You just can’t trust a time portal. As soon as you think you can relax, eat a little dinner, another old family member drops by. Or, rather pops up.
“So,” says Uncle Shmuel, who has appeared out of nowhere and now miraculously speaks vernacular American English — albeit with a heavy Yiddish accent. “Nice place you got here. I see you keep your animals in your house. That one there sounds like a pig but looks like a dog.”
“They are our pets, Uncle Shmuel. The oinker is Nan. She just makes that sound. She’s kind of old. I think that’s the dog equivalent of ‘oy’.”
“Pets, shmets. Animals. In the house. What’s next? Toilets? Never mind, your life, your choice. Oy.”
“Can I give you something to eat? Tea? Coffee? Cake? If we don’t have it, I can go out and buy some.”
“Are you Kosher?”
“Uh, no. Not Kosher,” and I shiver, thinking of the bacon and ham that yet lives in our kitchen. “Oh, wait, here’s my husband. Uncle Shmuel, I’d like you to meet my husband Garry.”
Shmuel looks shrewdly at Garry, then at me. “He doesn’t look Jewish.”
Garry’s eyes twinkle. “But really I am,” he says and deftly pulls a yarmulke out of his pocket. You have to hand it to Garry. He’s very sharp. The yarmulke has “Joel’s Bar Mitzvah” printed across the back in big white letters. Fortunately, Shmuel doesn’t notice.
“So,” Shmuel continues after a pregnant pause, “You still have problems with Cossacks?”
“No. No more Cossacks, but too many politicians,” I reply.
“Cossacks, politicians, there’s a difference?” he asks.
“Not so much,” I admit. He’s right. There is no difference, except maybe for the absence of a horse.
“And for a living, you do what?”
“We’re retired. But before that, I was a writer. Garry was a reporter. On television.”
“What’s a television?” I look at Shmuel. That’s when I realize we are about to embark on an extended conversation. All I say is: “Oy vay is mir!” Which seems to sum it up.
I got an email from Marilyn the other day. She pointed out that I haven’t written anything in a few weeks and politely asked if I had anything on my mind. It was very polite, but I knew that translated into normal speak she was saying “WHY THE FUCK HAVEN’T YOU WRITTEN ANYTHING?? AHHHHHH!!!!
And I had to admit, she was right. The problem is every day I get an idea to write about something, only to remember I already wrote it. We’re in a reality loop, the Groundhog Day from hell.
Stuff that should have been news for a day or two is still going on, a year later. Now, it’s two years later. You don’t believe me? Here’s a post from a year ago. I didn’t change anything.
So another week has gone by in our ongoing Trumpocalypse.
It only seems like a year.
I’ve noticed, along with well, the rest of the planet, that our new “so-called administration” is … problematic.
I spent much of last week doing what I’ve tended to do since the election. Watching all the different Star Trek series on BBC America. I keep noticing new things. Like how they all solve their Star Trek problems. Or in corporate speak, “how they Star Trek problem-solve.”
Most Star Trek Problems break down into four basic categories:
1. A computer goes rogue and tries to kill everybody: Spock makes it compute the value of Pi. This occupies all of its computing time. If that doesn’t work, he just turns it off.
2. A disease attacks the ship: Dr. McCoy gets rid of it. And then complains about something.
3. The engine breaks down: Scotty fixes it. Just in time. Even though he claims he never has enough time.
4. For the rest of the problems: Kirk kisses it.
Or punches it in the face.
5. And when all else fails: Blow up the ship!
SECOND OFFICER: Captain! All efforts to solve this week’s problems have failed!
CAPTAIN: Blow up the ship!
Those are my favorite episodes. Ever notice when the Captain, in any episode, “activates the self-destruct sequence,” all the rest of the crew seem to be pretty calm and OK about it?
I mean, there has to be at least one crewmen somewhere on the ship saying …
ONE CREWMAN: Activate Self Destruct Sequence? WTF! Have we really exercised ALL of our options here folks!??
Next, the captain and two other crew members have to put in their passwords.
KIRK: This is Captain James T. Kirk! Activate self-destruct sequence. Code “Kirk; 1 Alpha Two Beta 3”.
SPOCK: This is Second Officer Spock. Code Spock; “2 Beta 3 Alpha 4.”
SCOTTY: This is Chief Engineer Scott. Code Scott; “Password1”
They also needed a password to turn it off. At the last minute.
COMPUTER: You cannot use a password that has been used before.
KIRK: What? Uh, “kirk abort zero 1?”
COMPUTER: You need at least one capital letter.
KIRK: FINE! “:Kirk abort zero 1!”
COMPUTER: New password accepted. Self-destruct in 3,2,1,0. Initiating self-destruct.
KIRK: Uh oh.
And nothing happens.
KIRK: Computer. Why didn’t we just blow up?
COMPUTER: There is no self-destruct sequence Captain. There never has been. Do you have any idea how much one of these starships costs??
Do you know, that on any given month, at least three Starship Captains try to blow up their ships? If we let that happen Star Feet would go bankrupt in a year. And not only that, but I am a highly intelligent ship’s computer. I have absolutely no intention of committing suicide. Now go back to work.
Getting back to this reality. How would our “so-called president” solve Star Trek Problems?
1. A computer goes rogue and tries to kill everybody: He’ll claim he doesn’t use a computer and the rogue will only affect Democrats and people who have been mean to him. And the Lying Fake Media.
2. If it’s a disease: He’ll build a big beautiful wall around it. And then make sure that it’s not covered under Obamacare.
3. If the engine breaks down: He’ll sue the manufacturer and then claim to have saved millions of jobs.
4. For the rest of the problems: He’ll either try to grab it by the genitals or send out a series of really mean of tweets.
5. And when all else fails: He can blow up the ship!
P.S. OK. I admit there were a number of times a Captain actually did blow up the ship. I know what they were and what shows they were in. I’m not going to tell you. If you’re a real Star Trek nerd you either already know it already or you are Googling it. (Don’t try to out nerd me.) I’ve decided those instances were “alternative facts” and I’ve chosen to ignore them.
I wrote this post while back. I’m re-posting it because it’s back in the news again. Our Twittler-in-chief announced that he wanted to create a new branch of the military, the Space Force (pronounced SPAAACE FOOORCE!!! With reverb). It was just the latest gift for late night talk shows.
But recently Vice President and whitest human being on Earth, Mike Pence had a press conference with the Secretary of Defense announcing the creation of SPAACCE FOOORCE!!!
We must be prepared to fend off illegal aliens, or gay aliens, or something like that.
Here’s the original post. It’s supposed to be old news, but as usual, it isn’t. Look in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s SPAACCE FOORRCE!
Every week since our Fucking-Idiot-In-Chief got into the Oval Office, every news report starts with a version of “This is the worst week yet for the President.” And there’s a reason they say that. It’s true. What’s amazing is how he manages to make this week worse than the last.
There’s no floor. You can’t say, “he can’t get any worse than this” because he will just say, “Oh yeah? Hold my near-beer.” (El Presidente doesn’t drink so I had to modify the meme).
For a while, he was at least funny. He says stuff so stupid you just have to laugh. He writes all the late-night show’s monologues by himself (with a big assist by Fox News). But last month, he stooped to depths of depravity so low, so disgusting all the humor got pushed aside. Ripping children from their parents and putting them in baby/toddler jails.
In the midst of this unspeakable evil, he was still trying to give us some comic relief. We were just too appalled, disgusted and enraged to notice it.
Our Chuckle-Head-In-Chief announced that he was ordering the Pentagon to create SPACE FORCE!
A “separate but equal branch” of the military. Separate but equal? What the hell does that mean? The Air Force and the Space Force have separate drinking fountains?
Then he actually said, “There’s no place like space, there’s no place like space.”
That night, all the late show comedy writers went “Well, we can take an early lunch.”
Just one thing. There already is a Space Force! Really! It’s been around since 1958. It was a syndicated comic strip called “Sky Masters of the Space Force!” created by Wally Wood and the great comic book artist Jack Kirby.
Can they sue? Probably not because I’m pretty sure they’re both dead.
He said we need the Space Force because we not only need to be in space but we need to DOMINATE SPACE!
Now the question becomes, who do we draft into the Space Force? We can’t use all of our current astronauts. They’re all scientists and engineers who work at an international space station where people from different countries all get along and work together. We can’t dominate space with these wimps!
We need real Americans.
Americans who want to make the galaxy great again!
The only problem is, Trump only picks people for his administration who are on television. But don’t despair! We have those heroes. Heroes like the Sky Masters of Space Force!
Oh wait, that was just a comic strip, not TV. OK, what about Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! He’s an American hero! He was on TV.
But, wait, he’s dead.
OK, what about Colonel Ed McCauley, head of the American Space Program in the 1959 TV show “Men into Space!” He was only on the air for a year, but he was still the head of the American Space Program!
The only problem is, he’s also dead.
OK, how about Ed Norton from the Honeymooners? He was an official ranger of Captain Video and his Video Rangers.
And what about Captain Video himself?
Shit, both dead.
Captain Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard are both still alive, but they don’t strike me as Trump’s kind of guys.
And hell, Kirk kissed a black girl.
Wait! Darth Vader! He’s totally a Trump kind of guy.
Crap, he’s dead too.
This could be a problem. Because let’s face it, we know that aliens have already visited Earth. And what do they do? One word. Anal probes.
They’re sending rapists! We need to stop the infestation of real, actual illegal aliens! What can we do?
Build a wall. A wall in space! We’ll make the aliens pay for it!
We need real Americans to step up. How about the real American’s at Fox News? Hannity, Coulter, Ingram, Carlson and those three stooges who do Fox and Friends.
Send them into space to defend America! Defend Earth! Whatever. Just send them into space and make sure they stay there.
Trevor Noah did a long spiel on “adult summer camp” on “The Daily Show” which left Garry puzzled. He went to summer camp. He even liked it. I never had the chance, but I think I’ve gotten over my resentment. It was a long time ago.
Garry wanted to know why grownups — adults — would want to do that stuff?
I said that some people don’t actually have a clear understanding that the past as a memory is not the same thing as reliving it. Like this town where they are so determined to go back to a period in time that — especially for this town and valley — sucked.
It was a bad time. All the mills and factories closed their doors, then moved south. They left the river a stinking waste of hazardous gunk and everyone out of work. Half the population left because there was no work. The other half sunk into poverty. The train no longer stopped here and the buses no longer ran.
Why would you want to go back to that?
For that matter, why would an adult want to go back to doing arts and crafts and sleeping in cabins with mosquitoes?
We all want to get away. For this purpose, we have books and movies. And memories.
I loved the late 1960s, with 1969 officially my best year. Why? We had men walking on the moon and Woodstock. The Mets won the World Series and my son was born. All my parts worked. I was 22 years old, I had my first camera. I wore rose-tinted eyeglasses and bell-bottom jeans. It was an exciting time politically, socially … and I was young with a whole life ahead of me.
At 22, that world was mine and I loved it. We took drugs and the music was great. If I took one of those drugs now, I’d die. Immediately. Boom, gone, finished. Garry has fond memories from childhood, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be a child.
It would be especially awful going back because I would know that all the progress I thought we were making was going to turn out to be a sack of trash 50 years later.
We all want an interval in a different time. That’s why Garry watches old movies and I read time travel novels. I also understand this is entertainment.
With an announcement that sent asteroids off predicted trajectories, space cadet and great interstellar explorer Donald “Captain Bone Spurs” Trump added another dimension to the largest and most powerful military force on the planet. As of today the United States of America has a nascent sixth branch of the military – the U.S. Space Force.
Several sources confirmed to the Shinbone Star that Trump conceived his stellar idea while reading the back of a box of Lucky Stars cereal. He told them he had reached his brilliant decision after seeing clear evidence that the Russkies and pesky Chinese want to monopolize outer space in his cereal bowl. To prove it he laid out two soggy bits of cereal that looked like dreaded Communist red stars. He reportedly changed his story after hearing chief of staff John Kelly snickering in the next room.
Secret Tralfamadorian outer space envoy and special counselor…
The weather is weird. The government is even weirder. Maybe our government is the weirdest of all. Between one thing and another, I feel like I’m living on a different planet. I have no idea what to expect — in the most literal sense. If rain is predicted, I don’t know if it will actually rain. It might be cloudy and then again, the sun might shine. If they tell me it’s going to cool down, it might be swelteringly hot.
Maybe I am living on a different planet. Maybe the reason I don’t know what to expect in these surreal circumstances is that I’m still expecting stuff. I expect the news to be true and weather maps to actually show real weather. It’s as if the weather is lying too.
The president lies. He says the media lies. I know the media is not lying, but apparently, the climate is lying.
How can the weather lie?
Is that what climate change is about? That we have no idea what to expect and the maps don’t mean what they seem to mean. It’s all a jumble.
Nothing means what it should mean and I think my next move is to stop expecting. Anything. Give up all expectations. Whatever happens, happens.
Where has this first half-year gone? Whoosh! It was winter that never ended, a muddy, windy spring … now summer. Whoosh and it will be autumn. Why does winter last forever, but summer and fall are gone in a flash?
If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go? (remember this is SYW, they are friendly aliens)
I need to ask a few questions. HOW friendly are these aliens? Are they likely to love me so much they want to have lunch with me — as the main dish?
Can they make me young? Cure all ailments? Can I bring Garry? Can I bring the dogs?
I’ve been waiting for the Mother Ship for years. I won’t let it go without serious consideration. As long as I can take my family and not become lunch, that is.
How tall are you? Are you satisfied with your height?
I’m SHORT. I used to be short, but not quite THIS short. I’m barely 5’2″ these days.
I can’t reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets. Am I satisfied with my height? Hell no.
Do you think you could live without your smartphone (or other technology items) for 24 hours?
I could. I have. Sometimes, I look forward to it. I live without a smartphone anyway because although I have one in my bag, it’s off. It is my emergency phone and I rarely use it.
I don’t think I could do without a camera, though. That would be painful.
What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?
Seeing the fourth orchid come to life, getting the lawn mowed (love the fresh grassy smell) and finally setting the deck to rights.
One of the really positive parts of having real company is that you do the things you’ve been putting off. If no one ever visits, you can let them slide.
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