A “Who Is He?” Riddle

 

• He staffs his revolving door, toxic workplace with the most uniquely unqualified, unprofessional, unsympathetic and unscrupulous people imaginable.

• He figures out the most outrageous, offensive and reprehensible things to say and do and then promptly sets forth to say and do them.

• He goes on rampages in the real world and on the www where he incessantly, incoherently and insanely rambles, rants and raves to poison any and all susceptible minds.

• He has spent his entire lifetime so convincingly telling whoppers that he has even deceived himself.

• He works / milks “the system” to engage in corrupt business transactions; thereby amassing obscene wealth at the expense of anyone foolish enough to ever trust him.

• He profiles, dehumanizes and offends anyone who doesn’t conform to his own upper crust, corrupt, wonder bread complected demographics.

• He crudely and shamelessly boasts / lies about his boudoir sexploits; thereby corrupting every overly impressionable male who’d ever be stupid enough to make him his role model.

• He is so closed-minded that nobody can teach him anything and, consequently, he goes through life knowing nothing of consequence.

• He is an embarrassment, not only to himself but to the entire human race.

• He would be doing society a tremendous favor if he’d just shut up and never show up at work again!

Who is he?

 

 

Mere Coincidence? Or Did Jon Batiste Read My Blog?

 

Yesterday, I posted a blog at 11:10 a.m. My topic: Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 / Funeral March. The “angle” I had chosen to explain my suddenly renewed interest in this Classical masterpiece tapped both into my DJ roots and deeply rooted, post Inauguration Day ‘17 blues, blahs and disgust.

I then blogged onward to mention how NPR’s All Things Considered reportage of All Things Trumpian has been depressing me… to the point where I found myself seated at and slumped over my piano last week… cradling my head in my crossed over forearms.

Ironically, it had taken an NPR aired, prattling, Donny Downer soundbite to snap me out of my funk. In a split second, I sat up, took notice and took back my life. How so?

I had limbered up my 10 fingers to play the first 11 notes of Chopin’s Funeral March. In essence, I had riffed a musical op-ed piece to refute and marginalize Donny Downer. After I played that soundbite / bitesized dirge, I actually found myself chuckling! But laughter? Why laughter I wondered?

To elaborate, I’ve paraphrased the following passage from yesterday’s post.

Subconsciously, I’d been channeling the schtick of my newest keyboard hero… Jon Batiste. For the benefit of my international readers, I’ll briefly mention that he’s frontman for Stay Human… Stephan Colbert’s Late Show house band. During many a show opening, Colbert monologue, Batiste’s keyboard comedic timing is just as flawless and funny as the wisecracking Colbert’s routine. The genius of both of these super-talents truly compliments one another. True, I’ve yet to hear Batiste play this Chopin riff… but it would not surprise me were he to… someday… do so.

Well… imagine my jaw dropping, “Oh Wow” surprise… and my LOL reaction… when that SOMEDAY turned out to be LAST NIGHT!

At approximately 11:38 p.m.… over 12 hours AFTER my 11:10 a.m. blog post time… there Colbert was… cracking a Marylin Monroe themed Trump joke… inspiring Mr. Batiste to ACTUALLY play that Chopin Funeral March riff! This musically enhanced joke starts around the 1:40 point of this clip.

So… are we talking pure coincidence or had Mr. Batiste read and been inspired my Chopin blog? Any of my “tags”… especially – Late Show – Stephen Colbert – Jon Batiste – Stay Human… could’ve made the merger of our two worlds more than mere happenstance.

OR maybe this event transcends the tags? True when it comes down to the existence of miracles, there are plenty of naysayers. While I am spiritually inclined, in this case, even I would tend go the Doubting Thomas / mere coincidence route. Yet, what would account for my waking up this a.m. with a lingering grin? Seeing how I’ve been suffering a bad case of the blahs and the blues… such a smile… in itself… is nothing short of miraculous.

 

 

Is anyone seeing red yet?

 

In theory… the nine judges of the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) are supposed to be politically neutral… i.e., prior to donning their black robes, they should be checking their red, blue and purple “party hats” at the door.

In practice… nothing could be further from the truth. Prior to Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last week, he had been the one moderate judge seated alongside four lefties and four righties. For many years, he had been the tie breaker within that deep political divide… part of the “5” in a slew of 5 / 4 court decisions… the judge who, at times, sided with the righties.

Case in point is how Kennedy, once again last week, had donned his red “party hat” in the case of Janus v. AFSCME… helped his righty pals legislate from the bench… conspired with them to do the dirty work “on behalf” of the individual 22 state legislatures, which have yet to legislate their own labor union busting, “right to work”, flawed laws.

Of course, phraseology such as “right to work”, on the surface, does tend to conjure up images of mom, apple pie and something liberating and uniquely American Dreamish. BUT, in reality, this is nothing other than cleverly branded, spin-doctored, conservative hogwash. In practice, “right to work” “liberates” hardworking average Janes and Joes of their living wage jobs and, in the end, morphs their existences into the American Nightmare.

Getting into the nuts and bolts of “right to work”, such flawed laws forbid labor unions from collecting dues from any workers who don’t want to pay them… in spite of the fact that such scofflaws are still benefiting from union negotiated contracts, which secure pay raises and benefits for all workers. From that point forward… no strike that… from that step backward… sans strong financial backing, labor unions die. And along with them go average, everyday workers’ hopes to live the American Dream.

For any doubting Thomases, out there, this Thomas asks: What do you suppose an oinking CEO would do with the corporate mega-profits when there are no labor unions to contend with? When there’s no collective bargaining on behalf of the time clock punchers of our world? You can bet your bottom dollar that that fat cat would fatten his own, already fat wallet at the expense of those already struggling to make ends meet. Eventually… the middle class will plunge into poverty… the already impoverished class will descend into squalor.

I now ask, who did the Supreme Court help other than those wallowing in obscene wealth? How could such a ruling ever help make America great again?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against people being successful in life. But, you won’t find me feeling charitable towards CEOs, who already wallow in immeasurable corporate/personal wealth, yet, flat-out refuse to pay living wages to their employees. Folks, that’s when I start seeing red… in more ways than one… and feel similarly each and every time the U.S. Supreme Court aids and abets corporate arrogance and greed. And I’d hope that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

The tragedy here: The LURID RED of the U.S. Supreme Court! Truth be told…

Today’s typical conservative mindset does not represent where most Americans’ heads are at… and thank God for that! Most of us cannot stomach righties’ insatiable greed, unquenchable thirst for power and perverse penchants for war, torture, assault weapons, domestic / sexual violence, misogyny, child abuse and all other forms of human suffering! So then, why is it that within our system of representative government, we cannot automatically expect to find a Supreme Court bench more sensitive to and representative of WE the decent people?

At the very least…

We should expect to find three moderate, three liberal and three conservative judges seated at that Supreme Court bench.

Wait a minute! I do seem to recall some blogger saying…

In theory… the nine judges of the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) are supposed to be politically neutral… i.e., prior to donning their black robes, they should be checking their red, blue and purple “party hats” at the door.”

Hmmm… come to think of it… I was that blogger! Allow me, now, to briefly expand on that.

At the very most…

No President should ever appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who harbors hidden, wicked political agendas. The goal should be winding up with nine decent folks representative of a complete cross-section of America’s finest. When we hold up a mirror to them we should see a reflection of diversity! Be they able bodied or disabled… they must be representative of of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, age groups, classes and creeds (inclusive of agnostics and atheists)*. ONLY then can Americans ever expect respectable Supreme Court decisions… rulings that all can live with.

* As well as any other decent folks I may’ve unintentionally omitted here.

At the very extreme…

Long sigh… we now have little choice but to face down the cold, stark, harsh reality:

In filling the Anthony Kennedy vacancy, the “prez’s first… perhaps only… question to vet each wannabe will be…

Do you pledge 100 percent loyalty to me and to always rule in my favor… no matter what?

Whoever the “prez” handpicks will accomplish one and only one thing… namely… his successfully loading up the bench with yet another out of touch with decent America, rightwing, wingnut ideologue. His U.S. Extreme Court will never be representative of anyone other than Donald Trump and his icky ilk.

 

 

Is Anyone Hugging the Detainee Children?

 

As a compassionate man, I object to the abject cruelty of Donald Trump’s ham-handed, iron-fisted, zero tolerance immigration policy. His flawed “law” has resulted in multiple thousands of youngsters and infants getting snatched from their parents’ embracing arms.

After that, these youngsters are deemed “guilty” of their asylum seeking parents’ minor border crossing infractions… in essence… kids are being found “guilty” just for being alive!

These innocent political orphans… prisoners of Trump’s Border War… are getting dumped into internment camps, where their shed tears go unnoticed… where their mournful, “Mama and papa where are you?” pleas cannot possibly be answered. Or worse yet, when they do get a response, it’s not heartfelt consolation… it’s downright derision. Check out this translated from Spanish to English quote… words uttered by a detention center guard who had utterly failed to take the endless crying seriously…

“Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.”

All of that breaks my heart… the hearts of millions of sensitive souls all across America and the world. To assess the feelings within the alleged president’s alleged heart: What feelings? What heart?

With no end to this humanitarian crisis in sight, what’s to become of these detainee children? There’s far more to raising kids than merely serving them a steady diet of junk food and crappy TV programming. Are there any psychologists / social workers on hand to ease their separation anxiety? Are there any teachers to keep them mentally engaged? Who’s assuming the roles of nurturing, surrogate parents? Anyone? Who’s conversing with them? Reading them bedtime stories? Hugging them? Truthfully offering them hope for a better day?

Are these kids just languishing in their cages / cells… staring blankly at the dank, dingy gray, cinderblock walls through their welled up with tears eyes? Going for days, weeks, months on end without even the slightest chance for any normal, human interaction?

These young detainees must be nurtured. In the absence of that? Well, if they don’t die of loneliness first, what sort of adults are they to become?

 

The Good Life’s Recipe (One Quick Limerick #047)

 

Drink in diversity’s full bodied flavor,
Spit out divisiveness, it does no favor,
Inc’s red ink must not flood,
Ditto that! War’s red blood,
Four facts of life, for good life, ALL can savor!

 

For more limericks (as well as other verses and song parodies, etc.), head over to my “Categories Menu” and select “Poetry”.

 

 

How To Spell Strong Correctly (One Quick Limerick #046)

 

NarcissistMan thinks he’s strong? Let’s rethink!
His heart of stone boasts barbed wire / chain-link,
He burns bridges, builds walls,
Promotes partisan brawls,
All that is strong, here, is his admin’s stink!

 

 

The Day America Died! God Where Are You?

Donald Trump’s execution of his zero tolerance immigration policy involves the needless, inexcusable and unforgivable traumatization of the young children, who the U.S. Border Patrol guards have been capturing and detaining along the U.S. / Mexico border.

How is it even possible for the prez to so easily flip off the sorrowful sobbing of children… to be oblivious to their repeated, anguished pleas to be reunited with their their mommies and daddies?

Doubtlessly the prez’s heartlessness is a deadly contagion which has infected his underlings… his calloused, inhumane, “just following orders” concentration camp guards. We can hear one of them equating his young detainees’ wailing to a symphony in need of a conductor. It even sounds as if he finds all the misery he’s been inflicting to be amusing.

OMG! Please don’t tell us that such mournful sounds are music to his ears… to Jeff Sessions’ ears… to Donald Trump’s ears…

 

Did it ever occur to the “prez” that it is well within his power and purview to fire off one of his Executive Orders? In less time that it’d take to post one of his incoherent Tweets, he could scribble out four lucid words, “LEAVE MIGRANT FAMILIES INTACT!” Upon signing on the dotted line, he could… in a heartbeat… put an end to all of HIS indefensible child abuse.

 

But, even were he able to ever relocate and reclaim his mind, heart and soul… it’ll be too little… to late for some.

 

What’s to become of the children who’ve already been severely traumatized and psychologically damaged for life?

What’s to become of their similarly affected mothers and fathers?

 

 

Neighborhoods: The Microcosm of Nations

 

Along about 1958, my small hometown’s city fathers wound up green-lighting a land developer’s proposed, subdivision housing project. It is unclear whether or not all the involved parties knew this but, that region’s acreage was (and still is) prone to flooding.

By 1961, my father and mother were hoping to flee our slumlord’s (literal) rat trap, two story hovel… one heated by a poorly maintained, coal fired, carbon monoxide spewing furnace… the likely cause of our family of four’s chronic, debilitating, flu-like symptoms. Indeed… our very lives were at stake.

It’s easy to see how my parents had so easily gotten suckered into signing on the dotted lines of a 30 year mortgage. And so, by June of that same year, we had moved into our new, three bedroom ranch… located smack dab at the bottom of that aforementioned, flood prone, subdivision gully. As things turned out… we’d have been far better off buying a houseboat.

By 1968, our entire neighborhood wound up becoming one of Michigan’s lesser known (not so great) lakes… its (fortunately temporary) shoreline stopping at the first step of our two steps high front porch. While only our cellar had flooded, our next-door neighbors to the east had not been so lucky. Their basement, living room and kitchen had been inundated.

The obvious moral to the story: Never make major purchases in haste.

Of course… there’s also a secondary lesson to be learned. And that begins where my above story leaves off…

Subsequent to that nearly biblical magnitude flood, my Dad had figured out how to keep future floodwaters at bay… i.e., by caulking basement windows and encasing them in window wells… by forming a two foot high, clay berm along our eastern property line. While lacking aesthetics, his practical solutions not only worked but have continued to do so… outliving him by 30 years (and still counting).

Regrettably, our neighbors had opted to turn the task over to the professionals, whose “prettier” approach to floodwater management proved nowhere near as reliable as my amateur Dad’s strategy.

There were more floods to come, too… sometimes requiring our neighbor’s patriarch… sans permission… to chop into my Dad’s defensive lines with a shovel to save his home. To put it mildly, my father was PO’d. Had any of their flood water entered and damaged our home, there’d have been hell to pay. Fortunately, that hadn’t happened… BUT… nonetheless… over the years, several adrenaline surging, heated verbal exchanges did ensue.

Fortunately, my folks did understand that our neighbors were only trying to protect their own property. But, what Dad could never fathom is why they’d not shore up their property more effectively… instead of endangering both of our homes.

By 1988, with floodwaters threatening, once again, our neighbor, with shovel in hand, cut across our property line. Of course, by then, with my 75-year-old father’s health rapidly failing, he just didn’t have much fight left in him. With the sound of the pouring rain on the roof, my heart sank at the sight of my father seated at our dining room table… cradling his head in his arms… the personification of despair. All he had wanted out of life was to secure a good life for his loved ones.

Although I hadn’t known it at the time, Dad had been mere days away from his oneway ambulance trip to the hospital… his too little / too late, ill-fated surgery… his death.

I can only hope that ugly, irreconcilable neighborhood war had not been the final fade to black scene within his mind.

So… what does any of this really mean? Well… here’s where that aforementioned, secondary lesson starts to unfold… starting with several questions…

Are not interfamily conflicts a microcosm of the international variety? Is it not our survival instincts and our territoriality what sparks battles between neighbors and nations? Does not the malfeasance and/or ignorance of leaders also trigger corrupt and stupid wars at both of those societal levels… and the others in between?

But… on a more positive note…

Are there not also a few kindhearted, courageous people out there who’ll meet their adversaries more than half way… oh… say… by extending the olive branch?

It might be of interest to you when I mention that my family’s longtime foes wound up making that peaceful gesture. Totally taking me by surprise… 15 years ago… they showed they cared enough about my well-being to pay their respects at my Mom’a memorial service.

In all honesty… long before that moment… I had grown weary of feeling “duty bound” to my folks… to… in their memory… continue slogging through all that metaphorical, stormwater muck… drowning in the oceans of figurative, bad blood which had persisted, interminably, between next-door neighbors.

Folks, I had been wrong, Wrong, WRONG and quite the fool to ever deem it too late to fill the miles deep emotional chasm between us… one that had run miles deeper than those paltry six inch deep trenches, which my neighbor had sliced into my father’s property line berm.

My neighbors and I are now good friends. I thoroughly enjoy their company and treasure our conversations. Their nonagenarian status affords them a wealth of life experiences and a robust philosophy of life. I find all I’ve learned from them refreshing, enriching and inspiring. My only regret is that my family… that I had not made peace with them half a century sooner.

As for my final Q…

Is not an amicable resolution to erroneously perceived, irreconcilable differences within a neighborhood also a microcosm of all the good that could happen upon our world stage? We can only hope that is true… that my wonderful friends and neighbors… are a microcosm of any and all bold, kindhearted, peace seeking leaders, spanning our entire globe.

 

 

Had Iris Pushed Up The Daisies?

As one who’s been “deeply rooted” in my boyhood home for five+ decades, I’m fully aware of my home turf (inclusive of my late mother’s flowerbeds). Even after a few random, squirrel engineered transplants, most of her perennials’ bulbs, to this very day, remain right where she had left them fifteen Aprils ago… on the mild, sunshiny, spring morn she had passed on.

Towards the end of my 22 hour deathbed vigil, I could virtually envision Mom finishing her final leg of the human race and passing off the baton to me… such a handoff not only a gesture of her undying hopes that my life would continue to go onward, but that I’d also maintain my reverence for family traditions.

No small part of these conventions was/is our mutual respect for Mother Nature… my Mom’s flower gardens offering up a living testimonial… the natural outgrowth of such shared sentiments inspiring my solemn vow…

For as long as I’m alive, Mom’s flowers and my memory of her will live on, too.

However… and most regrettably… there had been one baton dropping instance. While busily tending to other areas of my life, I had forgotten how the ol’ family homestead’s roof overhang oft prevented rainwater from reaching her prized, purple Irises. And, due to my neglect, Iris’ blooms and foliage had all but vanished off the face of the earth.

Iris’ untimely death went far more than bulb deep, too. You see, Mom had transplanted her bulbs from our previous residence… a wondrous locale where I had spent the first seven years of my life… where just one aspect of our entire world opening up to my wide-eyed, younger self, had caused me to pause, marvel and mull over the intricate, grand design of Iris’ surreally shaped and multihued blooms.

Fast-forwarding to many years later… mid-April 2017… it was while tending to Mom’s daffodils that my peripheral vision detected a totally unexpected, slight glimmer of green. It required my doing a double take and then stooping down to confirm the “impossible”. A single, solitary, barely 2.5cm, fragile Iris leaf was poking through the soil… desperately ISO the warmth of the early spring sunshine and a cool drink of water.

Not unlike my boyhood response to first discovering Iris’s blooms, I found myself in wide-eyed wonderment. In less time than it took to express my “OH WOW” disbelief, I had redirected my sprinkling can’s nozzle… my subsequent regular watering causing her to sport a profusion of lush, healthy green foliage by the time Jack Frost had paid his first visit last fall. And, naturally, as soon as 2018’s spring had sprung, I immediately resumed my labor of love.

Just this past Monday… May 21st… Iris, having stored up sufficient energy, flowered for the very first time in many years. Just this morning, she’s proudly displaying three of her wide open, purple and yellow hued blooms for all to behold and adore.

Iris’ death defying attitude has been enlightening and jaw dropping inspirational. She not only exemplifies the preciousness and persistence of life but also reminds us not to give up too quickly… not even when all is seemingly hopeless.

 

 

This blog expands on my 06/05/17 post titled “Dormant Seeds? Unpromising Soil?” and features a blend of quoted / paraphrased old passages interwoven within my new content.

 

Could #MeToo Have Called Out JFK Too?

 

#MeToo’s exposure of predatory males has been providing society a long overdue, much needed and invaluable wakeup call. For raising our awareness, we must extend our commendation, compassion and recognition to all the victims… as well as remind anyone, who has yet to speak up, to never suffer in silence.

While the high profile predators, typically, have been grabbing much of the media headlines, we must never forget that underreported, lesser knowns also employ the the exact, same sexual harassment, abuse and assault MO… indeed, such deplorable conduct spans and spoils workplace environments everywhere.

While it’s been disconcerting… at times painful… to witness once-upon-a-time respectable men being stripped of their sheep’s clothing veneer… see their lives and livelihoods in crash and burn mode… we must NEVER FORGET they have no one to blame but themselves… and they fully deserve society’s justifiable wrath. The #MeToo movement is absolutely correct to demand that blame be affixed where it truly belongs… upon the guilty predators and NEVER upon their totally innocent prey.

Of course, if we ever hope to cure society of such ills, our work has only begun. Parents must learn to raise their daughters to never take any predatory crap from anyone! Parents must learn to raise their sons to behave more respectfully and sensitively… not only within our workplaces but everywhere else, too.

More to the point, males must become fully aware of what a vile hormone testosterone can be… how… left unchecked… it can prod the weak-willed to go on a totally unacceptable and uncivilized biochemical rampage.

Let’s now expose the H-Word… Hypocrisy.

In my past posts… I’ve mentioned two males we / I used to admire… accused actor George Takei and the now convicted comedian / actor Bill Cosby. What makes such blogging especially difficult and distressing is how both talented guys used to be positive role models. Of course, big and small screen celebrity must never act as a smokescreen defense for inexcusable behavior. Moreover, even when they do wind up uttering their regrets this should be met with our skepticism. Are they truly sorry or merely sorry about having been caught?

Deconstructing this further, historically speaking, it’s already been a tough enough task to convince the narrow-minded not to judge entire demographics based solely upon the behavior of few bad actors. But, now that the malignancy of Takei and Cosby has tarnished the images of countless others, respectively, the vast majority of benevolent LGBTQs and racial minorities, the task of enlightening homophobes / xenophobes has become doubly (if not more) difficult. Doubtlessly, such predatory conduct can only (unjustifiably) perpetuate, their flimsy, eons old, negative stereotypes.

To avoid the stench of hypocrisy in all of my posts… I cannot continue to call out sexually predatory conduct (in general) and (more specifically) the present-day, so-called prez’s self-admitted misogyny and alleged infidelity until I turn my back on a past president who I’ve idolized since I was a young boy… one John F. Kennedy.

Misogynistic society has oft employed euphemistic terminology… e.g., dalliances and womanizing… to describe / downplay / romanticize JFK’s conduct. Romanticize? YIKES!!! Even had the sex been fully consensual, how could anyone ever deem it acceptable? One must never rationalize / dismiss the emotional abuse, pain and distress he must’ve inflicted upon his wife, Jacqueline. Even if an on-the-rocks marriage had been no fault of his own, a considerate man would’ve patiently awaited the official divorce decree.

To reemphasize and expand upon my earlier statement… celebrity… even martyrdom… cannot and must NEVER excuse caddish behavior.

Furthermore, were we to ever scrutinize / dig deeper into JFK’s life, times and untimely death… how could we ever say, with any certainty, that his surviving family members hadn’t used the considerable Kennedy wealth to commission and handsomely pay off some ugly history revisionists? For all we know, the Warren Commission, investigating the events of Friday, November 22, 1963, had gotten it all completely wrong.

Perhaps, the so-called, lone gunman in Dallas, Texas, in reality, had been the pissed off husband / boyfriend of one of JFK’s conquests?

Considering the testosterone poisoning, which fuels the typical satyr’s MO, perhaps the conspiracy theorists have, all along, been spot on with their contention that the lone gunman had plenty of armed company… i.e., plenty of other PO’d husbands / boyfriends had been figuratively and literally gunning for JFK?