TRUMP MAKES ME MEAN – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I don’t consider myself a mean spirited or a vindictive person. I avoid conflicts with others and I don’t think about revenge when someone slights me. My friends and family consider me a nice, decent, even sweet person. I even stayed friendly with my ex-husband after our divorce for many years.

But suddenly, I’m finding myself positively gleeful at the sudden and dramatic downturn in Trump’s (and all Republicans’) fortunes. I not only cheered, but gloated when I saw only one third of the seats filled at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Especially after his people bragged about the huge number of tickets requested. They even created a second rally venue outside the stadium and planned additional speeches by Trump and Pence for these anticipated overflow crowds. That made their failure more gratifying when only 6,200 people showed up in a building that had 19,000 seats.

I was so happy imagining Trump’s shock and horror as he looked out on the sea of empty blue seats. I was chuckling and fist pumping as I watched Trump’s dejected walk of shame later that night, morosely slouching back from his plane with his tie undone and his crumbled MAGA hat in his hand.

I am elated as I watch Trump’s poll numbers drop so far that even his people have to admit that he’s trailing Biden pretty much everywhere. But I feel more than the usual relief and hope that I would feel in normal times when my candidate is ahead in the polls. I feel vindication knowing that Republicans may have to face the reality that their years in the sun may be over – hopefully for a very long time.

Trump also created a problem for himself by stating that if he loses the election, it will be because of massive election ‘fraud’ or ‘rigging.’ So now anti-Trumpers can’t just be happy beating him by a respectable but small margin. We need to win in a landslide that he can’t possibly contest. We have to crush him like a bug.

I gather that others feel the same way I do because I’ve heard the phrase “Democrats will crawl over broken glass to get to the polls to defeat Trump,” even in a global pandemic.

I’m feeling some of the same glee and vindication watching Confederate Statues come down all over the country. The fact that Trump is livid about this makes the trend that much sweeter to watch. But I never understood the concept of honoring generals and other confederates who not only committed treason by trying to break away from the United States of America, but lost a war trying to do so. No one puts up statues to the people who lose the wars! We don’t have German or Japanese names on anything that I’m aware of.

Confederate Statue pulled down by protesters

Even in Germany, there are many monuments to WWII, but none are of Nazis! They are for the VICTIMS of the Holocaust, not the perpetrators! And the Holocaust is taught in German schools as the horror it was so it will never happen there again.

Statue in Germany to concentration camp victims

So when Trump (hopefully) loses big in November, I will not only be cheering for Biden’s win, but for Trump’s loss. I will also be hoping for the total humiliation and despair of Trump’s supporters and enablers, who always claim to be the ‘real’ Americans. I want them to feel the range of horrific feelings much of the country has been feeling for almost four years. I will be ecstatic as they watch in horror as the country repudiates them, their horrible values and their disgusting, shameful leader.

If that makes me a mean person, I can live with it.

THE MAN WHO WILL NOT BOW – GORDON C. STEWART

A man who speaks the truth discussing the man who wouldn’t know the truth if it sat on him.


 

Views from the Edge

Independence Day at Mount Rushmore

The Fourth of July feels a bit different this year. When the sculptors chiseled the 60-foot faces of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), they could not have imagined a pyrotechnic desecration of national monument, although they knew their defacing of the granite desecrated the land once enjoyed by America’s vanquished First People. They could not imagine that in 2020 the four celebrated presidents’ statues would be toppled on public squares for having owned other human beings while their successor ignores a pandemic to shine the light on himself.

“Too much faith in ‘just one man'”

Weeks ago I learned that FoxNews host Tucker Carlson had asked my question. I have to check it out. Finding a YouTube of that particular Tucker Carlson Tonight episode, I can’t believe my ears or eyes.

“Many of our leaders believe…

View original post 496 more words

SO MANY FLOWERS ARE GONE – Marilyn Armstrong

When I started writing Serendipity eight years ago, I was enthusiastic and full of energy. Undisciplined. All over the place. Writing too much, leaping from subject to subject. Angry one day, mellow the next. Ranting about the wrongs of the world and how we needed to fix everything. I think I knew more when I was younger. I even ranted about philosophy. Imagine that.

Almost the end of this run of orchids

And then I just dropped everything and took pictures of birds and flowers and rivers and autumn leaves..

I was so passionate I probably contradicted myself a dozen time a week, but who was counting?

A hideous election that completely altered my world view — and massive heart surgery — and now, I am living in my nightmare world. I expect awful things and to no ones surprise, that’s what we get. Because somehow, through the perfect storm of politics, we elected the worst possible president and now we are living under his tweets.

The last of the orchids … except for 2 more buds

I remember 2012, when I was full-bore into the election and all the positive change I expected to see. The election ended. Gridlock began. The air went out of my bubble. Life got grim and rather ugly. I got sick. I didn’t want to get down in the trenches and duke it out with people with whom I disagreed. I didn’t feel like bothering to call out the crazies for being crazy. I wanted to hear music. Not new music. Old music.

As we head into elections in 2020, we need to be a whole lot smarter. Less passionate, more intelligent. Anyone who still thinks voting has nothing to do with them is beyond help. Let’s find people we can help. Let’s give up on all those people who live in a state of blind hate. They aren’t going to change and we will never convince them of anything. More than half the people I hear from are irrational, stupid, and fascist. We aren’t going to bring them to our side. They don’t have a side. They simply hate.

How do you talk to people who are completely irrational? Who don’t care whether what they believe is true or not? People who think their personal feelings are more important than truth? Any truth?

Meanwhile, there’s music.John Prine is one of our lost flowers.

The current future looks rather bleak. I want it to get better, but it’s hard to see past the mess we are in.

I want to move back to the United States. I’m pretty sure — this ain’t it. Are you hearing Phil Ochs singing “I ain’t marching anymore …” Are you wondering where have all the flowers gone?

This last one was originally sung by THIS group in a tiny coffee house run by my first husband, right near my college. It’s how I got to know the man. The Incredible String Band were … well … incredible.

A SWITCH OF REALITIES – BY TOM CURLEY

Marilyn asked me to dig this one up from the archives. It took me a while to find it. It was written quite a while ago. If I didn’t tell you this you would swear it was brand new. Unless you don’t swear. But really, who doesn’t swear? At least once in a while. There was my Aunt Helen, no wait. She could cuss like sailor …

Sorry, I got distracted.

I think if we suggested this now, everybody would go along with it. Including the idiot-in-chief. It’s the “get out of the White House without going to jail card”  he’s been looking for. The “get out of this insane reality card” we’ve all been waiting for.


I figured it out!

The solution!

To reality!

This reality!

This reality TV reality!


The problem is not so much that we are living in a reality TV reality. The problem is that we’re living in a REALLY BAD reality TV reality. Face it, it’s just not working folks.

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Do you know what does work? Fictional TV reality! Think about it. There’s a show on TV today called “Designated Survivor.” In it, the whole U.S. government is blown up during a State of the Union Address.  The Executive Branch, the Congress, the Supreme Court, all gone. The one cabinet member that has to stay home becomes the President. He has to rebuild the entire government from the ground up. And while he’s doing that, there’s a mysterious cabal,  the ones responsible  for blowing everybody up, that’s also trying to take over the country. In spite of all that, their government and their President are doing a hell of a lot better job than ours!

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So here’s what we do.  Let’s just switch realities! It’s a win-win for everybody. How do we do this? Simple.

First: The current administration leaves the government and instead, goes on real TV 24 hours a day. On Fox News. They all go to work on sets that look just like Washington, D.C.  They do the exact same things they do now. It will be just like on  “Big Brother”. Only bigger. And on Fox News.

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They can pass laws, write executive orders, cancel health insurance for the whole nation, cut taxes for billionaires, eliminate “Meals On Wheels” or just kick puppies. Whatever they want! And here’s the best part. Trump supporters won’t be upset because they only watch Fox News. As far as they’ll be concerned, everything is normal.

It just isn’t real.

“And it’s only on Fox.”

Second: OK, great you say. But what about real reality? Who’s going to be the real President? The real cabinet?

Here’s who. Real honest to God fictional ones.

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And the cool part is, we have a lot of options. We have lots of choices for President. We could have Jeb Bartlett. He was a great President. Don’t believe me? Watch “The West Wing.” It’s on Netflix, the whole series, all seven seasons.

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We’ve got Dennis Haysbert. I’m pretty sure he was President twice.

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We’ve got Morgan Freeman. Not only was he President, but he was also God!

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And the list goes on. Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers … (Oh, for God’s sake, Google the rest.) You get my point.

Now, appointing a cabinet becomes fun!

Secretary of State? How about Tia Leoni? She’s already Secretary of State and seems to be doing a pretty decent job of it. Every Sunday. Let’s give her the job for the rest of the week.

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Attorney General? Julianna Margulies. She’s a lawyer, ran for State’s Attorney and by almost all accounts, is a good wife.

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Secretary of Defense? Well I admit, at first, I was leaning toward Schwarzenegger or Stallone. Then it hit me.

CHUCK NORRIS! Think about it. We could cut the military budget down to nothing. Nobody’s going to go to war with us. Nobody fucks with Chuck Norris!

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ISIS COMMANDER: We will destroy America!

ISIS GUY WATCHING THE NEWS: Sir, America just made Chuck Norris Secretary of Defense.

ISIS COMMANDER:  Shit.


(Insert favorite Chuck Norris joke here. My favorite? Chuck Norris once counted to infinity. Twice.)

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Department of Education? The cast of Sesame Street.

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Depart of Health and Human Services? Pick any of the stern but kindly Chiefs of Staff from the medical show of your choice. Any one of them will do just fine. (Except for Dr. Zorba. I’m pretty sure he’s dead.) (Extra points if you get that reference.)

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Department of Housing? Chris Rock. OK, he really doesn’t have any more qualifications for the job than Ben Carson does. But I just like the guy. He’s funny.

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(If you get that reference, you get double extra points.) I could go on, but you get the point.

How do we do this? Simple. We have an election. Not the usual kind. Between voter suppression, low turnouts, gerrymandering, and the Electoral College, our elections are not working out well.  I mean, seriously — that’s how we got into this mess to begin with.

So what do we do? We have an election the same way reality TV shows do it. Everybody gets to vote from their smartphone, their computer, their tablet, or Android device. You can email or text your vote. You are only allowed to vote up to 20 times on any given device. You can vote up until 10 pm Eastern Standard Time. (Text and messaging fees may apply.)

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Granted, this will fire up the Millennials and confuse the hell out of old folks. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s still better than the Electoral College. We can set up March Madness style brackets and have an election every week for maybe a month until we get a winner. More office pools!

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And we, the people, elect everybody. The President doesn’t get to appoint his cabinet. We do.


It’s Democracy at work!

And it could work!


As a cheese-faced person who somehow actually became President of the United States said to a bunch of totally incredulous Black people a while back:

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“Give it a try. What have you got to lose?”


WHAT ABOUT THE ELECTION? – Marilyn Armstrong

Georgia’s primary the other night was a warning to all of us of what may be coming. In the course of writing this blog, I’ve had direct communications with several real-life historians and all of them have said exactly the same thing:


DONALD TRUMP WILL NEVER VOLUNTARILY LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE.


When I first heard this, I pooh-poohed it. That can’t happen. It can’t. But since then, I’ve realized that many things that can’t happen have happened, are happening, will happen. Why do we think Trump wants to ditch the post office? You think it might have something to do with preventing people from mailing in votes?

Gerrymandering as been around for a long time. More than a hundred years and for all I know, longer than that. The Democrats have done it too … but they haven’t turned it into the science as has the GOP.

Why not?

I don’t think it’s out of a higher form of political beliefs. More like if everyone voted, there wouldn’t be a Republican party, or at least not the current one. Most Americans are in favor of universal health care, a more controlled police force, fewer guns on the streets, a greater degree of honesty and transparency in government,  good education for everyone based on truth, facts, and science and not being gouged by pharmaceutical companies.

These past three and a half years have been a nightmare. Aside from Trump, who is a nightmare all by himself, there has been a plague and now, finally, one murder over the line, a broader recognition that killing dark-skinned people for being different than you is not okay. Nor is giving these same people substantially harder sentences for relatively minor crimes or making sure they have the worst paying, most insecure jobs in our so-to-speak economy. It’s NOT right. It was never right.

Dr. Seuss Cartoon from 1941 on antisemitism. The old story, just updated with a red hat.

The way we underpay women is wrong. They fact that we have allowed women to be brutalized in and out of the workplace is not even remotely acceptable.

We can disagree about how our national taxes should be spent but on principle, we all believe in honor and justice for everyone. Yes, there are bigots too, but I think they are a small minority. If they didn’t have access to powerful military guns, they would also be mostly harmless.

The press may not always be correct, but the fourth estate is the only thing that stands between us and a Stalinesque dictatorship. In all the years that Garry worked as a reporter — and all the people with whom he worked — never did any of them drag themselves out of bed so they could lie to you.

Errors are made by everyone, but the only news outlet that makes lying a fundamental premise of their news production is Fox News. If they aren’t ashamed, they should be. And maybe, one of these days, they will be. I would not like to tell my grandchildren that my career was  a series of well-produced lies. Would you?

Things are beginning to turn around. But what about the election? Will we be in the middle of a massive resurgence of COVID-19 as November rolls around? If the election is not held on time, will it be held at all? Ever? It’s a lot easier to keep a democracy than rebuild one.

We are standing on treacherous ground. We should be grateful for the changes and potential changes we see, but until we get this worst of all presidents out of the White House, we aren’t safe.  Rebuilding America isn’t going to happen overnight, either. There’s a LOT of work to be done and we will all have to do some of it.

DEAR REPUBLICAN SENATOR – By musingsofanoldfart

Dear Republican Senator

As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter, I try to read and watch several validated news sources. They are validated, as they try to get it right and print retractions when they don’t. I also try to use an independent lens to see politicians for their good and bad actions and stances, regardless of party. Am I biased? Of course, we all are. But, my greater bias is favoring the truthtellers as I do not cotton to being obviously lied to by our elected officials.

That is why your support of this reckless president is troubling. It troubles me that he is so cavalier with the truth, that maybe, he does not know when the truth stops and the marketing schtick begins. But, this is not news, as five biographers of the president have noted he has a problem with the truth. And, the Mueller report (which I read) validated several untruths made by the president and did not exonerate him of obstruction of justice.

But, you know this, because I would worry about you more if you did not. Yet, it bothers me to see Senators seemingly support tribal loyalty over our constitution. You can say that you do not do that, but I can read how seemingly rational people bend over backwards to defend the indefensible.

Instead of looking to say those who investigated this corrupt and deceitful president somehow did not do it pristinely, it would be better to pay attention to that parade of honorable diplomats who testified under oath and at great risk of their concerns over the president’s actions in Ukraine. Now, the Republican Senate can pretend that all that did not happen, but these folks knew the president is highly vindictive, but testified anyway. Some have lost their jobs and received death threats, yet they still did it,

Rather than focus on whitewashing history, I would prefer the Senate to spend time focusing on the issues of today. COVID-19 deaths in the US are now in excess of 115,000. That is 27% of the global death total, but we have only 5% of the global population. And, as we have opened up the country more, too many have been too rash with their actions and COVID-19 is on the rise again. Frankly, this is not a surprise. The summer heat dampens the spread, but too many folks in close proximity, especially indoors, does the opposite.

The other issue is the ongoing racial injustice that is being shown to our black citizens. This new Jim Crow era is seeing greater degrees of incarceration for blacks than for whites for the same crimes and blacks being treated differently and more aggressively by police. I recognize the police have a hard job, but they need to better police their own. Every group has bad apples and even good police make poor decisions in the face of fear. We must do better at this. It is well-past time.

The current president has not helped on these two issues and it concerns me. We missed six weeks of planning on COVID-19, where we could have taken some steps instead of calling it a hoax and naysaying it as late as February 28, ironically the date of the first US death (now we exceed 115,000 just over three months later). Instead of being the leader we needed, the president decided to follow his modus operandi of misinformation, which continues to this day. As for the racial injustice, while I applaud the bipartisan sentencing reform of many months ago, the president has not been one to ease the tensions of the whole nation. We need him to be president for all, not just his more strident base of voters.

READ THE REST OF THIS POST: DEAR REPUBLICAN SENATOR

HOW BILLIONAIRES ARE LOOTING AMERICA AND NOT PROTESTORS by Sarah Midkiff

The looting of America is not the byproduct of protests, but rather it can be seen in our country’s broken economic system, one that allows tax breaks for the ultra-rich, unchecked legislation that enables shareholders to get payouts even when the money comes from a federal bailout, and corporate double-dipping while employees lose their livelihood.

Source: How Billionaires Are Looting America & Not Protestors

This is a brilliant post and points the finger — many fingers — at the real looters who have stolen our lives and our futures so they can have more money per hour than we will have in our entire working lifetimes.

Reblogged also on Judy Dykstra-Brown’s blog, it’s a reminder that the number of TVs stolen or for that matter, expensive clothing and broken windows, the real looters are sitting in their mansions and laughing at us. Laughing. Because we can’t touch them.

Please, let’s show them we CAN touch them. Let’s vote their shills out of office. Let’s get our country back. Let’s do it while we still can.

Let’s do something to fix the climate, make peace with our friends, stop trying to make war with everyone else. Let’s try to help the neediest, start growing healthy food. Let’s let our farmers return to farming so we grow our own food and don’t rely entirely on global distribution. Let’s give EVERYONE health care, mental and physical. Let the corporations pay what they owe … and they owe a LOT.

All my life I’ve been paying corporations. My taxes don’t go to my town to help it grow, It goes to political stooges and their PR agencies. Maybe it’s time they started helping pay our costs. Maybe, if we do it right, at least our grandchildren can have the life we hoped they would have.

MY BAD NEWS BUNKER IS OUT OF SPACE – Marilyn Armstrong

Every morning, I get up and hope that there is something positive in the news today. Something that will give me hope. Not another soppy story of all the great people helping other people because those stories are true, but have little to do with us and our lives. I admire the carers and wish I were one of them. Maybe then I could feel as if I was doing something useful in this terrible world.

I want to hear about something that — to put it bluntly — might help us. Help get our lives functioning again. Offer to deliver groceries, lower fuel rates.  or car insurance. Someone in this town offering to help people who are physically unable to do it all for themselves anymore.


I have yet to see anything positive. Maybe there are heroes elsewhere, but none of them seem to live in Worcester County. It’s just bad news, start to finish and frankly, it’s depressing. I really want to see something positive. I want to see our government do ONE GOOD THING. Together. As if we are all “One nation, with or without God.”


Is it possible the Trump really is the antiChrist? It’s as if he took office and ever since, every day since, has been working day and night to take whatever was part of the American dream, stomp it flat, shoot it dead, and finally, flush it down the toilet.


Why does he not care about this country he is leading? Why is so unconcerned with how many of us have died or are likely to die? Is power THAT important to any living soul? Was he truly born without a soul or even a basic understanding of right and wrong? I think Stalin had warmer feelings for his people than Trump has for his.

I only read one article and I didn’t finish it. It was the 202, the daily summary of events from The Washington Post. Here are some bullet points from it.


  • More than 40 million Americans have filed claims for jobless benefits in the past 10 weeks, including 2.1 million new claims last week, according to Labor Department data released this morning.
  • Trump tweeted this morning to acknowledge the grim milestone, but his public schedule this week contains no special commemoration, no moment of silence and no collective sharing of grief.
  • Trump is poised to sign an executive order today that could roll back the immunity that tech giants have for the content on their sites.
  • With no evidence, Trump has suggested five times – this month alone – that individuals and entities may have committed treason against the United States.
  • Attorney General Bill Barr, who career prosecutors say has politicized the Justice Department for Trump’s benefit, continues his push to investigate the president’s investigators.
  • Meanwhile, another Trump tweet plunged Congress into chaos – and thwarted the renewal of vital authorities needed by law enforcement to keep tabs on potential spies and terrorists. 
  • Trump has also, almost single-handedly, transformed the simple act of wearing a facial covering into the latest battle in the culture wars, dividing his own party in the process.
  • Some businesses around the country are now kicking out customers who wear face masks.
  • Quote of the day: “There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a polio survivor who is up for reelection. (Politico)
  • Civil unrest is a real danger. The second night of protests over the death of George Floyd turned deadly.
  • Police chiefs around the nation responded with disgust to the news of Floyd’s death, seeking to reassure their cities.
  • There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.
  • Trump could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people by delaying citizenship ceremonies until after November.
  • The FDA temporarily loosened food labeling rules for the fifth time during the pandemic.
  • Millennials are the unluckiest generation.
  • Public schools face a fall with a lot more costs and a lot less funding.
  • Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she will force public schools to share their pandemic aid with private ones.

This is just about half the bullet points. There were too many more and I couldn’t finish the article. There was no room in my heart or brain for everything. No more room. So if you ask me “how old do you feel?” I think my answer is older than history, older than the planet, older than any person should ever feel. My bad-news-bunker is out of space.

It really is difficult to “have a good day” with the world’s catastrophes looming over you.

For me, the worst part of our ongoing catastrophe is that there is so little I can do about it … and how awful the world will be for our younger citizens.

THANKS AGAIN FOR THE TAG YOU GAVE TO FANDANGO – Marilyn Armstrong

 

FROM FANDANGO’S “THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER” COMES THIS AWARD WHICH I DIDN’T EARN, BUT I LIKE THE LOGO AND AT LEAST IT’S NOT ABOUT COVID-19, RIGHT? 

First, thank you Fandango for offering to let me give myself the award. Is that anything like crowning myself.

Since Fandango called his post “Thanks For the Tag”  and I picked up on this invitation, so mine is “THANKS AGAIN FOR FANDANGO’S AWARD.” I’m just here for the questions.

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The best part of it is that I’m not going to nominate anyone, but if you are interested in playing along — if for no better reason than to get your mind away from the news and personal worries and fears — AND you get to make up your own questions!

Which is also the problem because I have no idea what questions I’m going to ask. Hmm.

Here are the rules from this original blog’s creator:

Guidelines:

  • Thank your nominator.  
  • Answer the ten questions they ask. 
  • Create ten new questions for your own nominees volunteers. 
  • Nominate ten neat bloggers for this special honor.
  • Contact your ten bloggers to let them know that they’ve been singled out for this momentous award.
  • Have fun.  This is purely for entertainment and passing a little bit of time, okay? No gloomy-gusses need apply.

Here are Fandango’s questions and his answers.

  1. Share one thing from your bucket list. (You haven’t made a bucket list? There must be things you hope to accomplish before you die, right? Just pick one, hehe.) My number one bucket list item is to kick the bucket peacefully and painlessly when the time comes.
  2. Have you ever read a fellow blogger’s book? What book was that, and can you link the author here? I’ve actually read a few, including books by Iain Kelly, Cage Dunn, Teresa Grabs, Paula Light, C.S. Boyack, and Jackson Radcliffe.
  3. What’s your favorite foreign country and why? The United States. I know what you’re thinking. I live in the United States, but these days, it seems quite foreign to me.
  4. Who’s the last person you wrote a real letter to? A “real” letter? You mean one written with a pen on a piece of paper? OMG, that’s so twentieth century.
  5. What are you the proudest about your blog? That I’m still blogging.
  6. What do you like the most about The Cove? The Cove? Can you be more specific? Is it a nightclub? A restaurant? A novelty shop? 😉
  7. What’s a word you wish you’d never hear again? Why? President Trump. Okay, that’s two words, and neither word, in and of itself, is offensive. But when said together: 🤮
  8. What’s the biggest “from you, to you” gift you ever got yourself? Back in the early 70s,  I bought myself a used, 1959 Jaguar XK 150. It was a beautiful car. Unfortunately, it spent more time in the shop than on the road.
  9. Tell me something you wish people knew about yourself, that most people don’t know. I’m an open book. Most people I know in the real world know everything there is to know about me.

Okay. Only 9 but who’s counting?

Time for me to create 10 new questions you can answer. Or not. Thinking. Thinking. A bit rusty up there. Grind, groan, grit, mumble. Okay, I think the wheels are beginning to turn. Here we go!

  1. What are you doing that makes it possible for you to get through the day? Do you read? Take pictures? Paint? Garden? Play with your dogs, cats, horses, goats, ponies, your kids, your husband? All of the above and a few more I haven’t thought of?

    Photo: Garry Armstrong

    I read. I write. I take pictures. I play with the dogs. I watch funny movies. I clean out closets but only one a day. I try to read other blogs, but I need to do some reading that I promised to do, so that will have to briefly change. A couple of days.

  2.   Are you trying something new which you never had time to do because you were too busy? This might be THE best time to learn French or Westphalian Saxon.
  3.  Are you using social media more or less than you did before the “plague” hit?
    It hasn’t changed. I don’t use it much.
  4.  Have you watched any superhero movies? Don’t you wish we had some real ones?
    I wanted the Green Lantern to get his friends together and fix things.
  5. Do you think we are really going to have an election? You ARE planning to vote, aren’t you?
    In theory, there’s an election coming. I have strong suspicions of just how far Trump will keep pushing. Will he try to become Stalin this November?
  6. How do lady cops manage to run in four-inch heels?
    Damned if I know.
  7.  When things turn ridiculous on a TV show or movie, do you ask yourself or someone else in your cocoon “why is …. doing that? when you know it’s just part of the script.
    I do. Garry does. And we know the answer: it’s in the script. Why is it in the script? Only the producer/director/writers will ever know.

    Down that road and back again. Photo: Garry Armstrong

  8.  Do you yell at your television during the news? Or ever? I correct their grammar. “FEW not LESS” I shout. Garry, on the other hand, starts to throw things and I have to quickly change the channel because we can’t afford a new one.
  9.  Have you remembered to drive your car recently? If not, go outside right now and drive around the block twice. Gotta keep the battery alive!

    The orange Jeep Renegade is ours.

    Once a week Garry drives around the block.

  10. Did you take your camera with you on your drive? Take any pictures? Garry takes the camera and has taken some pictures. That’s how I know the rhododendron is blooming.

Feel free to jump right on with some foolishness of your own. Happy Day-After Mother’s Day. Hope you have some cake left.

Hey Mr. Trump, Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom Of Night… NAT HELMS

From natshouseblog

Published by Nathaniel R. “Nat” Helms

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – Herodotus, Greek historian, 500 B.C.

Donald J. Trump apparently hates the United States Postal Service (USPS), along with dogs, and women (particularly minority women), although any will do in a pinch. Fortunately, this missive is about Trump’s sudden need to kill off America’s postal service, whether it is coincidental that the USPS is led by a woman is merely conjecture.

The post office was officially created in 1792 as the Post Office Department. It is based on the Constitutional authority empowering Congress “To establish post offices and post roads”.

$.39 cent Commemorative Stamp

The real deal began 17 years earlier when reliable Benjamin Franklin was appointed the colonies’ Postmaster General in 1775. His plan was to build a reliable mail service that would bring our nation together.

It didn’t hurt that Ben used his position to cheapen the postal rates for newspaper publishers – including himself – so they could cheaply send the news of the day around the country. For 228 years it has managed to do so despite being an object of political plunder whenever the country’s fortunes wane.

The Pew Research Center conducted a poll March 24-29, 2020 asking 1,013 participants to rank federal government operations. The intent was to determine if Americans trusted their government during the pandemic emergency. Through it all the people depended most on the post office to see them through. The poll also revealed that all the major federal bureaucracies that sustain and torment us are still received favorably by most Americans.

Aptly named “ICE”, the unpopular U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was the goat of the group, followed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Both received relatively low marks.

Somebody forgot to tell Trump that 91 percent of the respondents in the Pew poll believed postal people are the federal employees closest to the hearts of their countrymen. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed their undying love of America’s humble messengers. It is an opinion not shared with any other federal agency.

So what’s the deal, Mr. Trump? Is it Megan J. Brennan, the marvelously appreciated 74th and first female Postmaster General of the world’s largest postal organization? Is it because she is a woman or head of the largest postal service in the world? A lot of Trumpians would love to see the USPS dismantled, shared among the delivery big dogs that pay low and charge high for convenience the postal service tries to compete with. Venal Trump would sell it in a heartbeat if it gained him political advantage except for loss of trust is already eating his lunch. For the moment Trump is merely bloviating.


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TRUMP IS BEING HOISTED ON HIS OWN PETARD – NAT HELMS

Watching Donald J. Trump get hoisted on his own petard is déjà vu all over again for those of us repelled by former Republican President Richard M. Nixon in the turbulent 1970s. Whoever opined that “where Trump goes, so goes the nation” is even more misinformed than vacuous Donald Trump. Nixon dropped like a lead balloon and the nation moved on with scarcely a ripple. It will happen again when Trump is gone.

History is a laundry list of despots who fell with equal approbation. People as delusional as Trump have always risen in times of discord. Thankfully, the always disagreeable and usually fragmented human race is ultimately too selfish to make room for madmen who threaten their slow, uncertain march to contentment.

Proof of a positive post-Trumpian outcome can be found in the dramatic story of  American political dysfunction when Nixon decided the U.S. Constitution was just another piece of paper to shred.  Nixon’s downfall started at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C, on June 17, 1972, when five burglars in the President’s employ burgled the Democratic National Committee headquarters seeking dirt to hurt the Democrats.

When the failed plot was linked to Nixon many respected pundits declared our nation was teetering on the precipice of doom. It was indeed a dangerous time. America desperately needed a hero and none could be found. The Vietnam War had seen to that. The astronauts were a wonderful distraction, so was Hollywood and television, but even collectively they couldn’t camouflage the rot eating the heart out of Washington, D.C.

American prestige around the world was at an all-time low. America’s vacuous youth were deemed out of control. Angry women from every station in life screeched at men in general for being self-absorbed sexists. Angry black men marched around with guns demanding justice from white men with bigger guns who dared them to try and take it. Native Americans prepared for another Wounded Knee. Hysterics warned a second civil war was looming.  Anarchy competed with racial discord and socialism dueled with capitalism to steal the nation’s soul. Sound familiar?

The naysayers crawling out of the woodwork in 1973 claimed America was doomed. They were certain the fabric of American society had been torn asunder. Political alarmists warned America’s great political experiment had failed.

Behind it all stood unrepentant Richard M. Nixon, the man who would be king. Like Trump, Nixon thought he knew better than our democratic institutions about what was good for the nation. And like Trump, he ended up getting all the blame when he was proven wrong.

When the dust from the scandal finally settled in 1973, his Attorney General John Mitchell, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs John Ehrlichman, and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman had resigned. Subsequently, during the federal Watergate trials in 1974, all three men were convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, and other charges. All three were sentenced to between two and a half and eight years in federal prison.

Nixon finally fell because a handful of resolute Republican politicians ultimately broke ranks with their intransigent colleagues, joining Democrats who said America was more important than Richard Milhous Nixon. Whether their stance was politics as usual or the sudden onset of emerging moral stature doesn’t matter.

Until they did so, no one in the Republican Party would admit Nixon was a liar who used his dreadful fabrications to save himself and his cronies.  His mendacity was so egregious that H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s acid-tongued gatekeeper, reputedly coined the phrase, “That statement is no longer operative” to protect Nixon from himself.

Like Trump, Nixon didn’t utter one lie so big it tore the heavens asunder. His utterances were a constant barrage of half-truths, lies of omission, and petty denunciations of opponents through the mouths of cronies who knew that if Nixon went down so would they.


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IT’S THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF EARTH DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Trump is an awful man. I can’t seem to find something positive to say about him and for me, that’s unusual. I can always empathize, even with very bad people (not including one ex-husband). But not Trump. For him, I can’t find a teardrop of compassion. He has no soul or conscience. He is a greedy, empty-headed abuser, liar, and racist.

Ponder the meaning of life, death, and stupidity. Ponder really hard!

Somehow, America made him president. At least a portion of voting Americans had a hand in his election as well as a lot of Russian bots. I would like to believe that not everyone knew what a complete disaster he’d be. We certainly didn’t expect the next plague, but others did. Our president fired the ones who tried to warn him this was coming and for all he knew, was already here. So here we are.

Plague spares no one. Wealth won’t protect you nor religion or politics. Prince Charles is ill but his 93-year-old mother is not. Boris Johnson was moved into the hospital today. My generation who have been dying for a while are now dying faster and more furiously. A lot of younger people are dying too. Plague is about as non-denominational as anything gets.

Many of us (sadly, including me) assumed that should Trump be elected (I had that awful feeling he would be elected), the weight of his office would force him to become a president. This didn’t happen, proving you get exactly what you vote for. It’s like marrying an abusive guy because you’re sure you are the one who will (finally) reform him.

Moral? If you elect a bad guy, making him president won’t improve him.

Previously, people (mostly) changed when they were elected to high office. Trump, on the other hand, is an ignoramus and proud of it, With an election getting close while all of us are locked down, my party — Democrats — haven’t completed their primaries or had a convention. There may not be a live convention. Exactly how we are going to choose a candidate is a bit whimsical.

A few folks wonder what there will be to govern if we won. This is one of the times when winning might not be in our best interests. We are going to be in a hot mess when the virus runs its course, which might take a lot longer than even our worst-case scenario suggests.

We can’t blame the plague entirely on Trump, but we can put a big luminescent sticker on his ghastly ass regarding the amount of damage it’s doing. His unwillingness to cope with the alarming predictions as well as his lack of concern what this outbreak would do to us — Americans — is not merely deplorable. It’s … well … breathtaking.

Pogo – Walt Kelly – 1971

It turns out leadership can only be as good as who we elect. Being a constitutional republic, we don’t have the option of voting out a bad prime minister and exchanging him or her for a nominally better one for any reason short of actual treason. We should have gone the Parliamentary route. If I go back in time, I think I’ll mention that to the “Founding Fathers.” I hate that phrase, by the way. Isn’t there something else we could call them? “Founding Fathers” is so … stiff.

Short of rewriting the constitution,  we are stuck. History will change us. Change the world. I think in 20 years, we won’t have this government. That might not be such a bad thing.

I wish I could live long enough to see how it comes together. I don’t think either me or Garry has enough decades to see how it turns out. My boomer generation won’t experience a lot of change. We are no longer part of the job market, no longer fighting for our standing in the world. Not climbing the greed and success ladder. We are pretty much done with ambition and were looking forward to some ease and relaxation before moving on.

Anyone who is still in the job market will feel the weight of it assuming the planet lets us continue to live on it. This month’s “National Geographic” magazine marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It lays out the optimistic and pessimistic views of the world to come. The pessimistic view is heartstopping. Makes the blood in your veins freeze. Even the optimistic look isn’t great. I got so demoralized, I couldn’t even look at the graphics.

This plague has blocked everything else. A new world awaits us and I hope it’s a better one. If better isn’t possible, functional might do the job.

Boomers didn’t ruin the world. We tried to improve it, but we didn’t get it done. The human race ganged up on the planet and we all ruined it together. We seem dead set to continue ruining it. Someone will need to fight to save it. Probably you guys, the ones who can’t resist a new iPhone at any price. You will have to give up a few things and do many other things differently.

Walt Kelley’s first Earth Day poster

It is hard but it’s your future. We old folks who you so eagerly blame for everything will be dead. Once upon a time, we too looked to our future and did the best we could with it. Our parents didn’t ‘get us’ at all. We look at our world and decided to change it. But for you, our time is done. We will return to the stars and the world will be yours. If you don’t fix it, you, your children, and grandchildren won’t have a livable world.

Activism isn’t easy, but maybe it’s time to detach from the toys. Earth used to be a nice place. It could be again. Good luck!

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac

Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide
Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U2, Syngman Rhee, payola, and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Songwriters: Billy Joel
We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

UP IN THE AIR WE GO FLYING AGAIN, BUT WHEN AND WHERE IS DOWN? – Marilyn Armstrong

It is difficult to find a place to land these days. Not long ago, Garry stopped watching the news. Okay, not entirely stopped, but he has about a five-minute window before he begins to get crazy. At which point I suggest changing the channel would be a better choice than throwing things at the television. We can’t afford another TV and right now, we need one.

We’ve been watching (repeatedly) “The West Wing.” First, because Aaron Sorkin wrote (writes) brilliant dialogue, but mostly because on so many levels, it reminds me of what is wrong with MY party, ye old Democrats. How hard, as a political party, we try to make everyone happy. As a result, we end up making no one happy including ourselves.

When in power, how many toothless bills do we pass that never solve the problem they were supposed to solve because we might offend a Republican, a donor, or some Democrat who’s not on the same page? How hard do we try to be good guys, despite which our “middle of the road” path inevitably ends up with us being crushed by a truck or running down pedestrians.

Right now, our world is a hot mess. We didn’t get to this chaotic position in 2016, though for many of us November 2016 was our wakeup month. We had been heading this way for more than 200-year since the day our founders agreed that slavery — for a while — was okay. Even though they knew it was not okay, they also knew it would lead to war. They were grateful they wouldn’t be alive when the nation erupted.

Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, our Constitution is not a perfect document.

There were and are so many things that need doing, but they never get done. In many cases, some bizarre interpretation of the Constitution is the cause.  Instead of getting money OUT of politics, the Supreme Court managed — by making corporations “people” — to infuse more money into politics.

It’s time to recognize that despite its elegant wording, our constitution needs significant updating. We need to dump the electoral college and become a real democracy.

We need to clarify the meaning of the second amendment which does not mean that anyone can carry a big gun anywhere and if they just happen to get pissed off and start killing people, their having a gun made a big difference in the body count. Guns don’t shoot themselves and people can’t shoot without guns. It’s the combination that’s so lethal. We need to reword the first amendment so we aren’t in a continuous guessing game about what it means. It’s possible we need to rewrite the whole thing in modern English.

We need to punish public bigots. We can’t control what people think but we can control what they spew from their mouths.

Someone should have mentioned that petitions to the government, while not illegal, are ignored completely and accomplish nothing.

We should have a parliamentary government. Even when it is functioning, our government is clumsy and slow. Maybe it’s time to recognize we made a mistake. These days, I feel as if we don’t have a government. Whatever this mess is, it’s not working.

LET’S SWAP REALITIES – By TOM CURLEY

Hard to believe this was originally written more than two years ago, eh? It’s like we’re in another reality. Not a parallel reality. Just some weird place we never imagined we could ever be and most of us are still trying to figure out what’s going on.

Hey, has anyone gotten a check from the government? If you have, tell me your secret.


I figured it out! The solution to reality! This reality! This reality TV reality!

The problem is not so much that we are living in a reality TV reality. The problem is that we’re living in a REALLY BAD reality TV reality. Face it, it’s not working. Each time something happens that we might think is positive, the next day — or the next hour — we discover we were deluded.

youtube.com

Do you know what does work?

Fictional TV reality!


Think about it. There was a show called “Designated Survivor.” In it, the whole U.S. government was blown up during a State of the Union Address.  The Executive Branch, Congress, Supreme Court? Wiped off the earth.

The only cabinet member that had to stay home becomes the President. He has to rebuild the government from the ground up. While he’s doing that, there’s a mysterious cabal in which the ones responsible for blowing everybody up are also trying to take over the country.

In spite of that, their government and President are doing a lot better job than ours! They are noticeably more sane and coherent and sometimes, they make intelligent decisions. Imagine that!

tvguide.com

So here’s what we do.  We switch realities!

It’s a win-win for everybody. How? It’s simple — at least in theory.

First


The current administration leaves the government and instead, goes on real TV, 24/7. Every day. You like watching the news? You’ll never miss another show!

SECOND


On Fox News. They all go to work on sets that look just like Washington, D.C.  They do the exact same things they do now. It will be just like on  “Big Brother”. Only bigger.

And on Fox News.

quickmeme.com

They can pass laws, write executive orders, cancel health insurance for the whole nation, eliminate “Meals On Wheels” or just kick puppies. Whatever they want! Trump supporters won’t be upset because they only watch Fox News.

As far as they’ll be concerned, everything is normal.

It just isn’t real.

“And it’s only on Fox.”

Third


OK, great you say. But what about real reality? Who’s going to be the real President? The real cabinet?

Here’s who. Honest to God fictional ones.

thegeektwins.com

The cool part is, we have a lot of options. We have lots of choices for President. And if we dig into the DNC pool, we’ve got dozens more. Hell, every billionaire is ready to declare!

We could have Jeb Bartlett. He was a great President. Don’t believe me? Watch “The West Wing.” Again. As a matter of fact, just keep watching it over and over until you feel better. It’s like a political tranquilizer.

theoddessyonline.com

We’ve got Dennis Haysbert. I’m pretty sure he was President twice.

nndb.com

We’ve got Morgan Freeman. Not only was the President, but he was (is currently, I believe) also God!

knowyourmeme.com

The list goes on. Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers … (Oh, for God’s sake, Google the rest.) You get my point.

Now, appointing a cabinet becomes fun!

Fourth


Secretary of State? How about Tia Leoni? She’s already a Secretary of State and seems to be doing a pretty decent job of it every Sunday. Let’s give her the job for the rest of the week.

cbs.com

Attorney General? Julianna Margulies. She’s a lawyer, ran for State’s Attorney and by almost all accounts, is a good wife.

cbs.com

Secretary of Defense? I admit, at first, I was leaning toward Schwarzenegger or Stallone. Then it hit me.

CHUCK NORRIS! Think about it. We could cut the military budget down to nothing. Nobody’s going to go to war with us. Nobody fucks with Chuck Norris!

memegenerator.com

ISIS COMMANDER: We will destroy America!

ISIS GUY WATCHING THE NEWS: Sir, America just made Chuck Norris Secretary of Defense.

ISIS COMMANDER:  Shit.

(Insert favorite Chuck Norris joke here. My favorite? Chuck Norris once counted to infinity. Twice.)

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Department of Education? The cast of Sesame Street.

themarysue.com

Depart of Health and Human Services? Pick any of the stern, but kindly Chiefs of Staff from any medical show you’ve enjoyed over the years. Any of them will do fine. (Except for Dr. Zorba. I’m pretty sure he’s dead.) (Extra points if you get that reference.)

humansofjudiasm.com

Department of Housing? Chris Rock. OK, he really doesn’t have any more qualifications for the job than Ben Carson does. But I just like the guy. He’s funny.

memegenerator.net

(If you get that reference, you get double extra points.) I could go on, but you get the point.

Five: The Election


How do we do this?

We have an election. Not the usual kind. What with voter suppression, low turnouts, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and just candidates that don’t have the right scriptwriters, our elections are not working out well. That’s how we got into this mess, to begin with.

We have the election the same way reality TV shows do it. Everybody gets to vote from their smartphone, their computer, their tablet, or Android device. You can email or text your vote. You are only allowed to vote up to 20 times on any given device. You can vote up until 10 pm Eastern Standard Time.

ethnews.com

Granted, this will fire up the Millennials and confuse the hell out of old folks. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s still better than the Electoral College.

We can set up March Madness-style brackets and have an election every week for maybe a month until we get a winner. Imagine how many office pools there will be. You might even win!

yankeeinexile.wordpress.com

And we, the people, elect everybody. The President doesn’t get to appoint his cabinet. We do.

This is absolute Democracy at work!


It could work!


As a cheese-faced person who somehow actually became President of the United States said to a bunch of totally incredulous Black people:

theoddeseyonline


“Give it a try. What have you got to lose?”