Friday, March 23, 2018

Requiem for a Nation – The United States of America, 1776 - 2017

“Oh beautiful, for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self, our country loved,
And mercy more than life”

The United States of America was a great country, deeply flawed, as all are, but one always striving to improve, to progress, determined to correct past mistakes, grievous inequities and societal injustices; and one with an enlightened Constitution, set of laws, purposely planned structure, and a seemingly inherent and innate sense of fairness and decency that allowed it to successfully, albeit frequently chaotically and messily, do so; inching ever so closer to fulfilling that noble goal of becoming a "more perfect union."

Sadly and tragically, in less than a year and a half of historically, unprecedented corruption, malfeasance, ignorance, hatred, bigotry, thieving, lying, fraud, indecency, subversion and astonishing stupidity, that wonderful nation has perished. In its place is a vulgar obscenity, an offensive and lewd insult to that beacon of liberty, equality and opportunity that millions had given their lives to preserve and protect.  Instead, the entity that now occupies that glorious landmass reaching from magnificent ocean to magnificent ocean, “sea to shining sea,” and quite erroneously still labeling itself as the United States of America, is an Oligarchic dictatorship, a Banana Republic, with no adherence or allegiance to the Constitution, with liberty and justice, not for all, but for the privileged few, where the poor and middle class sacrifice to further enrich the wealthy, where crime and punishment are determined by status and class, where divisiveness, sexism, bigotry, hatred and ignorance are encouraged and well rewarded.  

This new nation, not conceived in liberty, nor dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, is a perfect reflection of the sociopathic criminal and treasonous enemy of the state that now sullies the White House, the people’s house, and perhaps, even more catastrophically and more permanently damaging is the sorrowful reality that this rapidly deteriorating, declining and failing homeland equally represents those who empowered this devil on earth.

To have cast a ballot for Donald Trump, can be munificently forgiven as a regrettable blunder, a serious political faux pas. To continue to support this domestic adversary, who toils not for country or Constitution, but for himself and the Russian powers who aided his ascent, is pure treason, and paints those who do so no less an enemy than the diminutively digited, tangerine tyrant.  The Republicans, the Evangelicals and the Christian Conservatives, who defend and laud his every foul word and deed, seem, not just incapable of logical judgement concerning this supreme sinner, but even worshipful of their new own personal Jesus, have consistently demonstrated nothing but indecency, immorality, and traitorous behavior, all whilst clutching Bible to chest, waving the Stars and Stripes and vociferously proclaiming patriotism, loyalty and fealty to the history, tradition, values and principles they so callously and roundly reject.  Donald Trump is assuredly mentally ill, what excuse do those who elected and enable him have?

“America, America, may God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain devined.”

Saturday, January 6, 2018

62 Million Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

MCGA - Donald Trump, Making the Confederacy Great Again

An Electorate Awash in Animosity, Ignorance and Ignominy

"It's not cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself" - Stevie Wonder

If you marked your ballot, pulled the lever, popped a chad for Donald Trump, you committed an act of treason and should be permanently stripped of the right to vote. If you continue to support him as president, like the lunatic himself, you are a traitor, and a clear and present danger to our once great country, now turned banana republic.

And now that you loathe me, and are searching my whereabouts on Google for what you believe to be a deserved, thorough thrashing, allow me to expound.

In the past, I have been informed by a dear friend or two (yes, I have friends) that in previous writings, be it this blog, Facebook, Twitter, skywriting, semaphore, smoke signals, American Sign Language or braille, I have been continuously and consistently too critical of, and insulting to, the Trump voter (aka: slack-jawed, self-concerned, dumb as a box of hammers, mentally unstable, anti-American turncoat.) Au contraire (an explanatory link for the Trump enthusiast, http://www.yourdictionary.com/au-contraire) in retrospect (once more, but from this point further, you’re on your own, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retrospect) I have been far too charitable, for this Dante-esque, Arrigo Boito-like nightmare in which we currently find ourselves, is completely and totally on the devilish Donald devotee. The threatening nuclear showdown with North Korea, the destruction of the Earth for the gain of international corporations, the rape of the poor and middle class for the enrichment of the wealthy, and the actual rape of underage girls and the dozens of admitted sexual assaults by the Mephistopheles currently in residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, both Trump voter accepted and approved, are all the fault and the responsibility of those 62 million whose vote demonstrated nothing but contempt for our nation, its populace, our Constitution and traditional American values.  Further, the egocentric and mercenary, immediate self-interest of such a decision was a clear and affronting message to our children, grandchildren and all future generations that their health, well-being, safety and very lives, are thoroughly meaningless and of zero concern or interest to the Trump troglodyte, as vile and venal an American citizen as this one time beacon of democracy, civility and liberty has ever regretfully sired.

The Trump Supporter - you can see the love and compassion in their faces
So, why, one may ask, perchance, one may ponder, would an obvious madman, rabble-rouser and plain old no good-nick such as myself, even posit such a peculiar, peevish and provocative proposal that a tally for Trump, a vote for a viper, a decision for the Drumpfster, would in any way equate to a tyrannical attack of treason? J’accuse!! After all, this was a legal and legitimate election, right Vladimir? Simply, every felonious follower and fan was well aware of the (lack of) character and personality they were supporting and encouraging, as well as his personally bragged about and well-documented vast criminal history and moral misbehaviors. With said knowledge at their easily and readily “Binged” (Ask Jeeves? Altavista? Dogpile?) disposal, anyone with even the fraction of a cerebral cortex intact in their skulls would be well aware that this thieving, lying, raping, incest-advocating, draft-dodging, narcissistic, self-serving sociopath is certainly not, in any conceivable and workable way, worthy of Oval Office occupation and the formidable and weighty designation of “Leader of the Free World” (note: in light of this folly, foolhardiness and dangerous recklessness, that title, once only and always belonging to the President of the United States, is now firmly in the rational, reasonable and intelligent grasp of Germany’s Angela Merkel.) To believe otherwise and then to follow through on those beliefs at the polling place, is either an unambiguous act of treachery and treason against our mother land, or the function of a disturbed, troubled and utterly, insane mind (if any Trump supporters are still reading this, and not loading semi-automatics, riled and rife for vengeance, feel free to self-determine your own classification between quisling and crazy.)

Her family must be so proud
Should one choose to ignore the outside, overwhelming avalanche of evidence against Trump being either ethical, smart or sane – deliberately disregarding charges of collusion, obstruction of justice, sexual assault, rape, money-laundering, illegal business ties to the Russian government and oligarchs, sharing American and Israeli intelligence with Russian spies, the non-payment of taxes, the stiffing of business partners and contractors, the numerous bankruptcies, the thousands of lawsuits - including the $25 million dollar settlement he paid in guilty acknowledgement of defrauding 6000 students out of tens of millions with his phony university. a genuine, undebatable crime, pre-election day - the tens of thousands of lies and so and so on, ad-infinitum; why would a Donald disciple also ignore their demi-god’s own words and admissions? This champion of the chowder head, this idol of the ignorant, this hero of the hate-filled, brazenly and braggadociously crowed of serial sexual assault, his desires to bed his “hot” daughter, his astute tax evasions, his owners ability to walk into the dressing rooms of underage beauty pageant contestants to sneak naked peeks at these pre-teen girls, his numerous infidelities, his man-crush on, and ardorous admiration of, Vladimir Putin – all captured on audio and video tape for permanent posterity, and obviously all meeting with the tacit approval of his America-hating allies.

MNGA - Making Nazis Great Again
"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right." - Victor Hugo

Thanks to Trump embracing the worst of us, our enemies within – the Neo-Nazis, KKK, White Supremacists (aka, his base) and proudly and openly reinforcing their words, deeds and principles with his own statements and actions, while degrading those who uphold actual American values, laws and liberties, he has created a toxic atmosphere that for all intents and purposes has our extremely divided country mired in a cold civil war. Our nation has never faced an adversary like Donald Trump before, one who has waged an active campaign against our Constitution and country from the office of the Presidency, with the ability to wield all the powers inherent to that position. Trump is an enemy combatant, and should be regarded and treated as such. And that third of the U.S. whose hatred of the United States, African-Americans, Muslims, immigrants, homosexuals and anyone who looks, speaks or worships differently than they do, share equally in the guilt and the lawlessness alongside their heretical hero and, harrowingly, will still be very much amongst us long after their sinful savior is rotting within penitentiary walls.

“We would not care to wake up to the nightmare
That's becoming real life
But when mislead, who know a person's mind
Can turn as cold as ice

Why do you keep on making us hear your song
Telling us how you are changing right from wrong
'Cause if you really want to hear our views
You haven't done nothing” – Stevie Wonder

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Death of a Nation – The Disgrace of Modern America

“We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
In order to survive we steal, cheat, lie, forge, hide and deal
We are obscene, lawless, hideous, dangerous, dirty, violent and young
But we should be together
Come on all you people standing around
Our life's too fine to let it die and
We can be together” – Paul Kantner

Today, I desperately need someone to remind me why my country is, as we annoyingly proclaim to the rest of the World on a daily basis, “great” and “exceptional,” for, to be perfectly honest, I’m just not seeing it. Is it because any sociopathic billionaire, child rapist, confessed sexual assaulter, con-man, incest proponent, grifter, liar and thief with a criminal record can grow up to be President? Or, is the justification that anyone, even with a diagnosed mental disorder or incarceration record, can easily purchase automatic weaponry intended solely for military use and designed, not for hunting or self-defense, but to quickly and efficiently slaughter as many people as possible? Now, sure, the nation, the ideals and values set forth by our brilliant and worldly Founding Fathers were both “great” and “exceptional,” but we have strayed shamefully and dangerously adrift from those ideologies and intentions. The present United States, currently piloted by an ignorant, sexist, racist, hate-filled enemy of America, installed by a hostile foreign power and supported by 62 million equally unenlightened and bigoted traitors, has as much correlation to the principles promoted in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as Donald Trump’s gold-plated, 5th Avenue, towering bordello has to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

And, lest ye forget, those flag waving, bible thumping, paradigms of perfect patriotism, wrapped in the stars and stripes, topped with a crown of thorns and devouring a super-sized Big Mac, declare us not just “great” but also, “the greatest country in the world!!!” Now, mind you, the vast majority of Americans possess no passport, consider those of us who do to be untrustworthy Communists, and have never traversed beyond the borders of Mayberry or Hooterville, finding even Toronto far too exotic and threatening.  As an avid traveler, and a believer that doing so enlightens, educates and only serves to open one’s mind, I’m curious to hear from the xenophobic amongst our uninformed populace, what isn’t “great” about England or France or Holland or Canada? Does the lack of weekly mass shootings somehow make them inferior? And, monosyllabic babbles from Sarah Palin or Sean Hannity in response, means instant disqualification. Even as much as the illegal, illegitimate, Putin-puppet and posterior puckerer Commander in Thief denies the decency of any non-English speaking, non-USA born, skin-tone darker than Powder individual, the reality is, most of his fortune is on loan from Russia, he owns unsuccessful hotels and chapter 11 resorts throughout the globe, and he almost always buys his wives on the foreign exchange.

While well-intended, thoughts and prayers both amount to the same thing,
talking to yourself to make yourself feel better.

It takes a country that can rationalize electing a dangerously insane person President, to rationalize selling a dangerously insane person guns. And so, here we find ourselves in 2017, a once great nation on a rapidly, very possibly, irreversible decline; with an enemy, grievously bereft of decency, morality and sanity, now in charge of the government, buttressed by a citizenry lacking character, judgment and knowledge, both, derisive of the rights and protections of the First Amendment, while devout to an unwavering worship of the Second.

The daily escalating madness of this increasingly, uncivilized country is depressing and exhausting. I don’t know if a future for me exists here any longer.  I may be ready to escape to a humane, compassionate, tolerant and mature nation. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in America. But progressively, more and more Americans do not, and the federal government undoubtedly doesn’t. Remarkably, in less than 10 months, Donald Trump has demolished traditional democratic institutions, philosophies and practices that took 241 years to establish.  The Republic, this vision of our Founders, is trapped in an accelerating death spiral. Our nation is on a clock now. It cannot and will not endure a long-term Trump presidency.  And the survival of civilization hinges on one overriding question - can Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller prosecute Trump before he destroys the United States, if not the entire planet, with his nuclear objectives? As is common among the privileged top 1%, Donald Trump has flaunted a "get out of jail free" card his entire life. It's time for Mueller to revoke that privilege.

Beezlebub speaks

 “We can be together
We will be.
We must begin here and now,
A new continent of earth and fire,
Come on now getting higher and higher.
Tear down the walls
Won't you try?’

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It Happened In Key West – A Praise-filled Peek at a Stunning New Musical

“How it feels to watch your love, as they slowly drift away. 
And to know that you can’t follow where they go.”

As a man of virtually no talents, (and truth be told, I might be grading on a curve with the self-serving inclusion of the word “virtually”) and a wannabe creative, who has initiated, attempted, then abandoned more unsuccessful, artistic endeavors than Trump has maturing mates, I’m fortunately favored with friends who have talent to spare and share, and do so graciously and generously; allowing those of us among the less-gifted general-population (sociological genus: “cubicle-dwellers") to experience and partake in events and opportunities that would normally only be things of daydream,  reverie and Turner Classic Movies: MGM marathons.  This recent, final weekend of August, pleasantly presented, again, one such entertaining, rewarding and even Poppins-esque “practically perfect in every way” pursuit and proceeding with the first fully-staged version of a musical in the making, “It Happened in Key West.”  Everything about those few days spent around  Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s historic Fulton Theatre, and the hours enjoyed with those who toiled, entertained  and enchanted there, was special, affecting and fulfilling; so take heed and warning, from this point thus, I will be gushing like a tween at her first Bobby Sherman concert (am I aging myself? Leif Garrett? David Cassidy? Russ Colombo? Who do the young people listen to on their Victrola’s now-a-days?)

I Generally Don’t Want to Cry This Much in Public

How to describe the plot of a show that stretches the old saw “truth is stranger than fiction” like a Stretch Armstrong doll with severe glandular problems (Mr. Fantastic with a second dose of cosmic radiation?) I suppose an option is to remain intentionally imprecise on story specifics and rather speak to the resulting effect on audiences, where sniffles and tears flowed like the mighty Niagara, and laughs bellowed that would render the Marx Brothers enviously green and the Pythons injudiciously jealous. This theatrical richness is delivered by a sumptuous score, at times, movingly exquisite, at other times, cleverly comical; always with engagingly imaginative and intelligent lyrical wordplay. George and Ira, and all Messrs. R and H – Richard, Lorenz and Oscar, are, no doubt, gazing down approvingly. Then there’s the book, which with extreme adeptness, inventiveness and ingenuity takes a potentially difficult true-life tale to tell, the story of Count Carl Von Cosel, Elena Hoyos and a love so deep that it extended beyond the boundaries of life itself and accepted societal norms and perhaps even decency; with factual elements of delusion, darkness, illness and mortality, but always over-riding and overwhelming genuine, ardent, aching and undying love - and spins it into a fertile, fulfilling theatrical tapestry of raucous comedy, profound sadness and above all – deep and authentic romance.

The real Carl
A Deserved Bow

“It Happened In Key West” was conceived and created by the talented trio of Jill Santoriello, Jason Huza and Jeremiah James, who, trust me, have not bribed, cajoled or forwarded a farthing to curry the writing of these favorable, flattering words and encouraging expressions (however, should they feel so moved, the email can be found, below.)  Ms. Santoriello, author of Broadway’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” only the second woman in history to ever write book, music and lyrics for a Broadway musical, continues along her triple-threat ways as composer, lyricist and co-book writer here (her considerate offer to also peddle ice cream cups during intermission was gratefully declined.) Jason Huza, a novelist, playwright, web-series writer/producer, a scribe so prolific Stephen King can only weep in admiration, wrote the book and additional lyrics. And finally, Jeremiah James, producer, writer, director, choreographer, author, actor, singer, recording artist, steamboat pilot, Renaissance painter and first man on the moon (although, I suspect I was misinformed about those last 3) the founder of the feast, the mind who first conceived this inimitable and unique concept, also serves as producer and book contributor. The engaging, gifted and multi-talented cast is led by Wade McCollum as Carl, the love-struck, brilliant, German scientist and doctor, with a heart of gold, and a mind under psychiatric evaluation; and Elena Ramos Pascullo, as Elena, the beautiful, sweet, much younger woman, the object of Carl’s ardor and affection and, unfortunately, also, his critically ill patient (get out your handkerchiefs.)  Completing the cast is an exceptionable group of actors, singers and dancers who expertly and appealingly cover a multitude of roles and characterizations and each deserves mention (by the way, you’ll never meet a friendlier, more welcoming bunch) - Roxanne Daneman, Anna DeBlasio, Dave Droxler, Michael Fisher, Casey Furlong, Ryan Neal Green, Conor McGiffin, Spenser Micetich, Courtney Warford and Anson J.H. Woodin. Accompaniment and musical direction was provided by the harmonious Kevin David Thomas, a man as nice and likeable, as he is talented (and reportedly, half of the cutest couple on Facebook.)

The real Elena
Quite appropriately, we will close with one of the wonderful songs from the show, “What More Can I Wish For,” by Jill Santoriello and Jason Huza. This was a musical in development, a production intended to gauge progress, status, to note needed changes and, very importantly, to get the feel and feedback of how it plays to an audience. I was in 4 audiences. I saw tears. I heard laughs. I witnessed hundreds rise as one to their feet. I experienced artistic accomplishment and success. Remember the title, “It Happened in Key West.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Brief Encounter: The Mooch and the Douche

The Douche and the Mooch, moments before Scaramucci's 
"accidental" airborne departure from Airforce 1, sans parachute.

 “Your baby doesn't love you anymore
Golden days before they end
Whisper secrets to the wind
Your baby won't be near you anymore” – Roy Orbison

In the madhouse known as the White House, “chaos” is Pee Wee’s secret word and news changes and breaks, not just daily, but almost by the minute. When truth is never uttered and lies are the current currency of choice, such is always going to be the case. Veracity is easy to verify, while prevarication and the constant corruption it represents, frequently requires the invention and presentation of an ever-shifting, colorful kaleidoscope of falsehoods, fibs and flagrant misinformation.  It’s an IMF level mission attempting to remain contemporary and newsworthy on presidential proceedings and impeachable events and, even more so, on the present employment status of White House personnel, who tend to come and go as quickly as the Flash with premature ejaculation issues. But, on occasion, one of these ships passing in the night is so unique, so sensationalist and so, well, vile, that irrespective of his or her fruit fly-like tenure in the People’s House, to quote Linda Loman, “attention must be paid!” And so, today, for one singular blog post, we recognize, acknowledge and, of course, ridicule, that offensive, cartoon, ethnic stereotype of a stereotype; a living, breathing, cursing insult to all Italian-Americans and every Italian immigrant who ever alit upon our democratic shores - Anthony Scaramucci, hatingly known as the Mooch.

The Mooch – a fantastically, fictional concoction,  born of an ugly amalgam of angrily rejected literary notions from Damon Runyan, Mario Puzo and a momentarily deranged, Erma Bombeck;  and physically constructed and animated with discarded tissue from Joe Pesci, Leo Gorcey and my Nana with the severe black dress and hair net, from the old country.

"They laugh alike, they talk alike, at times they even walk alike -
 you can lose your mind"
The Mooch and the Douche: A Love Story

Prior to Anthony “my Mother’s a Saint” Scaramucci, being so unceremoniously, ruthlessly and rapidly rubbed-out, leaving the hallowed halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to return to the cast of Broadway’s, “A Bronx Tale,” he and the Donald had quite the torrid, if temporary and tempestuous, political affaire de coeur - brief but blazing, and with the kind of “fire and fury” usually reserved for baseless, wrathful and reckless threats made toward other nuclear powers. Much like Lucy and Harpo on opposite sides of an empty frame, they saw in each other a mirror image – two wealthy, ignorant, unpleasant, belligerent, hateful, faux street toughs (as genuinely menacing and street as the Sharks and the Jets Fosse-ing through the playgrounds of Hell’s Kitchen), both with a philosophy of “me first, f..k everybody else” and it was loathsome lust at first sight; the next best thing to inexhaustible self-gratification. Consequently, like a farmer fragrantly fertilizing his back forty, the Mooch had many and myriad a far-fetched, complimentary accolade aimed in his 11 day bosses direction - so, with very little pride, and a substantial amount of nausea, we share but a taste of this distasteful and blatant bootlicking and brown-nosing - enormously humiliating and, inevitably, for naught - Smooches from the Mooch.
I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world, and perhaps in history, if you think about it.”
“I mean, this president, is he something or is he something?
 “Okay? I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire.”
“I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on. He’s standing in the key; he’s hitting foul shots and swishing them, all right?”

"He sinks 30 foot putts."

"I love the president and I'm very, very loyal to the president and I love the mission that the president has.”
"I love the president."

Leave the gun, take the cannoli.
But surely, with such an inventive imagination and discernible flair for fervent flattery, there must be more unctuousness to uncover and impart (editor’s note: at this juncture, our legal team of Jacoby, Meyers, Cellino and Barnes insist on the revelation that the quotations to follow are not factual but fictional flights of fancy) – Smooches from the Mooch, part deux.

"He's never had a B.M. He finds it unseemly, so pays someone to do it for him."

"There will be no second coming of Christ since, God-wise, Donald kicks his scrawny, Middle Eastern, terrorist ass."

"Melania doesn't sleep in separate bedrooms (wings, floors, cities, countries, continents) than Donald because, as she puts it, "he's a revolting, repulsive, pig-man, who smells of the death of five thousand, diseased mole rats, I wish I was an escort again," it's because, otherwise, she would never be able to stop sexually ravaging him."

"You have to understand, when the President repeatedly talks about how hot his daughter is and how he'd like to "do" her, he's displaying the great regard and admiration he holds for all women. But, come on, marrone, that Ivanka is one spicy soprasseta. She can be my goomare any day... no disrespect."

"If President Trump asked, I would gladly abandon my wife and newborn baby for him." (editor's note: oh, sorry, this really happened.)

And, lastly, from the Mooch's resignation letter - "If I should stay, I'll only be in your way. So I'll go, but I know I'll think of you every step of the way. And I will always love you. I will always love you. You, my darling you. hmm."
The Mooch & the Douche in "Li'l Tuff Guys"
And so, with memories of Anthony “Jersey Shore reject” Scaramucci, the only individual to actually know Tony’s fate from “The Sopranos” finale, fading rapidly in our rear view mirrors, like the vagrant drifter we ran down in the darkness of the Catskill wilderness and left for dead, those many decades ago (editor’s note: Jacoby, Meyers, Cellino and Barnes stress that this is but a dark and crude jest, not an actual occurrence from a college road trip involving the consumption of far too many Genesee Ales) we bid him a substantially less than fond farewell  and leave you with the understanding, and empathetic lyrics of the legendary, Roy Orbison.

"God bless."
 “All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep, then say goodbye
You won't be seeing rainbows any more
Setting suns before they fall, Echo to you that's all that's all
But you'll see lonely sunset after all

It's over It's over It's over It's over”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lazy Boy – Lessons from a Leisurely Life

Think of this as a warning, a true cautionary tale. It may not be pretty. It may not be pleasant. Real life seldom is. And once having consumed the forthcoming account, consider sharing with your children, lest they someday fall into such an unfortunate state. For, not unlike the plotline of a 1950’s, atomic age, drive-in, sci-fi flick, this is the story of a once gainfully employed, fully functioning, active member of society, turned slug.

I have become astonishingly, remarkably, and perhaps even, Guinness World Record noteworthy lazy since my surprise early retirement was suddenly thrust upon me.  I rarely rise before the crack of noon, if that early, and even with that deferred rousing,  usually pencil some time into my barely there schedule to allow for an utterly unnecessary nap, somewhere in the period between afternoon syndicated courtroom shows and whatever frozen restaurant leftovers I microwave and munch standing up over my butcher block table as an evening meal (a hint from a very seasoned and accomplished napper - no matter how awake and alert you may feel when first reclining, a screening of any episode of the PBS chestnut, “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross” will gently lull you into a soothing and satisfying slumber, complete with dreamy visions of happy, little trees and friendly, fluffy clouds.  I have watched hundreds of episodes and have yet to witness a painting rendered to completion. You may consider that good, you may consider that bad - art is subjective.)

Tasks, outings, errands, social events, theatre, shopping, drinking, dining – any activity that involves the extreme exertion of actually departing the apartment, be it for pleasure or chore, is generally limited to one a day.  In the infrequent situation when faulty and most tragic miss-scheduling arises, and two or (perish the thought), more events are on the docket, the subsequent 24 hours are to be largely spent in bed, followed by an immediate vacation. For example, once concluding an expedition to Gristedes Supermarket, a mere quarter of a block from my building’s entrance, for that taxing and trying task of food, grocery and sundry replenishment, I’ve put in my eight hours. And, once more, it’s into the familiar and welcoming embrace of a well-worn sofa, the anxious and willing servitude of Google Home awaiting my verbal commands and demands, and the companionship of a cat who, at best, just wants to be friends.

Friends, beware the siren call of the electronic home assistant.  I have fully succumbed to its allure and seductive charisma, so much so, that I own one each of the bitter rivals. In the livingroom, a Google Home, and in the bedroom, an Amazon Echo - combatants in a contentious commercial conflict, cautiously coexisting in these claustrophobic accommodations. There is a peace between the two, a ceasefire of sorts, but it is fragile and antagonistic, so, it’s imperative they be kept continually separated, rooms apart - for their well-being, my safety and the continued existence of all humanity. But thanks to the futuristic, Jetsons-esque capabilities of these underpriced, over-achievers; movement within the confines of my home is virtually unnecessary. These celebrations of sloth and enablers of immobility have made the simple motion of typing on a keyboard seem a grueling and superflous Herculean challenge.  However, in complete fairness to myself, I would not say I am, yet, an inert object, but I also would not proclaim myself particularly “ert” either.

While this lethargy, and its corporeal consequences, have reached such epic proportions that I’ve been offered my own TLC program, despair not from this unseemly saga of a good man gone bland, and a drive temporarily stuck in neutral, because this physical inactivity has not been equally mirrored in the mental realm. In actuality, the opposite has occurred, the rested body has led to an active mind, and many a condition and position have been pondered, even beyond fresh phrases with which to insult Donald Trump on Twitter.  With maturity, comes a heightened ability to recognize and confront weaknesses and flaws, and whereas in youth I would have denied, I will now forthrightly and willingly admit to being a bountiful cornucopia of faults. It’s unlikely I’ll do much to correct them, but I’ll be more than happy to fess up when called out. And, in today’s society, that gets you a trophy.

“Up a lazy river by the old mill run
Lazy river in the noon day sun
Linger awhile in a shade of a tree
Throw away your troubles, dream with me."

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Of the Affluent, By the Affluent, For the Affluent - A Democracy in Decline

Some pages from the Republican health care bill

“Under President Trump, our country is moving in an authoritarian direction and the very nature of American Democracy is under attack.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders

And so, anxiously we wait for a yay or nay vote on the Republican healthcare bill, the latest manifestation of the acute degradation, rapid decline and possible lengthy, languid, painful demise of our nation. While not actively killing the disabled, the poor and the elderly with their new legislation, the GOP has made it quite clear that there will certainly be no distressed or unsettled hours of slumber among their membership when the inevitable, if not planned on, tally of needlessly lost lives commences, once this massive redistribution of wealth upward, this socialism for the 1% is law. Now, in the name of fairness and impartiality, it’s important to note that there is a diminutive gaggle of Republicans against the bill, including Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but, unfortunately, they actually find it not sufficiently draconian, and fear it will result in too few deaths of innocent Americans.  

This is the sorrowful saga of modern America, Trump’s America, a bilious and bogus United States of America, an America in name only – a cruel country where the rich eat the poor and the middle class cheer them on; where the disabled are left to fend for themselves and their infirmities are regarded as faults for which they are to be punished;  where young black man are used as target practice for law enforcement throughout the land and for whom justice is just an ugly joke and an unattainable goal; where women and even young girls are sexually abused while their admitted assailants remain free to scale the supreme summits of wealth, power and popularity - an America where value, worth and legitimacy of citizenship is determined by stock portfolio, pigmentation, gender and druthers in deities.

“Health is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to health care services cannot be a privilege.” – Pope Frances

In the United States of America, our overly-proud population persistently preens and praises itself to the point of pomposity, exasperation and non-stop annoyance with unproven proclamations of superiority over all of the other 195 nations on the globe (despite being one of only three happy to observe idly as man-made climate change renders the Earth unlivable for those who will follow us and suffer for our severe selfishness and stupidity.) But ask any Independence Day reveler and they will exuberantly exclaim, that the U.S of A is the greatest country in the world, never mind the xenophobic reality that 64% of Americans have never strayed beyond our amber-waved fields or purple mountain majesties to even have the slightest hint of what may exist beyond our heavily AR-15’d  confines. 

I haven’t a clue what the criteria would consist of to determine a deserving number one nation ranking, presumably a dance competition is involved, perhaps wrist wrestling, but if the test entails compassion, empathy, selflessness or tolerance, if concern for the wellness and healthcare of our citizens is a barometer, not even George M. Cohan would sing our praises.  In every other industrialized, civilized nation, healthcare is a birthright, not a luxury only the moneyed are entitled to. Medicaid, the lifeline for the most vulnerable among us, is being savaged with an 800 billion dollar cut. Medicaid saves children, the elderly, the disabled, the homebound, the hungry, the poor, those in nursing and other health facilities. Medicaid saves lives. Medicaid doesn’t save rich people money, so it must be severely cut.

America 2017 - police forcefully remove peaceful disabled protestors from their wheelchairs
What the GOP, Trump and his supporters have done to this once great country is tragic. We have become a cruel, ugly, heartless, hateful nation, one in which those that have the most, viciously prey on those that have the least. Our situation is grave and growing grimmer. If Trump is not removed from office, notwithstanding all of his verifiable and even openly admitted to illegalities, if our unique system of checks and balances, our separation of powers, fails us, and he and the Republicans continue stepping on the vulnerable to benefit the wealthy and powerful, what are our options as a people and a country? This is not the United States of America. And this is not a country that we can leave to our children.

“Hey, now it's time for you and me
Got a revolution (got to revolution)
Hey, come on now we're marching to the sea
Got a revolution (got to revolution)
Who will take it from you, we will and who are we?
Well, we are volunteers of America (volunteers of America)
Volunteers of America (volunteers of America)
I've got a revolution
Got a revolution”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com