Bound To The Light We Possess

That title is a play on a Lincoln quote I came across recently, and which became the inspiration for this post. I wanna think Honest Abe might have chuckled when the news came over the wire that the United States government had filed for divorce from the Trump brand. And seeing as how Abe was a master of the timely anecdote, there’s little doubt he was doing his thing deep into the night with all those better angels. Maybe he would have opined on 45 with something to this effect . . .

“That man is no more patriotic than a grizzly in search of his next meal. Both are accorded voracious appetites, whose intent is not to do right by the populace, but rather, to consume them . . .”

After which Abe probably got to throwing down memories of all those grand dreams he once rolled up his sleeves for, dreams of a republic whose might was a matter of consensus rather than division. And to which his tall, lumbering frame gave chase until a bullet stole the extraordinary man away before history was done with him.

All I know is that, over the last four years I’ve mostly gone AWOL when it comes to writing about anything that rhymed with politics. Oh sure, I touched on it here and there, but my literary taste buds weren’t digging the flavor. Trump had effectively laid kryptonite inside my satirical wiring because the truth of the matter was . . how could I possibly parody a parody?

And it wasn’t the only thing I lost my taste for inside that time. You asking for a short list? Really? N’kay . . . .

  • Visiting Washington D.C.. I was never crazy about driving around the place, seeing as how it’s the town of a million road signs. But the museums and eats and all that great, big history of us? Worth it, until . .
  • State of the Union speeches. Thanks to YouTube, I worked backwards since 2017.
  • Visiting New York City. You know what’s worse than rush hour traffic? Trump hour traffic.
  • The color orange
  • Chucky movies
  • Hot air balloons
  • Red hats
  • Talking about most anything political, with anyone.
  • The O’Jays. Well, not all their righteous works of course . . but one song in particular that I do love quite a lot.

So now we get seventy two days worth of Shakespeare by Trump apologists who will be white knuckling their resumes in search of the next unreality show now that their gigs with the soon to be former Boss of all bosses are coming to an end. They’ll condemn the very same extra inning affair many of them were applauding back in December of 2000. They’ll blame poll workers for counting legal votes and they’ll blame COVID and if all else fails, they’ll blame the Chicago Bears offense since that’s where all else goes to fail.

And none of it will matter as much as the seventy five million pink slips, and counting, who said “Thanks but nah” to another four years of recumbent hiking through the wilderness of 1956.

As for the Don, there’s no chance he goes quietly into that dark night, even after inauguration day seals his artful deal for once and for all. Never mind that he’s still never won a political race against someone not named Hilary. And never mind that he got boat raced by a Washington lifer in Joe Biden, whose lifetime achievement award speech is going to have a massive rewrite coming. This outcome is just a bad day at the batting cages for Trump, who has a promotional machine that will allow his bluster to keep doing bad things to our good senses with book deals and cable deals and rallies . . because, ‘Murica. He ain’t going away, he’s just moving to the other side of the wall now.

Lincoln called. He wants his hat back.

Trump: The Interview

 

Image result for donald trump hooters

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. 

 

 

 

Russian To Judgement

What to do when my creative side hops a bus outta town? Why . . ramble on about the current state of shitty affairs, of course. So Imma dish up a top ten list: As in the top ten reasons why Trump won and is still behind the wheel of our fifty state semi even if his drivers license should have been revoked in . . oh let’s just say January of 2017.

1- High fructose corn syrup: It’s a medically proven fact that the rapid fluctuation of blood sugar can detrimentally impact our mental well-being, and in some cases it can worsen existing mood disorders. And really if you had to diagnose the last three years  . . it would have to fall under the category of mood disorder.

2- Bread and circuses: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it fell quickly enough . . thanks to a debilitating indifference shown by its citizenry when it came to matters of the republic. America’s diet is rich in gladiator games- from the NFL to UFC- and now with the end of prohibition as far as gambling goes . . most peeps are more concerned with their lack of flow than with how the country is being run.

3- Our love affair with brands: It wouldn’t seem that the two are related, but hear me out. Trump has always been a brand, and too many people behave as consumerists in every facet of their lives. The culmination of these two merged, and there is no refund.

4- It’s Obama’s fault: Everything was his fault, according to the opposition. So why not this?

5- The NFL: They never wanted Trump in their owners clique, as much as he wanted to own a club. So instead of making a single fan base suffer in perpetuity, more than half the country has to live under a WTF cloud. When you consider the fact that a bunch of rich old white guys who never tire of listening to themselves talk couldn’t stand Trump’s rap . . .  well, that says it all doesn’t it?

6-Florida: In the 2000 presidential election, hanging chads, recounts and polling place intrigue created a narrative which effectively satirized the process. Worst case scenarios thus became the expectation.

7- Pat Sajak: He has convinced countless Americans that buying a vowel makes sense. No! If you have a hunch, you go with consonants until you’re certain. You do not risk your short term well being to a rich guy who has bad hair and repeats the same tired lines over and over again.

8- Voters: I’m not suggesting we let the College of Cardinals select our President. It’s just important to remember that the electorate doesn’t have to be informed in order to step behind the curtains. We assume every voter is Tom Brokaw, when the truth of the matter looks more like this genius and this charming individual.

9- Professional Wrestling: Even if you’re not a fan, the pathos of this spectator sport has seeped into our pop culture driven society. Rude is cool, bad is interesting and evil is box office. So back in 2015, when Trump disparaged Mexican people and later trashed Senator John McCain because “I like people who weren’t captured,”, it did not derail his run for office in the least.

10- Michael J. Fox: Let’s face it, he made the snarky conservative know-it-all likable in his turn as Alex Keaton in the ’80’s sitcom Family Ties. Which aired on NBC . . the same network that would later air The Apprentice. The same network, mind you, that re-broadcast The Manchurian Candidate in 1974.

It’s probably all just a crazy coincidence.

Many Bosses, Precious Few Leaders

It’s something I say all the time when opining on the lack of a Churchill presence in our political world. There is a degenerative effect to such a void, and its chasm is a generational bumper sticker whose ugly residue can’t be chiseled off so easily.

Truth of the matter is, we’ve been finding our leaders on a micro level ever since Camelot was ambushed in Dealey Plaza. From Martin Luther King to Bobby Kennedy, the Beatles to Elvis, Harvey Milk to Hank Aaron to Hawking to Bono. The commonality in these names and all the others who’ve floated our rudderless boat over the past half century is that none of them resided in the Oval Office.

Leadership on a macro level has been usurped by scandal, attrition, Hollywood and every other man made disaster known to Henry Cabot’s log. Leadership from the very top of the Beltway became a trivial pursuit question the moment Nixon became Tricky Dick. And no matter the conservative revolution of Reagan or Boomer Clinton refurbishing a tired standard, or even the cultural significance of Obama. We turned these men into caricatures thirty seconds after their close up.

Is our current state of shit storm a self fulfilling prophecy? Is it the result of us having collectively thrown up our hands after Kennedy was stolen and Nixon was found to be a paranoid crook? Did we forget to cancel our subscription to the Zeitgeist after the failed leadership that turned Vietnam into a verb in perpetuity? Did we never mind the details for too long a time because iconic stimulation was a much more palatable cup of Joe?

Since then, the electorate has behaved like the baseball manager who keeps going to his bullpen until he finds the pitcher who fucks the whole thing up. Trump has been warming up in the bullpen for a long time. And now I have to wonder if this period in our history will make us smarter and more discerning of the process. Or will the idea that Trump could game the system and win polarize us even further?

I hope to hell it’s the former. I hope it has occurred to us that Trump is what happens when we refuse to build consensus. 2016 is what happens when the need to be right prevails over getting it right. We get a President who is a meme master, but who couldn’t lead us out of a wet paper bag.

It’s time to wise up or quit bitching. We can’t have both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fight To Regain Sanity

There’s a scene in the movie Goodfellas when wig shop owner and independent bookmaker Morrie Kesseler gets whacked most unceremoniously by Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci). One minute he’s climbing into a Cadillac with the intent of negotiating his share of a big score over coffee whilst picking up a danish to bring to his wife Claire, and the next minute his brain stem is being severed with an ice pick.

This scene reminds me of what’s happened to this country since the 2016 Presidential election. We are Morrie. We were promised a danish and what we got was an ice pick in the neck.

Regardless of whether you climbed into that Eldorado or not, you sure as shit are wearing cement shoes. I realize this analogy is anathema to those peeps who think watching Fox News makes them a patriot. They are plenty fine excusing the unsightly state of affairs in Washington, believing it to be a matter of renovation.

On the campaign trail, a Trump presidency promised to ‘drain the swamp’ of business as usual politics. Instead, it is simply giving us the business. As usual. But with glaringly unique consequences whose comedy is perverse, insidious and downright hateful. It is as if the American people have been written into the scripted cheat sheets of a reality show. Only thing is, the shit ain’t funny and the scenarios are toting generational price tags. And maybe the worst part of this whole sordid mess is that, in the end, we can’t really blame the Russians or the flagellating GOP, or even the fucking Kardashians. Nope, the cold hard truth of the matter is that we’re all to blame.

This is what happens when the nation stops paying attention to the box scores in Washington. This is what you get when an electorate is more well versed in pop culture than who their elected representatives are. We got complacent. We assumed sides mattered more than progress. Debates became more a matter of being right than of getting it right. Somewhere along the way, we lost our compass and we just let the winds lead us.

So we were saddled with a President who wants to build walls; never minding the fact that such a mindset is analogous with burning bridges. We have a President who believes in name calling and alternate terminology and yet wants us to believe he’s a modern day Churchill. I have to think old Winston could’ve taught Trump a thing or two about what a national emergency looks like. And how walls are nothing more than symbolic trinkets compared to the heart and soul of a nation’s ability to stand together.

Listen, I am a fairly middle of the road sonofabitch with nary a sacred cow in my arsenal. I didn’t believe in Trump back then the same as I don’t believe Ocasio-Cortez now. I have a problem with using the nuclear option to expedite judicial confirmation, no matter whether it’s Harry Reid threatening it or Mitch McConnell using it. Being middle of the road doesn’t make me vanilla ice cream. It makes me rocky road. I trust my eyes more than my ears, every single time. And what I’ve seen over the last couple of years troubles me. Not as a politically affiliated individual but as a human being.

Trump’s campaign slogan vowed to make America great again, which was both demeaning to the current generation and ignorant to the struggles of generations past. To my way of thinking, the greatest strength of any true democracy is in its future. You win today for tomorrow, in perpetuity. Our founding fathers understood the consequences of walking backwards.

It’s a lesson we’re still learning.

Breaking the News, Beyond Repair

I wasn’t feeling a full throttle post this morning so I decided to put together a list of news items from the week that was with a YouTube video that came to mind. It ain’t Meet the Press but whatevs. That show jumped the shark years ago . . .

Trump dis-invites the Eagles- He stuck out his tongue, took his ball and went home. And I can’t even broach this topic without adding my gusto, so I’ll just say this . . for now. Both sides are wrong. The Eagles for not showing up, being above all the shit being thrown at them and attempting dialogue. And Trump . . for being Trump. The lone voice of reason in this childish back and forth was Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins who pulled a genius Bob Dylan act this week. MJ reminded everyone as to the genesis of these peaceful protests. We need more adults like him in the room.

 

Andrew Lincoln Bids Adieu to the ‘Dead’- I was feeling a breakup coming on with the Walking Dead anyway. What with Glen and Carl gone, the future looked bleaker than Melania’s Saturday nights. I held on thanks to Negan and Carol, and to see how Rick was going to take out his baseball wielding nemesis. But the truth of the matter is, this show has made an art out of doing just enough to keep us holding on. It might go on forever, as the creators have promised (warned) their fans, but I can’t help thinking five or six seasons of Holy Fucking Shit! would’ve been preferable to this. So next year will be my last as a fan. I’ll miss Carol and I’ll miss the music . . but I just can’t do this any more.

Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA- For one night anyways. I caught the tail end of the Dubs Game 3 win and I’m not gonna lie. KD made me love him all over again with a 43 point hit job on the Cavs that effectively sends the Association into its summer business. Durant will always be my favorite inside this latest gen of players, but lately he’d become a bit of a dick. But his game ain’t care about any of that, and when he rolls the way he did on Wednesday night? He kidnaps my baller loving heart. His three point dagger with a minute left . . . should be set to Opera, and taught in schools and revered forever after. Yeah I’m adding a shit ton of hyperbole to his masterpiece, but that’s what certain players can do to me. KD is top of my list, still.

 

Walmart has a wine label– Yeah, no. Okay . . . maybe.

 

Baseball Fan o’ the Week!- W.P. Kinsella would bemoan the dearth of romance in today’s game. Gone are such quaint notions as the hit and run, sacrifice bunts and complete game shutouts. So big thank you to this baseball fan for bringing some old school back to the equation.

The last bit of news, worst. As I learned this morning that Anthony Bourdain took his own life at the age of 61 in Paris.  I was never a fan of the dude, once saying that ‘only women can deal with this guy’, which was really all he needed. Other than peace of mind, which he was never able to truly achieve. And it’s a sad fucking thing when the world loses interesting people. And I can’t think on this for very long or it just gets dark. So Imma end this with something hopeful, because the day asks for it. Every day, in fact.

Peace, love, happiness . . and Joy.