. Where are the policies, and budget estimates, and programs, and timelines?”Image result for alec baldwin as trump pictures

“You’re fake news. You’re fake news.”

“But these are empty micro sound bites, folks. They are not actionable strategies. You can’t even run a hot dog stand on three word slogans. You need permits and a supply chain, a tax i.d. number, vendor license, insurance, inspections, and…”

“Unnecessary over regulation. Unnecessary over regulation.”

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“So, if you cut regulations, who will insure the safety, fitness and feasibility of our food, water, air, and the basic requirements of a civilized society? Will planes just land without the FAA? Will we allow drugs to be sold without requiring research? Government’s job is to provide basic safety and enforce legal contracts….”

“We’re deconstructing government. I’m deconstructing government.”

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“So I have some uninspected meat here Steve, a liter of untested water, and what looks like a knock off Viagra pill from China. Will you consume these now in this deconstructed paradise you have made by draining the swamp?”

“Call Shawn Spicer. Call Shawn Spicer.”Image result for sean spicer chewing gum pictures

“Why is it always Shawn Spicer who has to test the food for poison?”

“We love Spicey. We love Spicey.”Image result for reince priebus pictures

“We’re not picking salsa strength here. Can anyone in the Administration put together more than a three word statement?”

“Yep, but they won’t let me open my mouth or my eyes again.”

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“Dr. Carson, what do you imagine you will see if you ever manage to open your eyes and look at this Administration with fearless honesty?”
“Chris Christie naked.”Image result for chris christie at beach pictures

“Is that like code for some military plan?”


“I see. Can you share declassified specifics?”

“We’re gonna attach him to an ICBM and shoot him into Pyonyang.”

“Is there more to this plan?”

“If Kim Young Fool does not surrender, we’ll fire Nancy Pelosi on the next one.”Related image

“Is this what the president meant when he said ‘fire and fury’?”Image result for dennis rodman pictures with kim

“The Don sent a message to Kim. A lot of folks know Kim’s a big fan of Dennis Rodman, but he also adores Christie. It’s a thug thing.  He was always the pudgy kid whose pudding got stolen at lunch. Loves a good bully. So the Don said, ‘Christie sleeps with the fishes.’ Now I know they’re actually whales, but the message was received. Guam is safe. That’s leadership, my friend.”

“One last question, Dr. Carson. You are the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, though your only experience comes from having lived in public housing as a kid.”

“That is correct.”

“Can I be Secretary of the Treasury because I have U.S. money in my wallet? It’s like the same as your qualifications, right?”

“I’ll take that under consideration.”

“Okay, will somebody turn the lights back on?”

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472. September Sunlight, Listen to the Lion

Image result for september sunlight photosChilly September morning air slowly warms to the slanting sunlight, as I roll our empty green trash can down my freshly sealed driveway.  Six buckets almost covered the expanse this year, though I spread it ten gallons per weekend, grateful that my lower back could endure the repetitive motion. Time elapsed equals less light and less light equals less warmth now that August has expired. Not surprisingly, I appreciate more the less I can do.

Image resultI notice the sideways growing crabgrass has won another protracted lawn battle. “I’ll see you next year, you horizontal alien hairdo!” Time for a lawn service, I surrender to myself. One war at a time. Terrestrials this year; E.T.’s next.

Dew cuddles the grass blades in a morning after embrace, desiring more than a one night stand. “Where were you in the torrid heat of summer, Dew? You loved the air then, fickle one. Humid hubris”Image result for dew on grass photos

The geese have been honking overhead as they tune up the fall’s symphony of natural instruments– cicadas ga-ga-gaing their last; mocking birds cackle and caw before they are gone for winter; and owls hoot somewhere in hickory trees beyond the neighboring cornfield, while crickets get in final chirrups and giggles.Related image

It’s unfair to call this air, this ever present everywhereness that is scented with an aroma of urgency, potency to move, to harvest, and gather in the splendor. And what a year for bumper crops– Apples are ripening into delicious crispness. The grapes hang heavy along the fence, blushing more dusky purple each day. Never have I seen pears so heavy that they bend branches with their bounty down to the grass.Image result for fruit trees in harvest pictures In the gym these pears would be seen as bullies showing off their pecs and biceps. But man, they are built.

Last night I had the rare and splendid opportunity to see one of my favorite musical masters, Van Morrison, at a stadium venue. Even with binoculars it was hard to see him from the cheap seats where I sat with my daughter and granddaughter. The sound was fine, however. Yep, my 4 year old granddaughter came along to hear Sheryl Crow sing her big girl songs before Van began his set. It was cute to hear a picky four year old known for emotional meltdowns sing, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.” Leah Bideah was in her big girl glory dancing in her sparkle pants while eating blue cotton candy, though she longed for “Soak up the Sun”. It didn’t make the cut.Image result for sheryl crow dancing pictures

I had imagined that something magical from my youth would rise up remembered, and I would dervishly dance along with the music of my younger days, like a Nugenix promise come true. That didn’t happen. Nor did communal joints and bottles of wine get passed along my row, which was common practice back in the day. The evening was surprisingly PG rated and family friendly.  Instead what I experienced was a bucket list wish completed. I had a gorgeous evening with one of my music gods alongside two of my favorite human beings. Never did I imagine as a 16/17 year old kid, when I was listening to Oh Oh Domino,  Jackie Wilson Said or Listen to the Lion that I’d be a father and grandfather one day marveling at time, age, and unmistakable talent at 72 that won’t surrender to time or age. That’s Van’s age not mine in case you were wondering.Image result for van morrison pictures

“And all my love come down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
All my love come tumblin’ down
Oh, listen listen
To the lion
Oh, listen listen listen
To the lion
Inside of me
Oh, oh, oh

Image result for lion growling picturesFunny thing about lyrics on a page versus lyrics exploding from a singer’s mouth: what looks like chicken scratches on paper comes out sounding like chicken cordon bleu from a masterful chanteur chef like Van. When he growls later in the song, it’s like the soul of a captive lion shredding its cage bars. Van didn’t sing any of these songs, by the way, but he still stirred my lion. That lion is not prowling about agitated or melancholic. Nope, he’s pretty content. Far more content that I ever imagined I’d be when I thought love and success were far ahead of me on life’s highway. Now I see they are right next to me: the lion is purring, not longing or hungry.Related image

So, back to the light and sights, sounds and smells of an early fall day. This day seems to match my inner calendar, this year and my life are three quarters over, unless one of us gets bonus time. Life expectancy is around 80 years for old married white guys in reasonable health. (Single men die sooner. Did you know that? They lack a partner to make them [under threat of death] be healthy.) All the planets align sometimes, metaphorically speaking, so that light and sound and smell and all sensory input flows right through the beholder. The senses are flooded like good bourbon floods one’s body in a rush. That’s a storm surge in a charcoal charred oak barrel. How to respond to such moments? Inhale joyfully; hold to saturation; exhale gratefully.Image result for faces of gratitude

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
Oh the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort too
And you fill my life with laughter
You can make it better
Ease my troubles that’s what you do
There’s a love that’s divine
And it’s yours and it’s mine
Like the sun
At the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray to the One
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
There’s a love that’s divine
And it’s yours and it’s mine
And it shines like the sun
At the end of the day we will give thanks and pray to the One
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do
Take away my sadness
Fill my life with gladness
Ease my troubles that’s what you do
Fill my life with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles that’s what you do”
Songwriter: Van Morrison
Image result for fall sunset pictures