Saturday, November 18, 2017

Morning Reveries

Early morning reveries
wandering through the ages
between
darkness and light
sin and redemption
destiny and grace
still waiting still dreaming

Pressing on
in the face of
uncertainty
circumstances unforeseen
as if the mystery
of faith is real
if not unseen

As poetic champions
up before dawn
listen for the muse
as if jazz riffs
drawing sketches
of the mind
hurling horses over cliffs

Wouldn’t it be
great if we could
believe in each other
unequivocally
and not be
deceived
by modernity?

But wait
there’s more
Oh, amore, amore
for you and me
eternally after
so many
false alarms

Meanwhile
in the kitchen
someone is
rustling around
coffee brews
sun on the horizon
another day

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Not My Father's Game

"Glory days, they'll pass you by, glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eyes, glory days, glory days."(Bruce Springsteen)

On any given Sunday when I was growing up, it was a pretty safe bet that my old man would be watching a Giants football game on TV when they were away, or going to a game at the Old Yankee Stadium or the first iteration of Giants Stadium in the so-called "Meadowlands."

Rumor has it that's where Jimmy Hoffa sleeps with the fishes. But that’s another story.

Giants Lore
In the late 1940s, Dad first starting following the New York Football Giants, most likely because he was a Giants baseball fan, he even saw Willie Mays play when the “Say Hey Kid” was actually a kid. Somewhere in time the Polo Grounds, where both teams played, were torn down to make way for housing projects.

The football Giants moved to Yankee Stadium, and the baseball Giants moved to San Francisco, as part of the Walter O’Malley betrayal that sent the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. Anyway, this is a football story.

Long before my sisters and I came onto the scene, our father was a big time Giants fan. After meeting Mom in October 1958, he took her to the famed National Football League Championship Game against the Baltimore Colts that December at Yankee Stadium. Her dad thought it was a big fuckin’ deal.

Led by legendary QB Johnny Unitas, the Colts beat the Giants 23–17 in the first ever sudden death overtime. That game has come to be known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played" by some observers, and ushered the NFL into the modern era.

Shortly thereafter Dad became a season ticket holder, scoring 2 sets of seats in the lower level at The Stadium at the 50 yard line on the opposing team’s side of the field. During his lifetime, he may have easily seen 250 games live.

As for me, my first trip to Yankee stadium in 1969 was not for a baseball game, but rather to see the Giants. Fran Tarkenton, the first scrambler, was the QB, and Bob Tucker was the wide receiver. Even with all of Tarkenton’s running around in circles, the Giants lost to the Minnesota Vikings.

Sometime in 1972, I remember going to a game against the Green Bay Packers. It was brutally cold and by the end of the third quarter, I wanted to go home. Of course, that was football blasphemy, and we stayed until the game was over. The Giants lost that one too.

But my feet were frozen and my old man carried me all the way back to the car, which he parked for $5 at a gas station somewhere in the boogie-down Bronx.

Sucking in the 70s
Much like the Rolling Stones, the Giants sucked in the 1970s, and most of my friends were Fair Weather Johnsons who rooted for the Dallas Cowboys, more football blasphemy.

Then, Wellington Mara pulled off the deal to build a new stadium in Springsteen Country, at the same time Yankee Stadium was being remodeled. For two years, the Giants home games were played at the Yale Bowl, and the Giants moved to their new home in 1976. Dad again had four seats in the fourth row, on the 50 yard line.

My family has many fond memories of Giants Stadium, where we got to see greats like the late Brad van Pelt and a young and fierce Harry Carson crush it on the defensive end. But the Giants offense was horrible for a decade, and signing fullback Larry Csonka away from the Miami Dolphins was of little help – way past his prime.

And many long-time Giants fans have never forgotten “The Fumble” against the Philadelphia Eagles in November 1978. QB Joe Pisarcik was expected to take the last snap, kneel with the ball to run out the clock, securing a 17-12 Giants upset. But he botched an attempted handoff to Csonka, and the Eagles’ Herman Edwards picked up the ball and dashed 26 yards for the winning touchdown as time ran out.

That season, a Fan Protest erupted, with tickets being burned in trash cans before some home games. Some guy even hired a plane to fly over the stadium towing a banner that read “15 Years of Lousy Football - We’ve Had Enough.” I was at that game, and it was pretty remarkable, such passion. Nonetheless, the Giants continued to suck through the early 1980s, until Bill Parcels was named Head Coach in 1983.

The Giants Glory Days
The Giants’ renaissance was brought about by the collaborative efforts of Parcells, defensive coach Bill Belichick, and QB Phil Simms, Carson, Leonard Marshall, and Lawrence Taylor, among others. In his early days and through his prime, LT was an animal, and arguably one of the best defensive football players ever to stalk the Gridiron – until he wrecked himself on cocaine, that is.

We went to plenty of games in the 1980s, seeing many greats of that era, like the 49ers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, the Redskins Joe Theismann and John Riggins, the Bears Mike Singletary and Walter Payton, the Cowboys Tony Dorsett, and others too numerous to mention.

We were there when the Giants took down the 49ers in the Divisional Playoff game in 1986 and knocked Montana out of the game, as well as when they beat the hell out of the Redskins in the Championship Game (the loudest sports event I’ve been too), before marching on to victory in the 1987 Super Bowl.

The Post Modern Error
We continued going well into the 1990s, but by the 2000s things changed on the home front. A lot of other shit came down, and the moment was lost, albeit the Super Bowl Victory in 2007 was a thriller. Then, the Giants built a new complex, and in 2009 charged season ticket holders “Personal Seat Licenses” as high as $20,000 a pop. And that was that, no more season tickets.

So where are we today?

Well, I don’t watch much, if any, football, in part because Dad’s not around anymore. But as I’ve written before in this blog, the games have become unbearable, with maybe 25 minutes of action over three-and-a-hours, and the quality of play has declined dramatically. Moreover, there are far too many players with dubious histories, and this kneeling game is only driving fans away.

Having become politically agnostic in my time, and never being a big believer in protest movements or protest singers, hell, even Dylan walked away from all that jazz, it seems that politics is only a tool that the Man uses to divides us.

Anyway, my viewpoint is that ballers tying to take a misguided stand for social justice by kneeling during the National Anthem are not serving the game, or the affected communities, well. And their glory days will surely pass them by too.

Of course, people view this controversy through different lenses, but those of good will surely agree that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Nonetheless, one thing I do know is this: football today is not my father’s game.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Positively Dylan (at Nassau Coliseum 11/8/17)

A while back in an interview with the late Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes, Bob Dylan remarked how he had sold his soul to the devil. At the time, that comment seemed like his typical chicanery, copping Delta bluesman Robert Johnson’s tall tale from “Crossroads.”

Having seen Bob Dylan and His Band perform at the Nassau Coliseum the other night, perhaps that soul selling business wasn’t a lie. At 76, Dylan was spry and in much better voice than expected, even if it mimicked Tom Waits at times, as if soaked in a vat of bourbon – arguably an acquired taste.

Backed by his crack band, the evening rolled right along anchored by a solid rhythm section. Though the set list on this tour has been static, sans surprises, it’s a balanced mix of the Dylan canon and latter day works juxtaposed with Great American Songbook chestnuts.

Return to the Coliseum
This was my first trip to the revamped and still mediocre Coliseum and Dylan’s first since 2006. It’s still an Old Barn, with a facelift and $30 parking. As always, there were moments of impenetrable vocal twists, but that's part of the show.

The ensemble quickly established a solid pace, opening with Bob decked out in silver lamet’ at the piano for Things Have Changed and a counter-melody rich It Ain't Me, Babe. The band then turned up the beat, highlighted by Dylan’s much improved keyboard work with some seemingly Fats Domino flourishes, as they roared through Highway 61 Revisited.

A number of tunes benefited from up tempo arrangements, such as the countrified Summer Days and Honest with Me (Love and Theft, 2001). Meanwhile Trying to Get to Heaven featured some great phrasing, “before they cloooose the doooor,” and one of his better post-modern rhymes:

“People at the station, waiting for a train, I can hear their hearts beating, like pendulums swinging on a chain.”

On the completely reworked (again) classic Tangled Up in Blue, Bob wandered through an offbeat treatment with totally revised lyrics. It was interesting, to say the least, and gutsy. But the boogie-woogie tinged Thunder on the Mountain was high energy, we all got a laugh out of the line, “I got the pork chops you got the pie.”

Some of the best performances of the night were the offerings from Tempest (2012), including Pay in Blood, the Bo Didley-inspired Early Roman Kings and Soon After Midnight. All were down in the groove, and highlight how committed Dylan is to his new material, unafraid to jettison his past.

The Song and Dance Man
Making this whole thing work were the band’s chops, with aggressive drum work by George Recile, Donnie Heron on fiddle and pedal steel, solid rhythm guitar by Stu Kimball, Charlie Sexton from Austin, TX laying down great lead breaks all night, and long-time anchorman Tony Garnier on bass, since Jones Beach in 1989 - I was there.

They seamlessly shifted styles from straight ahead rock-n-roll and rhythm and blues to country swing and jazz, providing a fresh canvas for Bob’s poetic musings. These days, however, the show is not as much about the songs, but the music and the style of the performance, with understated, yet elegant lighting that amplified the operatic setting. It’s worth noting that Dylan has finally learned how to end a song after all these years. Jerry Garcia would be proud.

Bob’s voice was smoky but strong as he emptied himself into the crooner classics, standing at center stage with the Mic stand doing Charlie Chaplin like shuffles for numbers such as Why Try to Change Me Now, Melancholy Mood, Once Upon a Time (way sad), September of My Years, and a stunning (trust me) Autumn Leaves, featuring Garnier using a bow on the stand up bass.

Let’s be perfectly frank, Dylan is obviously no Sinatra, but the standards were poignant, akin to watching an old hobo express the forlorn loneliness of growing old and lost love, as if scenes from William Kennedy’s Ironweed. All were surprisingly well received by the Long Island audience who listened in pin drop silence.

The band hit a crescendo by the time they go to a pitch perfect Desolation Row, with Bob clearly articulating the lyrics, minus a verse or two and the closer, Love Sick, which was ominous. The show was topped off with Blowin’ in the Wind in the guise of a country lament and biting Ballad of a Thin Man (dooo yaaa, Mista Joooones?!).

The band took to center stage, Bob nodded in appreciation, he may even have cracked a smile, and without a word, that was it.

As for the opener, the mighty Mavis Staples delivered a brief, soulful set of gospel and blues, belting out numbers like Wade in the Water, and Build a Bridge from from her new disc, closing with the Staples Singers’ pop/gospel classic, “I’ll Take You There”…. mercy, mercy and hallelujah too, an inspiration.

Bob Dylan Revisited
People can say what they want about Bob Dylan, and his music is surely not for everyone. Arguments over taste, however, are no arguments at all. He may not be the best at what he does, but Dylan is the one of the last one’s doing it as most of his contemporaries are no longer around or fixing to die.

After 55 years as a recording artist, endless worldwide touring, a batch of Grammys, an Oscar, the French Legion of Honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as being named a Nobel Laureate, Dylan can play what he wants, with no apologies, take it or leave it.

Then again, it’s been this way since he plugged in at Newport in 1965, even more so during the much maligned gospel years or the mid-1980s when he hooked up with Tom Petty (RIP) and the Heartbreakers and the Grateful Dead as backup bands. I was there also, but that was once upon a time and very long ago….

Nonetheless, this was a musically satisfying evening, and a remarkable performance overall, albeit those expecting a note-for-note night of greatest hits were likely disappointed, if not puzzled. Dare I say having a chance to see the Bard perform in this day and age is a blessing?

In the end, Bob Dylan and His Band along with Mavis Staples are shining a much needed light in these troubling times, and the times, they are a changing, indeed.

Set List
Things Have Changed
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Honest with Me
Why Try to Change Me Now
Summer Days
Melancholy Mood
Honest with Me
Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
Once Upon a Time
Pay in Blood
Tangle Up in Blue
September of My Years
Early Roman Kings
Soon After Midnight
Desolation Row
Thunder on the Mountain
Autumn Leaves
Love Sick

Encore:
Blowin in the Wind
Ballad of a Thin Man

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Super Storm Sandy Revisited

Flood, here comes the flood, we’ll say goodbye to flesh and blood.” (Peter Gabriel)

As the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey were ravaging Houston, a colleague asked if I was “having flashbacks of Sandy.” Of course, Super Storm Sandy was five years ago, a night that will live in infamy – 10/29/2012.

And one of the things I’ve learned from “being on the bus” (for those in the know) is that flashbacks are an Urban Legend. But that’s another story.

Memories are Made of This
Surely, memories of that fateful night linger – trees twisting and bending in the wind, transformers popping like Roman Candles, embers from a house fire nearby roiling in the night sky, cascading onto our house, as the floodwaters roared in, capped off with the Substation at the Power Plant exploding, filling the sky with an arc like the Aurora Borealis.

At one point, it looked like the end for yours truly. Oh, babe it ain’t no lie. Anyway, there’s no need for flashbacks. Five years on, the scars in my hometown linger, as well as elsewhere along the South Shore.

At the homestead we finally completed all the repairs on the dwelling, and the claims process, last fall. There was a steady stream of contractors and endless paperwork, phone calls and meetings over the years. Luckily, there was no structural damage to the house, but the damage and the costs were extensive nonetheless. We recouped most, but not all of those losses.

As for personal property losses, we got nada. And the financial fallout from that mess lingers to this day. People can talk all they want about planning for the future, but surviving a natural disaster is a life altering experience. The key word there is surviving, however, because that’s what we have done.

Looking back, it still amazes me we were able to pull it together: living in a damaged home with no heat, electricity, hot water, for several weeks, relying on a patch to a neighbor’s generator for four hours of power a night to power space heaters and a few lamps, standing on lines at food pantries like a begging Buddhist, scavenging for clothes and supplies with all the other wretched refuse.

There’s been a lot of squawking in the media about the government’s response to the Puerto Rico disaster from Hurricane Maria, the slowness and haphazard nature of it all. And I am certainly not going to get into the politics of all that.

In the wake of Sandy, however, FEMA was also slow afoot, as was the Red Cross. Granted, they eventually showed up, but it took forever for them to get their sea legs, so to speak. And their help was limited at best. In the days and weeks after the flood, we were on our own, period.

The only people who showed up, in fact, were volunteer firemen/women from across the state, the Nassau County Police, and the National Guard, with armed MP’s enforcing a curfew. It was like being in a combat zone, the extensive damage across the town was mind boggling.

The most remarkable thing about the whole saga was the superhuman strength I had during the clean up….pushing and pulling all the wreckage out of the house, helping a merchant force his way back into his storefront when the door was blocked by mounds of debris, pushing abandoned cars out of the way with neighbors, on my feet from dawn to dusk, walking everywhere since our cars were trashed.

In those first few days, survival skills I was previously unaware of roared to the surface. It was almost like being in a movie, without a script, a co-starlet, or any Hollywood degenerates, of course. In some weird way, I felt more alive than I had in ages. It was in fact, surreal.

Fast Forward

Today, dozens of homes in our town have been lifted, razed and rebuilt. And the work goes on. It’s really altered the landscape. Once, we had a bit of a view of the bay from the back of our house, but no more. Lifted houses on 10 foot foundations line the road behind us, casting new and different shadows.

My old news paper routes across town are unrecognizable because of all the raised houses, with some having roofs up to 30 feet high….the limit was once 20 feet or so.

We’re still waiting on repairs to the drainage system that was built in 1970 that runs underground, the repaving of roads and replacing sidewalks, and bulkheads along the canals. There’s millions of dollars of FEMA money still floating around somewhere out there.

The old Village Hall was condemned, demolished and never rebuilt. They floated a plan to do that a few years ago but the bond was insufficient. So the town offices just moved into an abandoned bank building, another ancient structure.

Also, hundreds of Sycamore trees were cut down all over town. Driving down the main road, it’s bare as a bone, lined with telephone and utility poles, and ugly as sin. Meanwhile, many long time residents have left, replaced by new faces. The town’s median income has definitely, dramatically declined. It’s the shape of things to come, or so it seems.

Elsewhere on the shoreline, this story is being played out in town after town, as thousands of homes have been lifted or rebuilt, and folks have suffered serious financial losses. Some will probably be forced to sell, as flood insurance premiums and mortgage refinances skyrocket.

So, yes, there’s no need for flashbacks. But there’s a lot of empathy for all those who are struggling in Houston…..as for Puerto Rico, that’s a disaster beyond comprehension, and likely our capacity to fix it in the near term.

If nothing else, surviving Super Storm Sandy has been a lesson in how fragile we are. Que fragilidade, as they say in Portuguese. You can keep all that "Island Strong" bullshit.

Talk about equality. Suffering is the great equalizer, and all these idiots on all sides of the political spectrum today should wake the fuck up.

Anyway, what happens next is anyone’s guess. I still hope to make it out of here someday, in the fullness of time, at least before the next big flood. And it will come.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

All the News That's Unfit to Print

Welcome back friends. This blog post marks the 8th year of Colonaville, which was preceded by two years of my earlier blog.

Given that my cadre of readers is still quite small, and I’ve yet to figure out how to optimize search rankings, it’s hard to figure why I press on. But it justifies my work-a-day life as a legal marketing writer. So the show must go on…and away we go!

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Yes indeed, it’s been another wacky news week – wild fires in wine country, the spontaneous combustion of a Hollywood mogul-cum-sex fiend (no pun intended), the rebirth of the National Pastime, and political machinations galore. Let’s rewind it back, shall we?

Apocalypse Later
As wildfires ravage Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Rosa, it looks like another natural disaster, but it may not be so natural after all. Fires out west are often touched off by lightning strikes, but officials in California reported there were none involved in this situation.

So, perhaps the Santa Ana winds took down power lines, touching off the first blaze, or maybe someone left a camp fire unattended. But outdoor fires are prohibited during “Red Flag” warnings – so that would be criminal negligence, or it was arson – a felony.

In any event, some alarmists are crying it’s the end times as this sorry episode comes on the heels of 3 major Atlantic storms…but I’m not waiting on the Apocalypse. It certainly is an epic tragedy, thousands of homes, businesses and a number of smaller wineries gone, and the death toll rising. The region will need years to come back, if ever. But all those people living in the woods add a lot of fuel to fires that have always occurred out west, making the magnitude all the more catastrophic.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing about the end of the world as we know it for as long as I can remember, but the Gospels say only God knows. We could use some of that turning water into wine magic right about now, or maybe it’s the other way around?

Hooray for the Hollywood
Rumor has it that they’re going to change the name of the Oscar Ceremonies to the Harveys! You’ve got to wonder what those awards will look like, no? Yikes!

Now, all the fake outrage and virtue signaling from celebrities and the media is too rich. The casting couch has been in play since Shakespeare, if not the Ancient Greeks, most likely. And the hypocrites in the DNC have been running for cover since Weinstein was exposed….pun intended.

This creep has been having at it for decades, all the while being a “bundler” raising millions for Democratic candidates, including former President Bill Clinton, HRC in 2008 and 2016, and former President Obama too.

How did this perv make it to the White House 18 times during Obama’s presidency? Of course, Barack and Michelle can claim plausible deniability, the usual fallback position for attorneys and politicians. But at a fundraiser a few years back, the former FLOTUS said:

“This is possible because of Harvey. He is a wonderful human being, a good friend, and just a powerhouse.”

One would think that someone would’ve given Mr. and Mrs. O a heads up before sending their daughter off to intern with Weinstein’s company, no? Of course, the apologists are trying to deflect this scandal by rehashing el Presidente Naranja’s infamous p-grabber video, and the allegations against him.

But do we really need actors, the enabler in chief – HRC, and all the rest preaching to us from soap boxes about women’s rights and social justice when they kept silent all these years? Seriously, so much of cinema glorifies sex and violence it’s almost pornographic, albeit soft porn. It’s been said that there’s no people like show people, but I’ve got no use for false idols such as these.

Play Ball!
Thankfully for sports fans, the baseball playoffs are rolling along and the League Championship Series are under way. Somehow, the NY Yankees turned it around against the Cleveland Indians (that logo has to go!), and salvaged Manager Joe Girardi’s job in the process. They’ve got an uphill battle against the Astros though. Let’s see what happens.

Meanwhile the Cubs are fighting their way back to the Fall Classic against the Dodgers. I’ve got no predictions, but the level of play has gone up significantly, as it always does during the Second Season. Yankee Stadium was raucous last weekend. It has not been that loud since they played in the old ball park. If nothing else, baseball is a pleasant distraction from the world situation, which is drastic as usual, especially if your dance partner is nowhere to be found.

As for the NFL, or No Fans League, you can keep them, with or without the protests. Why POTUS decided to wade into this controversy is unclear, however, this is right out of his manipulate the media playbook. And the suckers fall for it every time, with every passing tweet.

His Modus Operandi is to embrace turmoil and cause controversy, obviously. Of course, this does not make for good governing. Why the pundits and politicos have yet to figure out his game, and it is a game, is curious at best. Anyway, I've said all I have to about the NFL strike previously. For now, it remains to be seen what will come of the kneeling game, but it's nothing like the Hollywood version.

Can I Get an Encore?
To borrow a line from the late Walter Cronkite, and that’s the way it was. And so goes another edition of Colonaville. Thanks for sticking with me all these years. Hopefully, I've lived up to the mission of this blog: to inform, to entertain and to inspire.

There’s still a lot of widespread panic out there across the heartland, but I’ve got no time for “nattering nabobs of negativity.” Of course VP Spiro Agnew coined that term all those years ago, and look how he wound up….under the bus.

As for me, “the bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began….” Until next time gentle readers, keep your lamps trimmed and burning….or not.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Random Observations on the Passing Scene

Just a short time ago the Nation was basking in the shadow of the total eclipse of the Sun, and since then the gates of Hades blew open: three natural disasters and hellfire rained down on Sin City. It’s times like these that test a person’s faith, but through it all, the only way out of the darkness is to press on. In that spirit, let’s take a look at some other natural phenomena currently in play.

The Boys of Autumn
In the days of baseball yore when there were only a dozen teams and the season was 156 games, ballplayers were dubbed the Boys of Summer because the playoffs/World Series was wrapped up by early October. Today, the season stretches into early November, culminating in what has come to be called the Fall Classic. Sounds like marketing lingo if ever there was.

Nonetheless, coming home to watch a ballgame at night rather than the new propagandists that dominate all the cable news channels is a breath of fresh air, even if the Yankees are stinking up the joint. For many fans, clueless Joe Girardi wore out his welcome years ago, and it’s time to stick a fork in him, after the team folds like a cheap suit, paving the way for the Cleveland Indians to take it all. Then again, anything can happen. To paraphrase Mick and Keith, I know, it’s only baseball, but I like it.

The Downward Spiral of the NFL
As of this writing, the football season is a quarter-way through. The once heralded NY Giants sit at 0-4, and OBJ was last seen making like a dog, lifting his leg as if to take a leak in the end zone. Surely, that was bordering on the obscene, and perhaps more offensive than taking a knee. My old man would not be impressed, and he surely would not have been happy about the kneeling game either. If nothing else, he was a patriot.

Speaking of which, one has to wonder if these JOs will continue this nonsense in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. Being tone deaf, brain damaged and all, probably so. But it is serving no purpose, and marring the game. Since when did watching a football game become so divisive? Shouldn’t we be focusing on the “Xs and Os” rather than a bunch of silly boyz locking arms looking for a “Kumbuya” moment.

I’ve yet to watch a game this season, not because of a boycott, but I’ve got other things to do….like hit this blog, for good or ill. What will become of these protests remains to be seen, but they are accelerating the downward spiral of the NFL or so it seems.

The Half Life of Rock Stars
At the risk of sounding crass, Tom Petty surely picked the wrong day to die as the Nation was shell shocked once again by another tragedy. It was a bummer just the same, even though I was not a huge fan of the Heartbreakers. I saw them 2x with Bob Dylan decades ago, and once on their own shortly thereafter. They made some good records. Of course, arguments of taste are no arguments at all.

But Petty was only 66, surely too young and Walter Becker passing before him was 67(?), much like Gregg Allman (69). So how are Jagger/Richards and Dylan and other Rock Stars still going strong well into their 70s? Sounds like a crossroads incident, perhaps?

Anyway, the classic rock era is long behind us, and much of that stuff belongs in a vault, agreed? Having lost all my vintage LPs in the flood, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the pop and hiss of an album, or had the chance to read great liner notes, or use a cover for deseeding purposes! Gone are the days, indeed.

The Fools on Capitol Hill
Meanwhile Agent Orange and the Merry Pranksters of the GOP have yet to achieve a significant legislative accomplishment. Let’s face it: repealing the Affordable Care Act was a nonstarter, and they should’ve known better.

But then again they did: the Republican leadership never crafted a plan over the 8 years they were squawking “repeal and replace.” That’s up there with some of the all time great lies, like the dog ate my homework, or “if you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare.”

Now, our fearless leaders have been making rumblings about “tax reform,” but that too is a long shot. There’s also a renewed push for “gun control” as a new word has entered the Lexicon: “bump stock.” Surely most people who are not gun enthusiasts never heard of a bump stock, including the pundits who continue to offer no solutions and only make barking noises.

And so it goes, the debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment rages on, while there are hundreds of millions of guns already in circulation. I’ve got no answers, how about you?

The Shape of Things to Come
Surely, we live in troubling times, but then trouble always comes to pass. I refuse to buy into the “Sturm und Drang” of the left and the media as there are glimmers of hope on the horizon, and we the people continue to overcome calamities.

One thing I realized in the wake of Super Storm Sandy was the indomitable strength of the human spirit, my own included. We still have a long way to go on the road to freedom, but in the meantime, remember this: “You don’t have to live like a refugee.”

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Ghosts of Vietnam

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

In case you missed it, for the past two weeks, PBS has been airing Ken Burns’ latest documentary film, The Vietnam War. Though Burns claimed not to have a political point of view, the narrative clearly has an axe to grind. Of course, who could argue that the war was worth waging?

Then again, war – good God y’all, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

The Cost of Freedom
In the end, the toll of Vietnam was 58,000+ dead US service men and women, 250,000 dead South Vietnam military, 1,000,000 dead Viet Minh and Viet Cong, and 2,000,000 dead Vietnamese men, women and children. Cities, villages, rice patties and jungles destroyed by cluster bombing, daisy cutters, Napalm and Agent Orange.

There were atrocities galore, on both sides: the torture of American POWs, the massacre of untold South Vietnamese by the Communists, the My Lai massacre and other offenses by rogue US squads.

Contrary to the myths of the Hollywood and the left, however, the majority of our armed forces fought with valor and honor.

They were far braver than many of us could ever hope to be. In the end, they were betrayed by the political and military leadership. And those that did not come back in body bags had their wounds salted by anti-war protestors.

The Nation’s prestige around the world was sullied. The damage to the Country’s collective psyche was long lasting and lingers to this day. It’s remarkable how Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and the military brass repeatedly lied to the American public about the reasons for and prospects of the war.

Sold as a battle to stop the spread of communism….the so-called Domino Theory, the US was up against a long standing struggle for Vietnamese independence that became a civil war, aided and abetted by Communist China and the now defunct Soviet Union.

Our leaders ignored the lessons of the French experience in Indo-China, and there was no chance for “victory” long before LBJ put boots on the ground. It could very well be that we picked the wrong side. After years of stalemate, the US pulled out and ultimately abandoned the Vietnamese people…a shameful thing if ever there was.

Then Vietnam suffered immeasurably under communist rule. Central planning destroyed the economy, and the war continued and spread to Cambodia. In their quest for independence, spearheaded by Ho Chi Minh starting in the 1940s, the country destroyed itself. Communism is a dead end. True that.

“If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”
(Sun Tzu)


Forward March
Much like the war itself, Burns’ documentary goes on and on, with no end in sight, and along the way, I thought, “why am I watching this?” Each installment draws you in deeper and deeper, knowing that there is no hope. It reminded me of how I felt in my youth.

After all, I grew up as the quagmire unraveled. I can clearly recall watching the Eyewitness News as they read back daily body counts, seeing pictures in papers of Buddhists self immolating in village squares, watching the fall of Saigon on TV, as military transport helicopters flew off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy, leaving thousands behind desperate to flee the advancing NVA and Viet Cong.

There is no point in re-litigating the Vietnam War. America lost, and there was no “peace with honor.” Ultimately, however, there are no winners in war. There is only suffering, death and destruction.

Left Face
If nothing else, this documentary illuminates how the ghosts of the Vietnam are still with us today. A good portion of the documentary focuses on the anti-war movement, and it serves as a stark reminder of how deeply divided the Nation was….and still is.

America has been at war for 15 years now in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Asia, and North Africa since the 9/11 Attacks. We’ve lost almost 7,000 service men and women, 25,000+ others were seriously wounded, and upwards of 500,000 (?) Iraqis and Afghanis have been killed.

The war in Iraq was a disaster, predicated on a lie about weapons of mass destruction. Dropping bombs on the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan has not eradicated the radical terrorists. Certainly, 9/11 warranted a military response, but perhaps the US would have been better off with covert operations, rather than wasting all this blood and treasure - $2 trillion and counting?

Sold as a global war against terrorism, we’ve gotten mixed up in a centuries old, internecine battle between Shia and Sunni Muslims, who launch terrorist attacks not because of “our way of life” but rather to draw the West in deeper to perpetuate their struggle. Our leaders have seemingly forgotten the lessons of Vietnam, and how perpetual warfare brought down The Roman Empire.

To paraphrase Country Joe McDonald, “what are we fighting for?”

So, where is the left??

Granted, protesting against military intervention today will get you condemned for being unpatriotic, but then like Samuel Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Instead, what we have seen from the left is women marching around The Capital wearing pink pussy hats, BLM taking it to the streets over police shootings, and NFL players taking a knee. As righteous as the call to stop police brutality and racial inequality is, we don’t need lectures from million dollar athletes about justice. Can you dig it?

Surely, Iraq was G.W.’s folly, and the war in Afghanistan has lingered on for 15 years, but where was the left when Obama authorized countless drone strikes that killed untold numbers of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan? And he won a Nobel Peace Prize? Now, clueless Agent Orange has upped the ante by sending in more troops, with no clearly divined mission on winning, really?

I can’t speak for anyone else. But it’s time to stop the bombing, and stop the wars, even if that means my being put on an NSA watch list. Besides, they’ve probably read this blog before, as well as all of our emails, FB posts and texts…and that is the cost of freedom.

Meanwhile, back on the home-front, remember this: united we stand, divided we fall.

“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” (Sun Tzu)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The NFL Strike

Though the "NFL" sounds like the name of a leftist political organization, it is of course the acronym for the National Football League.

Like many, I am but an arm-chair quarterback, and these days, a mere half-hearted NY Giants fan….having been raised on the lore of the Big Blue by my dearly departed father, and being there for the ascendancy of the team, and the game in general, during 1980s. And the times they are a changing, or so it’s been said.

The Downward Spiral
Perhaps it’s me, but it seems as if the quality of the game has declined dramatically. The offensive strategy has shifted from smash mouth, grind it out, establish the running game...to a passing dominated style that seems to have been co-opted from the Arena Football League, another radical group.

It’s hard not to notice how little action there is….with endless timeouts, penalties, official challenges, all really designed to fill the air time with mindless blathering by football talking heads and endless commercials. In fact, there’s probably more time spent on idle chatter and beer advertisements than there is on game action.

Personally, I can think of better ways to spend 3.5+ hours on a Sunday afternoon, or Monday night, or Thursday night (egads!). In fact, I’d rather be balling, instead of watching thugs and ballers…you feelin me?

Take a Knee
In case you’ve not been paying attention, there’s been much ado about players taking a knee before the National Anthem, to support BLM and bring attention to incidents of police brutality and general mistreatment of African American men and women in modern day America. What the hell?

Being an OWM (old white man), I’ve got no idea how it feels to be a black man, to encounter bigotry and racism, or to be profiled by the PO-lice. But I do know what it’s like to get roughed up by the cops….although that’s a story for another day.

Far be it from me to say how players should conduct themselves, and there’s no need to take a position on whether Colin Kaepernick should be playing, or not. The unemployed quarterback opted out of the last year of his contract, however, before spending the last 1.5 seasons on the bench, after he failed to adapt to the new offensive system implemented by the 49ers brain trust.

All New Anthem
He started this not standing for the National Anthem protest last season, egged on by his girlfriend or so it seems, and dared to show up to practice with socks that depicted the police as pigs. Free speech or not, that was not a well thought out move, as he earned the enmity of legions of football fans, many of whom are cops, fireman and veterans, among others.

This season, a host of players have carried on the NFL strike, as TV ratings have dropped like a stone. Meanwhile, the NAACP called for a boycott to protest the “unfair treatment” of Kaepernick, whose career hangs in the balance as he has yet to be signed, and as it looks, probably never will be.

Whether that’s due to a drop off in his playing ability, or because he’s being blackballed is hard to say. Arguments can be made to support both sides. You decide. To borrow a line from Jay-Z, however, “you made your bed, now sleep.”

Know Your Rights
One has to wonder whether this is the right way to go about things. Certainly people have a right to protest as the Country continues to grapple with the lingering vestiges of racism. True that.

Since players are employees of the NFL, owners can also implement a “no taking the knee policy.” In fact, there is no right to free speech in the work place, a right that is generally guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The operative word there is Congress. An employer has the right to limit political discussions in the workplace….and as many know, businesses also have a right to make you piss in a cup to drug test you….which on any given Sunday is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which says in part:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….”

I’m not sure if the courts have ruled on whether or not urine is considered “effects,” but I digress.

The point is this: whether players have a right to protest in publicly funded stadiums while employed by private organizations is arguable. Perhaps the Supreme Court will weigh in on this in the fullness of time. In meantime, it seems as if the kneeling game (and it is a game) is only fueling the divisiveness that has crept into our culture, and hurting the struggle.

My Old School
If I were still an angry young man, maybe I'd be more simpatico with the protesters, both inside and outside the game of football. But as the late folksinger Phil Ochs sang all those years ago, “I’m not marching anymore.”

Indeed, I had my days of demonstrating, whether at Pro-Choice rallies on the National Mall (a shout out to my ole pal Karen), or NYPIRG protests of tuition hikes and others. Actually, I got bit by the protest bug when I entered high school.

It was a year after the fall of Saigon and two years removed from Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate fiasco. In the mornings, during homeroom, they’d we recite the Pledge of Allegiance over the PA system, and we were supposed to stand and recite along.

Anyway, fueled by a combination of my adolescent disillusion, listening to too much Bob Dylan, and digesting editorials in the NY papers, I took it upon myself to sit down during the pledge, a misguided silent protest.

After a week of this, the teacher, Mr. MaCantee, pulled me aside, and asked, “how come you’re not standing during the pledge?”

I told him that I didn’t believe in it, and that “I have a right not to stand. And the Supreme Court said you can’t make me.” At the time, I had read somewhere about a high court decision to that effect.

So he said, “Well, you’re right. But nobody likes a smart ass.”

He went on to tell me that he served in the Army during the Korean War, and said that “when you don’t stand it hurts me, and it’s disrespectful to all those boys who died in Vietnam.”

His eyes welled up with tears, and he was no snowflake. In fact, he was also our gym teacher, and one tough mother. I didn’t know what to say. In fact, I felt like an idiot...talk about a teachable moment.

From that day on, I always stood for the pledge, and the National Anthem...And a Monday morning quarterback, never lost a game.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Monuments of Obscenity

Having sat on the sidelines for much of the summer as the American shit-show rages, thought it was time to chime in with my futile thoughts. To say the least, it’s been puzzling from my vantage point to watch the issue du jour visa vis the Confederate monuments scattered across the southland.

There’s some debate as to what these monuments represent. They were funded largely by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (founded in 1894), through charitable donations, to honor the dead, mark locations of the battles, and preserve southern culture, for good or ill. The other school of thought is that the monuments were intended to intimidate black people.

In any event, the push to take these monuments down has been gaining traction since the Mother Emmanuel Church massacre in 2015 which prompted then Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley to remove the Confederate Flag from the state capitol. And now he we are with people taking it to the streets looking for a fight over statues, seriously?

Nonetheless, if I were to opine either way the collective goon squads would surely show up on my front door step. Far from me to say what should become of these relics, perhaps it’s best for people in those communities to decide?

Meanwhile, back here in New York, Big Bird Bill DeBlasio, the great self aggrandizer, intends to appoint a commission to decide the fate of monuments in NY City….like the one of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle. Once viewed as the man who discovered the Americas, he is now viewed by historical revisionists as a murderer. And they teach this stuff in schools, alas.

Of course, the Columbus Club in New York, rumored to be comprised of “good fellas,” might have something to say about this. So where does it end? Perhaps we should we also remove all the monuments of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

After all, he ignored the holocaust for years, turned back a ship with 900 Jewish émigrés trying to flee Nazi Germany in 1939, and interred 120,000 or so Japanese-Americans, 10,000 Italian-Americans, and confiscated all their property as the U.S.entered WWII. FDR also appointed Hugo Black to the U.S Supreme Court, a Democrat Senator from Sweet Home Alabama and one time member of the Ku Klux Klan. Nice One!

If we want to continue in that vein, what about the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument? After all, both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were slave owners. Are the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall offensive to Vietnamese-Americans and the WWII Veterans Memorial a slight to those of Japanese or German descent?

So, why are we re-litigating the Civil War 152 years later? Perhaps people should re-study history and delve into the economic causes of the war? Shelby Foote’s 3 volume history of the war might be a good place to start, if you have time to digest about 1,000 pages.

Speaking of monuments of obscenity, closer to home, the local leader geniuses decided unilaterally to erect a 9/11 memorial at the triangle across the American Legion monument. It’s a twisted piece of rusted metal recovered from the World Trade Center wreckage perched atop a base of cement. First, it’s an eyesore…it looks like something pulled from the local junkyard. Second, no one from this town perished in the attacks.

Some people have quietly complained about it, to no avail. Meanwhile, the needed Sandy repairs to the drainage system, fortify the canals, repave roads, repair sidewalks and rebuild the Village Hall are still sitting in limbo 5 years later and $24 million in FEMA money is floating around in the wake of the flood. Can you priorities?

Surely, if I were to march down the road protesting this memorial I’d get the crap kicked out of me. Besides, what did we learn from the attacks? Not much. Remember, perpetual warfare brought down the Roman Empire. But let me not digress.

In short, all the assorted politicos, pundits and propagandists are grandstanding and driving these wedge issues, spoon feeding the masses divisiveness and whipping up hysteria. Of course Agent Orange is not helping with his antics, but he’s a short timer and we’ve got far more pressing needs to handle, no?

Let’s face it: American history is not pretty. It’s a mixed bag of the march of liberty, economic progress, and innovation, along with poverty, bigotry, murder and mayhem. Like the Spanish existentialist Jorge Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We should remember all of our history, the good, the bad and the ugly. Certainly, some folks are offended by all these monuments, but there’s nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights about the right not to be offended.

We live in troubling times, no doubt. But the nation has seen and overcome much worse, such as the War of 1812, the Civil War, WWI, the flu epidemic, the Great Depression, WWII, Jim Crow, The Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, endless years of warfare, and the 2008 financial collapse – from which we’ve yet to fully recover.

Perhaps it helps to maintain some perspective and take a long view?

Of course, my perspective is shaped by living in a small, working class town that is very diverse: the majority is still white, but there’s a healthy mix of brown, black and Asian people. No one here is taking it to the streets, we’re not at each other’s throats…we may not love each other, but we get up and go to work each day and peacefully coexist.

And the same can probably be said for the other 325 million Americans across the country. Perhaps I am naïve, but it seems most of us are just trying to get by in life, no?

Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of haters across the heartland of all different stripes. Now, a spotlight is shining on the homegrown extremists among us. They’ve always been there, however, lurking in the shadows and probably always will be.

But the motto of the news media, “if it bleeds it leads,” is driving the 24/7 news cycle and churning the frenzy into a lather. Don’t let them fool you.

Like Abraham Lincoln said when he paraphrased the bible, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Amen.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Rise and Fall of Agent Orange

Over 50 years ago, Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan wrote that “even the President of the United States sometimes must stand naked.”

At the time he was referring to LBJ who was dragging the U.S. into the early stages of Vietnam, a quagmire that would leave lots of dead Americans (58,000+), far more Vietnamese (2 million?), and a long lasting stain on the Nation’s soul.

Seems like ancient history.

Now, decades later the Sturm und Drang rolls on as Agent Orange hovers in the Oval Office naked as an Oriole. So what did we learn from this week’s dog and pony show before the Senate Intelligence Committee?

The President is a liar who suffers from hoof in mouth disease and the fallen FBI director was a chicken?

Cluck, cluck, cluck.

Far be it from me to opine as to whether the President obstructed justice, as many in the press have declared. Meanwhile, some legal scholars beg to differ.

It seems to me, however, that the last honest president we had was Numero Uno, General George Washington, after the Cherry Tree Incident – another tall tale of American folklore.

As for the former FBI chief, how the hell did this guy make it to the top of the Nation’s leading law enforcement agency?

He bungled HRC’s illegal server “matter,” mishandled the probe into the ballyhooed collusion caper, leaked government documents to the media, and then cried “woe is me.”

My family has long time friends who are former FBI agents and they are most likely not very impressed. Of course, they’re not talking – which is the way it should be, no? Loose lips sink ships, and all that jazz.

Nonetheless, this never ending gobstopper of an investigation is bound to go on and on, with Congress and the Special Counsel ramping things up. It’s far too early for anyone to say what will come of all of this. But the media hordes and the far left will undoubtedly continue clanging the impeachment bell.

Ring a ding, ding, ding, as Sinatra used to sing.

Of course, this will certainly hamper the legislative agenda of the White House and the GOP. But keep your eye on the ball.

Although there have not been any legislative achievements early into the presidency, and there may not be any this year, former President Obama’s legacy is being stripped away, for good or ill, much to the chagrin of nearly half of the electorate.

The Clean Power Plan, restrictions on coal, the Paris Climate Agreement, and so on and so forth are all gone by way of Executive Order, just as they were ushered in.

Last week, the House passed the CHOICE Act that will ultimately gut the ill conceived Dodd-Frank Act, and the mysterious ACA repeal languishes in the Senate, while tax reform is missing in action.

Next up this week, Obama’s Cuba policy is set to be scrapped in a speech by POTUS in Miami on Friday. Lastly, Neil Gorsuch is on the High Court, and the curious case of the travel ban looms.

The question remains as to what effect this will have on the three upcoming run-off elections and the 2018 midterms.

Since I’m no longer in the prognostication business, having publicly, and wrongly, called the election for HRC last fall, it’s not clear to me what’s to come. If we believe the press, the GOP is headed for a shellacking next year.

But who knows what tomorrow will bring?

The media writ large predicted a big win for HRC in 2016. And one has to wonder about the accuracy of their reportage in the collusion caper as well. What we do know is that media conglomerates were largely responsible for the rise of 45, and they are all in on bringing him down.

While it does not look promising for DJT, as a friend recently suggested over dinner in NY City, “don’t count him out – you watch, he’s gonna come out on top.”

Anyway, regardless of your political stripe, it’s pretty sad that all of these people are pulling the purse strings of power, Democrats and Republicans alike, while the rest of us pick sides in this senseless battle.

There ain’t a winner in this game, and we can do better than this, no?

In the meantime, despite the widespread panic and mass hysteria, the sky is not falling. Last time I checked, most of us were still getting up each day, trying to make a living, and taking care of business.

Same as it ever was.

Perhaps everyone should calm down a bit, stop watching the 24/7 news cycle of woefully inaccurate reportage, speculation, hearsay and gossip, and let things unfold. Besides, “summer’s here and the time is right, for dancing in the streets.”

On that note, it’s been 50 years since the Summer of Love. How about a redo?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Purgatorial Dreams

Asleep beneath a bed
of stars stranded
between destiny
and fate or maybe
a purgatorial state
oh, the ties that bind
on the ladder of faith
over islands of doubt
across narrow straits
all these words
pale reflections
in pools of mirrors
under the sun
finding reasons
to be grateful
looking for the one
seeking forgiveness
the essence of grace
give thanks and praises
the whole human race

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bloos for John Coltrane

The sound of music

that horn blows

rejoicing

to mine ears

after all these years

no tears no fears

no surrender

so much younger then

still the same old blues

searching for the sound

seeking a love supreme

by the grace of God

to whom all praise is due

for leading us

to a richer life

om mani padhme om

is where it’s at

minds blown in the

real gone world

where the jewel

is in the lotus

as Buddha retreats

oh, mercy mercy me

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Capital Beltway Follies

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” (Hunter S. Thompson)

The situation inside the Capital Beltway has gone from weird to off the hook. In another time, writing political satire was all good clean fun. Now, not so much…after all anything you say can go viral and end up in the hands of the NSA.

Just ask the President…who has returned to twitter to air more conspiracy theories born on conservative talk radio.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, let’s rewind it back.

The last time I wrote about the goings on was before Gen. Flynn got smoked. It seemed like things had settled down since that fiasco and the Administration was finding its footing leading into the President’s address to Congress.

Some called it “the best speech of his political career.” Hell, even Van Jones said words to the effect that tonight “Trump became the President” in relation to that well crafted, theatrical ovation for the fallen Navy Seal’s wife. I thought the speech was pedestrian, even if it was delivered cleanly and temporarily calmed the hysteria.

Then, less than 24 hours later, the NY Times and WaPo mysteriously ran stories about Jeff Sessions’ meetings with the Russian ambassador. Alone, these talks were S.O.P….in fact the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak cultivated an extensive network of democrats and republicans, and even made it to the White House 22 times during Obama’s tenure.

But given the controversy over alleged connections of Trump’s associates to shadowy figures in Russia, and AG’s lawyeresque double talk at his confirmation hearing, it’s like the ghost of Dr. Strangelove (look it up).

This is exhausting...and not much fun to write about.

In any case, something is happening here and we don’t know what it is or do we?

What we do know is that media widely reported that the government ried on two occasions to get FISA warrants to probe Trump’s associates. The first was too broad…but the second was granted….to investigate Trump surrogates who had business connections in Russia.

To proceed with wiretaps and such, the government needed probable cause. But these matters are supposed to be highly classified and the way this has gone down does not pass the smell test. And I am not an advocate of the president.

At first blush, the leaks about Sessions right after the address to Congress seemed coordinated and part of a pattern of career government officials….holdovers from the Obama, Bush and even Clinton Administrations, leaking classified intelligence to the press.

Say what you will about Trump, but this is not good….it’s causing uncertainty if not chaos, and stalling the government from functioning as it should.

Of course, it’s on the president. He ran a nasty campaign, viciously took down his opponents, and made enemies on both sides of the aisle, and throughout the so called “deep state.”

At this juncture, we don’t know what the real situation is visa vis the Dancing Russian Bear, but the way this has played out smells like political retribution. After all, it’s been said that politics is a blood sport and there is blood in the water.

Whether they succeed in taking Trump down remains to be seen; but this shit show is not good for anyone, especially we the people. Hold the popcorn, please.

Meanwhile, up on Capitol Hill, the GOP is playing steal the bacon with the health care reform, ACA repeal two-step. All these years have passed, and legislation was not ready on day one? Nonetheless, lawmakers are well advised to proceed with caution.

To borrow a line from Hippocrates, “first, do no harm.”

Then there’s the media in all its forms, the so called Fourth Estate, whipping all these stories into a lather, and talking heads tripping out on every cable channel, speculating about things they know nothing about. Certainly it’s not fake news, but rather “advocacy journalism.”

It’s not fair and balanced coverage, but reportage mixed with opinion and speculation fueled by anonymous if not nefarious leaks as the players in the Oval Office hunker down behind a wall of obfuscation.

With all this noise, it’s no wonder there is anxiety spreading across the heartland, from every mountain side, from sea to shining sea. Trump has apparently not lost the faith of his supporters. In fact, they are digging in their heels. Meanwhile opponents of “Agent Orange” are rooting for his downfall.

As for me, I have no skin in the game, one way or another. My political agnosticism grows deeper every day as I continue to struggle to pull my life back together in the wake of a series of unfortunate events, not the least of which are the remains of Sandy, a gift that keeps on giving.

Back in the day, I had a grand old time riffing on Obama and his follies, and despite his popularity, there were many, especially on the foreign policy front. Of course, I managed to piss off a lot of my readers, but it was all good natured. Now, everyone is freaking out and I just want to listen to John Coltrane….dig it!

Let’s hope the dust settles soon so we can get back to having a few laughs, and it starts with the person in the mirror…..WTH?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Twilight Falls

Going down the road

as silence

fills the skies

polka dots and moonbeams

rise in azure fields

shadows linger

on new horizons

of smoking clouds

the day recedes

in the fog of mind

almost yesterday

in between tomorrow

suspended animation

or a purgatorial state

thinking of these things

as twilight falls