Category Archives: pop culture

Was It Worth $100K-$250K for (Eric) Trump Appearance?


So there was supposed to be this big–hyooooge, in fact–bash at Mar-a-Lago to celebrate Trump’s one-year-in-office anniversary.  Trump would play the conquering hero to the adoring crowd of Trumpettes and other awe-stricken lumpenproles in a pricey paean to his wonderfulness.  (The Trumpettes are a group of die-hard female Trump supporters who openly celebrate their white privilege instead of denying that it exists as dem women do.)

The cost to attend was reportedly between $100,000 and $250,000 per couple (the latter figure being for the swells who wished to participate in a patricians-only discussion of some sort).

Except the government shutdown interfered.  The president had to stay in Washington.

But it was okay.  There was a substitute Trump appearance.  Eric.  He may have given a speech.  I wasn’t on the guest list.

But had I been, well, the bait and switch would not have gone unremarked-upon.  I would argue that a picture with Eric Trump pretending to know me would not have been of equivalent value to a photo of his father pretending to know me.  Yeah, that was supposed to be the big payoff for attendees–a photo with the leader of the free world.

Instead they got a photo-op with his kid whose main achievement in life so far has been lugging his father’s DNA around and passing it on to some offspring.

For this guests were expected to take their tiaras out of the safety deposit boxes?   Eric Trump?  Why that’s hardly even worth a factotum’s time to go and pick up the baubles from the vault, let alone the price of  ladies’ costly couture, groomers’ time, glittery footwear and other essentials for a look at me, look at me social event in Palm Beach.

Yeah.  $100K – $250K.  Eric Trump.  No kidding.

Money well spent, no?  No!

What would Jesus say?  “Hey kid, you ever hear the one about the camel passing through the eye of a needle?”

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Is Donald Trump Gay But Can’t Bear to Admit It?


It’s hard to fathom what witches brew of psychological unease causes Trump to be so unrepentently vitriolic. The unendingly deep well of hate speech that erupts from his mouth and thumbs is unparalleled in presidential history. And I’ve wondered many times what could possibly account for someone being so monstrously uncomfortable in his own skin. He is clearly acting, playing a part instead of being genuine.  But why?

He’s like a horse with a burr under the saddle. And it’s not just painful to watch, his vicious temperament could easily get us all into a nuclear war. There’ll be no going back from that, should it happen.

There has to be something more than a predisposition to crankiness going on under that flimsy rainbow hued patch of hair poking out so oddly from his skull. My hypothesis is that he’s gay, which is not something anyone can squelch forever without serious emotional dislocation.

He was raised in a time and family in which it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to admit to such a thing. Even though being gay is perfectly normal and ordinary, Trump seems way too anxious to prove his masculinity, in his case by rampant womanizing and bragging about womanizing.

Doing the opposite of one’s natural inclinations used to be called reaction formation.  When the prospect of a trait, characteristic, or penchant is met with extreme disapproval by society, the person who has to pretend to be something the opposite of their true nature can suffer enormously.

I used to have a friend who was temperamentally exactly like Trump–effeminate, fussy, and unendingly verbally abusive for no apparent reason. The constant histrionics, the hateful speech and denigration of others who did not share his ethnicity (white, from Kansas) ultimately led to us not being friends anymore.  I just could not bear to listen to the sewer that was his tortured mind.

Then, finally,  he came out.  Except he did it in the worst possible way.  His very straight-laced father was on his death bed when this guy had a terrible temper tantrum and told his dad that he was gay and he’d be the end of the DNA line for his family.   Even for him that was inexcusably mean.

But I’ve heard that he’s a lot more mellow now that he’s not having to pretend to be something he’s not.

Maybe if Trump would just come out we’d all be a lot better off.

#metoo? A Stranger Grabbed My Breast–So I Broke His Nose


It wasn’t traumatizing, it was funny.  Hilarious, in fact.

The instant he touched my breast, out of pure reflex I punched the little f–ker in the nose.  And guess who taught me how to do it?  Men.

It was a simple, well executed reverse punch.  I’d practiced it hundreds of thousands of times.  This probably wasn’t the assailant’s first attack. He’d probably done it before and would do it again if something didn’t convince him to take up a hobby other than picking on women.

The jerk’s nose was on the side of his face and streaming blood.  And ya know what?  He acted  mad–as if  somehow it was my responsibility to play the role of helpless female so he could play out his dumbass fantasy.

So I told him to get out of there immediately or face something a lot worse.  (Since he was still on his dirt bike, and completely vulnerable, the only considerations were just how badly to hurt him and whether maiming should be part of the punishment.)

What happened was that, sometime  after I’d gotten a couple of black belts, I was at a boring function out West with my boyfriend and went for a walk alone in nearby desert foothills.  Out of the blue some little jerk putt putts up close to me on a dirt bike and asks “Do you wanna f–k?”   But while I was processing the information, the a–hole grabbed my breast.

So I punched him hard in the nose which, thereafter, was kinda squashed over on the side of his face.   The funny part was how he was going to explain to people how come his nose was no longer where it used to be.  Somehow it didn’t seem likely that he would say some girl he was planning on raping smacked him.

Yeah.  No kidding.  Here’s this idiot, on a motorbike, with one leg on either side of it, and one hand on the handlebars no less.  Otherwise the bike would have fallen over.

I wonder exactly what he was planning on assaulting me with, since he obviously couldn’t use his feet or the one hand holding onto the handlebars or else he’d be on his butt in the dirt when the dirt bike fell over.

The specific technique I used was taught to me by some very fine martial artists.  Jack Swift, a pioneer of public advocacy journalism, was the one who drilled me most often in the basics–which is what I concentrated on.  He was a believer in women being able to take care of themselves.   He was also a 4th degree black belt in a full contact style.

Now Jack, who was a big guy, used to jump me at inconvenient times, in embarrassing places, and make me fight my way free.  It was mortifying.  Jeez, one time he did it right in front of the elevators in a university building where we had a class.  You can imagine what all the students thought.

Jack and the other black belts taught that if a stranger passes within your critical distance and you’re uncertain of his intent, back up a step and give one warning.  If someone with clear intent to harm you passes within critical distance, don’t wait.  Just do him right then and there before he realizes you’re the dangerous one.

The catch is–you have to be able to “do him” and that takes a lot of preparation.  I started preparing early.

When I was little Dad and I used to watch boxing together whenever it was on.   My brain was laying down its foundation database.  By the time I was in fourth grade I had a grown-up hunting bow and a burgeoning knife collection.

It all started because of a chance comment by  an older boy when I was really young.  After reading about wars I asked him if, since wars were fought by men, women and children were spared as victims.

“Are you kidding?” he asked.  “The first people they kill are the women and children.”

Not not long after that I told Mom I needed a knife.

“What for?” she asked

“So when they come for me I can fight back.”

Mom was mystified.  Predictably, she said no.  Within a couple of months, I had a knife.

Thanks, guys, for teaching me how to protect me and for explaining to me how things work, and what to do in certain circumstances.  Ya saved my butt more than once.  And I appreciate it enormously.

Did guys ever try to put my hand on their dicks?  Yes.  Did guys say crude things to me?  Yes.  Did guys grab me and try kiss me against my will?  Yes, occasionally.  Did guys stare at my breasts?  Does the sun rise in the east?

Was I traumatized?  No.  It never made me cry, although I did have a scary moment or two over the years.   It was just, well, informative.  The world’s a big bad place and, ladies, if you’re gonna venture out into it alone–as in, oh, say, the workplace–then be prepared to take care of yourself.  Don’t expect the world to change just because you’ve graced it with your presence.  You need to learn how to navigate the dangerous parts–preferably without whining, crying or hollering because the world doesn’t happen to meet your expectations.

Chainsaw Phil


Once upon a time I lived on islands. Not always the same one, but always
islands. The first time I moved to one it was in the Caribbean and it was
supposed to be for a couple of months. I didn’t come back to the continent
for 12 years. And even then I lived on barrier islands. For awhile I lived on
two islands at once–one in the Caribbean the other a Florida barrier
island–and commuted.  On Fridays I’d walk to the dock, take a ferry to St.
Thomas, a surrey-bus to the seaplane terminal, then the Goose*–a
seaplane–to St. Croix, then a surrey bus to Christiansted or Frederiksted, do
my work and return home the same way.

I met a lot of interesting people.

One of them was Chainsaw Phil–or, as people called him more or less
affectionately, Chainsaw–the most consistently pessimistic, skeptical, cranky person I ever met.

BTW, on this particular island there were three things one was never supposed to ask.  “Where are you from, what’s your last name, what do you do for a living?”

Chainsaw just kind of appeared on the Caribbean island at some point,
having migrated from the Pacific Northwest where he’d been a lumberjack.

He was, and probably still is, the second most profane human being I have
ever met. Because of his profession, and the fact that much of the bush to
be cleared was cassia, which is full of thorns, Chainsaw was always
scratched, cut, bleeding, and with a patchwork of other occupational wounds in
various states of healing/scabbing. His T-shirts suffered the same fate and were invariably torn in several places.

Chainsaw, however had hidden depths. Brilliant, literate, and with a
massive database of general liberal arts information, Chainsaw was quite a
conversationalist. He could riff on various obscure philosophers, contemporary fiction, history, you name it. We had a number of fascinating chats over the years.

I only ever saw him happy once. After a huge hurricane had pretty much
squashed the island, all the locals had to pitch in to clear the roads and get
the power back on. None of the airports were open so each island was pretty much on its own.

I came around a corner and there was Chainsaw, dangling above the debris strewn roadway from one of the few trees still standing, by one arm, the other swinging along with the chainsaw like a damn bullwhip, cutting the hanging branches dangling from also-dangling wires and trees, just a-whoopin’ and hollerin’ like a cowboy gettin’ some little dogies along on the dusty trail.  He sounded like Slim Pickens in the final scene of “Dr. Strangelove” (one of the greatest films ever made).

Chainsaw had this huge grin on his face.  I’d never seen him smile–normally even when he laughed he frowned.  I wasn’t even aware he could smile

*BTW for Goose flights they would have to take passenger weights to determine if the lumbering aircraft could safely get airborne and land.  Seems as though I recall that here’s an old VI Daily News photo somewhere of the Lt. Gov. or Gov. or head of the legislature, something political…wading in the shallows having been forced to abandon a Goose plane for reasons I can’t recall.  The seaplanes had a reputation for being rickety but there were a limited number of ways to get to St. Croix from St. Thomas, and the Goose was the quickest one.

Walking Mudpit Trump Sloshes Through Middle East


Personally, since I was in Palm Beach County when the Saudi 911 bombers
trained nearby, and lived there, I’m not a huge fan of Saudi Arabian
leadership.  Plus there’s that whole, women can’t drive or go out of their
house without a male to supervise them thing.  Sorry, but that’s not what
you’d call “endearing” to American women.

But I laughed out loud at the news story about the Saudis giving Trump a
“golden collar” during the president’s first trip to the Middle East .  Ya don’t necessarily think of them as having a sense of irony.

They’re gonna have a time of it teaching our perpetually distracted
president to heel, sit and stay though.  They’d do better with one of those
“zapper” collars that delivers an electric shock when a pet misbehaves.
That might possibly get the Saudi wannabe owners of Mr. Trump better
results.  But they’re gonna have to battle Putin on this one–he’s currently got
bragging rights on controlling our erstwhile Pres.

Maybe Putin and Saudi crown prince somebody or other could mud wrestle
for the right to lead Trump around by his golden collar.  (It’d give Putin a hard-to-resist excuse to flash his man-boobs again!)

Lots of people would pay cold hard cash to see that sporting event.  I’d put my money on Putin.  He sure enough knows how to fight dirty.  There’d have to be a written rule–no assassinating opponents; Putin has a history after all.

Yeah, our president–favored lapdog of brutal dictators.  MAGA?  But which one
would it be?  Who’d get the rose?  If the high stakes mud wrestling event
were televised it would blow American Idol and Bachelorette ratings off the
court, don’t ya think?

And I’ll just bet that Trump thought that golden collar was an
honor–because it’s expensive.

But, Trump wasn’t just visiting the Middle East, he went to Rome too.  (We’ll skip the part where he got confused during a press conference with Netanyahu in Israel and just wandered off!)   I was thinking the Pope might once again work his magic, as he did with John Boehner, who resigned the day after meeting with the persuasive pontiff.

Well, except that then we’d have President Pence–another empty suit nitwit.
On the up side he’s more photogenic than Trump, and really good at looking earnest and resolute.  Hard to tell if that’d be a real improvement in the long run, but, how much worse could it get?  At least he might not spend all day
watching TV and tweeting nonsense.  Unlike our current president, Pence
might even have policies and plans that wouldn’t fit into 140 characters.

Does anyone else wonder when the GOP is going to get it that they are
the ones colluding–in making all of us a laughingstock in the world at large that is?  Not to mention that leaving a country of nearly 350 million citizens unattended for several years probably isn’t going to work out well.

 

Whiny Trump Turning Out To Be Crybaby In Chief


Jeez, isn’t everyone getting tired of Trump’s constant whining and
complaining?  Far from being the strong and energetic leader we were promised, he’s turned out to be “Crybaby in Chief”. Wah, wah, wah “it’s not fair” is his less than stalwart battle cry. It’s so embarrassing to the country.

And at the recent summit, when all the other heads of state walked, sissy-boy Donald Trump had to be hauled around in a golf cart because he was too fat, lazy and out of shape to keep up with his more fit–and mostly elderly–world leader colleagues. Mortifying!  For us that is.

Mr. Trump, here’s a bit of wisdom Mom imparted to me when I tried
that same lame ploy (“It’s not fair!”) long before I even entered
kindergarten. “Life isn’t fair and the sooner you learn that the better off
you’ll be. Now go to your room until you can behave.”

Somebody, please, send Trump a binkie and a blankie to help him cope with
his monstrous inadequacy.

So far it appears that the only member of the Trump retinue/administration
who is actually ready for political prime time is Melania. And she looks
ready to bolt any day now.

Carpe Diem Young Journalists–Now Is Your Chance for Glory


I’ve been fretting for some time about how few opportunities there are for young journalists and journalism students to sink their chops into something really meaty and write about something meaningful.  In the first place they exist in a journalistic environment which is more froth than beer.   And, of course, if they are active journalists with a media outlet, they only get to work on what they are assigned rather than what they may want to pursue.  Puff pieces are the name of the game in the establishment media.

But recent events and the corrosive corruption which are exploding in our society’s public life present a rare opportunity for young millenial investigative journalists.  I’m hoping they’ll smell blood and pounce on the stories with the ferocity and energy which only the young have in abundance.  Their complacent elders are tiptoeing around and walking on eggs like fearful weenies, hamstrung by their bunker mentality.  Those old media whores are too chicken to do this.

Come on brave millenial journalists!  Young people are always supposed to long for glory and a chance to show what they’re made of.  Here’s your big chance.  I know you can sniff out the green, rotting meat of dangerous conditions and unworthy politicians undermining our democracy.  You know how to dig into real in-depth research.  You have the internet, where Woodward and Bernstein were limited to actual on-the-ground sleuthing.

This is some really ugly s— coming down in our governance.  Expose it.  Please. There are a ton of us out here who will be pulling for you, and cheering you on.

Go to it.  Because your flaccid, sedentary,  scaredy cat elders aren’t likely to do it.  They have kids and mortgages.  They play it safe.   You don’t have to.  Bare your fangs.  Un- sheath your claws.  Lay back your ears and raise your hackles. Dig, dig, dig until your paws are bleeding and your claws are broken and worn.

Here’s you chance for lasting journalistic glory.  You can do it!  I have the greatest confidence in your ability to rise to the occasion. (And the greatest scorn for your sissy journalist elders.)   Hup, hup get off your asses and jump into the fray for the truth.

We’re starving out here–for courage,  honesty, substance and real facts, instead of opinions.  Sink your fangs in, grab the truth by the throat and shake it until it stops shape-shifting.  Then drag it back to the cave, carve it up and serve it to a grateful nation.