Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Refreshing Surpise

This afternoon I went to an art opening at a small, local museum. The artist's daughter, an attractive woman about 45 years old, was in attendance. We struck up a conversation and I asked if she had inherited any of her mother's creativity. She replied, "I guess you could say that. I'm a dancer." When I asked if she danced professionally, she said that it was a tough way to make a living and so she performed only in amateur and community productions. "Dancing is my passion," she explained with a shrug, "but it doesn't pay."

By then my curiosity was piqued, so I asked what it was she did for a living. Leaning towards me and lowering her voice almost to a whisper, making me think maybe she was a high-priced escort or perhaps a stripper, she replied, "I'm an internist."

I was shocked, and doubtful at the same time. After all, has anyone ever met a physician who didn't advertise that fact? Later on her mother confirmed that indeed her daughter was a doctor, confiding, "She tells everyone she's a dancer first. It's who she really is."

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Look Out Below!

Tourists have always seemed to like the Washington Monument. What did they know?
My nephew, smart and passionate in these matters, informed me just last night that 750 statues all around America that have ties to the Confederacy must come down, stating, "Taking them down is all about the present and the future. It's about the message given to black children today and every day they remain." So in light of the following information on Wikipedia, it looks like the Washington Monument will have to go, and possibly Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, a popular tourist attraction, slave quarters and all:

"When George Washington was eleven years old, he inherited ten slaves; by the time of his death, 317 slaves lived at Mount Vernon, including 123 owned by Washington, 40 leased from a neighbor, and an additional 153 "dower" slaves." While these dower slaves were designated for Martha's use during her lifetime, they were part of the estate of her first husband and the Washingtons could not sell them. As on other plantations during that era, Washington's slaves worked from dawn until dusk unless injured or ill; they could be whipped for running away or for other infractions.
Visitors recorded varying impressions of slave life at Mount Vernon: one visitor in 1798 wrote that Washington treated his slaves "with more severity" than his neighbors, while another around the same time stated that "Washington treated his slaves far more humanely than did his fellow citizens of Virginia."

Nobody seemed upset (by the Monument) when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke there.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Removing Statues and Brain Cells

Once upon a time I had this friend . . .
We really hit it off. We'd meet for lunch almost every week on her day off. Sometimes it would be every few weeks when our lives got busy. We always enjoyed one another immensely, exchanging books back and forth and generally gabbing for hours about literature, our kids, diet and exercise, and sometimes a teeny bit of politics. Then along came Trump.

Please understand: I am no Trump-lover, but instead of jumping on the CNN or MSNBC or FOX bandwagon, disparaging or praising the president no matter what he says or does, I prefer to hear  both sides of any issue and judge for myself. I have made that point repeatedly in this blog and I have also made it in person, apparently to no avail. One day at lunch, my always cheerful friend seemed downright grim after I said something that could be construed as my not loving Hillary Clinton and also not wishing Trump would die a horrible and painful death, which is how she felt and had made quite clear over the months of our shared Pad Thai noodles and Caesar salads since the election. That day we parted without our usual hug.

Vintage political button, circa 1980s
Since then there have been no texts. No, "Let's have lunch!" I ran into her a few weeks ago and asked, half-joking, "Are we breaking up? " She replied, "No, of course not, the kids are around, it's summer, I've been busy." Then it hit me: I'm breaking up with her. She actually likes Nancy Pelosi (how could she?) but I never considered dumping her for that. Still, she couldn't handle my independent thinking, and I was tired of hiding my true feelings just to maintain a friendship that didn't allow for differences of opinion.

Beside my husband, my very best friend in the world is an unapologetic, unswerving chronic Democrat. But he's also smart and has taught me a lot about the world, so he gets a pass. Another one is my brother-in-law, who is generally open to learning how the "other side" might feel even if it's not how he feels. He too gets a pass. Other than those two, I'm done with lemming-like Democrats who mouth what's expected without any thinking to back it up, and who now believe that the removal of inanimate stone and bronze sculptures shaped like people who lived and died hundreds of years ago can also remove the ugliest truths of our history.

The rabid left can take down every last Confederate statue in the country and it still won't eradicate slavery from our past or racism from our present. I guess what's coming next is mass lobotomies for the populace: "Step right up, ladies and gentleman, and have all that nasty history wiped out in one fell swoop! It's fast, it's easy, and you'll feel so much better afterwards!"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Enough Already

Today's Wall Street Journal. Suitable for framing? 

According to statistics, 151,600 people die each day. 
That comes out to 6,316 deaths per hour. 
Got it?
So enough already with the 1 person who was hit by a car when a crazy person drove into a crowd of people on the street.
She was not a saint.
She was a regular person.
You wanna talk about people who died?
Let's talk about my friend Noreen Welle who I miss every day. 
She died of Multiple Myeloma in 2006 at the age of 57.  
She was a loving wife and mother of two young girls.
I knew her for 20 years and I have no idea what her favorite color was.
News of her death was not on the front page of every newspaper.
It should have been.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stop the World, I Wanna Get Off

As of today, the amusement park ride known as America the Beautiful is going faster and faster. Too fast, if you ask me. In fact it's spinning dangerously out of control and making me so nauseous I might throw up. Certainly others feel this way; be prepared for mass vomiting in the streets. Something must be done. Surely this cannot go on much longer. Can it?

I tried to look away when The Mooch was appointed White House Communications Director. Fortunately he held the title for only ten days. But now a new one has been appointed, and she is 28 years old, a former model, very pretty and stylish, and with no experience in anything political unless you count being Trump's campaign press secretary as experience. Naturally the citizenry is aghast and agog. Tongues are wagging, rumors flying: "She's his mistress!" "He likes 'em young!" "Lookout Melania, here comes wife number 4!"

This news arrived on the same day an ordinary young woman standing in the wrong place at the wrong time was anointed as a saint, with hundreds of people in attendance at her televised (on all major news channels!) memorial service, some wearing purple because that was her favorite color and the only thing many of the mourners knew about her. Still, "she stood up for what she believed," said her mother, and next thing you know she's Joan of Arc.

Don't get me wrong: it's very, very sad that she died, run over by the car that rammed the crowd of protesters protesting the protesters in Charlottesville last weekend. But not as sad as some other deaths of true saints that went unnoticed because they served no political purpose. For example Mitch Snyder, champion of the homeless in Washington, D.C. and a personal hero of mine, committed suicide in 1990 after "saving literally thousands of lives," according to Robert Hayes, founder of the National Coalition for the Homeless and a close associate of his at the time. No big televised funeral, however.

So please, somebody, stop this ride, I wanna get off. I'll get back on when Trump is gone, unless the next POTUS turns out to be even worse, which would not surprise me one bit.

Some Statues Still Standing

 Chances are high that if you spend any time at all reading the comments following many of the articles on Facebook you're afraid to leave your home. (I know I am.) There is so much hate out there -- seething, roiling and deranged -- it's bound to hit you sometime, somewhere, even if you are a nobody who never hurt anyone. So it's little wonder that these days the Trumps are always targets. Even Melania, guilty of nothing but being too beautiful and not smiling enough, is at the receiving end of hateful comments. Just today some Internet troll (judging by his profile picture) called her "a butt-ugly ho." Naturally a debate ensued, taking the conversation deeper and deeper into the sewer, with name-calling between total strangers reaching a fever pitch.

"Our Lady of Victories"
Why this is true baffles me. It's also what keeps me from going on business trips with my husband to big cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. Those meanies are out there. I prefer my controlled environment of lobster-loving tourists and seagoing fishermen. And so far no monuments in Maine have been defaced in the name of Democracy, which is nice. Shown here are some of our public monuments yet to be tumbled by frenzied hatemongers:

"The Hiker"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet)
The Maine Lobsterman
Director John Ford (native son)
Hannibal Hamlin (VP under Lincoln)
Joshua Chamberlain (32nd Maine governor)
Paul Bunyan (fictional character)

George Cleeve (founder of Portland)
The L.L. Bean Boot
The Portland Fireman

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Tragedy of Comedy

I like to go to bed early and wake up early. This behavior affords many benefits, not the least of which is avoiding all those late-night TV yokels who are paid to keep insomniacs company. Judging by what shows up on social media most days, and sometimes even in the newspaper, on the radio and on the TV news, most of these alleged funnymen (and one woman) dip into the very same well for their jokes, and that particular well is President Trump.

Say what you will about the man, Trump was elected president fair and square and he's what we've got for the time being. And since our world is in chaos and so many of our citizens are hooked on street drugs and/or antidepressants (if they're not committing suicide or shooting up night clubs or mowing people down in the streets), it seems downright dumb to heighten our collective anxiety by denigrating the leader of our country night after night, week after week and month after month. How funny is that, really?

So to all those clever wits who make a living by continually mocking Trump, his family, his cabinet and in fact every last Republican, I say lay off POTUS for five minutes and hire some new writers. (Try some funny ones!)