Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tired of Trivial Pursuits

Confession time: I don't care even a teeny bit who is named the Secretary of Commerce or the Head of the Schools or the Most Esteemed Leader of the Department of This, That and The Other, and I'm not sure most other people do either, except perhaps my husband's nephews Frick and Frack, whose entire lives seem to revolve around every last thing The Donald does, says, thinks, eats and tweets. But they are a couple of rare birds; most normal people just want to pay their bills on time, not get cancer and possibly even have some fun, without keeping tabs on each and every appointment made by the president-elect like a couple of schoolgirls discussing their latest Hollywood crush.

Still, the members of the media, not ready to be weaned from the Trump-news teat, continue to stuff our faces with every crumb they can scrape off the floor of Trump Tower. Yesterday I read about a "woman of color" who was appointed as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Come on --that's not even a Cabinet position! Who cares what color she is?

Really, who cares about any of it? Can't we move on and at least wait for the barrage of meaningless trivia that will bombard us about the coming Inauguration ceremony? Like who, if anyone, will design Melania's dress for the Inaugural Ball or will she have to get it off the rack at Macy's? You know, important things like that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chasing the Young and Stupid

Pity those poor executives over at Phillip Morris USA, makers of Marlboro cigarettes. They have a "millennial problem," since 85% of young adults these days don't smoke. What to do, what to do? First, they've got to ignore the following facts:  

1. The main cause of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer is cigarette smoking, which accounts for 80 to 90% of lung cancer deaths in women and men, respectively.

2. From 2005 to 2010, an average of 130,659 Americans died of smoking-attributable lung cancer each year. An estimated 158,080 more will die from it by the end of 2016. 

3. Nonsmokers have a 20 to 30% greater chance of developing lung cancer when exposed to secondhand smoke. Such exposure causes approximately 7,330 deaths annually.

"What, me worry?"
Done! In fact, an article in today's Wall Street Journal celebrates the fact that Marlboro cigarettes are on the rise again, after a long decline. Since most of the smoking baby boomers are either already dead or on the way, dragging those oxygen tanks around airports and train stations as punishment for years of self-abuse, the target audience is millennials and they have finally been reached! The problem was that young people couldn't relate to that old cowboy image of the Marlboro Reds, so some brilliant marketing execs came up with a "bold, modern take" on the packaging (of the poison). They switched the color of the box to black and voila! -- the new kids ate it up. Marlboro Blacks are now that generation's top choice in coffin nails, responding to the trendy images of tattoos, black jeans and motorcycles in all advertising and direct mail pieces.

Whew, that's a relief, because God forbid a million times the makers of Marlboros should go out of business. Quite the contrary, the new branding has helped Marlboro reach an all-time high of the market share. Marketing executives eager to make money off of the addiction abound: For example, in the city of Atlanta they are pushing the product by dispensing coupons for $1 packs at popular underground dance clubs and neighborhood taverns frequented by their target audience. "It's making Marlboro relevant again," said one elated business analyst who apparently lacks a soul.

The ubiquitous tobacco company suffered a setback years ago when several of their top spokesmen, handsome models like Wayne McLaren who appeared as the hunky, sexy, tough "Marlboro Man" living out on the range, wild and free, began suffering from lung disease and making commercials about the dangers of smoking. According to Wikipedia, "In one such TV spot, images of the handsome young Wayne McLaren in a Stetson hat are juxtaposed with shots of his withered form in a hospital bed just prior to his death." And as recently as 2014,  Eric Lawson, another television actor who appeared in Marlboro advertisements between 1978 to 1981, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the age of 72. Like McLaren, Lawson had started smoking early and then later publicized the dangers of smoking in an anti-smoking commercial, which apparently impacted lots of potential smokers but no cigarette producers or tobacco farmers.

So now all those fresh-faced millennials who think the new Marlboro Black box is "cool" are slowly destroying their still-pink and healthy young lungs, unaware or simply uncaring that another, entirely different kind of black box awaits them years from now.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Guess What: Real News IS Fake News!

This morning I was dismayed to hear on my bedroom TV, which I turn on to watch reruns of "The King of Queens" while I make the bed, that there was an "active shooting" taking place that very moment at Ohio State University, and the campus was on lockdown, and also pretty much all of the city of Columbus since they weren't yet sure if there were more than one shooter. Naturally I stayed tuned, although I was tempted to switch because I love Kevin James and Leah Remini, at least back then when she was skinny and before I knew her whole Scientology shtick. Still, I thought I should be informed, if nothing else. Ha!

Basic job interview for on-air reporters.

Turns out the only "active shooter" was the cop who shot the suspect, who had earlier run people over with his car and then slashed eight or nine or ten people --counting is hard -- with a machete, ISIS-style. No word on whether this was a terrorist attack, but the guy who did it had four names and one of them was Allah or Akbar or something like that, so draw your own conclusions, and I mean that literally, since he is now dead and the reporters doing the reporting know nothing. They. Know. Nothing.

The cold hard truth is we are all on our own. Keep your eyes and ears open and either hunker down or head for the hills, depending. Don't ask questions, certainly don't expect answers, and most of all, follow your own counsel.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Look how normal!
Things are crazy out there. Donald Trump is slated to be our next President and Jill Stein, who can rightly be called "a loser," is demanding a recount and has raised $3 million in five days, or was it $5 million in three days, I'm not sure. Either way, what a stunning waste of time and money. And it's still coming in, with a new goal of $7 million. Stein's spokesperson explained that the funds will go to cover filing fees, attorney fees and other "associated costs." Associated to what, one wonders.

If only everyone had listened to me, that totally normal and boring Ohio Governor John Kasich, his completely American lovely wife and their 100% average twin teenage daughters would be dominating the news today instead of, well, you know. Now aren't you sorry?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fighting Over Fake News

Last night my husband and I had a 100% real argument over what turned out to be a 100% false news story. I read online that Obama's mother-in-law would be receiving a lifetime pension of $160,000 annually for having worked as a full-time caretaker to her two granddaughters while living at the White House for eight years. Disgusted by this revelation, I embarked upon a mini-rant about our despicable government, especially that mooch Michelle Obama whose mother lived in the lap of luxury for eight years on our dime and wasn't that enough? Besides, how hard was it to take care of two teenage girls who were gone most of the time, either at their expensive private school or jetting away to Hawaii and Spain and Martha's Vineyard with the greedy First Lady anyway? (Michelle took her mother along on several of these trips, including a 2010 trip to Spain that cost taxpayers at least $487,000 and a 2011 trip to southern Africa that cost at least $424,142. The cost estimates were uncovered by Judicial Watch, a D.C.-based watchdog group.)

Mitch, who lives to take the opposing side in any argument especially if it's with me and missed his calling as a prosecutor, seized the opportunity to jump on me for being "so negative." As usual he was able to come up with a way to legitimize such bullshit -- you know, look at the bright side, whereas I hate the bright side, far preferring either the wild side or the dark underbelly.

Still pissed off this morning, I researched the story and found that it was a bit of what is now called, in polite company, "fake news." It originated on a fake website called the Boston Tribune. In the heat of our our argument last night I may have said some mean things to Mitch. I'll just tell him those were fake emotions.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Who You Callin' Dumb?

Really, someone should tell all those lefties to do some research before they go off on a rant. This morning I happened upon a Facebook stream concerning Dr. Ben Carson, currently being considered by Donald Trump for HUD Secretary. Say what you will about Carson, he is not dumb, which is what the (dumb) lefties were all saying. One of them wrote that he wouldn't trust Carson to get him out of bed in the morning, or some such nonsense.

Come on people, get a grip! Here is just part of the Wikipedia entry for Carson:
"He was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. As a pioneer in neurosurgery, Carson's achievements include performing the first and only successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head, pioneering the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins, developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures. Carson became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at 33. He has received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and written over 100 neurosurgical publications. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States."

Here is the entry for Julian Castro, current HUD Secretary:
"From 2009 to 2014, Castro served as mayor of his hometown, San Antonio, Texas until he was invited by Obama to join his Cabinet."


Friday, November 25, 2016

A Bad Day After

Like a lot of other people, I spent all day yesterday consumed with consuming. With my best friend visiting from Utah making it all that much more fun, we woke early and baked two pies, then started preparing all the other things for a feast later in the day: Stuffing, roast turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy, vegetables, and of course whipped cream for those pies. Everything would later be chewed, swallowed and digested by the assorted clan members gathered to profess thankfulness for one thing or another. The whole thing pays homage to early settlers called Pilgrims who, long ago, kicked the Native Americans to the curb and claimed, "This land is our land."

I'm ashamed to admit that I give no thought, ever, to the Native Americans. Once on a trip out west I went into a convenience store on an Indian reservation. We had stopped for gas and I wanted some gum and cigarettes -- it was that long ago since I have not used either for more than a decade. I remember being totally ignored by the clerk who sat behind the counter watching TV, even after I spoke out several times. I finally left without making a purchase, wondering what the heck was going on. I didn't have a good feeling about the whole lot of them after that. (Hey, calm down -- I already said I'm ashamed.)

Then this morning I saw the mini-firestorm that had erupted on Facebook after Dan Snyder, the owner of Washington's beloved football team, tweeted "Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from the Redskins." His well-meaning wish got lots of people irate in a hurry, and I do mean lots and and I do mean irate, outraged by the fact that although the team has had that name for 82 years, it is more of a racial slur today than it was back when it originated. The bottom line: The Redskins are yet another example of that unfeeling, uncaring, insensitive, widespread racist and hateful demon, White Privilege.

Now I am filled with remorse about yesterday. Not only am I white, but I stuffed myself silly without a thought of the Native Americans. And my jeans, which fit beautifully 36 hours ago, can hardly zip up today. Don't even get me started on all the dead turkeys.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Film Review: ARRIVAL

Amy Adams ponders the meaning of everything.

They're back, and this time they're weirder than ever. The Creatures from Outer Space as depicted in the latest sci-fi thriller, Arrival, almost defy description, looking somewhat like giant, headless hands with seven skinny fingers that do not just the walking but the talking too. As usual they've dropped in without calling first, stashed inside enormous, inscrutable lozenges that hover overhead and cause panic and chaos below. And again, the burning question is: What do they want from us?

Amy Adams, looking uncharacteristically drab, stars as the unlikely heroine, a college linguistics professor tapped by the U.S. Army to try and interpret the aliens' funny noises. She accepts the job and is suddenly whisked away to an undisclosed location in Montana, site of one of the twelve spaceships dispersed around the globe. Along with a team of mathematicians and scores of serious, uniformed men, all dressed in camouflage for some reason, Amy is the only woman in sight and on screen. (Apparently there is a very thick glass ceiling in the world of alien intervention.) She works 24/7 to crack the code of the aliens' language, assuming they have one because, after all, doesn't everyone?

Despite how silly this all may sound, much of the film is oddly moving and profound, tackling our beliefs concerning death and dying, the future and the past, and the very nature of time itself. For example, I saw the movie tonight but I might be writing this review in three years. Or maybe I wrote it thirty years ago or just thought of it tomorrow. Who knows. It's all one day. Or is it? If you knew then what you know now, would you do it anyway?

Despite the complete lack of sex, scenery, action, humor and special effects, Arrival warrants repeated viewings. I am definitely planning on seeing it again last year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I Might Not be Human

Wow, I am so excited I'm busting: Apparently according to CNN, Jews might not even be people! Sure, they attributed the thought to some hate group as a cover, but still they had no problem broadcasting the message to their viewers, many of whom are idiots who believe the crawl under the picture is real news, in giant letters. (See photo).

Personally, I can't think of any species I'd rather not belong to. Not only does it solidify my belief that the Jews are a super-race, for example being only 0.2 percent of the world's population but winning 22 percent of Nobel prizes, but it means I am way different from the following "people" I find creepy and abhorrent:

Rachel Maddow
Chris Hayes
Al Sharpton
Bill Maher
Whoopi Goldberg (don't let her last name throw you)
Miley Cyrus
Kim Kardashian
Amy Schumer
Kanye West
Paul Begala (he might not even be human, not sure)

What a relief!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Don't Quote Me

I'm not surprised but I heard that now that she has no hope of becoming president, Hillary is finally divorcing Bill and coming out of the closet to be with her longtime girlfriend, Rosie O'Donnell. I say good for her, it's about time. Life is too short, you know?

These two go back many years.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, that racist pig who married a mail-order Russian bride he found on a porn website, is about to name three top Ku Klux Klan members to his cabinet. They say that right after he takes office he will require all blacks, Jews, Muslims and Hispanics to register. Not sure what for, but still I guess they want to know who's out there. You know, just to keep all the white people safe.

It's a different America these days, that's for sure. Thank God for the World Wide Interweb or none of us would have a clue as to what's really going on.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Wanna Be Wrong

Everyone always has to be right, especially those on the left. There is so much misinformation floating around out there, and still everyone has to have the last word, even if it's the wrong word! It's all so tiring.

Tonight I had dinner with a friend who said that one reason she liked Hillary Clinton is because she started the Children's Defense Fund. Being something of a pit bull on the subject of Hillary, I instantly (and obnoxiously) pounced, informing my friend that the actual founder of the CDF was Marian Wright Edelman and that Hillary worked there for a time as a lawyer, then served on their Board. But delivering my lecture was taxing and accomplished nothing since the misinformed one admitted she "didn't care." So what if she continues to believe wrong facts -- what's it to me?

From now on I am going to ease up on the truth and be wrong about all sorts of things, just like those folks who said Trump was golfing in New Jersey all weekend. It seems so much easier! In fact, I can't wait to start. Look for some interesting blog posts riddled with errors right here very soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dumb and Dumber America

A couple of Democrats waiting outside the Lincoln Tunnel.
Here is what I wonder: If they consume enough cheese-stuffed-crust pizza and deep-fried Oreos and bacon cheeseburgers and Starbucks Caramel Waffle Cone Creme Frappucinos, will the American citizens get any dumber or will there just be an increase in heart attacks, strokes and fat people?

Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump drove in a motorcade from Manhattan to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey where he is conducting meetings with potential cabinet members for his administration. This caused the closure of the Lincoln Tunnel for a brief period. You would think people would understand that this sort of thing happens, but then I lived in Washington, D.C. for 30 years and so became accustomed to my life being interrupted by politicians "doing their thing." Like the time my husband and I missed the opening curtain at the Kennedy Center when we turned into a residential street and found the traffic dead stopped. As one of the cops told us when we finally got moving twenty minutes later, Hillary Clinton, then a mere Senator, was inside her car fixing her hair and makeup before going into a nearby fundraising event while all us little people sat there, unable to pass by because of security concerns.

But back to Donald: The Internet is foaming at the mouth and all atwitter, literally, that Trump was going there to play golf! Hundreds of these fools repeated the misinformation, each comment more outraged than the one preceding it. "Imagine, he's out golfing and we all have to sit in traffic!" The fact that anyone at all would think that anyone at all who was just elected president would be playing golf with only 62 days until his Inauguration Day is obviously pathetically stupid. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scaramouch, Scaramouch, Can You Do the Fandango?

Will he be President Trump or Scaramouch?
"Is this the real life? 
Is this just fantasy? 
Caught in a landslide, 
No escape from reality...."
--Lyrics from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"  

In the waiting room at the dentist's office, I saw the latest copy of People magazine amid all the rest of the usual suspects. The cover featured the words "President Trump" writ large, with a photo of the man himself. It seemed like a perfect fit, almost as if it were hawking a new TV drama coming soon. Then, with a start, I remembered: it's the real deal.

Everyone is still stunned, as am I, that Donald Trump will be our next president. That Donald Trump. Forget the slogan being chanted by the protesters, "Love Trumps Hate!" Much more appropriate is "Trump Trumps Everything!" How did this happen, we all wonder. Face it folks: we did it. Not just Republicans, but every single American contributed to this history-making moment.

Really, it should come as no surprise that a culture that celebrates the Kardashians with their plastic boobs and butts sticking out of and stuffed into their designer clothes, and that smarmy, twerking Miley Cyrus twisting the morals of pre-teens, and the army of bimbo news babes with their low-cut leather dresses exposing thigh meat right up to those pussies no one is supposed to think about, let alone grab, and reality TV shows exploring the vapid lives of bored housewives in the country's richest zip codes has finally, naturally and what-else-would-you-expectedly chosen a billionaire TV celebrity with a show-stopping personality and not a lick of government experience as the nation's Top Dog.

You may not have voted for him, but trust me, you played a part. Now live with it.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Among the most memorable short stories from my high school days was one entitled "The Monkey's Paw." Written in 1902 by British author W. W. Jacobs, it concerns three simple country folk, an elderly couple and their grown son, whose lives were impacted tragically when they tried to alter fate. Using the three wishes granted them by a talisman they happened upon -- a withered monkey's paw said to have magical powers -- netted them all dire results, giving rise to the adage, "Be careful what you wish for."

I am reminded of the story because of the continuing outcry from the most radical members of the Democratic Party that somehow Donald Trump's victory can and should be overturned. Things are already bad enough, and although I certainly wished for Hillary Clinton to lose the election, I never expected things to be so bad if she did, with rioting on the streets, racial unrest and an even deeper rift between the two warring political factions, not to mention members of my own family.

It is almost unimaginable how much worse things might get if somehow the so-called "faithless electors" were to actually switch their promised votes on December 19 and make Clinton the winner. If that happens, God save us all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's Called The United STATES

Disappointed Democrat
The Electoral College might as well change its name to the Electoral Junior High, since that's about the level at which most die-hard Democrats with half a brain (and by that I mean they are dumb, not truly missing half their brains which some people really are and I mean no disrespect to them, no, not at all) function these days. Herds of Hillary-lovers are still in shock more than a week later, but besides licking their wounds they are taking action: 4.4 million of them have signed a petition demanding Clinton replace Trump as the victor. They base their argument on the fact that she won the popular vote but lost the electoral count and that the Electors can change their votes if they so choose when they officially vote on December 19.

Hysterical Hillary
Until Trump just four other presidents were in the same wobbly boat: John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford Hayes(1876), Benjamin Harrison(1988) and George W. Bush (2000) took the oath of office having won more electoral votes but less popular votes. Yet there was no hue and cry from the populace to change the rules; what a surprise that this time there is. Chances are the Clintons are behind this movement, and really, who can blame them? Without the adoring and fawning public and drooling press and paparazzi afforded to those in high political office, the two of them will be stuck with -- dare I say it? -- each other. And Chelsea, of course, we musn't forget her. (Actually, we musn't: Remember Glenn Close in the final bathtub scene in Fatal Attraction?)

President Streisand
If one gives this Electoral College issue even the most cursory of glances, it quickly becomes clear that our Founding Fathers were a brilliant bunch to come up with such a plan. After all, without it every single one of our presidents would be decided upon by the urban cowboys living in New York and California, with a few other big-city types thrown in. The real cowboys, along with the farmers and coal miners and just plain hayseeds, wouldn't need to think about it, let alone bother to cast a ballot. Who knows, without the system we have now that glass ceiling might have been broken years ago by President Streisand.

Heaven Couldn't Be Worse

I've always told myself that I'm not afraid of dying as much as having a lot of pain leading up to it,  but if that's the case I'll break with my own tradition and take some opiates. Still, I get wistful thinking the world will actually go on without me seeing how things turn out. But since Donald Trump was elected and things have gotten so ugly and promise to get uglier, I'm more open to it. Death, that is.

One clue that things are speeding downhill fast is the behavior of our current crop of teenagers. Sure, that age group has always been just shy of fully human, but now they're worse. For example, I just read about a group of eight teens who "heckled" Eric Trump and his wife who were leaving a Manhattan restaurant last night. As the couple crossed Sixth Avenue, witnesses saw the band of precocious darlings dancing around them and yelling, “Eric — fuck your father!” One of the more sympathetic hecklers, apparently oblivious to the meaning of his own words, shouted, “Love trumps hate!” 

So, as I consider the reality of being very old when this current crop of youngsters is at the controls, I feel better about moving on. Who knows, I might even get to meet Freddie Mercury.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Early Signs of Brain Damage

I think we can all agree that the entire nation is currently nuts. Seriously, we had Hillary Clinton running against Donald Trump for president, meaning those two deeply flawed candidates were the best we've got! Need I say more? Since Trump sealed the deal, I've been looking closely for clear signs of brain damage in the hope that early detection may help me dodge it.

One thing for sure is saying "At the end of the day" any time of the day, even at the start of the day and smack-dab in the middle of the day and yes, sometimes even at the actual end of the day when you don't mean anything about the time. When will this nonsense, and I do mean non-sense, stop? Please, if you can still read, if your brain has not turned into mush from all the binge-watching and binge-eating and binge-sitting-around, be it at home or at the office, I am begging you: Don't say it anymore. It is meaningless unless it's like, "They swore he would be there between 10 and 2 but the plumber finally showed up at the end of the day."

For further protection, immediately stop saying, "It is what it is," the utterance of which is an indication of stage-4 brain damage, so if you find yourself saying that you should get yourself checked right away. Ditto "This point in time," possibly the scariest of all. (FYI: If you need to say "this point in time," just say "now.")

Thank God for Strangers

Nobody treats me worse than my family.

Sadly, I am not alone in this: Judging by the number of matricides, patricides and babies left by their parents inside of hot cars, it's quite common. Next come old friends who think they can do or say anything and you will tolerate it.

The nicest people are those whose names I don't even know. They're out there in the streets, in stores, at the bank, at the supermarket.  Thank God for all of them.

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Mantra Isn't Working

About a year ago I discovered the writings of the wonderful Buddhist philosopher Eknath Easwaran, whose book "Passage Meditation" offers an incredibly dependable method for lowering stress and elevating peace of mind. It involves repeating a spiritual passage silently during meditation, thus eliminating, for at least that short period of time, all other thoughts, many of which may increase your anxiety or depression and certainly your blood pressure stats. Following is the one I use. It was written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun and prominent author who lived during the 1500s and advocated a contemplative life through mental prayer:

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills every need.

Until now this method worked for me quite well. For example, not once during the highly stressful period of my recent hip surgery did I ever feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, and my blood pressure was a steady 110/70 the whole time. But ever since the election of Donald Trump, it has failed. Usually after I repeat each line, I wait a few seconds and go on to the next one. But now there's this voice in my head answering back, and not in a good way! Here's how it goes:

"Let nothing upset you." But what about the thousands of people taking to the streets to protest, destroying property and the possibility of a good night's sleep, burning cars and flags and effigies of the president-elect? They are very upsetting, actually way beyond upsetting: terrifying would not be an overstatement.

"Let nothing frighten you." Just about everything frightens me now. Things are spiraling out of control. This is not the country I know, I don't like it here anymore. Riots in the streets are scary. I am afraid for my son who is out there in the city, in the mix, doing his part, possibly holding up an incendiary sign. Could he get beaten by an angry mob even if he's part of it? Remember The Who concert? And they were all just there for the great music!

"Everything is changing." What was so terrible before? Why do things have to change, and so badly? Couldn't John Kasich have won the nomination? He is such a nice man, so smart and even-tempered. But nobody wanted him at the time, except me, even though now people say they would have voted for him if they had known. Even Jeb Bush, dull but level-headed. And where were all those Hillary supporters? How come 53% of white women voted for Trump? What about the glass ceiling?

"God alone is changeless." God, Schmod! If He had been paying even the slightest bit of attention, Bernie Sanders would have won the election and everyone would be celebrating Hanukkah this year!

"Patience attains the goal. " Okay, I am willing to wait to see what happens, but all those protesters are not willing to wait. They're out there, clamoring for Trump to step down (a great idea if you ask me), scheming, planning, to do something, anything, to disrupt the natural course of events. Nobody is patient! He's not even in office yet! Imagine how bad things will get then!

"Who has God lacks nothing." Bullshit. My sister is a born-again Christian who prays every day of her life and she lacks plenty. She can't even hold an apple in her hand or write or speak clearly since her stroke. 

"God alone fills every need." Well then He damn well better get cracking, and soon. Inauguration Day promises to be The Brawl on the Mall, with thousands of protesters and who knows, maybe an attempted assassination or two. Arrests, dead cops, trampled masses of human flesh. Hurry up, God, fill all those needs already.

See what I mean? My mantra now sucks. My husband thinks perhaps I need more than just a new mantra, I need something else entirely. I'm thinking maybe a gin and tonic, or else maybe one of those new craft beers that are all the rage these days. It's worth a try, and I plan to get right on it, starting with lunch today. (I already had breakfast.)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Shut Up About Them Already

Neither side has much to recommend it.
Seventy years ago I was born into a family of Caucasians living in Brooklyn. Since there was nothing to be done about it, I continued being covered with white skin all through childhood and into adulthood. Now, after all these years of living as a white person, paying my taxes and never breaking any laws (unless you count the one against smoking marijuana which was a dumb one and is now pretty much legal) I find out that just by being white, I suck. Now, suddenly, without doing anything at all I am a racist. And without doing anything at all I am an oppressor. Who knew?

All this has happened to me because Hillary Clinton lost the election and Donald Trump won it. The funny thing is, I have never met either one of those two people and I never will. They have never heard of me. They know nothing of my life or my personal struggles. They don't give a damn about my high blood pressure or my random dizzy spells or my creeping anxiety. They have no idea of my sister's recent stroke and how much it depresses me to think of her in a nursing home, unable to even grasp an apple, forget playing the piano or painting, two things she did quite well that gave her the only pleasure she had left in life. Yet I am supposed to care deeply and profoundly about them and their families and their feelings. Well guess what: I don't. Sue me.

Hillary will be fine. She has hundreds of millions of dollars, several grandiose mansions, two grandchildren and tons of loyal friends, not to mention pantsuits. She can spit a few words onto a piece of paper anytime she wants and get it published, whereas the novel I spent over a year writing continues to be rejected and remains unread on my computer. (Yes, I'm bitter. I am reminded of the day my grandfather died: The family was bereft, his body still warm, and funeral plans were in the making as my grandmother, his wife of fifty-plus years, stood in the middle of us all and yelled, "Alright, he's dead already -- now what about me?")

As for Donald: He won the election. I never liked him before and I don't like him any more -- or less -- now. I hope he does a good job for the country, but honestly, I didn't tell him to run and I'm sick of talking about him for one more second. And really, unless you have a plan to fix things, work for the government or know how to help in some way, you should be too.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Boo-Hoo, Hillary Lost

Boo-hoo, my choice lost. Waaaaaaaaah!
Jesus Christ, these people are crybabies! Get over it! Hillary lost the election because not enough people wanted her to be the next president! Yeah yeah, I know she won the popular vote, but that's not how it goes here in this country and never has, so quit bawling and get on with your life.  And by the way let's remember that Hillary is no saint, she's just the only person the Dems could find except of course Martin O'Malley, 'memba him?

Honestly my biggest problem today was that our power went out while I was in the shower and I couldn't dry my hair. That, and the fact that my sister had a stroke weeks ago and today is her birthday and I sent her flowers and called her at a nursing home which made me feel like curling up in the fetal position and staying in bed all day, bummed me out a lot more than any of this election stuff, until something happens that actually impacts me or anybody else for that matter. So far the only bad things going on are violent actions by the Democratic protesters! No Republicans have dragged innocent people who happened to vote for a different candidate --the winner by the way-- out of their cars at stoplights and beat them to a pulp! (Google it.)

Rough Sailing On the Trumptanic

Surely I'm not alone when I say I fear not the so-called "deplorables" who voted for Trump but rather all those nice Hillary supporters who are wailing over the outcome of a fair election and scaring the shit out of everyone. Wandering throngs of these "non-deplorables" have been roaming the streets of several major US cities for the last two nights, allegedly "protesting" our new president-elect who thus far has done nothing since his election but meet peacefully with President Obama at the White House and duck into the Capitol for a stop-and-chat with members of Congress.

The "protests" involve, as usual, herds of troublemakers rioting, throwing rocks, looting, beating other people up and setting cars on fire. One young Latino woman I saw interviewed on TV kept marching as she shouted, "There will definitely be casualties, this is war!"  These folks are the scary ones, not Donald Trump. (At least not yet, anyway.) And what do they want to happen? Perhaps they hope that Trump will resign even before he takes office and say, "Never mind, here Hillary, you be president, life is too short for this." Personally I wish he would, since the poor man had a fairly nice life going for himself before all this started. Now it's a horrible mess for him and his whole family.

If only everyone would take a deep breath and realize we are all in this together, then go about their business and let the man show us his best side, the ship of state might right itself. Otherwise, it will certainly sink. I don't know about you, but I'm keeping my head down and staying close to the life rafts.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Hey, all you people who hate Trump for getting elected fair and square, as amazing as that seems, mostly because he was running against someone half the country hated as much as your half hates him, quit your bellyaching and do something constructive. Walking through the streets at night holding up signs about how much you hate him does nothing except possibly get you on the evening news.

Instead, try this: Write editorials and send them to every newspaper. Study hard, go to college, maybe even law school. Get into politics and bring about the societal changes you want to see in your lifetime. Or else just forget about it, invest in a decent pair of blinders and try to live a happy life inside your own tribe.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Change Agent

Certainly all of America is stunned this morning, but only half in a good way. Donald Trump won the election sometime in the middle of the night, and not just by a little but a lot, making his supporters happy beyond their wildest dreams. Hillary Clinton lost, so her followers are despondent and depressed, except actor Alec Baldwin who just landed a four-year dream job on Saturday Night Live impersonating the new president.

To my friends and family on both sides of the aisle, I offer these four little words that can make a sad man happy and a happy man sad: This too shall pass.

Among the many positives inherent in this outcome, one in particular stands out: The man is nothing if not driven. Trump said at the outset that he would win and he did! With that kind of follow-through, our next president can do great things for our nation; you never know. One thing is for sure: change is in the air.

Monday, November 7, 2016

James Comey Said What?

Janet Reno, who served as Attorney General during Bill Clinton's administration, died today. To be honest, this news matters little to me, but I'd like at least to know this: Is she really dead? I wonder because The New York Times article on her passing mentions that she was "imposing" at 6'1" but her Wikipedia biography states that she was 6'2". Even worse, other quite reputable news sources report Reno as being 6'1.5" and 6'3", which is obviously just not possible, at least in our world as we currently know it.

Just how hard is it to get that one teeny, tiny fact straight? And if that's hard, just imagine how much misinformation we are we fed daily by the Times and all the other purported know-it-alls. What else have they gotten wrong?  And is James Comey involved?

The mind boggles.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


 Kendrick and Affleck run some numbers that don't add up.

Even though the plot is a bit hackneyed and riddled with loopholes and unanswered questions, The Accountant is a good, old-fashioned, edge-of-your-seat nail-biter. Starring Ben Affleck, who seems to get better with age, as an autistic math genius (reminiscent of Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind), the film is also surprisingly violent so get ready to squirm as the body count mounts. The violence comes from Ben's other job, as a highly paid number-cruncher for Mafia crime families and similar unsavory types. Now, along with being fairly nutty he's very rich, possessing drawers full of cash, gold bars and foreign currency as well as original paintings by Jackson Pollock and Renoir, all of which is stashed inside an Airstream trailer parked in a storage locker.

A heavy-handed author's message is woven throughout the film having to do with autism, which, as depicted through disturbing flashbacks to our hero's tortured childhood, looks like a horrid disease. You'll leave the theater with a heightened awareness about it, and in this upcoming season of giving may consider a charitable contribution somewhere.

I've already said too much, but there are a couple of other things of note: In a supporting role, John Lithgow lends a respectful feeling of gravitas to the situation, and Anna Kendrick is simply great as a young accountant who gets mixed up in the whole bloody mess. Her performance is so authentic and un-Hollywood, she virtually owns the movie. If for no other reason, see it for her.

I May Throw Up

I've thought about doing it for years, but now I might really go ahead with it. I simply cannot imagine owning a television set after the election of whichever horrible candidate wins.

If it's Trump, all Hell will will break loose, with those rabid Democrat dogs foaming at the mouth all over the place. (I may have to stop reading the paper too.) Even worse, if it's Hillary, the insipid and boundless gloating of her pawns will be unbearable, not to mention having to watch that smug, self-serving threesome -- Chelsea learned from her parents and is now just like them, living in an eleven million dollar apartment in New York City! -- play Lord and Master (which one will be which is anyone's guess) to all of their underlings hoping for a smattering of fairy dust and groping for an invite to a fancy-schmancy White House dinner, no doubt with entertainment by Hillary's new best friends Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Instead I will retreat even further into my own world and create incredible art. This week's plan is to paint our dining room table. That seems so much more rewarding than contemplating the fortunes and foibles of others that have nothing at all to do with my life. Besides, I hate vomiting and the whole political scene makes me nauseous.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Drugs R Us

Portland, Maine, surely the most interesting and culturally advanced city in what is rightly called "America's Vacationland," has a big drug problem. It's heroin addiction, and it's growing. This fact directly contradicts the state motto, "The Way Life Should Be." Young people stand on just about every street corner of the city's major thoroughfares wearing glazed expressions and holding cardboard signs declaring their particular plight: Homeless, hungry, this is the best I can do, no job, kids need food, Iraqi war vet, etc. How did things get this bad here?

It's a long story and you don't need me to tell it, just look it up online. But one thing I can add is a personal anecdote, which exemplifies how a bad situation keeps getting worse. My hip surgery last August caused me to be hospitalized for 36 hours, after which I was released in my own care. The doctors sent me home with narcotic painkillers, despite the fact that I swore up and down I would never take one: I hate that stuff. But they insisted, warning that I could find myself in a lot of pain on a Saturday night and be helpless to do anything about it. Duly scared I said okay, fine, I'll take a couple of them just in case. They sent me home with a little jar of 40 Oxycontin pills. Forty! Not two or three or four or five, but 40!

I stored them with the ten Oxycontins I got from my dentist two years ago after a tooth extraction when I told him I didn't want any. That makes 50. And my husband has quite a few he never wanted leftover from his last surgery, bringing the total to about 70 pills. I have since learned that the street value of all those pills is roughly $20 per pill, or $1,400. (I could turn them in to the police department, but since I have no children living at home I'm saving them in case the armies of ISIS make their way to Freeport, at which point I will swallow them all.)

As for the city's heroin problem, which allegedly starts with an Oxycontin addiction, I wonder what gives. What's with all the prescriptions? Are the physicians getting a kickback from the drug companies? Are the pharmacies also in on it? And most important, is there any way I can link this to the Clinton Foundation?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Get A Lifestyle

Marla Maples, the second of Donald Trump's ex-wives and mother of their daughter Tiffany (who looks exactly like a Barbie Doll but is actually human), has launched what is described as "a new lifestyle website." This is of course very exciting news for all of us average people who need instructions on how to live, and in fact may even lack a lifestyle altogether.  I took a quick peek at it and saw that in the "About" section, Marla describes herself as a "vegan" and a "carnivore (lol)." Right away I knew she had tons of useful tips, like how the addition of "lol" right after something makes whatever you said right before it acceptable.

Mostly I am excited to finally learn the difference between a "life" and a "lifestyle." I'm pretty sure I just have the former, but I would not mind having the latter as it seems to make people happy. I looked it up and found out that a lifestyle is "a particular way a person lives." Developing one will be a stretch for me as up until now I have lived willy-nilly; I'm not a big planner. For example, one day I might sit around and do absolutely nothing, and the next I might be quite active and may even get something done.

Clearly my problem until now has been my lack of a lifestyle. But it's never too late, and perhaps if I spend some time reading Marla's website I'll figure out how to get one (lol).

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Don't Be Late, I'll Be Waiting

It's nutty how few people value punctuality these days. Even the symphony doesn't start on time. Why have clocks and watches and all sorts of hi-tech timepieces if you're not going to bother paying any attention to them?

What's got me going on this is the fact that I was to be included in a conference call this morning at 11 AM. At 10:30 AM my phone rang, and it was the woman who had arranged the call, wanting to confirm the the time. She had erased it from her records and worried it might be scheduled for 11:30 and not 11:00, and thus wanted to double-check. I said it was 11:00. She said fine, she and her team would call then. It is now 11:23 and the call has still not come. This pisses me off to high Heaven.

Through his surrogate Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David said it best: People, they're the worst.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Democrats Lower the Bar

Growing up in my quasi-kosher family, I had to tolerate a lot of hypocrisy. One outstanding bit of chicanery involved the Sabbath, the holy day that started every Friday at sundown and lasted 24 hours. No work could be done, and cooking a meal, even turning on the oven, was considered to be work. My grandmother, a devoted Jew if there ever was one, got around that rule by cooking all the weekend meals on Friday morning, then simply turning on the oven to "warm up" the food when it was time to eat.

"But Grandma," I would say, "I thought turning on the oven is not allowed."
"Not to cook, but a warm-up is allowed," she'd say.

I was reminded of this semantic nonsense earlier today during a Facebook sniping contest with a friend over Hillary Clinton's dishonesty; he's a Clinton-lover, I am proudly not.

I called her conniving. He said he could live with conniving. I then gave him the definition of the word: Given to or involved in conspiring to do something immoral, illegal, or harmful. He countered with, "Depends on who finds it harmful," pointing out that Bernie Sanders probably found some of Hillary's actions harmful to his campaign, but in reality she was just being "strategic," adding, "I understand why people who fail to strategize at her level would feel like they'd been poorly treated."

Honestly, sometimes it's exhausting trying to talk to those people.

Money for People, Not Politics

Things are a mess in Haiti. Do what you can to help.
Why do we care so much about who someone likes for president but care so little about almost everything else they do? And how come we ask boldly, "Who are you voting for?" but never ask, "How much did you give to charity this year?"

I have lost friends because I voted for George W. Bush. Twice. Since then I never say who I'm voting for, and in fact I often give completely false information on that issue just to see the other person's reaction. It's usually a hoot, and never am I disappointed. On the charity issue, it's a different story. It never comes up in conversation. Nobody asks, "Where did you send your money for Haitian relief after that last hurricane?" I'm guessing it's because they haven't sent any anywhere.

Last month hundreds of Haitians were killed when Hurricane Matthew struck that island on October 4, and since then the death toll has risen to over 1,000. Adding to the chaos, an upsurge in cholera is claiming more lives. Forget the damn election for two minutes and write a check today, not to Hillary or Donald to be used on another muckraking TV ad but to a Haitian relief organization for food, clothing, medicine and shelter for actual human beings. And skinflints take heart: Your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Gifts of November

Here in Maine, the glorious month of October is so over it's not funny. Going out for the newspaper this morning, I was stunned at the condition of the world. It was freezing -- actually below freezing at 27 degrees -- and many of the once-lush surrounding trees displayed embarrassingly bare limbs. A thin layer of icy frost covered my car parked in the driveway and an empty grey sky foretold the coming snows of winter, not to mention the coming horrors of Election Day. Welcome to November.

For me, the only thing this month has going for it is the fact that my wonderful son was born during its first week, many years ago. I was reminded of that happy occasion a few days ago when I attended a baby shower for a young friend who is due to give birth later this month. I hadn't attended one of these events for decades and expected to sit around eating bonbons and watching her open baby gifts, but to my delight there was far better entertainment: An artist had been hired to paint a lovely henna tattoo on the guest of honor, still busy growing inside his mother's expanded belly.

This was great fun for all of us, especially since the baby was quite active during the proceedings, obviously aware that something very unusual was going on right outside. We saw him tossing and turning inside his tight quarters, eager to get out and join the festivities.

That tattoo will likely fade before his arrival but since the event was well-documented, Emily's son will eventually get to see what all that fuss was about. And for another young mother, an otherwise bleak month will bring a lasting gift.