589. Swimmigration

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THE WORLD:  Trying hard this morning not to react to the immigration debacle at the Mexican border. The brown skinned imagery and the legal justification for cruelty against kids and their parents is reminiscent of other atrocities we have witnessed in other countries or read about in our dated history books. The law-and-order folks say it serves the immigrants right to be separated and incarcerated for crossing the border illegally. Yep, it was legal to kill an escaped slave back in the day. “If he didn’t run, he’d still be a live slave”, I can hear the apologists across the decades.  AG Sessions even quoted the Bible to add divine right to his administration’s twisted policy.  Enforcing the law does not give Border Patrol or local police the right to be cruel, however. Families illegally entering the U.S. should be detained; the added punishment of separating families is horrifying. If this policy change is supposed to send an ominous signal to poor folks throughout the world, it certainly is doing so. At the same time it sends a message that the United States is no longer the place advertised on the Statue of Liberty. She still stands in New York Harbor, but her heart has been cut out by an orange pelted Godzilla.

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MEANWHILE IN SWEDEN:  Unless you are Swedish like ABBA or Norwegian like Wood. The Donald seems to have an affinity for these Nordic folks. He used to try to pass off his family name as Swedish. (It’s not. He’s of German origins. He knew this when he tried the deceit.) He is highly complimentary of the Swedes. If you’re Swedish, hey, come on in. You are blond and educated. Hey, a sure assimilation bet without any risk. And then he famously insulted the Norwegians when he said the U.S. should have more immigrants from Norway than from shithole countries such as Haiti and African nations. Image result for trump and norwegian pm pictures

Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighboring Sweden, tweeted:

“Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they’re poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole”

Before the “shithole” controversy, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that, judging by Solberg’s visit, “keys to success with Trump is personal charm, a solid trade deficit with the U.S. and buying tons of U.S. military hardware.”  [Reuters, Jan. 12, 2018]Image result for pm bildt pictures

The Don’s gracious offer was declined by the people he admires but who do not admire him. He wants folks like himself to like him. The problem is not with Scandinavians. It is with the reprehensible pariahsaurus that is Donald Trump. Hard to like if you are over age five and can think critically.

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WHILE IN KENTUCKY: Back in January 2018 The Donald was more popular in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky than any other state. He had a HUGE approval rating in the Senate Majority Leader’s home state, yep, Mitch “Frog Face” McConnell hails from Kentucky.  According to an article in the Lexington Herald Leader…

The European Union has already hinted that it would retaliate with tariffs on Kentucky bourbon to get the attention of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Other Kentucky industries could be hurt, too, depending on what products other countries choose to target in retaliation. The end result could be the loss of hundreds of jobs, offsetting job gains in the aluminum and steel industries.

What does all this have to do with immigration? Well, these trade war tariffs seem to be a knee jerk reaction to unfair competition from overseas that have resulted in loss of jobs in the U.S. So when The Don hits back, as he likes to say, he thinks he wins in a zero sum game: the U.S. gains while its allies and adversaries lose. Pretty simple, which is the problem. It’s too simple, and Donald should know this as a graduate of

WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS:  The 1930 Tariff Act is named after its sponsors– Congressman Willis Hawley from Oregon was the chairman of the House Ways and Means  Committee; Senator Reed Smoot wanted to protect the sugar beet business in his home state of Utah.  As the bill wound its way through Congress, every legislator wanted to add protections for their states’ industries. By 1929, the bill proposed tariffs on 20,000 imported goods. 

Canada, Europe and other nations swiftly retaliated by raising tariffs on U.S. exports. As a result, exports fell from $7 billion in 1929 to $2.5 billion in 1932. Farm exports fell to a third of their 1929 level by 1933.

The Smoot-Hawley Act Tariff Act of 1930 increased 900 import tariffs by an average of 40 to 48 percent. Most economists blame it for worsening the Great Depression. It also contributed to the start of World War II.  [The Balance, June 4, 2018]

If the Dotard knows this, as he should, then he also knows the dire consequences he is flirting with. If he doesn’t know history, and this seems more likely to be the case, we have further proof of his ignorance, if we needed any more. If we shut out the rest of the world with protectionist, nativist policies, well, we have the 1930’s road map to follow.

AT MARALAGO:  In Donald’s playbook we must shut our borders tight and deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible, unless he needs help at Mar a Lago. Mr. Patriot does not mind hiring low wage supposedly legal foreigners to serve his rich guests at the Florida White House in Palm Beach. His company did run the famous non-advertisement below:

In July, the club placed an ad on Page C8 of the Palm Beach Post: “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club,” the ad said. “No tips,”

The ad, which ran twice, gave no email address, mailing address or phone number and instructed applicants to “Apply by fax.”

Can’t imagine why no one responded. Hmmm, how about this one?

“Lost cat. No reward. Include shipping and handling costs upon return by carrier pigeon.”

We all know that you apply for jobs via fax, right? And service workers are never tipped, right? Based on the lack of response to this fake ad, Trump’s Mar-a-lago applied for and was granted temporary visas for 70 foreign workers. When challenged about his deceit during the Republican campaign, the Dotard said,

“It’s very, very hard to get people. [In sharp contrast to His D.C. White House, where everyone is dying to work.] But other hotels do the exact same thing. . . . This is a procedure. It’s part of the law,” he said. “I take advantage of that. There’s nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.”

Don’t you love how the law is so malleable and providential for Don? No choice. That’s the kind of leadership I admire, choiceless leadership by a man with both hands tied behind his back, absent a moral compass.Image result for trump as a dali painting

I wonder if he went to Oslo for a fake Nobel prize in the new category of Racism and Misogyny, could we bar him from reentry for crimes against humanity? You know, separate him from his family in a re-purposed WalMart. Yeah, over in pet supplies. The empty shark tank. Soullessly swimmigrating round and round.


588. Talking Tattoos

Image result for totally tattooed bodiesNot a fan of the omnipresent, all pervasive tattoo weather pattern we seem to be stuck in. Too humid for me. I realize that I officially sound like my parents did talking about rock n roll music back in the 1960’s. They could not comprehend what the phenomenon was, even though they had clearly lived through Sinatra and Elvis by then, both of whom were highly sexual and charismatic. However, when the shaggy headed Beatles showed up from across the Pond, something felt threatening. There were four Beatles like their four suburban sons.  Paul was so cute, but John was squinty-eyed and dangerous. The hippie movement was under way in the U.S. and communism was still feared, a leftover from the awful Joe McCarthy Inquisition, who reminds me a lot of today’s reckless and paranoid Republicans. Think Nunes and Cruz. Image result for joe mccarthy picturesNothing like a good conspiracy theory to keep them in office. Nasty cynicism traded fear for power then and still does today.

So, I don’t want to be like that. I’m not threatened by tattoos. Some intrigue me and delight me. But most bore me or repulse me and make me wonder about the IQ of the owner. The other day I was observing a guy with a cut off sweatshirt look that exposed two black symbols, one on each shoulder. They were just big logos for stupidity in my opinion. When I asked what they meant, he said,” Oh nothing, really. I just thought they were cool.” About as cool as a pair of manhole covers in a busy Brooklyn street. Duh!Image result for tattoo images

Another tattoo guy had twenty six tattoos and could not wait to get another. I liked his explanation of tattoos, though, “They are art that you wear.” Neat concept, but like any art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A bunch of disparate demon faces, mixed with an Air Force symbol, next to his kid’s name, which flanked his favorite hockey team’s symbol… well, even if they were arranged in some sort of sequence, would still not add up to art for me. It seemed more like an exhibit called, “Crap I found while walking through the alley and placed in a line.”Tuk tuk

I know, I know… there is no accounting for taste. Everyone has their own sense of beauty and meaning. I just wonder sometimes where it all ends, when too much is too much. I like a single tattoo. I remember seeing a woman with fabulous legs and a multicolored tattoo  that ran from her right ankle up her leg and disappeared beneath her shorts. Image result for full leg tattoos for females

It was a fascinating vine with lots of leaves and flowers and was stunning, and yes, seductive. But just leave it alone. No other adornment was necessary. Yet, like plastic surgery or anorexia, there seems to be no end point for the consumer. If more is better, then why does exhibit number one above and this one below repulse the viewer?Image result for extreme tattoos

Why? Because the overwhelming forced visuals are meant to intimidate the viewer. These are not invitations to be known or loved. Nope. “Fear me! Avoid me!” screams out. Disgust and loathing are drawn out like a cobra from its basket.Image result for cobra snake charmer pictures

I’ve seen the tiny tattoo here and there that was elegant, fitting, and just right. The problem for me is the predictable big heart, someone’s name, skull and crossbones, huge texts from Scripture, or the prolific tramp stamp above the butt crack. After a while they all seem like road signs we’ve seen over and over… bridge freezes first, deer crossing, merge, reduce speed ahead, elbow cobweb net, falling rocks. Here’s what I mean…

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Simple butterfly accent above. Overkill below.

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And the tats on one’s back? Who is the audience for that? The owner of the back tat never gets to see it directly. Connectivity is lost in the overkill and the bizarre. I mean, who is drawn to look at your spinal column and an alien devil ripping out of its visceral cocoon? Exactly! cannibals, zombies, and psychos. Can’t imagine that conversation on the beach when the Jeff Dahmerish admirer walks up to Grendel Junior… “Dude, I love the tat! It grabs me. I can’t look away. Ca, ca, can I touch it? Mind if I lick it with a little salt and lime?”Image result for jeffrey dahmer photos

And what becomes of the old, unfashionable tattoo? Removal seems pricey and dicey, especially since they cost a lot to put on. Old clothes and accessories can be pitched or sold at the thrift store, but the second market for tattoos is pretty limited. My attorney friend Joel says that tattoos are not real property and cannot be conveyed as such. I recently read that some “tattoo masterpieces” are donated for exhibit post mortem in Japan. Imagine that exhibit…severed skins of Japanese folks stretched on tenterhooks for the admiration of art lovers!Image result for japanese master tattoo artist examples

Reading about tattoos in Wikipedia I was fascinated to learn that tattoos have served multiple uses– some for religious purposes; others for cosmetic purposes; some for art; some for horrible dehumanizing markings. I’ve never seen a Holocaust survivor with a Nazi tattoo meant for record keeping, as if the Jews were cattle to be tracked. Nothing lovely or beautiful in the eye of any beholder there. Just horror documenting man’s inhumanity to his fellow man in the numbering of human beings.Image result for holocaust tattoos

Now occasionally some folks seek tattoos for cosmetic reasons, to accentuate their lips or to pencil in fake eyebrows or hairlines. That’s pretty practical and not meant to draw attention. In fact, sometimes this approach is called permanent make up. Here are two examples.

Image result for cosmetic tattoosNice changes, I think. Alluring not repulsive. Value added, yes?

In the end people are going to do what they want to do. My opinion should not sway anyone. I do fondly recall a downtown street party where I was eating hot dog or funnel cake at a table in our town square across from my little daughter Grace. She was maybe 5 or 6 years old at the time. Her eyes grew large as a tattooed man walked behind me. She exclaimed, “Daddy, that man has all kinds of pictures drawn on him!” As I turned to look behind me, an older man next to me said mistakenly, “Oh honey, I’m sorry. I got these a long time ago. Don’t you ever get a tattoo. You are too pretty.” I laughed at the irony. He had the typical green ink Navy tattoos from WWII and sincerely meant what he said to my innocent daughter. But truly, no further adornment was necessary.

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587. Schizophrenic Musings

Image result for trump facing the press picturesMr. President, where are you with relationships with our allies? It seems you are cuddling up to our adversaries, such as Russia, and distancing our country from old allies, such as France and Canada.

Rusher is good. For some reason they have been banned from a lot of stuff. But really, I think, they’re good people on their side. Really honorable. But there is no collusion there. I mean, people are saying all the time, there was no collusion. Putin has been misunderstood, I think. He’s strong, no punk like Merkel or May. Sheesh, who thought women could be anything but beauty contestants anyway. And those two, I mean, just look at them, they make Carly Fiorina look like a model. And did  you hear that Miss America cut the bikini show? That’s un-American if you ask me and we will be looking into this. Watch their ratings fall. A lot of people agree with me on this one. Angry Democrats there.Image result for Miss America swimsuit pictures

What? Oh, yeah, international relations…

Image result for burned white house picturesOn the other hand Canadians burned down our White House in 1812, and I will never forget that, just like I’ll never forget all the radical Muslims I saw dancing in Jersey City when the Twin Towers were hit. Very bad. Or the time I met Frederick Douglas on the Apprentice. Nice man. Very nice. Reminded me of Dennis Rodman who reminds me of my new bestie, Kim Young Fool. Both of them, well, all three of them begged me on hands and knees to be on my show. Ya know? Everyone wants to get on the Trump Train, especially the uneducated. I love the uneducated. They can be pure in their love for me. Logic and evidence don’t get in their way like the failing New York Times crowd. Elitists. Intellectual high brows. Like Kim, I think parades and public displays of autocratic affection are good for the people and the nation. In fact, Melania told me that’s all the affection I should expect….Image result for Kim and Rodman photos together

Mr. President, the script? Let’s get back to the point. Relationships? Allies?

The countries of Nambia and Puerto Rico, I believe, need to pay their fair share for NATO. We’ve been carrying them for too long and it needs to stop. I mean, they are exporting rapists and murderers and gangs and drugs and hurricanes from their shit hole countries. Which is why we need a wall and a net around our water shores, a really big, deep net that will keep out submarines. I’ve been working on a prototype in my bathtub with General Kelly. He tells me he’s never seen anything like it. And I said, “That’s what Stormy said!” Who says I’m not funny?Image result for donald trump in a bath tub pictures

NAFTA may be good, may be bad. We’ll see. I mean, who knows? It could be reworked or not. Or not. I mean, the Civil War never should have happened. I truly believe I could have worked out a deal to keep slavery and freedom for all. My friend Kanye says I’m right: slavery was a choice. I mean, look at Lincoln. Did you know he was a Republican? But he was weak like Macron and Trudeau, afraid to drop a big tax cut on the one per centers.  Plus he got killed. I like living presidents. Those two French fries are really more socialist than Chiner and Rusher ever were. Image result for G7 leaders without trump pictures

Now France has been manipulating us with wine for centuries, ever since we fought them in the Revolutionary War. Why don’t they just read the Declaration of Independence and get with it? We sure showed them up at Versailles and the Battle of the Bulge. And Waterloo, I believe. I liked Macron until we stopped kissing. I mean, he’s eye candy and looks even better standing next to me. Did you see Melania in that white hat? Fabulous optics. And all those Frenchy touches added class to my crass. And now, look at him! Disloyal. Disgraceful. Like a cheating high school prom date just a month after prom. I made him; he betrayed me.Image result for macron kissing trump images

Chiner, on the other hand, sees my greatness and my three dimensional checkers strategies. They invented Chinese checkers, did you know that?  I really respect those currency manipulators. Let me tell you why. When I get the Nobel prize for winning the war in Korea, they have promised me a full dragon parade. Never been done before. Everybody else plays checkers straight on, but not me. I scatter and capture as many of the other guy’s marbles right out of the gate and then I can rule the world.  I like marbles.Image result for chinese checkers pictures

Mr. President? Our allies, ca, ca, can you get back to the original question, please?

Sure. If Mueller wants a fight, and I’m perfectly willing to meet with him to discuss his termination, then I’ll be in Sweden accepting the Nobel on behalf of my self. I’m arguing with Rudy about it all the time. And pardon me, for pardoning all these nice people who were mistreated by the Deep State in The Swamp. God, I love pardoning people! I can stick it to their adversaries, like Big Joe Arpaio. What a guy and all the snowflake pansies had a coniption fit when I dropped that bomb. I like Big Joe, good man, good man. He sticks it to the illegals whether they’re illegal or not. And I respect that. Never apologize, just kick’em in the balls. My kind of guy. Image result for joe arpaio photos

Or Scooter Libby. I don’t even know the guy but I wanted to jerk around the Obama cronies who convicted him. I don’t care a bit about Martha Stewart or Blagoyevich. Scumbags, both of them. I’m sending shots over the bow of DOJ and FBI heavies. I can lie my way out of any tight spot. I’m always big picture, next season.

Mr. President? We’re leaving now. We don’t have the drugs needed to keep up with your illness, your word salads, your freakin’ nutzo rants.Image result for the press corps leaving white house images

Hey, we’re you going? don’t go yet. Your glass ain’t empty and we just met

You’re mean when you’re loaded, I was raised on robbery.

Sir, you’re quoting a Canadian songwriter.

I know that. Gordon Lightfoot, right?  There’s a real man. “If you could read my mind, love… what a tale my thoughts could tell.” He would never burn down our White House. No sir. My kind of Canadian.Image result for gordon lightfoot pictures



Related imageAs usual, Joel provided a flowing fountain of eccentric, even cultic knowledge this morning after the rest of Coffee Nation exited for their real lives. We remained behind in the Twilight Zone of the coffee world, abandoned and purposeless. I made an off hand comment about DJT being such an ignorant snake, and Joel offered to send a box of opossums to the White House. I had a duh moment and asked, “I’m not following you, bromeister.”

“They eat snakes. Opossums eat snakes. They are virtually immune from snake venom and cannot contract Lyme’s disease, even though they eat ticks.”

fountainWow! I was super impressed and asked for more liquid knowledge from the Fountain of the Opossum Spring of Wisdom and Folklore. Joel did not disappoint.

“Opossums are the only marsupial native to this continent. They have exclusive rights, imminent domain, imminenti domain in Latin, so to speak in animal law terms, and do so much to balance nature. They will eat a rattlesnake or copperhead with alacrity and impunity.”

Image result for waitress in diner pictures“Is that like a side salad? Like a meat and two sides? At the Opossum Roadkill Cafe you order the rattler with pinto beans and cole slaw? And the waitress says, ‘Sorry, sir, we’re fresh out of cole slaw. Would you like a bowl of impunity? It’s on special today. It’s like hominy grits only, uh, like, uh, beige mush.’ Am I getting warm here, Joel?”

“No. I think you are attempting to distract me and hijack my marsupial dissertation. And you know exactly what you are doing. And I always fall for your dissembling false sincerity. I try to be kind to the mentally challenged and then you strike me like a snake. You, sir, are no better than Donald Trump!”Image result for trump surprised face

“Et tu, Brute?”

“Aaaahhh. There you go again! I was working up a nice opossum lather and you had to let the water out of the tub.”

“Joel, you are not just mixing metaphors; you are making them march to their own intellectual deaths like hypnotized Norwegian lemmings leaping to their own deaths in frozen fjords.”Lemmings Jumping from a Cliff

“Can we get back to my cryptic opossum knowledge? You are so overly dramatic and factually wrong. Lemmings do not commit suicide. That’s a worn out myth with no factual basis.”

“Certainly. You need not get so worked up about it. Sheeesh! You are rather thin skinned on this day, the day after your return from yet another Florida resort luxury junket.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve been pampered by an incredibly servile group of prostrating attendants at the Breakers Hotel and Spa in Palm Beach. They have ruined me by inflating my already enlarged sense of entitlement.”Image result for breakers hotel in palm beach pictures

“You should see a doctor about that, Joel. Men of your age have to watch for enlarged prostate glands and overactive bladders. I know a urology guy, Dr. Sandy. Actually he’s not a guy any more since his transition. The softest hands you’ve ever had caress you, in a professional setting that is. I have her picture on my phone. Look. Nice, huh?”Image result for prostate gland pictures

“Just stop it!

“Okay. Let’s start over:  you were attending the Maryland Usury Board’s annual meeting, right?”

“You know very well that they, well we, are bankers. Usury is an outdated  needlessly negative term left over from the Old Testament.”

“Like smite? I like that word. ‘Lo, Jacob, thou hast smoten the fly but torn the tent. Come closer that I might smite you.'”Image result for old testament older jacob pictures

“Do you ever stop?”

“Do you ever start?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, like the Stones song, Start Me Up.Image result for rolling stones pictures

If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop
If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop”

“I’m confused, AGAIN.”

“Hey, how about  learning that song on your tuba? You could go to open mic night and just blow away the audience. I’d pay to see that, Joel. That would be startin’ it up. And women love the guys who know how to blow a big horn.”Image result for man playing a tuba pictures

“Well, and I say this with great modesty, I have been practicing… and I’m almost ready to rumble for the lovely tubist Carol Jantsch.”

“Awesome! I’ll call Sandy. She can call some of her friends. We’ll rock the Cash Bar.”Image result for drag queen pictures

“No! There you go again, damnit!! You lure me in with a purple rubber worm and I take the bait every time! Why do I do what I don’t want to do, and then don’t do what I should do.”Image result for fish hitting a rubber worm pictures

“Joel, that’s too much do do for me to process. If I were you, I’d find a good stiff doormat and wipe my shoes firmly. Maybe spray some deodorant on you feet, something subtle that won’t overpower others with sensitive olfactory operations. Maybe Shower Fresh Secret for Women.”

[Hands over both ears.] “I can’t hear you. I refuse to listen to another word. I’m going to recite the rest of my opossum elegy….

They have pouches for their babies And rarely if ever carry rabies.

Grey bodies with white heads; they are expert at playing dead.

Even in winter they’re great ‘cuz they don’t need to hibernate.

Boys are jacks, girls are jills, joeys are what you call the lills

To your compost pile they’ll return, y’all, ‘cuz they’re nocturnal after all.

They are the garbage men of the wild with 50 teeth in each smile

Eating roaches or rats is no hassle; a herd of opossums is a passel.

I can’t say enough about’em; they’re so awesome.

And so I thank God above for the humble opossum.”Image result for possums on mother's back

“Joel, that was beautiful! I have learned so much. I am humbled in your marsupialian presence. Listening to you is like watching Picasso paint; listening to Mozart play. Or staring stupidly as Einstein calculates. Exhilarating.”

“Thank you, Burrito. I feel we have covered a lot of ground and made some real progress here today.”

“Amen.”Image result for statues of curious things



585. Myths in June

Image result for images of juno roman goddessJune was named for Jupiter’s wife, Juno. She was the goddess of matrimony and childbearing. Most weddings occur in her month of June, and you thought it was due to the nice weather and the low price of roses. She was a jealous wife with plenty of reasons to be suspicious of Jupiter, also known as Zeus when she was known as Hera in earlier Greek times. Jupiter/Zeus was a lusty fellow who took on various disguises to philander about. He was rather crude and misogynistic by today’s standards. Back then, rather than getting a good Greek or Roman divorce lawyer, Juno/Hera simply blamed the females Zeus seduced. Hardly seems fair, but those were mythical times, in the pre-fairness millennia.Tizian 085.jpgHere is a selfie of Zeus/ Jupiter as a bull in a painting entitled “The Rape of Europa” by Titian. Europa conceived three sons after the unwanted encounter, who went on to be the judges of the underworld. She is immortalized in the name for the continent of Europe. Apparently Zeus was the father of the first European Union. Fatally fancy stuff indeed. Image result for flag of the european union

Zeus was a restless immortal with nothing but time, power, and an addiction on his hands. He also fancied a lady named Leda, and ravaged her in the form of a swan. Leda later laid a pair of eggs that hatched out Helen (of Troy) and Polydeuces/ Pollux, half (sort of) twin to Castor in a pre-scientific world. (Same mom, same time, different dads.) I know, I know…weird stuff. But wait!

There is more. He “visited” Danae as a golden shower, conceiving Perseus, who went on to heroic fame by slaying the hideous Medusa.

Image result for trump as an orange rat cartoonWhoops, wrong slide. That’s his father killing the Lady Liberty with Russian Golden showers while draining the swan.

Here is Danae trying to figure out if she needs to call a plumber or an ob/gyn doctor. You can’t make this stuff up because some loony Greek beat you to it. Today’s headlines seem tame by comparison. Gadzooks!

Now I know you are already making Trumpian comparisons, but I urge you not to. Donaldus Maximus always appears in the form of a large, orange pelted rat with a lawyer/accountant/fixer behind him, seemingly stunned by a ball bat, writing checks as fast as he can. He is the attendant demi-geek, Mykale Coheinous. In Donalduckus’s myths it is the model Melania playing the role of Juno/Hera; however, she is so sick of Narcissus Ratboy that she encourages him to go out and play in the sex traffic just so she can slow down her revulsion gag reflex, projectile vomiting, disgust reactions. “Go paw some other bimbo, Donnie. I am worn out!”Related image

In The Modern Tales of Brave Donald Maximus, as told by Donald and attested to by Mykale Coheinous, he rapes the continent of Europe with knee jerk tariffs on steel and aluminum; questioning NATO’s relevance; and publicly kissing Putin’s posterior. Even after sucking up to pretty boy Macron and envying his French military parade, The Emperor Donaldus still slaps silly tariffs on his new bromantic interest. No more kissy-kissy for Emmanuel. “I love you, bro, but I’ve got dues to pay. You broke my heart, Fredo.”Image result for macron trump kisses pictures

In other Tales of Brave Donald there is the Wall of Noncooperation surrounding the sanctuary city of Troy, modern day San Francisco. It was so progressive and gay, that Achilles the Bonespur Don had to find a way to subdue it and take down the smirking liberals who lived there and snubbed him. He told extravagant tales to his populace of Greaseopolis until they frothed in rage and sent ICE agents barging through the slumbering streets inside a huge wooden donkey to arrest as many illegals as possible. Unfortunately for the ICE guys, the people of Troy noticed the big ass donkey and put two and two together. In record time they rolled that splintery beast down to Tijuana where thousands of legal Mexicans reside legally. When they came out of the Trump donkey’s butt, wearing Trump masks and bearing arms, they thought they’d hit the Mexican jackpot until they noticed the wrong jurisdiction.Image result for trump protesters in trump masks

Now, rather than calling off the raid, the ICE guys acted like it was all cool, and you know, they were there for a photo optic at the other Wall on the Border, the one to keep out Asian Minors and Muslims and transgendered folks, except for the Swedish Gate at El Paso. “Tt’s cool. We weren’t played in Troy by illegal gays. Nope. We wanted to make them push us down to the border to save taxpayers’ money. Man, it was so smooth. We just came for some duty free shopping, just like we planned.”Image result for Border wall prototypes photos

Which leads us to the greatest myth of all:  the Trumpator. Due to an incestuous liasion between a half bull/half man and a porn star heifer with enormous mammary endowments, a terrible man eating monster named the Trumpator was birthed without a valid birth certificate in Minoa, modern day Queens. This beast was so terribly erratic that Chief of Staff John Kelly had to contract with Austrian architect Daedalus to build an intricate maze known as the D.C. Labyrinth beneath the White House just to contain the Trumpator, who howled and whined daily until he got his ice cream and cheeseburger.Image result for minotaur images

Every month the fearful congressmen and senators from Capitol Hill would send scared silly bills for human sacrifice to the Trumpator. The legislators knew if they opposed this irrational devil, he would come up the hill and devour them in the primaries or the midterms. In the labyrinth he would sign murderous legislation that would basically impoverish the vulnerable while further enriching the already prosperous. Mercy evaporated. Clocks ran backwards. Power was the new grace. The Trumpator dissected and delighted in destroying any vestige of the previous Emperor Barack of Kenya.Image result for obama with trump pictures

One day, however, the hero Theseus Mueller volunteered to go in place of youthful sacrifices, just as he had gone to Vietnam when the Trumpator had deferred again and again, staying home safe and free from any obligation, protected by his daddy’s millions. Mueller had no sword, only a pen and a ball of yarn that was the law. Despite all the twists and turns and falsehoods designed to befuddle investigators, Theseus found his way in to the Trumpator, slew him and freed the people of tyranny.Image result for theseus kills the minotaur images


Finally Melania could breathe again while Congress gave interviews claiming their own virility and patriotism, disavowing all collusion and collaboration with the Trumpator in time for the next election. God save the Republic.Image result for ryan and mcconnell smiling photos

584. Idjioting

Image result for guy on cell phone gifThe phone message was strange. A mutual friend had given this female author my phone number after she has asked him if he knew anyone in the mental health field who could also give reliable feedback on her unpublished novel. Well, he thought I was the guy because I used to teach English; I’m in the m.h. field; and I write a blog. Wow, just wow. I’m glad she didn’t need a surgeon. I can sew in a pinch but not human skin or organs.

I’m not suggesting that I can’t give decent feedback to an aspiring novelist. My concern is that the review will be like a new mother showing me her baby and asking, “Do you think it’s pretty?” Aaarrrrgggghhhh. “Uh, on a spectrum of divine cherub to gargoylian imp, your baby is definitely in there.”Image result for gargoyle pictures

“Have you ever seen such dimples like those?”

“No, I can’t say that I have.”

“And that crimson birth mark that looks like New Jersey on its nose. Why it’s enough to take your breath away.”

“Yes, Ma’am, my feeling exactly. And that pustule must be Asbury Park.”

“And a full set of sharp, pointy teeth.”

“Yeah, you could saw white oak with those teeth. A shark would be proud.”Image result for shark teeth pictures

“And the wiry red hair goes well with all the orange freckles, dontcha think?”

“Absolutely. Very Southwestern landscapey.”Image result for orange and white southwest landscape

And then the inevitable inescapable question, “Well, how did you like it?”

Of course I’d struggle, no, I will struggle to not poop down my pantsleg and step in it all at the same time. “Um, it has its points. Like the part where the one identical twin kills the other and then is overcome with remorse during the courtroom scene. Very real. I felt like I was looking at the one while listening to the other claim that they had simply melded back together, and without a body there was no crime. It was an out of body experience for me around page 89.”Image result for spooky girl movie characters

“Oh, my. No one has ever read that far before.”

“No! Why not?” (And why hadn’t I thought of that exit strategy?)

“Well, my pastor told me he had a heart murmur and gave me a note from his doctor to prove his claim. But his doctor has been dead for twenty years and he never sought a second opinion. Not very responsible, if you ask me.”Image result for elderly bishops pictures

“Totally. Makes you wonder if some folks go into ministry for their own fame and glory instead of serving the Lord and others.”

“My thoughts exactly! I can see that we are sympatico fellow travelers, senor. But tell me more about how you admired my work. I can take healthy criticism, you know.”

“Oh, uh, the symbolism of the anaconda slithering through the town was powerfully challenging, even disturbing like an old Godzilla movie.”Image result for godzilla movie stills

“Yes, yes!! Totally yes! You got that allusion to the End Times and when the Vietnamese cooks attacked it with boiling oil, steaming pho, and their butcher knives, you of course saw the seven plagues of the Revelation, right?”

“Uh, I was struck by the name of the restaurant, Levi A. Than’s Authentic Vietnamese Grub. It stunned me.”

“I so wanted to stun my readers. I’m exhilarated like a high school girl with a crush on her hunky English teacher. When I write, I like to think of my pen as a taser that stuns the unwary.”Related image

“Wow! That is a good line, ‘stun the unwary with a taser’. You need to incorporate that somehow into the narrative, Marie. Perhaps one of the cooks could utter that in broken English just before the denouement of the huge serpent winding down Main Street.”Image result for vietnamese chefs pictures

“I’ve got it. Oh, this is magical brainstorming with a man of your genius!

‘Phan Nyguen turned to the sous chef Giang Chi and nodded to the dragon passing the picture window that looked onto the street. Phan spoke with utmost purpose, ‘We must stun the unwary with a taser’. To which Giang responded, ‘Is New Year float?’ Only to face the enraged blood thirsty eyes of Phan as he strode toward the door with his cleaver in hand, repeating in a trance,’We must stun the unwary with a taser’.”

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“Brilliant, Marie!! I feel like I’m in the last booth by the door, sensing the very foundation of the restaurant quaking as the serpent grinds cars and parking meters in its coils. I can see Phan striding by me, full of purpose and chicken grease on his apron.  I know the great snake will turn toward the scent of gutted chickens, unleashing the Battle Royale in front of the shuttered Capitol Theater. Phan versus the Leviathan at Levi A. Than’s Authentic Vietnamese Grub! Oh, it’s about to get greasy and gory. I just know. Are you ready to RUMBLE?”Related image

“Oh my! This is so exciting! I feel I should sell tickets and have Hulk Hogan introduce the combatants in silk tights.”

“Yes, Marie. Work it through. Challenge mundanity. Push your genius to the very doorstep of insanity!!”Image result for hulk hogan in tights pictures

“My goodness gracious!! I taught writing for 30 years, but I never had such a creative transportation of mind, body and spirit as this. I am at the very edge of what I can withstand. I feel I must hurl myself into the abyss of art or explode.”Image result for cliff diving pictures

“Yes, yes, yesssss, Marie!! When your words tase the readers, they become warm brie cheese on garlic toast with a little bacon and sweet mustard. Silly, sloppy putty in your creative toaster oven. Serve up each syllable slowly with a spoon.”Image result for dripping brie cheese pictures

“I don’t know what to do, Mr. Burrito. I am speechless like a flake of iron being pulled helplessly toward a powerful electromagnet. Forget the novel. Take me!! Tase me. Proofread me.”

“Marie, get control of yourself, woman!  You can never mix pleasure with work. It’s one or the other. Forever.”Image result for stern bald man face

“I am torn. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine editing could be so intimate and revealing.”

“I know, Marie, but you must choose.”Image result for blue or red pill pictures

583. Poof Sans Proof

These days there is much smoke and haze without any visible fire, though the old aphorism reminds us that “Where there is smoke, there is fire”. However, aphorisms are not always true; they are simply handed down as generally true statements, most of the time, depending on circumstances, might be useful, maybe not. Don’t take my word for it. In all disputable cases, Google it.

  • aphorism, noun, a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Related imageIf you have ever seen a smoke grenade or flare, a fog machine or dry ice vapors, then you know sometimes there is smoke without fire. In fact these are intentional devices that help obscure troops in danger or define a landing zone in combat. Fog is used to set a mood in stage productions or movies. I’m not telling you anything new here. Smoke, fog, and haze are used to manipulate the observer away from what is in some cases; in other cases, the smoke delineates a safe zone for a helicopter to land safely.

Smoke grenades are used for several purposes. The primary use is the creation of smoke screens for concealment and the signalling of aircraft.

Related imageMy regular readers already know where I am heading. I don’t need to signal them with smoke and mirrors. Our Smoker in Chief is at it again and again and again, like a madman 5K powder race organizer, blowing smoke everywhere to create a screen of plausible deniability or a cloud of impenetrable chaos wherein everything is obscured and therefore suspect. Traction is lost in the distortions of distraction. Truth is intentionally covered in contorted mists and dusty doubts. Trust is intentionally dissolved according to the KGB dictator playbook. Then, in the midst of all this dissolution, an authoritarian despot declares martial law and uses the Constitution as toilet paper.

distraction, noun, a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.Image result for googly eyed cartoon gif

You see, traction means to draw or drag something along. A tractor does this on fields until it gets stuck in a slippery swampy spot. Then the tractor is dis- tracted. No matter the gear or the size or psi of the tires, it merely spins in the lowland muck. The wet ground cannot support the weight of what lies floundering above it.Image result for tractor stuck in mud pictures

Some will look at this image and see Trump, stuck in his greasy lies. Others will see Mueller and the Deep State wading knee deep in conspiracy. You are free to project whatever meaning you like. I’d like to look at irrefutable facts first.

All politicians have practiced the art of lying until they get caught, at which point they lie about their previous lies or take issue with the tone of the interviewing journalist. Eventually they default to “no one is perfect” or “politics is a rough and tumble business”. Never admitting fault or offering apologies.  The great deceivers go the extra mile of conspiracy theories to wiggle out of tight spots. Nixon was “practiced at the art of deception” to quote Mick Jagger. He created the infamous and mythical “Silent Majority” whose mandate he pretended to protect in 1968 until his resignation in disgrace. His trick was to turn the media’s focused attention away from the anti-war protests and the illegalities practiced by the Nixon Administration and on to this stable conservative group of patriots who were remarkably mute. He spoke of law and order and deep patriotism, pre-chewed pablum for mass consumption, so easy to thoughtlessly swallow.Related image

Magically Richard Millhouse Nixon was the mute whisperer. Only he could channel the silent messages sent into space by millions of mute Americans. And surprise! They all supported his agenda. Surprise! What an amazing revelation from the rabid anti-communist who slavered at the back of Commie Hunter, Joe McCarthy. Joe liked a good conspiracy theory too, and he didn’t mind destroying lives in the process. He knew and taught Nixon that fear is a tool to maintain power.Related image

Bill Clinton developed “a vast right wing conspiracy” theory to explain away his lechery legacy. Hillary ran point for him, pathetically in the end. However, with enough manipulation of fog and smoke, anyone can look like Superman. [This video clip is actually Ed from the loading dock with CGI clouds racing over  him. Cool, huh? Don and Darwin did that down in graphics in thirty minutes. He is actually standing on a milk crate with a cape. Those guys are wizards!]Related image

We live in a precarious time when the cry of fake news is just as loud as real news, maybe louder. It’s up to the conscious citizenry to be able to tweak out truth from all the competing voices. How do we know what is true? Well, so often we don’t immediately know and therefore have to weed through competing narratives to arrive at what we believe is true until it is verified indisputably. We need critical thinking skills to ask questions that can deconstruct the tone from the rhetoric from the proposed facts. We can use logic and experience/history to check the facts. What we can’t do is rush to conclusions, which is what the lying car salesman wants us to do…”Hurry up and sign at the X down on the bottom. My manager might change his mind cuz’ you are stealing this car, Buddy! It’s the end of the month and the quarter, so we’re letting them go for cheap. You lucked out today.”Related image

So much smoke and so many mirrors. What’s real and what is a reflection of reality?  You don’t know until you reach for a glass of wine and hit the plate glass mirror. Doink!

What’s true? We don’t know all of the truth. We do know some Trumpisms have been proven false.

The Central Park Five were guilty without a trial and therefore needed to be executed.

The Obama birth certificate scandal.

The Deep State Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during his campaign.

The Deep State FBI planted a spy in his campaign.

There was no collusion.

He never paid off the porn star.

Women love him.

Smoke. No fire, Don. No matter how many times you repeat your lies, they remain lies. They can’t burn true because you have sucked all the oxygen out of the lab, and there was nothing of substance to ignite.

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And what’s wrong with a little pathological lying, you ask? The horrific consequences.

Banned Picture Of Hitler


582. Serial Noodleist

Image result for noodle making machine picturesAfter ruminating about my last post and sifting through a bunch of old cartoons, it has dawned on me that I am a serial noodler. Blogging is just the latest activity I’ve fallen in to and kept at feverishly. I have a tendency to get excited about something new and pour energy into it, like the old neighbor’s dog Dusty, who used to chase cars down The Parkway when she was young and spry. She never actually caught her teeth on any of the tires she snapped at. I guess the chase was all that mattered; it provided purpose and exercise in her decade of mindless dog years. The dog years of my morning cartoons were minor efforts by comparison, a mere distraction from the repetitive nature of public school’s structured routine. I quit caring which lunch kids wanted. I felt a patriotic pull to entertain our forgotten servicewomen in the office, Nancy and Sandy. A sweet pair of ladies if ever there were such a pair.Image result for two older ladies smiling

A few years ago I got into shooting the devilish groundhogs who burrow into the bank at the end of my yard and sometimes boldly strut right up to my deck. At first I settled with impersonally eliminating them. I tried to poison them with paint thinner and gasoline. Then I tried cyanide pellets. One time I tried flooding them out with a garden hose. After a couple of hours a family of skunks came crawling out of the hole. I chased ground hogs with a machete, a pitchfork, and various rocks. No success… until I bought a .22 rifle a few years ago. Once I got familiar with the open sights, my kill rate soared. I cleaned up my yard and yearned for more carnage.Related image

My buddy Gary invited me to his 12 acre farmette to kill as many groundhogs as I liked. In year one I killed 46. I was fervent, blood thirsty. My success worked against me, however. The living groundhogs got smarter as I became a DARK, dangerous fixture in their ecosystem. Eventually my opportunities for shots were all beyond 75 yards, and my open sights weren’t suited for long distance. That’s when I splurged and bought a .22 magnum with an 8 x scope for $300. Suddenly I felt like a Marine sniper. I could and did shoot 150 and 200 yards with some success. I could still use a bipod to steady the heavy gun, though. My kill total went up to 48, and then down to 36 the next year or so as other things competed for my time, while Gary’s house was built on some prime groundhog ground. Success led to failure over time. I needed to let the herd repopulate.Related image

Perhaps this summer will bring new totals since I did little or no hunting the past two summers. I’m saving on ammo anyway.

Another streak that I ran was making water color greeting cards. I had a fairly straight formula I followed. I’d draw images in pencil on a quarter sheet of heavy watercolor paper. From start to finish I’d have maybe two hours in each card. I gave them away or sent them as Christmas cards. I have some copies in a binder that bring me some moments of contented satisfaction. Every once in a great while I will still do a card, but it takes a lot more to motivate me that my life is less stressful.Related image

There was chess a long while ago. I played whenever I had a chance.  The problem was always finding a suitable partner. Eric moved to Florida. Mohammed drifted to another coffee shop. Ron quit on me. I still love playing when the opportunity arises. Call me.Image result for chess game photos

Then along came blogging. I had to ask my oldest daughter what a blog was years ago. She told me the facts of cyber life and it seemed simple enough. I had a lot of unprocessed mental sewage backed up. So I began this voiding enterprise in 2012, I think. Yeah, over six years ago. Some time after establishing the world famous Coffee Nation Summit that meets on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.Image result for men's coffee group photos

I think all these noodlings come from the same deep spring of inspiration– not to be forgotten. I recall parenting my three daughters and wanting them to have unforgettable Dad memories. I may have tried too hard, which likely comes from a feeling of not mattering enough in my original family. Back then I think my m.o. went something like this:  “Pay attention, damnit!!” Which didn’t help much. I suppose that lack of recognition or affirmation drove me outward toward others for their acceptance and esteem. I got a lot of that in the various jobs I did in high school and college. Most of my employers welcomed me back and granted unsolicited approval. I suppose I worked harder where I sensed there was a level playing field and still do.Related image

So now it’s blogging all over the blank white screen in front of me. More for my own purpose than anything else. I’ve talked to a few other guys who wrote blogs for a while and then quit. They said the same thing, “When the numbers of readers weren’t there, I quit.” So, I surmised, they were writing for others. Even if they had succeeded, they would have failed. To continue anything long term you must do it for the right reasons. And not to sound like the guru of insight and wisdom, I think if you are content with your own self expression, that’s enough. If anyone bothers to appreciate your work, that’s a bonus not a destination.Image result for crowds at an art museum photos

Noodle, noodle, noodle along… without the desire to be the best at any of these activities. Nope. When I was a teacher, I tried to be the best teacher in my classroom. It was futile and delusional to think beyond my domain of control. In counseling I try to be the best counselor in the room, and no more. Some days I was taught by my students; and some days I am counseled by my clients, and we both gain in the process. It’s hard enough to pilot your own helicopter; trying to fly your neighbor’s is a good way to crash, burn and die. To your own noodle be true.Image result for helicopter crash photos



581. Weather and Traffic with Ira

Image result for middle school kids in class room picturesLong ago in my previous lifetime I was a middle school English teacher, which I would describe as part cat herder and part crash test dummy. Twenty three years were spent in two classrooms with 130 plus kids each year spread out over 7 or 9 periods daily. I figure I directly taught 3,000 students and had contact with another 1-2,000 in clubs and other connections, such as lunch duty or bus duty or in school suspension. Lots of little stories are linked to those contacts, beginning with homeroom.Image result for pictures of ink drop art

Homeroom was the start of each day. There were several activities that had to take place each morning. Attendance, lunch count, announcements, the flag salute, and the occasional handout or delivery. Kids sat in alphabetical order for fifteen minutes and were counted present or counted absent. Sometimes it was hard to tell if a kid was truly there. He/she might be sleeping or dodging any eye contact.Image result for shy boy faces

By the first or second week of school I had students do the roll and lunch count after demonstrating what was involved in the simple task. They usually enjoyed doing it, and I could then concentrate on my daily cartoon for the office ladies, Nancy and Sandy. [Usually one of them would be eaten by a snake or carried off in a tornado plume, a la The Far Side. Unbeknownst to me, Sandy made copies of many of my cartoons and gave them to me in a folder at my retirement party. I was touched.]Image result for far side cartoons

At the start of another new year we were humming along in the first row of students, at the end of which sat Ira, withdrawn and depressed. On the day it was his turn to do the routine, he ducked his head. The other students said to me, “Ira is too shy. He doesn’t talk out loud.”Image result for shy boy pictures

“Oh, Ira. Come here.” I asked him to stand next to me and mark who was absent. He was visibly nervous and unsure of himself.

“How can I tell who is absent?” he whispered.

“See the empty seat?  Just match that with my seating chart and strike a line through the kid’s name on the attendance sheet.”

“Okay. Uh, let’s see, Shelly and Ryan are the only ones absent.”

“Did you strike their names?”

“Yeah.”Image result for shy boy pictures

“You are a natural! I can retire. Now let’s look at the lunch options. Just ask the kids which they’d like.”

He whispered now. “uh, A lunch, anyone?” I barely heard him. So I leaned over to hear him and then yelled, “Ira wants to know who wants A lunch!”

Image result for will ferrell movie shotsChuckles rose with hands. We continued through B lunch, salad bar and sandwich bar. Most importantly Ira began to smile and chuckle too. I think I said something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, the homeroom show has been brought to you by IRA and the Dairy Council of Franklin County. Milk does a body good.” Fun applause burst out; the bell rang; and all the kids left smiling.

You can’t know every student’s back story and issues. All you get as a teacher is the demeanor and attitude of the kids in front of you. You figure out the rest a day at a time… or not. Some stay under the radar and enjoy their invisibility. Not everyone is willing to be known.

Related imageThe next day I was about to have the first student in row two come up and do the lunch count routine, when a mutiny broke out. “We want Ira to do it again.”  Others followed, “Yeah, yeah. Ira, Ira.” The kid in row two looked relieved as Ira came up to repeat his previous performance. With little affect but more volume than the day before, Ira carried out his appointed duties. I played the comic to his straight man.

“Ira, how about the weather? What can we expect today?”

He looked out the window and offered, “Well, sunny, uh warm, maybe in the 70’s?”Image result for sunny view through window

Again, the kids appreciated Ira’s effort and giggled and clapped. A star was being born. For the next few months it was his show, and it expanded every so often. Some days I’d introduce Ira as the weatherman or “It’s time for traffic and weather with Ira.” He’d say something innocuous and bland like “Traffic is backed up on second street, Bob.”Image result for traffic helicopter pictures

Some days I’d add the helicopter report with a “Flub flub flub, I’m here in the Channel 6 helicopter over Waynesboro, (flub, flub, flub) Ira, and I gotta tell you, it’s a mess all the way down Route 16 to the Summit.”Image result for kids giving speeches pictures

Ira might respond with “Okay, thanks for that sky view, Bob. And now who wants A lunch?” The morning show got to be a lot of fun with jokes and gags and unsolicited details about the food.

One morning I offered the idea of a pre-chewed menu. Naturally the kids asked, “What’s that?”

“Well, it’s the same food only it has already been chewed for you so that you can save effort and time in the lunch room. It comes with a straw like a smoothie.”Image result for spam smoothie pictures

“Who chews it?”

“Trustees at the Franklin County Prison.”

“oooooohhhhh, that’s gross.”

“What? They’ve had all their shots and blood tests. Same as cows chewing grass and making milk.”Related image

“No it’s not!”

“Sure it is. Only the prison trustees don’t swallow or digest their food. They simply masticate and regurgitate.”

“Ahhhh. Those are bad words!!! I’m tellin’!”Image result for kids faces of shock and surprise

“Please tell someone you have learned two new multi-syllabic words.”

And so it went with variations on a theme of goofiness and having a spot of fun each morning to start the day. Ira seemed to stay out of his shell, as I recall. We never probed why he was in one to begin with. It’s a no brainer that hurt preceded the need for a thick shell and the social camouflage of quietness and avoiding eye contact. Fear of being known negatively can prevent one from being known at all.

Image result for huge tortoise picturesI sometimes ask over-defended counseling clients if they’ve heard of the turtle with the 100 pound shell. “No, what about it?” they often reply.

“It died four inches away from its food dish. The shell was so heavy it could not move.”

“Oh. I get it.”

A man must be here to eat and enjoy the weather despite the traffic. I learned that in homeroom.Image result for traffic jam pictures from helicopter



580. Greatest Hits

Related imageMy FB buddy and former neighborhood friend Mickey Marche posted his top 10 most influential long playing albums from the 1960′-70’s over the last 10 days. I did not disagree with his choices except for Mitch Miller, even as an honorable mention. I mean, really? Where is the hippie/counterculture turbulence in M.M? I mean Mitch Miller not Mickey Marche. Mick’s top ten would mostly be in my top 30 or 40 lps.

Image result for vinyl record pictures For the young ones reading along with their grandparents, an l. p. was/is a vinyl recording usually played at 33 1/3 rpm’s or revolutions per minute on a machine called a phonograph or turntable, invented by Thomas Edison originally. They came in album cover sleeves that were light weight cardboard with pictures on the front and credits somewhere else. Inside was a paper dust sleeve that kept dust and other crud off the tiny grooves where the recorded music lived. Often the dust jacket was where the lyrics could be found, if you were lucky and the artist offered them.

Image result for boxes of records picturesLPs were heavy, let me tell you. A few under one arm were no problem, but often they were stored in milk crates or fruit boxes; then it was a problem to run a fifty pound box up a flight of stairs, because in your late teens and early twenties you move a lot, mostly to second and third floor apartments. It was not unusual to have 100 or more albums in your collection. Weightless and wait less I-pods and Alexa and Pandora were not even ideas then. Which is why old guys like me are so buff now.

Image result for meet the beatles album coverSo Mick had the Beatles’ Meet the Beatles, the Stones’ Big Hits and Zeppelin’s first with the burning Hindenburg cover. Hall of Fame first ballot all three. Then Dylan’s Volume 2 Greatest Hits, Hendrix Are You Experienced?, Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, no argument here. He rounded out his hit parade with James Taylor, Jesse Colin Young, America and the Eagles’ second album Desperado. Okay, they are all in the horse race to your musical heart. Started strong with the British sound and then finished all American. [I am a little shocked that he did not include a Carpenters album since he had a thing for Karen Carpenter that transcended time. ]

Related imageEveryone is entitled to his/her own top ten of anything, shellfish, for instance, or great baseball players. Just don’t mix the two… “On the mound we have Bob the lobster Gibson facing Brooks the razor clam Robinson. It’s a full count. Here’s Gibson’s fastball, Brooks lays down a perfect bunt to first base. Swallowed up by Johnny Oyster Bench, for the put out at first base, covered by Willie not a shrimp Stargell.” It could get stupid fast.

Image result for iron butterfly album cover in daMy mind is not a rank order sort of mind. I’m far more impressionistic. For instance, the first time I saw Mick’s top ten album idea, I thought of his googly eyed Enfield Drive neighbor Mark somebody. Mick was kinder to him than anyone else in the neighborhood was. Not sure if the kid’s parents paid him a quarterly stipend for child care. Anyway, I recall Mick telling us that Mark rushed him with excited news from his CCD class at church that he or they or someone somewhere played Iron Butterfly’s classic “In the Garden of Eden”. Well, he was close. That massive 17 minute musical monstrosity was actually called “In a Gadda da Vida”, which apparently came from a drunken slurring of the title Mark offered to Micky on that fateful day. The song was the entire B side of the album and pretty trippy stuff.

Image result for santana evil ways picturesSantana got an honorable mention, though I would rank him above America and Jesse Colin Young. Just sayin’.  Again it’s a memory of association that threads through music and relationships and time. Mick and my next door neighbor Richard were lifting weights while listening to Santana, as I recall. Mick was intentionally butchering the lyrics to Santana’s “Evil Ways” while one of us was trying to bench maybe 75 pounds. We were young, pre testosterone. “You’ve got to change your underwear, baby. Before I stop lovin’ you.” That line was delivered just sincerely enough to boys who were just immature enough to get us belly laughing for ten minutes. I’m sure millions of other adolescent boys butchered many other songs in their inimitable ways, and they still chuckle quietly over these memories while listening to the oldies station.Related image

Somewhere is a memory from Harry Chapin’s Taxi song, a long ballad of broken dreams with plenty of lyrics to exploit. I cannot recall the verbal bastardization trick Mick pulled on that song. It might have been the very first verse…Related image

“It was rainin’ hard-ons in Frisco, I needed one more fart to make my night, the lady up ahead waved and flagged me down. She got in at the light.” I’m sure it was a silly mix of potty language and sexual allusions. Standard stock for teen boys left unsupervised.

Image result for billie holiday picturesNow I still own some vinyl. I gave away a lot of great ones since I no longer played them. I lack a functional phonograph machine, but I still love these souvenirs of my youth. On my shelf I have Billie Holiday’s Greatest Hits vol. 2. Keeper forever. Van Morrison’s St. Dominic’s Preview. Derek and the Dominoes Layla album. Sentimental favorites Aztec Two Step and Jackson Browne’s Saturate Before Using. Finally the Dead’s Europe ’72 triple album was the heaviest of all my records and provided hours of jams and internal voyages. All old friends I can’t part with.

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So thanks, Mick, for this brief trip down memory lane, over the hills and far away, from Harrison Lane to Telegraph Road, to King’s Highway and Franconia Road. I haven’t seen those roads in decades, but I can walk alongside them again when the right song pumps out of my speakers. My five year old grand daughter’s jam is Sheryl Crow’s cover of Aerosmith’s Life is a Highway. Not a bad closer…

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long.

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