I can still feel the pain.
Over 15 years ago I jumped the gun and began training for the Senior Olympics.
I always had a plan. I had made my commitment, early in life, when I was in second grade. I committed the first moment that mandatory exercise was imposed at school.
I dutifully avoided strenuous exercise in order to have absolutely no injuries when I turn 90.
I always played goalie to avoid running laps. Hockey and soccer practice always ended with the coach talking shots on the goalie while the rest of the team ran endless laps… but not me.
No, I was strategically planning and waiting in order to let the great athletes of my generation destroy their bodies and knock themselves out of competing with me.
I decided at the age of 90 I would announce invulnerability with a big press release and maybe a huge parade.
There would be no Senior Olympic marathoners my age because by then they would all be broken down or dead and as the only competitor I could win all three medals in one race and even better, I could walk.
This was a perfect plan except I did not count on the mental error of premature delusions of grandeur.
Yeah. I made one big mistake. I started training too early.
The Marathon Man
In a world of educated guesses
About one’s loves, integrity and health
It is my custom to keep promises,
Even if they are only to myself.
Still being a tenth of a ton and all,
With sacred dictates of my religion
Requiring too much food and alcohol,
What made me train to run a marathon?
I trained on a treadmill, March to July.
Got my first “runners high” at fifty-five.
Depleted my life’s endorphin supply,
And blew out both knees and begged to die.
Ah yes, but to Hell with all of this fun;
Next year, for sure, I’ll be ready to run.
One of the things I love about spring is it offers a welcome contrast between my focused pursuit of heaven in a church with a fresh reminder that we live surrounded always by the accidental beauty of nature.
Sunday Accidentally Spent
I’m by the pool on this sunny Sunday
With my wife and two children off at church.
I’ve pulled the Bible off the shelf, on display,
From its front row center prominent perch.
I’ll read it after The New York Times.
Midway through “The Book Review” I half-see
A Monarch butterfly in the sunshine
Hold the Book like a Christian “wannabe.”
Once you hold the Times, its history.
Finished. Forgotten. Trash canned people’s dreams.
But the Bible and butterfly as extremes?
The Christian code and the fatally free?
Did the two of them touch by accident?
And was my Sunday accidentally spent?
Okay more spring stuff.
It is wonderful to remember the first recollection of spring in nature and as memory.
Thus another sonnet:
My First Spring
In my mind I can recreate the breeze
That gathered me and took me into Spring
While the snow melted after the last freeze
And my life as a boy was beginning.
Out the kitchen door, still eating something,
Late and half running as I pulled the books
On to my back and headed down hill, being
For the first time the product of my looks.
How could life have become so inviting?
How could the world warm with the thoughts of girls?
How could the clock of a planet spinning
Harmonize with these two so perfect worlds?
Odd how I can create that breeze today
And that boy comes alive in yesterday.
We have had three successive blue sky sunny days and slightly elevated temperatures in Maryland as the COVID nightmare begins to wane and the joy of life returns.
All of a sudden with the early creativity of spring there is mischief in the air and the planet reminds me of how fortunate we all are to be here together.
As a result, I have charged back into the things I love.
Mind the Art Entertainment is producing a radio play version of The Grace of God & the Man Machine, prior to the planned stage performance at The Riant Theatre when the theaters open again in New York.
In addition, I have returned to my work on a book of 52 sonnets to be published and available on Amazon by Christmas this year. In celebration of this newfound ribald mischief, I publish here one of these poems:
The Facts of Life
I swam, back then, with some father’s daughters,
Back stroking only slightly out of touch,
Out to the raft in the starry waters
And never thought of their fathers all that much.
My child, don’t judge me till you’re fifty-five
But there were midnight visits to “Ice House Pond,”
In my misspent youth, when I was still alive,
Where couples would strip, and swim and then bond.
And my child, this I know for sure is true:
At seventeen we all are born to be free
But ’cause I’m your father and I love you
Please consider this seasoned advice from me:
As you lust for life avoid the crudity
But don’t miss occasional sponti-nudity.
You know all those starry-eyed men and women who describes sex like “an earthquake”? Well, they’re gonna love fascism!
You think this fantasy has not finally become a reality. Well, who paid off a porn star as a campaign expense?
The statistical proof that the world’s population is increasing much faster than the number of earthquakes is fantasy for these people, but so is fascism. They are just loyal Americans following a former president who led an insurrection on Congress.
They bought “the big lie.” The lie that the “little hands” man won. What are those hats that say Make America Gigantic Again?
These people believe anything that might lead to an orgasm. La petite mort. They have no political agenda other than themselves and their orgasm. It must be treated as a sickness.
Last Sunday, CPAC sullied the conservative GOP’s good name at a fascist rally in Orlando Florida. Trump again unzipped the big lie and his fascist followers, who refuse to impeach him, treat it like a game for winning re-erection.
These senators have embraced their hypocrisy because they know they are safe. They use advance information about the COVID hoax of pandemic to insider trade their stock portfolios and take vacations to Mexico when their states are in turmoil. They don’t care. They will not be sanctioned. They’re delivering “the orgasm” to their followers.
If you think the attack on our capital led by a former president is anything less than the first step toward a revolution, bend over…
The Electoral College has repeatedly given Republican candidates the presidency despite a popular vote for the Democratic candidate in the past. And now 43 states have introduced more than 250 bills to restrict access to voting, ensuring that this minority will prevail based on “the big lie.”
The Supreme Court will hear the latest voting rights case and will likely uphold the restrictions. The Supreme Court, largely appointed by Electoral College Republican presidents, has been very hard on voting rights.
The fascists have always been there. They have hidden in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. Hanging black people was a campaign event. One of them assassinated Lincoln, giving birth to the states’ rights arguments of the Jim Crow laws, which overturned democracy in the former slave holding states in the South.
If you think the attack on our Capitol lead by a former president followed up by CPAC is anything less than the first step toward a revolution, bend over and enjoy your earthquake.
This may be the start of a conspiracy theory, but there is a really big question hanging out there:
After that “freak” snow storm in Texas you’ve got to ask yourself, is Punxsutawney Phil, that Pennsylvania groundhog, a Democrat or a Republican?
Think about it. What if that “freak” Texas snowstorm was about gathering support for the Green New Deal?
It sure looks like the “the deep state“ because the coverup is so clever.
It’s true. Think how hard it is to prove Phil’s party affiliation.
The election was stolen in Pennsylvania, so his vote was definitely destroyed and so “ipso facto” we will never know how he voted.
There may be even no evidence that he even registered to vote!
Just watch. The coverup is clever!
The Dems always want it both ways. They will say he had to vote by mail because groundhogs can’t sneak into voting places unnoticed so his vote should be counted.
But don’t get fooled by the lie that he voted by mail! Everybody knows he was in hibernation in November.
Lock him up! That groundhog should be indicted, unless Phil was actually a groundhog just trying to do its civic duty and he actually did see his shadow, but this was suppressed.
Did you see the press conference? Yes?
Remember after we were told that Phil saw his shadow?
Didn’t Phil look kind of unreasonably sleepy after months and months of hibernation?
He never actually said he saw his shadow, did he?
What happened to his First Amendment rights?
Very clever! Genius! Avoid the indictment by getting a groundhog to do your dirty work. And then, trust me on this, they cut lose the Sky Laser to redirect the polar winds to Texas!
Rush Limbaugh died last week. He was a true genius of radio and polarizing conspiracy theories: Obama‘s birth place, for example, or the 2009 healthcare bill that would empower “death panels“ and “euthanasia“ for elderly Americans. Even during his final broadcast, he insisted to listeners that the new administration had “not legally won it.”
He created this kind of talk radio. “There is no talk radio as we know it without Rush Limbaugh; it just doesn’t exist,” according to Sean Hannity the Fox news commentator. “I’d even make the argument, in many ways there’s no Fox News or even some of those other opinionated cable networks.“
Early on, he built conservatism as a satirist who evolved into the source of information for an ever- growing angry group of Trump supporters. Global warming was a “hoax”, the homeless were “compassion fascists,“ abortion rights activists were“ feminazis.” He championed homophobia and called a female law student “a slut” because of her testimony in favor of health insurance coverage for birth control: “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”
The FCC “Fairness Doctrine” was introduced in 1949. It required the holders of broadcast licenses to fairly present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. President Reagan eliminated the policy in 1987.
Rush Limbaugh made a handsome living after the end of the Fairness Doctrine. According to the February 18th New York Times, he collected $85 million a year and lived in a 24,000 square-foot oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach. He had a half dozen cars one costing $450,000 and a $54 million Gulfstream G550 jet.
Shortly before his death, the president gave Mr. Limbaugh the highest honor American government can provide to a civilian: The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The protection of political speech does not protect the trafficking in misinformation.
Democracy, for its survival, depends on the truth of its information.
If you witnessed the 57 to 43 impeachment vote which exonerated former President Trump and then witnessed Mitch McConnell’s speech immediately thereafter condemning Trump after he had voted for him, you get a free pass for the new roller coaster (“RNC”), which just opened in our All-White American Theme Park.
Included with the ride you get that picture of yourself with your hands in the air as you descend screaming into free fall.
You can use this picture on your driver’s license or your passport. You pay for it with your taxes and the 1% get it free.
But Mitch knows what he’s doing so don’t worry about it. He is the magician, expert of the sleight of hand.
After the House voted for impeachment, he refused to return the Senate to vote during the waning days of the Trump administration. He then declared that because Trump was out of office, he constitutionally could not vote for the impeachment he had delayed.
It is genius. With the vote, Mitch kept all of his angry MAGA followers while reassuring the 1% who have been recently fleeing the Republican ranks. Trump, he was promising, will slowly be made miraculously insignificant as his MAGA voters get reprogrammed.
Can he pull it off? Is it worth it? You have to be careful of roller coaster rides. You know how they get all creaky when you go zooming around on shaky foundations.
Why does it seem that Trump’s unflinching base always seems unified by anger?
Because the Republican party has always kept in its little secret in its closet — with Willie Horton and “dog whistle politics,” and the unity of fear of anything but a White America
McConnell’s problem is that Trump didn’t keep the secrets. He over energized the hidden heartbeat that has really propelled the republican party at least for the last half century and the South forever: White supremacy.
Trump had overreacted, gotten greedy and gave away the secret and now everything may be exposed and disclosed.
What if the Republican Party has slowly been evolving to stand for nothing other than to hate the Democratic Party? When the screen is pulled back there stands the rich puppeteer who makes his haters dance.
“Trickle-down economics” was the lie of the Reagan administration, which was denied by even Reagan’s own supporters in the end. But it was resurrected by Trump in defense of his tax cuts for the rich.
Newt Gingrich and the Tea Party preached the “spendthrift Democrats” and all unified behind a balanced budget, but Trump has exploded the deficit.
How about the lie that Republicans are good for the economy? Since the 1930s, the economy has raised by 4.6% during Democratic presidents’ administrations, compared to 2.3% with Republican presidents.
It was built into the Constitution‘s DNA and with it the Republicans in all but this election have recently lost close Democratic votes but taken the presidency with the electoral Congress.
Slowly but steadily the American theme park has evolved into a haunted house of lost ideals with the language of the Constitution over our heads as each new generation optimistically walk in as believers.
We are better than this!
America needs a party of Lincoln that is dedicated to equal protection for all and also a party of fiscal and military restraint and good judgment. Washington, Lincoln and Eisenhower offer us great examples of what Republicans could be for us now.
The party of the South can no longer dominate us. Equality is good for the economics of this country and therefore everybody in this country. Why hold ourselves back? We don’t have to be afraid of our brothers and sisters of the human race.
Let this old creaky roller coaster fall.
Even Malcolm X realized that no laws can reshape a bigoted human heart. Painfully but realistically, he prophesied:
“Do you know what integration really means? It means intermarriage. That’s the real point behind it. You can’t have it without intermarriage. And that would result in disintegration of both races.”
The first rule of trial law is if the law is against you, argue the facts. It appears the first rule of impeachment is if you don’t have the facts or the law, make something up.
The law doesn’t help Team Trump in this impeachment because the country has been impeaching federal administrative officers after they have left office from the beginning.
The facts are all on film: Trump is on tape saying “Fight! Fight!” and he was not at a football game in a kick line of cheerleaders.
This is tough, but it may not be impossible for Team Trump.
The only winning argument that I can see for the Republicans is the previously untested “historical Zoom call.”
Rudy Giuliani is just the man to quote the Zoom call he had with King George III during his pretrial prep. The king confirmed that because the American Revolution was not an act of “sedition,” we are still British subjects. Therefore, the United States Constitution is unconstitutional.
He can rely on what we already know, which is that Zoom calls are really just séances: “King George? King George are you there? We can’t see you!”
Handled properly this is not a bad argument because:
1) No one has the facts to deny this
2) If there are questions, Giuliani, as an officer of the court, will swear that it’s true
3) Fox News will confirm it
4) The Senate has already made up its mind
Furthermore, Giuliani can forcefully deflect criticism by arguing that it is just those insensitive Democrats again. After all, King George is a senior citizen, and this is new technology! And also, he’s dead.
If Fox News broadcasts this, half the country will believe it!
What will protect America? How do we win back the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen and women?
I know! I know! A counter Zoom call with Mark Twain!
Mr. Twain, how can we save ourselves from these despots? We can’t defame a dead king to depose a fascist president!
“Our papers have one peculiarity — it is American — their irreverence… They are irreverent toward pretty much everything, but where they laugh one good king to death, they laugh a thousand cruel and infamous shams and superstitions into the grave, and the account is squared. Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense.“
Do you mean don’t take them on at all? Next, they will have the Christian churches preaching it from the pulpit! Remember “In God we trust?”
“The devil’s aversion to holy water is a light matter compared with a despot’s dread of a newspaper that laughs.”
But I have been raised to believe that there will always be heroes that will protect our constitution!
“We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.”
Mr. Twain may have something here after all.
My recommendation is that the Democrats give the newspapers something to work with and not put up an argument at all. In place of legal posturing that will not persuade the Republicans in the Senate, simply hand out happy faces and little American flags that can be waved with syncopated knee slapping instead of objection or logical argument.
Have we really come to this?
Today is the most degrading day of the year if you are a groundhog.
Once again, humans are holding you responsible for predicting the environment.
At my house, we have a dirt basement with a trapdoor, where we keep an extensive collection of junk like old grills, a sun lamp, summer sports equipment including golf clubs, Wiffle balls, bats, and even the scuba equipment I use to sit on the bottom of the pool during impeachment trials or when I generally can’t stand people anymore.
I try to live in harmony with the universe.
Last summer, a groundhog moved in under our house. We lived in harmony. It would watch us play Wiffle ball as it ate our garden-fresh vegetables.
But just imagine what it must be like to be a groundhog this year, after a human pandemic and knowing half of all humans don’t believe in climate change?
I wouldn’t come out either.
But this year I need spring more than ever. So, this morning, before I even made breakfast for myself, I made a salad from fresh vegetables with nice cherry tomatoes and delivered it just outside of the hole under my house.
But then the empathy set in. It is a dirt basement after all. The groundhog is probably set up down there with its little gas mask on, only taking it off when it has to exchange the scuba tanks.
He is probably down there with the sun lamp on, sitting in my lawn chair with a wife and two kids waiting for the Super Bowl.
What if he has given up on global warming, too?
He probably doesn’t want to be an animal anymore. My guess is you could bring in Noah’s ark and the groundhog would probably blow it off.
What if over the entire earth not a single groundhog comes out this year? Not to spread conspiracy theories, but that would raise concerns that they may be talking to each other. They may be smarter than we think.
I can handle this! Genetics taught me about the end of the road. I know about stuff like this. I’m related to Jim Bowie. He died in the Alamo.
I am going to get a bottle of my best wine, three wine glasses, a couple of juice glasses for the little ones, and knock on the trap door.
We should be thankful that even though the theaters are closed we still have an alternative opportunity for “the willing suspension of disbelief.”
But what kind of alternative is it? Is it traditional tragedy? Is it comedy? Is it maybe the return of the satyr play — the last play in a Greek tragic cycle that featured all forms of bestiaries like farting and gross sex jokes to send the crowd off to the exits laughing?
This new form of theater doesn’t need a gathered audience. It can be dispensed through the endless dark web, Twitter and other social media, supplemented by Fox and MSNBC.
It’s brilliant. We all watch it. We can’t take our eyes off of it. It has merged “reality TV” with “enlightened self-interest,” but it doesn’t quite work.
It’s not Oedipus Rex: A former president meets democracy at the cross roads and brags the Statue of Liberty loves to be goosed.
It certainly is not like Julius Caesar either, where the Senate rises up to save the republic from a tyrant.
Wait one minute — what if it’s for a new kind of audience?
What does this new kind of theater provide?
It’s not just surround sound, it’s surround reality. Can’t get much better than that. Who needs those big crowded noisy theaters when you can keep your headset on and go to your own bathroom?
Regrettably, this new kind of theater may not be good for traditional theater. In traditional theater, the producers fight for money to put up their shows and maybe one out of five return a profit to investors. But with the recent “Trump Bump,” polarization is making everybody money, including MSNBC and Fox News.
This new audience is happiest when it is angry at somebody else because that’s what keeps the political parties flush with money and the audience shoveling more and more into campaigns, congressional healthcare, and retirement.
If you don’t know who is running the Republican Party, don’t ask — just watch the impeachment proceedings. But please don’t expect an answer, because right now I’m not sure if the Republican Party knows.
The only thing for sure is that the audience will be “hangry” — hungry for anger — the perfect couch potato entertainment.
After the Super Bowl and maybe “60 Minutes,” I’m sure they will let the lions out of the Colosseum and we can watch Rome burn.
It is a satyr play and we may be the actors, not the audience, but we are still free… to leave laughing.