Smoke Screen

 

Earlier today, I gave a listen to the NPR aired program “1-A”. The moderator and his guests were discussing smoking / vaping. True, I did tune in a bit late, but, based on what I did hear, none of them thoroughly explored nicotine usage’s cause and effect relationship. Had they done so, they would’ve attempted to answer these key questions…

• Why is it that governments allow the tobacco industry to peddle, with impunity, a known deadly carcinogen and highly addictive drug?

• When smokers become vapers, are they not only kicking the nicotine addiction can down the road?

• How do we begin building a happier, healthier, stronger society, where folks find their lives so sufficiently satisfying, that tobacco products / by-products and other addictive drugs lose their allure?

 

 

 

 

Happy Landings?

 

When sanity’s tethers doth loosen their grip
Disarrayed minds will take flight; from reality slip

At first, moods might soar; yet, will threaten to dip
If off the radar they fly, there’ll be nary one blip

Well grounded shrinks, make the scene, at life or death clip
With off course pilots, mind meld; how will balance tip?

Can docs vector them home? Back on a round trip?
How best to land them all safely; on sanity’s airstrip?

 

Happy Landings: The Song

 

Could the Fixx fix the prob, that I have left standing
Could their lyrical counsel, lead to Happy Landings?

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Donald vs. Hurricane Dorian

I don’t particularly enjoy raining on anyone’s parade. However, I’m sure you’d concur that public safety always comes first.

And what could be more dangerous than a man who likely envisions himself the immortal caped crusader… “the chosen one”… the one and only entity who can lock horns with the immutable, implacable forces of nature and, against all odds, emerge the triumphant superhero? Oh really?

To cut to the chase, what remains is Hurricane Donald vs. Hurricane Dorian.

Trying to wrap one’s mind around such an absurdly lopsided, delusional bout… such a stormy state of mind… to say the least… is disconcerting. Donald’s ongoing contention has been that Dorian’s path had been inclusive of Alabama… in spite of the fact that… right from the get-go… professional meteorologists had deemed his claim… Fake News!

Obviously, both sides to this story cannot be true. So, just what the hell IS going on?

Could debilitating narcissism be Trump’s occluded front to reality? Could there be a storm far bigger than Dorian a brewin’ within his noggin… one that could ultimately, utterly, unravel whatever remains of that unfortunate man’s mind?

Granted, we could indulge him were he “merely” obsessing / boasting about his Inauguration Day crowd size (nearly three years after the fact). But… at the risk of repeating myself…

Considering our world threatened by both meteorological and ideological perils, we simply do not have the luxury of ever compromising public safety. PERIOD!

To illustrate how externalized insanity could imperil / impact society, let’s consider two hypothetical cause / effect relationships…

• What if the effect of Trump’s erroneous weather report had caused a panic… one where running for their lives evacuees had trampled one another or they’d been mangled by a multi-vehicular expressway pileup? We’d now be talking about needless injuries / fatalities.

• What if there’s a lasting aftereffect, too, which has totally stripped Trump of all credibility? What if, the very next time he warns us of impending disaster, NOBODY believes him? The failure to heed legitimate warnings… once again… could cause needless injuries / fatalities.

Then, there’s the slew of unanswered questions, too…

Why is Trump doing this?
Who does he expect to fool?
What could he possibly gain?
Why won’t / can’t his handlers talk him down?
Why won’t / can’t he admit his fallibility?
Where is the attempt to restore credibility / dignity to the office?
When will he sincerely apologize to his compatriots?
When will he solemnly vow to never do this again?

Let’s momentarily hit the pause button to let this all sink in… to catch our collective breath, too…

Indeed, how tragic this all has become. Instead of this regime attempting to inspire confidence within Americans… indeed… within all caring souls… worldwide… all they can manage to awaken is our nagging, gut feelings that… as I type and you read these words…

One tailor is taking measurements for the inaugural tux and tails to soon be sported by the natty Mike Pence… while, yet, another tailor is doing the same for the straight-jacket to soon be donned by the nutty Donald Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

Playing in the E Major Leagues

Shortly after awakening, I found myself greeting the dawn of the new day seated at the piano. In a Lennon / McCartney mood, my mini recital… performed before a backyard audience of birds and bunnies… began with All My Loving.

Unexpectedly… along about mid-piece… I began wandering off onto the musical road less traveled… i.e., by transitioning an excerpt from another E Major, Fab Four composition… and then another and another and another… at which point, I “brought it all home” by polishing off the All My Loving selection.

Medley Working Titles:
A 5-Movement Fab-4 Mini Symphony in E Major
The Beatles in E Major

Total Tracking / “Travel” Time:
5 minutes

Lennon / McCartney Compositions:
All My Loving
Nowhere Man
With a Little Help From My Friends
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Please Please Me

My Gratitude and Kudos to:
YouTube Piano Virtuoso Ryan(692)

Seeing how I had made this all come together so effortlessly, I began to suspect that my playing All My Loving just prior to last night’s golden slumbers had been of great help. It’s now my belief that… at some point during one of last night’s REM stages… I wound up experimenting with the juxtapositions of these five compositions… perhaps even playing out these abridged passages and perfecting their transition points on the keyboard of the subconscious mind.

Hence, my heightened belief in the positive power of creative dreaming.

While my own application of this phenomenon has been music-specific, there’s little doubt in my mind that what we all learn, while playing upon the REM field of dreams, can be applied, more generally, to many other areas of our lives.

“So long ago”, the late John Lennon, in his song, #9 Dream, lyrically posed two questions. Based on last night’s experience, I believe my answers to be valid…

“Was it in a dream?” My emphatic YES!
“Was it just a dream?” NOPE! There’s no such thing as “just a dream”!

 

 

 

The Grammatical and Political Passive Voice

Let’s kick off this post by first defining terminology / going grammatical…

Passive Voice: “A form or set of forms of a verb in which the subject undergoes the action of the verb (e.g. They were killed as opposed to the active form He killed them).”

In other words… speaking, writing and even blogging passively tends to imply a timid, noncommittal state of mind. It is to wimp out. This could even be interpreted thusly…

“Somebody is forcing me to say this.”
“I don’t really shive-a-git!”

Let’s now apply our discussion to the actual sentence structure of a 35 word count passage excised from a Donald Trump speech.

Space/Time: Washington DC’s White House Diplomatic Room  / August 5, 2019
Subject Matter: This past weekend’s domestic terrorist attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Said the reined in by a teleprompter, deadpanning Donny…

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”

To Monday Morning Quarterback this (OK… technically it’s actually Tuesday): Owing to Donny’s [1] slow burn delivery of passive grammar (tantamount to blurting out, “Somebody is forcing me to say this!”) and [2] his stiff, sniffing, squinty-eyed demeanor / body language, one has to wonder…

[1] Just how much more grammatically and politically passive could he have gotten?
[2] Could we ever expect anyone who either cannot or chooses not to speak in the active voice to actively defeat racism, bigotry, and white supremacy?

A real president… i.e., one who possesses clarity of mind, amity / charity of heart and purity of soul would be able to effortlessly raise his active voice to say…

“I flat-out condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. I fully acknowledge that my own past words and deeds have both played a role in promoting these sinister ideologies and the abject hatred that warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul of my homeland… of our world. Hate has no place anywhere within a civilized society and it is my heartfelt hope that everyone… throughout America and our world… can and will find the desire… within their heads and hearts… to follow my lead… so we can join together to forever wipe the scourge of hatred off the face of the Earth.”

The difference between a fake and genuine leader oft, respectively, can be measured by the discernible difference between the passive and active voice he speaks in.

 

 

 

 

Life’s Tear-Stained Paths Converge

 

I was fifty-nine years younger on this day in 1960… my age still measured in single digits. This had been “The Day” where I learnt… first hand… how separation anxiety can hit home… really hard.

The setting involved the early a.m. Greyhound bus terminal, when / where life’s unsmiling, emotionally charged events just kept on unraveling exponentially. With my dad and three-years-older sister standing at my side, with mom seated behind the bus’s thick, tinted safety-glass pane… we traded off our countless good-bye waves and blown kisses. About to embark on her 1,287km / 800mi road trip, by journey’s end, mom would be tending to a somber family matter.

Oh, how I had wished we all could’ve traveled as a family, but, due to my dad’s low-paying public school teacher job, he could not afford the three extra bus tickets… even with two of them being sold at the kiddie, half-fare rate.

With my mind zoning out to the night before… I began replaying the scene where we had just returned from our routine, weekly grocery shopping trip… bags in hand. While dad was unlocking the backdoor, we could already hear our hardwired, landline telephone ringing “off the hook”. Mom rushed in, ahead of us, to field what turned out to be a long-distance call.

In that pre-direct-dial / operator assisted era (“eons” before super-glued to our ears cell phones had become commonplace) such a call was rare, seldom just for the fun of it and (more often than not) the harbinger of bad news.

In this instance, mom’s sister spoke of what had started out as an idyllic, daylong, fun family outing spent at their lakefront cottage… of how everything had gone into panic mode when my grandma had gone M.I.A…. of how their frantic scouring of the woods had reached the end upon discovering her lifeless body laying amidst the blueberry patch, which she’d been harvesting.

With the bus’s diesel engine now roaring to life, the driver shifted into gear and pulled out from the station. The three of us moved outside to watch until mom’s bus, seemingly, vanished into thin air. It was now time for dad to drive us back home… a mere 12.87km / 8mi. Once inside the family car, my tears were now free to stream down my no longer “brave” public face.

Truth be told… I wasn’t even crying that much over the death of my grandma. Having only “met her” as a newborn, I guess you could say that I never really knew her at all.

Well… all the way home and for the entire afternoon leading up to suppertime, no matter how many times my dad and sister reassured me that mom would be back home in a couple of weeks, I was fully convinced that I’d never see her again.

And even though my father and sibling did, eventually, prove me wrong… nonetheless… that long ago separation anxiety still haunts me and can still evoke welled up tears.

If only I could successfully imprint my experience within the alleged mind of my homeland’s alleged prez. Might he then learn… second hand… perhaps for the first time ever in his life… how separation anxiety can hit home really hard? Might he then be able to separate the word “Zero” from his Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy? Might he then feel empathy… my total empathy… for the U.S. / Mexican border crossing / asylum seeking families who he’s been so ruthlessly and callously abusing for political gain?

 

 

 

 

To Be or Not To Be Bellicose… That Raises Questions

 

Forgive my tardiness… but… even now… three days later… it’s still too damned early to determine what the capricious, Trumpster’s Iranian stance could devolve into. For someone who adamantly maintains his admin remains “cocked and loaded”, devolve is not too strong a word.

So… would the fake prez ever reverse the reversal of his decision to attack? All any subsequent flip-flop would require is his being [1] goaded by one of his psychotic, crackpot, chickenhawk, going for the jugular advisors or [2] branded a wimp by a similarly programmed FOX talking head. At that point the (alleged) prezzy could easily go ballistic… in more ways than one.

Once consumed by such end-stage outrage, it’d be damned near impossible for him to ever wrap his warped mind around the far gutsier, diplomatic, presidential brains over brawn approach.

Let’s get dead serious. If… and that’s a YUGE IF… the Trumpster’s narrative has even been truthful, he had been a scant ten minutes shy of provoking and embroiling the U.S. in yet another splattered red blood / spilt red ink, no-win, endless war… or worse.

Let’s momentarily don our backseat headshrinker thinking caps. Developmentally speaking, it would take a toddler to be oblivious to the fact that retaliatory attacks [1] intrinsically involve collateral damage and [2] rarely, if ever, accomplish anything other than triggering the vicious cycle of ever-escalating, deadlier counterattacks… or worse.

Taken at face value, the Toddler-In-Chief MIGHT BE commended for what appears to be his sudden growing / wising up. Just-in-the-nick-of-time, he had a “well duh” epiphany… i.e., the loss of human life is disproportionate punishment for Iran’s destruction of an unmanned drone.

But, even that offers up little reason to be liberal with our praise. There still are unanswered questions, such as…

• Would not the Trumpster’s team of eager-beaver, sociopathic advisors… just to hard sell carnage to their boss… have proudly / giddily trotted out their PowerPoint charts / pie-charts, graphs and print-outs emblazoned with red, ginormous font, storyboard / page-topping death toll stats?

• Would not that self proclaimed “stable genius” have been sufficiently brilliant to understand the deadly ramifications PRIOR to ordering such an attack?

• Why did he / his advisors ever even consider such overkill in the first place?

• Might there be another factor in play?

Seeing how fact checking has recently exposed the fake prezzy’s 10,000th lie… his pathetic whoppers backdating to his unsubstantiated, Election Day fraud allegations and inflated, Inauguration Day crowd size estimates… why would we not find his “To Be or Not To Be Bellicose” Iranian account suspect… or to translate this into Trump-speak… “FAKE NEWS”?

The regrettable truth, fake news can also heighten world tensions… which could easily, eventually mushroom… in more ways than one.

Ergo… as for that aforementioned possibility of awarding a commendation to #45?

FORGET IT!