Friday, September 30, 2016

Taking Debate – Donald Trump Wastes the Time of 84 Million People

“You think that I don't even mean
A single word I say.
It's only words, and words are all I have
To take your heart away.” – Gibb

“All men are created equal. Well, it’s not true.”
“You have to have the right genes.”
“… I’m proud to have that German blood, no question about it. Great stuff.” – Donald J. Trump

Today, some thoughts, reflection, contemplation and severe nausea inspired by the inaugural Clinton/Trump Presidential debate. Now, far be it from someone like me, a mere mortal not blessed with Trump’s superior Aryan genes, to dare disparage or defame the self-proclaimed genius, self-judged super human being, and self-made billionaire (with a scant 200 million in start-up money from KKK member Papa Drumpf) but maybe a toot of cocaine, pre-lights, camera, action, and knowledgeable and aggressive Hillary, is not actually sufficient debate prep.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the Donald that his dealer is available and accessible to him when he’s under pressure and most feels the need, we should all be so fortunate (by which, of course, I mean - kids, just say no!) but incessant sniffling, nervous fidgeting, unquenchable thirst and nonsensical, incoherent and thoroughly fictional word-salads may prove one Studio 54, or Warhol Factory ready, but hardly lends to a presidential appearance, or for that matter, even qualification for the highly coveted position of Dogpatch dog catcher.

And, after all these years, who knew that “D.T.’s” stood for Donald Trump?

"Donald J. Trump said the questions were unfair, his mic might have been tampered with and he was right to comment on a beauty queen’s weight." – NY Times

“… I had to put up with the anchor all the time on everything I said. What a rigged deal.” – Donald J. Trump

Witnessed by the world at the debate, and justification for the likelihood that Secretary Clinton will be even more dominant in rounds 2 and 3, was Trump’s perpetual vulgar and boorish behavior and his utter inability to engage a woman in a tete a tete among equals. In all the recorded history of human kind, a woman has never set foot on God’s green Earth that Donald Trump does not believe himself to be the superior of. Donald J. hates women and Donald J. fears women, or perhaps more correctly stated; he hates women because he fears women. Drumpf lives by the gospel that the female of the species, including daughter Ivanka, exists solely to fulfill his reportedly violent sexual desires. Should Donald deem any woman too unattractive for an evening of carnal cavorting with his studly, Steve Reeves-like self-image, or if his married and slimy advances are rejected, the previous object of his affection instead becomes the object of his never ending ridicule and contempt – see Megyn Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell, Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, Wilson/Phillips, the Purple Hat Society, the female half of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the entire population of the planet Venus.

“Wah! Wah! Wah!” – Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump is a sociopathic monster who, if elected, will destroy the United States for what he perversely perceives as his own glory.  He has demonstrated, time and time (and time) again, a guiltless and soulless penchant to joyously do anything or say anything, or more precisely, do anything to anyone or say anything about anyone, in his ceaseless search for attention, notoriety and power.

To you, mysterious beings, perhaps explained by some quirk in the evolutionary process, who support Trump and regard him as suitable presidential material, you only disrespect and dishonor yourselves, your fellow Americans and your once admired and peerless nation.  If Donald Trump’s extremely hazardous and infinite and formidable faults yet remain unclear to anyone not aground upon an uncharted desert isle with the Professor, Mary Ann et al, either attention has not been paid for the last almost year and a half, or you are in need of as much psychological counseling as your favorite Fuhrer.

"I know words. I have the best words" - Donald Trump

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Song Selection – Linda Ronstadt: When I Grow too Old to Dream

In an age of acute anger, acrimony, antagonism, severe struggle and strife - when a stranger than fiction, cartoon villain’s possible ascendancy to the presidency threatens not only the future of the United States, but the very existence of the entire planet - can the gentle, the tender and the pacific permeate the madness and insanity and rise above it all to succor and “soothe a savage breast?”

A Savage Breast

On a recent sleepless, late evening when pondering what next to pen, my head spun in slumber-less perplexion over the vast varieties of viable new negative Donald Trump essays. Just that very morn, a radio interview had been uncovered from the afternoon of September 11th 2001, in which Trump happily bragged and preened about owning the tallest tower in lower Manhattan as a result of the terrorist’s destruction of the World Trade center, earlier that day. Such is the sickness and maliciousness in the mind of this Mephistopheles that as thousands perished, he found cause for celebration and self-serving swagger.

Donald Trump is a man of profound evil and severe mental infirmity who proudly and publicly proves it on a daily basis – every sentence spoken a revelation of revulsion, every word an expression of ignominy, every syllable a poisonous perversion - but it doesn’t matter. Hour by hour, his actions and statements are an open exhibition of bigotry, hatred and a deceased mind, and his poll numbers do nothing but improve.

Music Hath Charms   

Against this background of biliousness and repetitive repugnance, can anything calm a fevered, furious and frustrated soul – a songbird from salad days, perhaps? As the wee small hours grew even, well, "wee-er," as I tossed and turned between the 650 thread count percales, aggravated, agitated and anxious, worried about rousing for the work day, now not all that many more clock ticks away - suddenly into my embittered brain, shockingly out of the blue, sans external source of music or melody, sent from a non-existent Nirvana to sooth and mollify, came vivid memories of Linda Ronstadt crooning “When I Grow too Old to Dream." Upon this unexpected arrival of a beautiful woman, with a beautiful voice and a beautiful interpretation, Trump momentarily disappeared somewhere into a recess of the cerebrum or cerebellum. I sought out the song on the Spotify apped Samsung by my side, which, once heard. fostered a temporary tranquility, a peaceful retirement, and for this night at least, a suspension of any further windmill tilting.

When I Grow too Old to Dream

Composed by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1935 film, "The Night Is Young"  (a favorite of “… and several butcher’s aprons” devotees across the globe) this stalwart of the Great American Songbook has a rich recording history, having been sung by, among many others, Nelson Eddy, Nat King Cole, Della Reese, Dinah Shore, Doris Day, Dennis Day, Dakota Staton, The Everly Brothers, Julie London, Louis Armstrong, Cliff Richard, Jimmy Dean, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and the legend that is, Slim Whitman.

Linda Ronstadt forever put her indelible and unforgettable stamp on this classic when she recorded it for her 1978 album, “Living in the U.S.A.” For those who prefer felt and plastic to flesh and bones, shortly after its release, Ms. Ronstadt also performed the song on an episode of “The Muppet Show.”

Lovely Linda has made a pair of previous appearances on the Saturday Song Selection feature, having been a favorite of nycityman, lo these many decades since she pa rum pum pum pummed a “Different Drum” and loved us for a “Long Long Time.” If so inclined, please follow these links for more on the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.


“So, kiss me my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart”

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11th – A 15 Year Remembrance

Saluting a Regular Jo

“O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!”

“I was born in Staten Island,” is not a phrase frequently professed by yours truly, nycityman.  It struck me fairly early on that New York’s most bucolic borough was meant to be but a temporary way station as, like Tony Manero before me, I yearned for the glitz, glamour and citification of Manhattan (the four floor walk up, bathtub in the kitchen and plague of roaches and mice were just unanticipated character-adding bonuses), after all, “how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree'?”  And by Paree, I suppose, I mean Greenwich Village, after four valuable and enjoyable years matriculating at New York University.

But, all of the above being said, when it comes to the horrific events of September 11, 2001, anyone ever associated with New York’s “forgotten borough” can both, point with great pride at the courage and bravery displayed by the significant number of first responders who hailed from Staten Island, as well as mourn for the large loss of life resulting from their selfless sacrifices.

Now, we are a country full of rage, animosity and division. Such was not always the case. There was a time - a mere decade and a half ago, before a sexist, misogynist, hate-filled white supremacist fabricated his ignorant ways to the Republican Presidential nomination, filling his followers with unfounded fears and prejudices, and turning American citizen against American citizen - when we were once united and loyal. Once we were caring and concerned. And once we were humane and compassionate.  In light of the current ugly political atmosphere and in commemoration of those we lost and those who gave so much of themselves on that terrible day, and the days, weeks and months that followed, I proudly share the tale of a hero who has not forgotten what empathy, kindness and consideration is, nor abandoned the ideals and responsibilities of being an American. This is the story of fellow Staten Islander, Firefighter Jo Jo Esposito.

 Jo Jo Esposito
 "In the tradition of the fire department, we take care of our own”- Jo Jo Esposito

Jo Jo Esposito has served his country, city and community, going on 32 years, as a valiant and committed member of New York’s Bravest, the Fire Department of New York, Rescue 5, in Staten Island. As was the case with so many from the metropolitan area, particularly those of his chosen, gallant profession, September 11th was a day of dire devastation and severe sorrow, when 11 of the firefighters from his unit, including his own brother and cousin, perished in the line of their very dangerous duties.

Left in the wake of this tragedy were 26 fatherless children. Perhaps, one man can do just so much to attempt to counter such grievous, heartbreaking and painful circumstances, and many would never even try, but Jo Jo felt the need and obligation to act, and from that disastrous day, and for the 15 years that have followed, he has shouldered the burden of duty, and love, and served as surrogate father to the offspring of his fallen comrades.

Katelyn Mascali’s father died that day, and for her Jo Jo has been a Godsend, "I'm sure I speak for all of the children of Rescue 5 that we really do get a little piece of our fathers when we’re with him. I know I can feel my dad whenever I'm with him, and it’s an amazing thing."

Madeline Bergin, a widow of those attacks, similarly expressed her appreciation, "It just really, really struck me at that point because he was going through the same loss that we were going through, and his major concern was about us and our families.”

He doesn’t seek recognition, fame or praise, but only wishes to fulfill his calling and responsibility as a firefighter, a friend and an American. And for all of the children and wives who have dealt so long with so much loss, he has been a shoulder to cry on, a father figure to turn to, and a companion to rely on, in times of need and when just facing the everyday burdens of life. At every holiday, graduation, birthday and wedding, Jo Jo has been there for his family from Rescue 5.

On this somber anniversary, it’s good to remember the everyday people, the ordinary citizens, who have stepped up and done the extraordinary. We close with a few more words of gratitude from those whom Jo Jo has touched with his love and generosity of spirit –

"When you think of a father, you think of someone that’s always there for you, you think of a hero, you think of someone that’s always in your corner" - Massimo DiDonna

"That’s how I want to be as a person or an adult in this world, that whenever a friend or family member calls, I'm the first person there, and that’s what Jo Jo has taught me” - Shannon Bergin

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!”

He was a singular genius, the likes of which we will never see again. Performing the finest interpretation of America the Beautiful, live, just weeks after the 9-11 attacks, the legend, Ray Charles.

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

Will’s Last Testament

“Take me to the river
And wash me down.
Won't you cleanse my soul
Put my feet on the ground?" – Al Green

For Sharon

Point one - before proceeding any further, Will is not, in actuality, this stalwart blogger’s moniker. They call me nycityman.
Point two – no matter how exhaustive an investigation and exploration by government agency or outside organization, no individual named Will can be found upon these premises. I fancied the title, and so, ingrained in my brain it remained.  On occasion, that occurs.

Note: As an attempt at maintaining some sense of propriety, and with recognition to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, relevant aspects have been illustrated with images from the Operation board game.

That’s Life

At some stage in your lengthy, healthy, satisfying and gratifying existence, creeping in as stealthily and silently as Sandburg’s fog “on little cat feet,” and as gradually and as unwanted and unwelcome as mildew on your shower stall grout (the strangest combination of references ever put to paper) that sad season of life arrives when you realize that it is no longer your parent’s friend’s wakes and funerals at which you suffer, but rather those of your own beloved and acquainted ones. The clock and calendar never stall or reverse, and time bows to no man.

Recently, a dear friend of mine left us, and in wake of such a loss, one tends to ponder his own lack of immortality, and the plans made, or not made, for that rapidly advancing day when the internet will have one fewer verbose and opinionated blogger to ignore.  Surviving to an age where the notion of passing is no passing fancy, I have made some of my wishes known verbally, but there has been no session with paper spooled in the old Olivetti, and so any or all of my post-life desires would indisputably be disregarded by Judge Mathis or Judge Mablean or by whichever important and impressive jurist might deliberate my after-death details.

There are indeed preparations to be planned and plans to be prepared – there are internet histories to be expunged, incriminating papers, records and photographs to be incinerated, chorines and pipers to be hired, trampolines to be rented, songs to be written, riches to be rewarded, previously unknown heirs to be located, and contracts to be negotiated allowing Ken Burns the legal rights to produce the 38 part PBS biographical documentary series, “Nycityman – a Life of Little Consequence.”

The idea of sharing these thoughts, considering the topic’s innate ghoulishness, and solemn finality, begs a light touch and an approach, I believe, stressing the inherent darker humor. And as the majority of the hours Sharon and I enjoyed together, almost always with our friend Alex – we dubbed ourselves the Mod Squad, one white, one black, one blonde – was spent irreverently and comically, with the exception of frequent griping about our mutual place of employ, it is most fitting and appropriate, and would meet with her approval, if what follows has a waggish bent to it.

I Only Have Eyes For You

We temporarily pause the programming in progress for a brief organ interlude. In the unlikely event that doctors should excavate anything salvageable from a body that is less a temple, more a Sabrett’s hot dog cart, if any organs remain that still possess some utility, despite the probable lingering aroma of Brooklyn Lager and Sauvignon Blanc – like a 5 year old girl in a Chinese Apple iPhone factory, those vital lifesavers must be put to work! Keep nycityman alive, ticking away in the hearts and eyes and kidneys of other more animated folks – a modern, “Modern Prometheus.”

I’ve Seen Fire, I’ve Seen Rain

If I might be so bold, if I may beg a favor, if it’s not asking too, too much - I would truly appreciate it if whomever is tasked with the next unpleasant step makes it their urgent business to be concretely sure, beyond any possible questioning, that my last shoe has been shined,  my concluding karaoke tune caterwauled and my tale terminated,  before commencing with cremation - keeping in mind that I am both a late and heavy sleeper, and on certain evenings will take a Tylenol PM before slumber. Please seek out the certainty of a second opinion and don’t assume satisfaction in the high-percentage assertation of Dr. Chip, the neighborhood Walgreen’s pharmacist. Thank you.

Take Me to the River

“England swing like a pendulum do,” and never more so than when you’ve just flown slightly under 3500 miles, carefully cradling a container filled with the ashy remains of one awfully demanding former friend, fulfilling the extremely inconvenient request of having London’s River Thames as his final resting place – forever afloat among the Malteser wrappers and New Castle bottles, because for some particularly dense Yanks, sporting Jermyn Street finery, crooning the Kinks, and memorizing Monty Python equates to British citizenry and a rewarding of the O.B.E.

Should the expectations expressed fall fallow and unfulfilled, the being once known as nycityman, at said juncture, much like Python’s famed Norwegian Blue, dead, deceased, sans life, null and void of consciousness, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet his maker, a stiff, bereft of life, pushing up the daisies, off the twig, kicked the bucket, shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, an ex-person, will be thoroughly and completely unaware of such ungranted wishes, but it never hurts to ask.

And in conclusion, the only clergyman who might possibly have the slightest chance of getting me to step foot in a house of worship again – the great, the soulful, the coolest cleric to ever clip on a collar, that most righteous reverend,  Al Green and “Take Me to the River.”

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