11-22-63 – ASSASSINATION OF A PRESIDENT

THE END OF INNOCENCE, THE BEGINNING OF THE NIGHTMARE


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Today is the day. Fifty-four years later. I remember it. Do you?

It’s weird watching the documentaries commemorating events I remember. It’s the Kennedy assassination this month. Just about every station, network and cable, are doing specials on John F. Kennedy. For us, it’s a trip down memory lane. Or nightmare alley.

I was 13 when Kennedy was elected. I watched the inauguration on television, the first of many inaugurations I would watch. It was the greatest inaugural speech. I was naïve enough to believe he wrote it himself. And I was impressed by his hair, the best hair of any President before or since. Especially after 8 years of President Dwight D. Eisenhower who was very bald.

John-F.-Kennedy

In 1963 I turned 16 and started college. Kennedy was shot in November and the world changed. I’m sure every person old enough to know what was going on remembers where they were the day they heard the news. The assassination of John F. Kennedy was a landmark event, a turning point in history, a turning point in our personal histories.

I was in the cafeteria at school. I had a cup of tea in my hand and was about to sit. The public address system in the cafeteria went on. There was a lot of noise, but gradually it grew quiet. A news report. It took a few minutes to recognize what they were saying, to form a context. Someone had shot the President.

A few minutes later, everyone fell silent. Hundreds of undergraduates, sitting, standing. No one moving, no one talking. I stood at the table. Frozen. I never sat. I stood in the same spot for over an hour. Clutching that cup of tea, cooling in my hand. Until the voice on the loudspeaker said “President Kennedy is dead. The President is dead.”

Gradually, everyone drifted away. Subdued or silent. I found my boyfriend and we wandered around for a few hours. We didn’t do anything. Just roamed the campus, dazed. This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen, not in the United States. Eventually, when it was dark, I went home. My mother wanted to know where I’d been and I said “Just wandering around.” She didn’t believe me. She should have.

LBJ Sworn In As President

Kennedy was “our” president. He looked good. Young, attractive, different. I hadn’t been old enough to vote for him, but I was old enough to know what was happening. I watched the debates. My friends and I discussed it. It was exciting. My mother kept referring to him as “such a young man.” At thirteen, a 43-year old guy didn’t seem so young. Those were the days, eh?

For the better part of the next week, all the channels on television — there were only seven — 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 — had wall-to-wall coverage of the funeral. Endless replays of the assassination. The subsequent shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. The beginning of the conspiracy theories that still swirl around this piece of history, though at this point I don’t care whodunnit 50 years ago. There are a many unsolved crimes in history. Just add this to the long list.

I went to hang out with a friend. We took long walks to get away from the endless, morbid reiteration of the life and death of John F. Kennedy.

Gradually, life returned to normal, whatever that is. Lyndon Baines Johnson was in office. It was all about civil rights and Vietnam. I finished college, got married, wound up in the hospital and had my first near-death experience. There would be a lot more assassinations in the near future. Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X. I never got used to them, but I stopped being shocked. Which is shocking.

The 1960s were not about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. This was the decade of war, the draft, anti-war protests and civil rights. When flunking out of college meant you were going to Vietnam and maybe you wouldn’t come back. Strange how quickly we forget, replacing history with mythology.

November 22, 1963 was the end of political innocence for everyone, Democrats, Republicans, everyone. An abrupt turning part. The beginning of the road we find ourselves on today.

A president — our president — had been assassinated. Kennedy wasn’t the only U.S. President to be assassinated, but he was the first in modern times. The first TV president. A young, handsome guy. Especially important to my generation, a symbol that the torch really had passed to a new generation. We took that call to arms seriously.

It’s hard for me to look at politics today, see how petty we’ve become. Kennedy’s assassination was an end and a beginning. He was the last President to get a pass on his personal life. The first president to use electronic media to win an election. It was the beginning of a political divide that keeps getting deeper with each passing year.

Politics isn’t about real issues anymore. It’s insinuation, innuendo, and rumor. How narrow-minded and hateful we’ve become. It will pass I suppose. All things do. But when? For more than half a century, we’ve been marching down this ugly road to which I see no end.

KNOWING WHEN TWO THINGS AREN’T THE SAME

If a guy grabs your ass and you remove his hand, tell him he’s a jerk — and that’s the end of the story — is that the same as a 32-year-old attorney-general groping and threatening a 14-year-old child?

I have been raped. I have been groped. I have been propositioned. I have been abused. Despite this, I can differentiate between these events. All things are not the same thing and they shouldn’t be to anyone else, either.


When everything is the same, nothing means anything.


As an adult, getting groped — sometimes by guys too drunk to remember what they were doing — and telling them to cut it out  — was not a life-and-death issue for the young adult me. Getting raped was a lot more serious, but I got through it. Abuse as a child was entirely different and it took me the better part of a lifetime to get over it, if indeed I really have.

You can’t make everything the same without ultimately making it all meaningless. If we are going to punish equally for every inappropriate,  thoughtless move, or bad joke by any guy to any woman, it all becomes a meaningless jumble. Men won’t know what’s okay and what’s not — assuming they know it now, which many obviously don’t — and in this case, not unreasonably. Punishment is supposed to fit the crime. And that means, there ought to be a crime involved. A stupid joke in bad taste is not the same as a threat — and most assuredly is not the same as rape or attempted rape.

Let’s make some meaningful definitions. Let’s agree that something any normal adult woman can handle on her own, probably isn’t criminal. Stupid for sure. Embarrassing, no doubt. Annoying? Absolutely. But when no one is threatened, no one’s job is in peril, there’s no harm implied or done — you can embarrass the guy, publish the story on your Facebook page. Confront him and give him a piece of your mind — but I don’t think you need a jury and a prison.

All activities by men that aggravate, annoy, or disrespect women are not the same. Bad taste and bad jokes may be disrespectful, but disrespect isn’t criminal. Poorly worded comments are also not criminal. We have all said things that came out wrong and which embarrassed us — even when we weren’t trying to say anything much at all. If you use that as a gauge, the whole thing becomes ridiculous and in the end, no one will take any of this seriously.

I know the difference between criminal and not criminal. So do you. Use your brains. You have to leave room for people to be people. To make mistakes, to say the wrong thing, to make a bad joke, to have an embarrassing scene. That’s just life.

There has got to be room for people to be just plain silly or stupid without it being a felony — thus leaving room for actual crimes to be taken seriously.

FACTS, FAKE NEWS AND FACEBOOK – BY TOM CURLEY

As the drip, drip, drip of the Russia investigation is turning into a torrential downpour, the news cycle has been diverted to another story.

It appears the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama is a PEDOPHILE! A guy who had, or tried to have sex with CHILDREN!!

The facts are damning. The case against him is solid. So solid, in fact, most Republicans in Congress have come out against him and said he should drop out of the race. So, who isn’t denouncing him? Well, SCROTUS of course. What a surprise. Plus a whole bunch of Alabama Republican voters. The excuses some of them have come up with are mind-boggling.

How about: “Mary was under age. Joseph was much older, so Roy Moore is just being biblical.” Yes, that is real. I did not make it up. They also said “He might be a child-molester, but at least he’s not a Democrat.” That’s real, too.

My first thought at this was, is there no line that can’t be crossed with these people? Is there nothing this guy could do that would make them say “Enough. I’m out!”  Kill a puppy? Torture a kitten? Eat a baby?

But then I realized that the most probable reason they think the way they do is because they don’t believe the news reports. It’s all “fake news.” We live in a bizarre world where if people read news they don’t like, they refuse to believe it. Why?

Well, I think it’s mostly because of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Most people get their news these days from social media. Not newspapers, not cable news, not network news, not local news. Just Facebook.

And where does the news on Facebook come from? Mostly from people on Facebook. All those folks sharing and sending stories they see on Facebook to their friends. Email is also a popular way to propagate “the new News”. I think the reason that this new “News” delivery system has been so successful is because you get the stories from your friends.

People you know.

There is only one small problem here. YOUR FRIENDS DIDN’T WRITE THE STORIES!

They just pass them along. 99.9% of them don’t check to see if they are actually true. It only takes about 30 seconds to go to snopes.com to see if a story is true, but almost nobody ever does it.

Unless your friend is an actual reporter you should take anything you read online with a grain of salt. Some with a grain of salt the size of a grapefruit.

That’s a lot of salt!


Here’s a sad fact. Almost all the stuff you see online is not true.


There is no pill, cream or exercise that will make your penis larger. There is no program from Bill Gates, Disney, or any other company that is donating five dollars to a cancer charity every time you forward an email.

You are not going to lose 50 pounds in two days using “This belly busting miracle food!” Nor is there a Nigerian Prince who is going to send you 25 million dollars. Did I mention there is nothing that’s going to make your penis larger?

Your friends mean well, but they’re your friends. They are not journalists.

The Russians managed to send fake stories to over 120 million Americans using Facebook. Mostly because people shared and tweeted those fake stories. Facebook is like the 9-year-old friend who knew everything about everything you had when you were nine. You believed every word he said. And he was always full of shit.

Babies come from Amazon.com

Try this as a general rule on whether or not the story might be true. If you read it on social media, check out where the story actually came from, not who sent it to you. 

News is news. It’s supposed to be factual reporting on what is going on in the world. It’s not supposed to be what you would like to be going on in the world.

P.S.: If you pass this blog along to at least ten people, absolutely nothing good or bad will happen to you, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

WE HAVE TO GET AHEAD OF THIS GUY. NO REALLY — WE DO! BY TOM CURLEY

This post was originally written months ago.
It should have been topical and no longer relevant. 
Instead, it’s even more relevant.


In almost all TV cop shows and movies, the bad guy, usually a mad psychotic, a mad genius or a mad, psychotic genius, is always one step ahead of the good guys.

sdsouthard.com

sdsouthard.com

For at least the first half of the show, the good guys keep getting caught in the bad guy’s traps.

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fantendo.wikia.com

Or (and?) the bad guy keeps escaping at the last minute.

imgur.com

imgur.com

Inevitably, at some point (usually about half way through the show) the chief good guy says: “We’re constantly playing catch up. We gotta get ahead of this guy.”

This is when someone on the team, usually the brilliant but nerdy computer expert, will find a tidbit of information which leads the good guys to finally capture or kill the bad guy. The end. Stay tuned after the break for scenes from next week’s episode.

After a year of 45’s rule … it seems impossible, but has it really been just a year? It feels like a lifetime!

countercurrentnews.com

countercurrentnews.com

We’ve learned a few things.

  1. As bad as we all thought 45 would be, it’s a hundred times worse.
  2. 45 is not going to “pivot” or become “Presidential.” He is actually doing every crazy thing he said he was going to do during the campaign. No matter how stupid, counter-productive, or dangerous.

We learned who the President really was. Steve Bannon. Or was. Now … I have no idea.

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Bannon was the one writing all these insane executive orders. For months, the guy running the country (until he either quit or was fired or some bizarre combination of both) was an avowed White Supremacist who stated he wanted to blow up the government. He wants a world-wide “Crusade” against Muslims and he considers himself “The Thomas Cromwell to the court of the Tudors.”

bbc.co.uk

bbc.co.uk

Yeah, he really said that. I’m surprised he knew who Thomas Cromwell was. I wonder if he also knew what happened to Mr. Cromwell.

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The U.S. government has been turned into a very, very bad reality show.

The American press has been declared “The Opposition Party” and the enemy of the state. Fake news. Or as I believe they are going to be, “The Good Guys”.

In this new, very bad, Reality Show, we’re early in the first half of the show. The media are constantly playing catch up. They have to react to every insane tweet. Every blatant lie. Every horrific executive order. Before they can fully expose how crazy the last tweet or lie is, another one comes out.

This is not the way to handle these chuckle heads. The press has to get ahead of these guys. And we don’t need a brilliant but nerdy computer genius to do it. The press hasn’t caught on yet, but they are the people driving this administration.  It’s been reported extensively that 45 has the attention span of a puppy.

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dogtime.com

He obsessively watches cable news.  He then goes off on a twitter rant over whatever it is that he sees.


This is how you get ahead of him. Don’t react to the latest tweet with hours of dissection.  Report it and keep going back to a single narrative, a single point. And that point is: “Is The President of the United States Mentally Ill?”

It’s a question being raised more and more all over the world.

“There’s something wrong with this guy.”

“This is not normal.”

“This guy is nuts.”

brietbart.com

brietbart.com

This is a valid question, the kind of thing cable news is really good at. Cable news spends much more time putting pundits and “experts” on the air to blather over the latest tweet or the last lie than actually doing investigative reporting. Let’s start getting experts and pundits talking about this for real.

The current resident of the Oval Office is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (yes, you can have multiple personality disorders at the same time).

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This is something both my wife and I are intimately familiar with. Both of our exes suffered from the former. Here is a test sample question from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-V.

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Any of that sound familiar?

Now, when the press starts asking these questions, the blowback from the administration will be intense. Which is great. Why are they so defensive? Does the President have something to hide? I personally don’t know, but I hear lots of people saying  that the President is loony as a tick. (See, we can do that trick too). But in this case

IT’S A VALID QUESTION!!

The President has to have an annual physical exam — which he never did, by the way — so. why not a psychological exam?  This needs to become the narrative of the day. Every day. From now on. No matter what “President Bannon” orders. Whatever Cheesy McCheese Head tweets, we have to keep coming back to this topic.

IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MENTALLY ILL?

It’ll work.

We gotta get ahead of this guy.

A SINGULAR SENSATION

This has been a heavy news year and I can’t imagine anyone arguing this point. No matter where you stand, the news hasn’t just been The News. It has been … THE NEWS.

Giant hurricanes. Massive flooding, Russians trying to steer our election. A moronic president and his equally moronic cabinet. Destruction of everything we believe in or at least an attempt to destroy everything in which we believe.  Mass shootings. More mass shooting. Fires sweeping entire states. Sex scandals that will eventually include every man in Hollywood.

With all of that going on, there has been hardly any reporting of gruesome crimes and criminals. Usually we are demented about serial killers and torture … but we haven’t had anything that could top the mass dementia that has taken over our government. That’s why I was thrilled to find this headline from overseas:


Italian lodger tells police he is ‘guilty’ of cannibal murder. 


I bet our newscasters would be thrilled to have a shot at something really juicy. Since the demise of Jeffrey Dahmer, there hasn’t been an incredibly disgusting, gory serial murderer to liven up the news cycle. It’s been all politics, government scandal … and tweets.

TWEETS! Do you believe it? I don’t. It must be fake news.

That got me wondering. Who among the outside world would I like knowing was reading our stuff? I know a few of my favorite authors drop if I review one of one of their books. They are polite and send thank you notes. It’s good politics for them and it makes me feel all warm and cozy, knowing at least some of the things we write is getting read by people who care about it.

But how cool to be followed by a cannibal? What a coup! That would definitely come with bragging rights!

While Garry was working, we occasionally got phone calls late at night from convicted serial killers, sometimes critiquing his performance. Turns out, they watched him on the telly. Who’d have guessed serial killers watch the news … and have phone privileges? They also sent Christmas cards and occasionally, letters.

Perpetrators of gruesome murders currently on trial used to wave and wink at him in the courtroom. I’m sure other reporters were jealous.

From my perspective, it was intensely creepy and occasionally, downright frightening. It also made me wonder if these weirdo’s fondness for my husband and his work might encourage one of these “fans” to drop by for an unexpected visit. They clearly knew how and where to track him down. And if they found Garry, they’d find me. They were his fans, not mine.

On second thought, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m could be a big hit in prison. If seven or eight thousand of my followers are actually incarcerated, that might explain those thousands of nameless followers who never leave comments or even a “like.”

By any chance are one of you a big literary agent? Just asking.

DANCING BETWEEN THE RAIN DROPS

BETWEEN THE RAINDROPS — SURVIVAL DANCING


When Garry said it, it meant he was on the air live, had absolutely no material written and no one had told him anything … and he had to keep talking — intelligently — for as long as the station kept the mike open and cameras rolling. I once watched him dance through the raindrops for almost an hour on a runway at Logan Airport while waiting for one or another President to arrive. This kind of thing happened to him at least once a week and on a busy day, could happen several times in various locations. He was better than most people at doing the dance. They don’t give Emmy’s for it, but they should.

For me, it meant writing about something — intelligently — about which I knew essentially nothing, but I had five days to turn out 500 pages to meet a deadline. I got hired for a lot of jobs like that because I was really fast. I could write about pretty much anything if someone could give me an overview of what the product was supposed to do, for whom it was supposed to do it … and someone else would produce screen dumps for me because 500 pages, including book formatting and readying for press, is a lot of work even if you work very fast. I got paid well for the work and I deserved it. In the tech doc gig, they don’t give prizes … but earning a living is a prize. It’s not glamorous, but it has its moments.

I remember riding down the elevator at Channel 7 with Garry, on our way home. The anchor came on. He’d had a difficult show because they’d given him the wrong script. He had to wing a couple of stories. In other words, no script. Nothing to read. You’d never have known what was going on unless you were in the studio and realized he had no script. He never lost a beat and when the commercial came on, they gave him a script and an apology. He looked at Garry and said “Let no one say that I cannot dance between the raindrops!”

From teaching kids who have no interest in the course you are supposed to be presenting, to giving a speech when the audience isn’t buying it, to standing in the middle of a major catastrophe while trying to explain to the watching world — when you’re working without a script or a producer and all you have to go on is your experience. When the rain is pouring down, that’s when you find your tap shoes.

We all learned to dance between the raindrops. Remarkably, our bosses never recognized how good we are. Never noticed or said thank you because we’d done a lot more than they ever paid us to do. We got no awards or raises for being able to perform the impossible. The best we got was from our peers. “Good job,” they said and that meant something. Sometimes, it meant everything.

We are amazing, aren’t we? Let’s clap for ourselves. Let’s tell each other how good we are. Because damn it, we deserve it.

IF NOW’S NOT THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT GUN CONTROL, THERE WILL NEVER BE A TIME – TOM CURLEY

I originally wrote this post when I was watching the mass murder in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. I’m now watching the news coverage of the most recent mass shooting  in Texas. It wasn’t as big as the previous one in Nevada. That was the biggest mass murder in US history. That one took the prize for body count, but this one is still pretty good.  The biggest mass murder in Texas. Go Texas! Many have suggested that offering prayers would be pointless since all the victims were already in church, praying as they were shot. Oh — and via the same gun, too. The fabulous AR-15.

Noticing a pattern by any chance?

 

Mass shootings are almost a daily event in the USA. Think about that. I just read an article from Newsweek that states there is a mass shooting in America almost every day.

This one was the largest and worst mass shooting in American history. And you have to work hard to get that kind of award in this country. The guy had more than 10 guns. At least one or more was an automatic rifle.

Another more accurate word for automatic rifle is A MACHINE GUN!! A machine gun has one purpose.  Kill large numbers of people quickly. It came into use on a large-scale in World War One.

It’s job was to mow down and slaughter hundreds of soldiers in a very short period of time. It worked really well. 50 to 70 THOUSAND soldiers would be killed in one single battle.

It worked really well in Las Vegas too. Over 58 people dead and over 500 wounded.

And of course, the first thing you hear from Republicans and NRA gun nuts is “Now is not the time to talk about gun control! We have to concentrate on the victims!” They said it when dozens of elementary school children were slaughtered in Newtown, CT.

They said it when a crazed right-wing nut job slaughtered nine black people worshiping at their church.

They said it when a nut job shot up a movie audience in Aurora.

And it goes on and on. And they’re doing it again. I have noticed that the NRA nut jobs haven’t trotted out their favorite piece of utter bullshit. “The only thing that can defeat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That one drives me  bat shit crazy. Maybe they aren’t dragging this one out this time because even if every person at that concert had a gun (and it was a country-music festival so you have to figure more than a few might have been packing) it wouldn’t have been much good against a guy on the 32nd floor in a hotel across the street.

Both Ellin and I took a gun safety course a few years back. It allowed us to buy a gun legally and register it in the state of CT where we live. It also allowed us to go to a target range and shoot our guns legally. Ultimately we decided not to get registered and get a gun. Why? Well, first, we realized we just don’t need a gun. Second, we learned from taking the safety course that guns are REALLY DANGEROUS. People shoot themselves accidentally all the time. The statistics would amaze you.

And third, Ellin was way too good at it. (Do not piss her off).

So, I am going to say it. I am going to commit heresy. THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS FUCKING STUPID. This almost religious obsession with fire arms is FUCKING STUPID.

The second amendment was a concession to the southern states because they were afraid that the federal government wouldn’t come to their aid when they had slave revolts.  It’s not that commonly-known, but one of  the slave states’ biggest problems was slave revolts.

They happened all the time. I can’t imagine why. So, these states wanted to be sure they’d have their own “Well-regulated state militias” to keep their “property” in line.

But here’s the thing. We don’t have slave states anymore, even though a few states still seem to think it would be a good idea. Why, then, do we still have this stupid amendment?

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the idea of the second amendment stopped meaning “A well-regulated state militia” and began to mean that you could buy all the guns you wanted — like hunting rifles, military assault rifles, silencers. Anything, with no regulation whatsoever.

Why? By the 1970’s the gun industry had sold all the handguns and hunting rifles they believed they could possibly sell. The market had been saturated. Sales were starting to drop. What did they do?  They started marketing assault rifles to the public.

After all, nothing takes a deer down better that an AK47 opening up on full automatic. You can pump forty rounds into that big bad buck in about 10 seconds.

That’s American!

The comedian Jim Jefferies does an iconic routine about gun control. He makes a lot of good points.

He mentions how about 10 percent of his audience is furious when he does the routine. One guy screamed at him after one show “You can’t change the second amendment!!”

To which he responds “Yes you can. It’s an amendment!”

He’s right. We had an amendment that made drinking alcohol illegal. Sixteen-years later, we added a new amendment to amend the amendment.

Now, the endless cycle will continue. Again and again. I feel sorry for the next mass murderer. He’s going to have to really step up his game to top this one. But this is America! I know we’re up to it.

Maybe gun control isn’t the solution. Maybe bullet control is. (Technically they are called cartridges. See? I told you I took the course.) Put a 5000% tax on every box of cartridges. If each cartridge cost about $100 dollars or more, it might help. A little.


After all guns, don’t kill people. The bullets coming out of the guns at 3,900 feet per second kill people.

Now is not the time to talk about gun control? Really? Bullshit. Now is exactly the time. And the next time it happens. And the next time after that.

Oh, and if anything I’ve said here has offended any NRA gun-toting “Merican”, or for that matter, anybody else? Fuck you. I don’t care. The first amendment gives me the right to say the second one sucks.