Wordless-ish (Dale-less) Wednesday

Dale is doing the party cruise thing this week, so you’re stuck with me. Apologies in advance as I have no blessed idea how to keep my trap shut even when I’m supposed to. This pic is from downtown Lancaster, a creation of the kids from the Pennsylvania College of Arts and Design. I played around with the image to give it more of a Warhol vibe.

And umm . . no worries. Our photography expert will be back in the office next week.

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Trump: The Interview

 

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I had the choice between watching the final season of The Man in the High Castle or interviewing Donald Trump. And I blew it. But hey, I figured it would be my best chance to get into the White House since it’s painfully apparent they let anybody in these days.

Of course, I should’ve known this was a big mistake when I endured a three hour phone call in which his publicist recited a list of topics that were off limits. I was promised a second interview if I played by the rules, and now I have to decide whether I want to opt in or have a vasectomy. Decisions, decisions!

We will convene in the newly opened Hooters located in the West Wing and I am told not to stray from the restaurant on account of the movie that is being filmed in the Rose Garden. Yep . . it’s a porn.

Trump enters the restaurant and we shake hands. His hands are smaller than Miss Havisham’s dreams in the novel Great Expectations. I decide not to mention this fact since I want to get inside Trump’s head and have a look around. I imagine it has more square footage than my last house. He orders an iced tea and then one of everything off the menu and then tells me he’s got ten minutes . . or however long it takes for his wings to be served.

What are your thoughts on the democratic field? 

Trump- I have no thoughts.

I recognize that. Okay, let me rephrase the question. What is your opinion of the democratic field? 

Trump- They’re all career politicians, socialists, communists, murderers and child rapists.

Those are pretty strong accusations you’re making. Do you care to elaborate on the murderers and child rapists you’re referring to? 

Trump- I never elaborate, it’s a time waster. I say it one time . . and then I say it a hundred more times. And then I retweet it all day.

You do realize that you can’t go around calling people murderers and child rapists in the real world unless you have . . . 

Trump- What’s that? The real world . . what is that?

The real world is the place where you don’t live. 

Trump- What is it like? . . . this place?

Well, up until three years ago it was great. We had no idea how good we had it because we were too busy blaming Obama for everything. 

Trump- I hate that guy.

Who do you like? 

Trump- You’re looking at him.

Let’s go back to your statement about murderers and child rapists. Who are you referring to and what evidence do you have to support these serious allegations? 

Trump- I don’t worry about evidence unless it helps me. When I say they’re murderers and child rapists, I mean they’re just as evil as those people. They don’t have to commit those horrible acts for me to call them those things . . .

Well, actually . . a person WOULD have to commit those atrocious acts . . and then be found guilty in a court of law, before you could refer to them in this way. 

Trump- Says you.

Wow, that’s very mature. 

Trump- Thank you.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Geraldo Rivera will be your Vice President should you win a second term?

Trump- I trust Pence with my life. But if he ever screwed me over, I would bury him as many times as you could bury a person. Then yes . . Geraldo would be a great choice. Not that I need to win over the Hispanics because you know, they love me already.

Let’s talk about the border wall.

Trump- You can ask me anything.

As part of your 2016 Campaign-alooza, you pledged that the wall would be completed in three and a half years at a cost of twenty one million dollars and that Mexico would pay for it. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, the Pentagon is slashing programs and siphoning those monies to use for border wall construction. Also . . your administration recently announced it had built 100 miles of wall but failed to mention that most of that construction simply replaced barriers that already existed. How do you explain this?

Trump- I said you could ask me anything. I didn’t say you could tell me anything.

Can we talk about Russia?

Trump- Nothing to talk about. I’m great friends with Russia, and Putin respects the hell out of me because I have the biggest hands he’s ever seen.

Big hands are important to you, aren’t they?

Trump- Very important.

Can you repeat that for me? Please? 

Trump- I love big hands, and I cannot lie.

So you’re saying size matters to you.

Trump- Yes!

And you like them big? 

Trump- Huge!

Okay, now that I’ve milked that for all it’s worth . . . who is your favorite modern day president, other than yourself. 

Trump- Michael Scott.

Michael Scott . . . was the fictional Scranton branch manager for Dunder Mifflin. He was never president. 

Trump- False! He was president for nine seasons on NBC. I met him a couple times when I was doing the Apprentice!

Okay, he was only the manager for seven seasons . . and he was president for zero seasons. In fact, he never even played the president in a movie or TV show. But I can see how you may have emulated his managing style. 

Trump- That guy understood the job, he knew how hard it was.

That’s what she said. 

Trump- What?

Sorry, that was an Abe Lincoln joke. 

Trump- Great president, but I’m better, and I gotta be honest. I prefer presidents who didn’t get shot.

Too soon. 

As I begin to contemplate ending my life by plunging a spork into my jugular, his Doritos encrusted wings make the scene and save my life.

Trump- Didn’t you order anything?

Yes, a cab ride. 

 

 

 

Searching Paul Simon’s cutting room floor

Dogs are one of the few creatures on this earth capable of unconditional love. The rest of us are negotiating the terms daily . . . 

There are two types of romantic advice seekers: The ones who want you to talk them into something, and my friend Barry. I’ll call him Barry since that’s his name. I’ve probably mentioned the guy in a post at some point, seeing as how he sifts my brain for intel on the opposite sex. Which is akin to asking the captain of the Titanic for directions to New York City. But it’s not a paragon of valuable information Barry is looking for. He just wants someone to talk him out of his current situation. .

I refuse to be complicit in this crime of passionless. All I do is ask questions, make observations which have no basis in fact since I don’t know the woman, and supply witty banter, pro bono no less. So if you ask me, he is getting exactly what he paid for.

A top five most popular topics of conversation Barry has introduced regarding his rodeo partner? Sure why not . . . .

The Past- So it seems that Cersei Lannister (Not her real name, of course. Because I’m not crazy enough to use her real name. Barry’s one thing. He’s just a retired cop with an extensive gun collection) . . . anyway, sorry for the bloated parenthetical explanation. As I was saying, Cersei Lannister has a problem with Barry’s ex wife. To which I completely understand. I mean, if she didn’t have a problem with his ex wife, I wouldn’t trust her. That said, Cersei also has a problem with Barry’s daughter, whom he takes to dinner once a week. It’s their time and Cersei ain’t crazy about being left out.

In a word? I have a problem with this. She’s forty something and has never had kids, which only adds to the problemacy©, (My word, because I needed to amuse myself since their relationship ain’t amusing in the least). So my advice to Barry was to let Cersei know that his daughter is the only female she doesn’t get to negotiate out of his picture.

The Present- Their preferred method of communication is arguing. They argue over everything. What to eat, what movie to see, where to go on the weekend and oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal. Fucking. Cookies. (He’s Team Traditional, She’s Team Raisins). My advice was simple: When a relationship has devolved into oatmeal cookie arguments, you are Mariana Trenching© it. Sadly, the relationship has bypassed homicide as a solution.

The Future- Barry just moved into a new place, which Cersei really digs because it’s closer to her job. Barry has also been shopping homes outside of Jim Thorpe, which Cersei really doesn’t dig at all because it’s a LOT further away. And it would mean they have to argue about oatmeal cookies over the phone rather than face to face.

I told Barry this house hunting venture is lame. For one thing, even people who want to get away from it all realize they have gone too far if they arrive in Jim Thorpe. For another, he is implementing a passive/aggressive strategy in order to extricate himself from a miserable situation. Paul Simon ain’t need 51 ways to leave your lover and he’s way more interesting than Barry, so there’s that.

Imma stop at three because I’ve achieved a Christmas Carol vibe. Instead I’ll supply you with some of the particulars if you happen to be in the same boat as Barry.

1- Never discuss important shit while eating Captain Crunch. It’s impossible to be taken seriously when eating Captain Crunch.
2- If you argue whilst listening to Kenny Loggins Footloose, your relationship is doomed. Because it’s scientifically impossible to do so unless you are not meant to be.
3- Stop using the ‘forever’ template for love things. It’s why people stay in the wrong thing too long. Because they’re measuring it against forever.
4- Being “afraid” to be alone will lead to you being alone. Because as I’ve learned, the loneliest times of my life were spent in a relationship gone wrong.
5- Stop caring what others think about your situation. These are surface oriented concerns that contribute nothing to your relationship.

That last one counted most for me, and I doubt Barry will heed its meaning. He just wants to dance around the issue, and he’s looking for dance partners who will tell him what he wants to hear. But at the very least, he should give his relationship the Footloose test.

I’m convinced he would thank me for it.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

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Another week, another less than satisfying noodle salad of empty calories when it comes to the trend-mill news cycle. In sports, football insists more games will mean less injuries! In politics, Bernie Sanders trashed his Fidel Castro screensaver. And Harvey Weinstein goes on a long (Rikers) Island vacation.

Well then, let’s ditch all that traffic and get to our heroes . . . .

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Selfless Savior- Here’s yet another story in which a kid is more grown up than the adult table. And this little man’s name is Robbie Gay. The eight year old resident of Palm Coast Florida is giving old dogs a new leash (I just had to) on life by adopting as many of them as his adoptive parents will allow (which is six and counting because he just had to).

Robbie spent the first six years of his life in the foster system and he relates to their plight. “He knows what it feels like not to be loved and cared for. He’s the most hopeful, optimistic, and genuinely caring kid who has absolutely no reason to be that way,” says adoptive mom, Maria.

Thanks to this incredibly resilient kid, every dog is getting its day. (Thank you to the lovely Dale for this get).

See the future for the trees- I’d like to think that incarceration has come a long way from the days of locking em up and throwing away the keys. And in some places, it really has. Lawrence Jaramillo and Joshua Melendrez served in a state-run forestry program while inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility. The two learned about fire prevention and fire fighting, and are now putting there knowledge to work. They opened their own forestry company, All Around Forestry, in the fall of 2019 and currently have six employees. They’re encouraging other former inmates to apply in the hopes of providing a bridge to a brand new life. Imagine a world where redemption possesses such a brilliant nobility? These guys are doing just that.

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Where everybody knows your name- Every neighborhood has that place, and for forty years Mac and Bob’s restaurant was it. And then 2018 brought hard times when two waitresses sued the company regarding its shared tips policy, which had become illegal under a federal labor law. While there had been no ill intent by the owners, the cost of the lawsuits was prohibitive and the Salem, Virginia institution announced that it would have to close its doors. Until the locals got wind of the story and decided to step up, in the form of donations, GoFundMe pages and fundraisers. Two years later, business is booming and the regulars are calling it their own personal “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Jimmy Stewart would be proud.

Gimme Shelter- Nine years ago, Dr. Kwane Stewart brought his veterinary supplies to a soup kitchen event in Modesto, California. According to the good doctor, a quarter of the homeless population owns a pet and he felt the need for treatment was evident. Ever since then, he has taken to the streets, making sure the pets he comes across are provided with checkups and vaccinations.

Stewart has treated more than 400 animals and last year he created a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for his great good work. To date, he has raised $29,000 and he was even named the GoFundMe Hero for the month of February. The coolest part of this story is that nobody was calling for this level of outreach until Stewart showed up to provide it.

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This last story takes the cake. Literally speaking.

One minute Holly Grimet was walking into a Kroger to purchase a birthday cake for her daughter and the next? She was taking home a story that will stay with her for the rest of her life. Because when she went to pay for the cake, she was told that it had already been covered. And then she discovered that a note had been left behind:

“My son Nehemiah would be 8 years old today. I wanted to remember my son by doing good to others. I hope you enjoy your child’s cake and I hope your day is special. Hold your baby a little tighter today, watch them as they play, be patient with them, kiss their sweet little hand and tell them how much you love them. Our children are such special gifts! Hope your day is beautiful. Much love from me and my angel in heaven to your family.”

Of course, this left everybody in the bakery as well as Grimet in tears. The idea that someone could lose everything and somehow find it in their heart to make the day special for a complete stranger was humbling. The mother of two was in the right place at the right time, and the advice she was given seems to have been gifted by a real life angel, seeing as how her daughter happened to be celebrating her eighth birthday.

When the universe speaks, you listen.

 

 

 

 

First Draft Horoscopes: Pisces

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The sun is knocking on your door today, bringing you a much needed dose of physical and emotional vitality. Turns out, the sun is very much the flip side of your ex . .  who you will wind up wasting all this positive energy on when they call to wish you a happy birthday.

So for the next month, you have a cosmic ticket that . . if punched correctly, will help you focus on all the crazy brilliant plans and ideas you’ve been hatching when you were supposed to have been working. A relationship that lasts longer than a smoke break? Yeah, that would be a nice change.

Jupiter and Neptune are hooking up on Thursday and this might influence your entire week as a result. This may seem like great news, and on a cosmic level it really is. But literally speaking, the composition of these two planets will burn and suffocate you to death. Oh, and the fiery planet of Mars will be aligning with Uranus . . so lay off the spicy food this week.

Your career outlook actually looks promising right now. Okay, it looks decent . . . ish. Which is more than you deserve after the last three severance packages ended in painfully complicated refunds. And thank God for time served, huh?

But never mind all that because change is on the horizon and it’s up to you to make it new moon perfect. Or you could just turn that phone call from the ex into drinks . . and another go round . . and yet another identity in yet another shit bucket town. The choice is yours.

And that’s not helping matters.

 

In The Future, Everyone Will Have A Past

“Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.”

-Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

I see Truman Capote from time to time. He shops at Whole Foods and his staples are haunting little mysteries that would strip the plush off ryegrass. His epicurean habits are a brilliant formula of brevity meeting up with Caravaggio.On this occasion, his cart holds California Champagne Vinegar, Goat Cheese Mini-Medallions, 7-Up, Cippoline Onions, Castelvetrano olives and Blueberry Pie.

He is always alone, the erstwhile city dweller tending to his daily palette in a high stepping gallivant. But his mood is always somber and his eyes remain hidden as he goes about his business. It’s like he wants the world to turn on its heels and take two steps back from him, because he doesn’t recognize its presence any longer. The whole idea bothers him more than slightly, so his manner is stilted and abrupt. He peddles his cart mockingly, as if a medieval trouvere forced to conceptualize romance for minstrels.

When he stands in the checkout line, he breathes in his gut like Harper Lee used to do every time Truman went deep sea fishing for the hook to a new story. He fidgets like the typical introvert who’s trapped inside an extroverted body as his brain types witty banter for the checkout lady, to be delivered in fifteen items or less.

I watch him part the sliding glass doors with none of the flourish he once possessed so mightily, back inside a time when his walk for the morning paper held court with a million different crime scenes for his recklessly ambitious mind.

Now he departs and it reminds me of the sleep that has inhabited his absence from the world, a gaping tempest of a wound. His form begins its vanishing act, back to the lonely plains of New Orleans and Manhattan, Portofino and Bel Air. And I want to call out to him, because I have so many questions; the kind he used to answer in bold font, once upon a time.

I want to ask about his time in Garden City. And how he ransomed the words to make heartache speak so kindly. I want to know how he found inspiration as his feet dangled off the edge, and I want to know why the world doesn’t speak the same language as the lions who once roamed here.

He’ll fix me with a look before bemoaning the fact that ninety percent of the life we know is too dull to mention. And then he’ll say something like “Make the ten percent you do plumb worth giving a shit about,” And then I’ll fix us up with a couple tumblers of J&B Rare and light his Gold Flake cigarette as he carves the first sentence to a thousand different lanes of thought

This is gonna be good.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Late-ish Edition?)

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Welp, I made the mistake of watching snippets of the democratic debate on YouTube yesterday morning, and all I have to say is Holy Kennedy! What have these people been doing with the last three and a half years given them by the voters? What’s going on is shameful, and if it prolongs this long national nightmare come November? I say we impeach everybody and just start over.

Thankfully, we do have some real heroes out there . . .

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Super Kid- Five year old Noah Woods may not look like your typical superhero and that’s plenty fine with him and his family. Because what the kid out of Bartow County, Georgia did was every bit as heroic as anything the Justice League has going on. Noah woke up to find his bedroom on fire, with the only escape route being through the second story window. Not only didn’t he panic; he managed to get his two year old sister and his dog  to safety. Then he ran next door and woke up his uncle so the rest of the family could be alerted. His actions ended up saving seven family members that night, and for his efforts he will be recognized as an honorary member of the Bartow County Fire Department today and will receive a Lifesaving Award. Fire may have destroyed their home, but Noah made sure it wouldn’t take its most prized possessions.

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Best ‘Decision’ he ever made- Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James, who has been no stranger to my Friday edition gets it. And now the inaugural class from his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio will be getting something as well: Free tuition to Kent State University, made possible through the LeBron James Family Foundation.  ” . . for me to be able to be in a position where I can give these kids options to decide what they want to do with their future, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.” James said.

He’s my MVP . . as in most valuable philanthropist.

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Who’s your Dada?- If you’re looking for the polar opposite of an ambulance chaser, his name is Karimul Haque. He is a rock star in West Bengal for the service he provides to residents of the rural villages in this northern region of India with little or no access to hospitals. Over the last nineteen years, the Bike-Ambulance-dada has delivered more than five thousand people to the hospital, free of charge. He has received the Padma Shri- a civilian medal awarded in the Republic of India, for his contributions. But if you ask me, the guy is so much better when it comes to giving.

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Little things mean the most- When I think about how the past three and a half years were the result of some big picture special effects, created out of wrongheaded smarts and a maddening hubris . . I realize the missing equation is what has capsized our boat: Heart. Enter two year old Cohen Sheely who toddled things back to that foreign concept recently with a simple hug. It happened during a routine pizza delivery when Ryan Catterson dropped off a pizza to the Sheely residence and got a hug from Cohen in return. Turns out, Catterson had recently lost his teenage daughter and this hug meant more than words could say. All those peeps in power behaving like two year olds should look to Cohen for pointers. Just saying . . .

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I often write about how the very best things are happening on the regular inside the quiet. This doesn’t mean to say that the quiet is some vapid, toothless corner of a long forgotten world, because it ain’t. The quiet I refer to has chops the size of Uluru, and it’s been going on for an even longer time than that. And so while the talking heads generate tinder-like swipes of the left and right with their pejorative-laden slings and poisonous arrows, Natalie Reilly is buying herself karma credits . . wholesale.

Four years ago, Natalie and her mother began writing love notes to first responders. It was their small way of saying thank you to the peeps who put it all on the line every single day in order to keep us safe. When she lost her mother to cancer, the notes helped to maintain the connection for Natalie. This mystical hand clasp helped create Nothing But Love Notes– an organization dedicated to writing thank you cards to police officers and firefighters. Twenty thousand cards strong, Natalie is just getting started.

And it’s nice to read a story where good things happen to people who do good things. Natalie’s world has opened into a cosmic bloom she never saw coming; in the form of a community of like minded souls who believe in the healing qualities of giving something rather than asking for it. She found love too, when one of the recipients of her goodwill mission reached out to her and hello turned into a string of tomorrows.

I vote for this.