"THE BLOG FOR A QUALITY WASTE OF TIME"

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A COUPLE OF GUYS SITTING AROUND AT A BUS STOP TALKING ABOUT ELECTION DAY – A “Death of a Salesman” for the New Millennium!



“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”  - William “Billy” Shakespeare


Here at “… and several butcher’s aprons” while constantly expressing and promoting liberal and progressive social and political ideology, the intent is always to manifest these sentiments in ways that are, hopefully, more satirical and entertaining, and less proselytizing. Toward that aim, while the usual format is comic commentary, I’ve also attempted poetry, song parody and captioned photos. So, continuing in that 75 year tradition of creative flexibility - proudly presenting the premiere of the world’s most diminutive one act play - but first, some shameless self-promotion. Broadway producers, you know how to contact me.

And now, from the celebrated and acclaimed author of 212 prior “… and several butcher’s aprons” posts, and a number of incendiary but astute anti-Trump tweets; the reader of “Catch-22” and “The Catcher in the Rye” (all my favorite novels have a form of the word “catch” in the title); and the skimmer of “A Clockwork Orange” (it's confusing!) and several chapters of “The New Testament” (even more so!) comes the riveting new play that critics have hailed as “Brief!” “Neatly typed!” “Not particularly well-written and somewhat nonsensical!” and “Shorter than the title!” Winner of the 2017 “Completely Fabricated Award for Best New Drama,” - sit back, experience, engulf yourself in, weep and chortle to – “A Couple of Guys Sitting Around at a Bus Stop Talking about Election Day.”


A COUPLE OF GUYS SITTING AROUND AT A BUS STOP TALKING ABOUT ELECTION DAY – A Dramatic Dialogue in One Scene

EXT: SUBURBAN BUS STOP, ANYWHERE U.S.A.  – 8:32 AM, NOVEMBER 8, 2016


GUS
So, who you voting for?

EARL
I don’t know. I don’t really know much about politics. Or history… or government… or the constipation.

GUS
Constitution?

(EARL nods in assent)

Republican?

EARL
Yeah.

(awkward lengthy pause)

Who’s running?

GUS
Well, the Democrat is the most experienced and qualified person to ever run.

EARL
Sounds shady.

GUS
The Republican has no experience at all, is a bigot, a thief, has openly expressed incestual desires, has been served with about 3500 lawsuits, will take health insurance away from millions of Americans, wants to stop immigration, religious freedom and freedom of speech …

EARL
Go on…

GUS
… lies like a freakin’ Persian rug, and displays all the behaviors of a severe sociopath.

EARL
Hmm. Does either have a penis?

GUS
No. But Trump does self-identify as a man.

EARL
Make America Great Again!!


FIN



To bookend with the opening quote from the Bard, a treat from the 1999 Broadway revival of “Kiss Me Kate,” a production I had the pleasure of enjoying twice – “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

“Brush up your Shakespeare
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow
Just declaim a few lines from 'Othella'
And they think you're a heckuva fella
If your blond won't respond when you flatter 'er
Tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer” – Cole Porter

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




Sunday, January 22, 2017

Coming to Terms - #Resist

Jubilant Throngs Packed the Washington Mall this Inauguration Day

“The Party told you to reject all evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command...The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth." – George Orwell, 1984

As a self-anointed analyst and comedy commentator on the usually simple to satirize social and political arenas, I have been struggling and searching for the proper response to the dawning of the age of President Trump. It is a rich and complex issue, and a painfully sad, tragic turn of events that will very likely have grave consequences not only for “America first” but for the entire world. And, unlike most other catastrophic occurrences in our history, 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the conception of Sarah Palin, we’ve got no boogie man for this one – no one to invade, no one to bomb, no one to drone – this is all on us, the great, unread American public. And this time, in geopolitical terms, we’re the international bad guy, we’re Spectre, we’ve unleashed onto civilization an unstable, petty, vindictive, vengeful, childish, cowardly madman who, by the way, has the gym locker combination for the deadliest nuclear arsenal mankind has ever known. Umm, sorry about that, Earth. Not surprisingly, chuckles, alliterative similes and clever wordplay have been a little hard to come by, as of late. Then something on TV moved me, and I thought, risk ridicule and accusations of weakness with heightened levels of wimpiosity, and try something unique to this keyboard, a few simple sincere thoughts.  And so, we venture on.

Cecily

Despair

On this week’s Saturday Night Live, cast members Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata sang the Lulu chestnut and movie theme, “To Sir with Love,” with almost painful sincerity, in front of a black and white photo of President Obama. Like, Kate McKinnon’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton on the episode following the election, initial reaction was a bit of puzzlement, unexpectedly replaced by melancholy emotion.  And then (sordid, unmanly confession) I teared up, and continued to lightly moisten my cheeks throughout the remainder of the song. A bit off-kilter, I wondered why wonderful Cecily’s extremely heartfelt, but sometime slightly strained vocal stylings had affected me so. But, it wasn’t really the earnest, and exceedingly partisan, performance that precipitated the waterworks; it was the sudden and painful, and long-delayed consciousness of reality that was triggered by the tune.  That simple and genuine farewell to a good and decent man was, for me, the very moment that fear became fact and, in reaction, my body sprung a leak. To borrow from the Band, these were “tears of rage, tears of grief” - anger, anxiety, disbelief, frustration, fright and fury finally free, after 2 months of sanity saving repression.

Sasheer
Since the wee small hours of November 9th, like millions and millions of other patriotic and empathetic Americans, I have tussled with the truth, completely incapable of accepting the incomprehensible as actuality.  I have not, and will not ever, acknowledge Trump as the leader of my great country, and, until the travesty transpired, maintained high hopes that he would never step upon the inauguration platform. Surely, long before this day of transition, Trump’s myriad crimes and misdemeanors would call him home to his rightful place of residence, a federal penitentiary. But, alas, justice is frequently far too forgiving for the well to do, and rewards are proffered in place of penalty.  

New York City - January 19, 2017

Hope

We weep, we wail, we scream, we curse, we have one too many drinks, we turn to each other for aid and succor, but mostly we resist. We resist the bigotry, misogyny and anti-American hatred that Donald Trump and his Fourth Reich followers confess, profess and proliferate. We march, we rally, we protest, we demonstrate.  As a participant in both the nationwide Women’s March (2.9 million strong, but merely, a paltry 2,899,999 minus my attendance) and the pre-inaugural rally in New York’s Columbus Circle, I experienced the excitement, exhilaration, sense of community, pride in America and even, unanticipated optimism, that democracy in action and activism brings. And we must continue, relentlessly, to take to the streets, for it’s nothing less than the very continuation of our republic that is at stake.

New York City - January 21, 2017

Thank you Cecily, thank you Sasheer, thank you Lorne, and why not – thank you Chevy.

Cecily and Sasheer -

Lulu –

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



Monday, January 16, 2017

"I am Not a Number. I am a Free Man."

Reflections on an Unanticipated Retirement

"Be Seeing You"

“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” - Proverbs 16:27

“Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul to waste” – Jagger/Richards
 


Well, according to popular and accepted lore, I fear I now find myself in league with Lucifer as, thanks to my former employers recent Christmas-time restructuring resulting in the compensated separation of certain personnel from their occupations, (a long-imagined, fantasy fulfillment for yours truly) I am now as idle as a Donald Trump hair follicle (as idle as a Donald Trump brain cell, as idle as Donald Trump’s conscience, common sense or empathy.)

To be as clear as millions of unconsumed cases of Crystal Pepsi, as was pointed out by my HR Rep numerous times with impressive vim and vigor, I was not laid-off.  Rather, thanks to my stealthily advancing years, I was offered a voluntary “early-retirement,” and, to be fair, with both a generous buy-out and subsidized insurance coverage.  And so, sans bitterness or bile, and brimming with constructive recollections, I leave behind decades in television promotion to journey forth (or to loaf supine on the settee) in search of an altered identity and lifestyle. For over 30 years I was a television promo producer, what am I now?

Random Early Retirement Observation #1 – A number of classic rock songs no longer hold any relevance to me – Takin’ Care of Business,  Working for the Weekend,  Five O’clock World and, of course, She Works Hard for the Money.

Questions immediately arise, both major and minor – What if the ACA is repealed and the exchanges are gone when my current coverage expires?  How will the presence of a raving lunatic in Washington affect the financial markets, and our 401Ks? What time do I go to sleep?  What time do I rise? What do I do once I’m awake? How soon will my sanity sally in light of this increased isolation and skulking hermitage? Should I choke on one of my larger supplement tablets as, judging by past experiences, appears all but inevitable, will my cat be more mournful or peckish?

I have anticipated, dreamt of and prayed to my pagan deities, since almost first employed, for an atypically short run as a corporate cog; and once having achieved that, expected almost an incessant sense of euphoria – now, and seemingly forever, a free man whose time and life is completely his own. No strings and no connections, few duties or obligations - Number 6 having successfully escaped from the Village. “I am not a number. I am a free man.” But, to be working on a Friday and then emancipated  the following Monday after almost 40 years of organized routine,  how does one suddenly adjust to a completely unstructured life, now faced with 24 hours and 7 days potentially identical but for television schedule?  While, “everybody's working for the weekend,” I have no weekend. Even in this month and change since the shredding of my company identification, the identity of the day of the week is mostly an unsure estimation for me.

The Greatest City in the World In Which to Retire
An initial, and exceedingly surprising, reaction in this new Boca Raton, sandals and socks, early bird special, Matlock reality, has been my inability to simply relax and enjoy the new freedom and independence.  Still perceiving some need to be ever industrious, a desire rarely experienced before, I tally daily and weekly “things to do” lists, hustling about my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and feeling a failure should any of the scribbled goals remain unfulfilled.  And perhaps, the most jarring adjustment of them all is having much less need and opportunity to don the dressier attire. Once a man famed around the office for his sartorial sense, with an extensive and expensive wardrobe culled from the finest clothiers and haberdashers on both sides of the Atlantic (I hold a particular fondness for British tailoring) now but a fashion flop in long-forgotten, but recently excavated, t-shirts, sweaters and Old Navy pants. Yes, that’s right, Old Navy, and without commercial remuneration for sporting their economical, egalitarian mommy jeans!

Random Early Retirement Observation #2 – When the man on the 2:17am radio PSA asks, “Is marijuana use affecting your job or relationship?” I don’t suppose the proper healthy response is, “What job? What relationship?”

The intent is not to convey complaint, merely confusion.  I have neither regret nor nostalgic yearning to toil again at my desk. I am, by nature, and thus it has always been, a lazy, languid and indolent sort, ever striving to attain the most from the least amount of effort, and I remain more than happy to no longer be an active participant in the “Five O’clock World.”

Despite the uncertainty articulated, like Dusty Springfield before me, I’m  wishin’ and hopin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ with actual aspirations in mind - which, besides increased international travel, are all creative, for that is where true satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness can often be found. A partial, still in progress list - continue and expand the reach of this blog, finish the jukebox musical I started penning many a moon ago, pull the guitar out of the back of the closet, shake off the playing rust, and write songs. Do I have the discipline to pursue such things when a comfy couch, cable, Roku and a home audio system exist, and more importantly, do I have the talent? The latter, I maintain grave misgivings and doubt about, but I certainly have the time to try. So, at 57 going on 58, with little income ahead, I attempt a change in life, fortune and fame. And, just the thought leads to a yearning for the comfort and security of the Lazy Boy, the various remotes and an open bottle of sauvignon blanc. And day turns into night and Judge Mathis turns into another Judge Mathis.

“Up ev'ry morning just to keep a job
I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob,
Sounds of the city pounding in my brain
While another day goes down the drain.
But it's a five o'clock world when the whistle blows,
No one owns a piece of my time.
And there's a five o'clock me inside my clothes,
Thinking that the world looks fine

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







Sunday, January 8, 2017

Putin on The Ritz 2: The Season for Treason

Republican’s Unabashed, Unrequited Love for a Tyrannical Enemy of Freedom

“I love him, I love him, I love him,
And where he goes,
I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow.
He'll always be my true love, my true love, my true love 
From now until forever, forever, forever” 



                            
 “(Putin) is a strong leader… He’s making mincemeat out of our President” – Donald Trump

Donald Trump is pure vulgar, traitorous scum – and that’s about the best that can be said of him. For this go round, we will forgo commentary on his publicly professed incestuous desires, the witnessed and testified to child rapes, the admitted serial sexual assaults and the hundreds of illegal business practices /lawsuits, and instead focus on his passionate and unfulfilled crush on Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Now, while Putin does not directly return the amorous ardor that he receives from the President Erect, he does string him along and tease him enough with shirtless, lustful visions of the possibilities ahead that Putin has complete control of Donald’s minute and pliable intellect, and come January 20th, will be the practical and acting leader of the United States of America.

But, sadly and unfortunately, the Fuhrer of 5th Avenue is far from being alone in his articulated admiration, appreciation and veneration for the tyrannical, murdering Muscovite. The rewritten and updated dissertation to follow was originally posted almost 3 years ago, long before some 62 million racists and misogynists cast their ballots for Russian rule and to make America white again. Prominent and powerful Republicans had already fallen head over heels with the cruel autocrat, and many declared their deep disappointment in the fact that Obama, and not Putin, was our country’s Commander in Chief.  With the recent revelations of definitive Russian involvement in our now illegitimate election, this golden oldie remains steadfastly relevant, so I share it with you once again.


Revised from March, 2014 -
                                                                                           
Ah, our beloved Republicans – so often the staunchest of patriots by self-declaration, while behaving virulently unpatriotic in practice. The current and relevant case in point - the titillating tingle, the erotic exhilaration, the feverish fervor, the enchanted evening experienced whenever seeing shirtless, boy-toy Vladimir Putin across a crowded room.  But besides the given, the understood and the obvious that they favor any and every animal, vegetable or mineral to B.H. Obama, what’s to explain this unusual and unexpected, particular affinity between the Communist former KGB agent and America’s Far Right?   Perhaps it’s a new sort of love/hate relationship. Conservatives love Putin because they hate the same things - homosexuals, equality, self-expression, self-determination, truth, justice and the American way. It’s a veritable fraternity of abhorrence for these brethren in oppression.

Sure, Righties yak vociferously about freedom and liberty, but their actual actions yell louder than a Sam Kinison/Bobcat Goldthwait comedy throw-down as, red state by even redder state, they attempt to suppress voter rights, quash marriage equality and battle against any societal parity for women, be it in the home, the workplace or the doctor’s office.

Putin has become our Radical Right’s archetypical leader because he can put into practice the policies of intolerance and exclusion that they can only dream of, fantasize about and, no doubt in some cases, even pleasure themselves to. He treads the same political and ideology path as Tea-publicans only with the bonafide power to turn their reactionary hopes, wishes and reveries into repulsive reality. Putin’s social conservatism, religious zealotry in support of a state religion, militarism, homophobia;  his belief in his right to invade sovereign nations, to harm and imprison those with whom he disagrees, to feign democracy while rigging elections for oligarchical outcome, make him a CPAC dreamboat.


 “Words of Love, Soft and Tender Won’t Win a Girl’s Heart Anymore”- Their Passion for Putin

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... I was able to get a sense of his soul." - George W. Bush

“Putin is right on these issues... he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda... America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue — Russia’s standard is higher than our own." - Franklin Graham

“Putin decides what he wants to do and does it in half a day. He makes a decision and executes it quickly and everybody reacts. That’s what you call a real leader.” – Rudolph Giuliani

“(He’s) the defender of the Christian civilization… the lion of Christianity, the defender of Christian values, the president that’s calling his nation back to embracing its identity as a nation founded on Christian values” - Bryan Fischer, American Family Association

"Vladimir Putin has looked like a statesman" - Pat Buchanan
"He's a statesman, he's a partner in peace and he's in a position where he can lecture the United States of America."- Charles Krauthammer, Syndicated Columnist
"If this were a tennis match it would be the umpire shouting advantage Putin."-  Sen. Rand Paul
"Look at Putin -- what he's doing with Russia -- I mean, you know, what's going on over there. I mean this guy has done -- whether you like him or don't like him -- he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period.” – Donald Trump

"I think he's done really a great job of outsmarting our country.” – Donald Trump

"I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.” – Donald Trump

"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country.  I think our country does plenty of killing also." – Donald Trump

"I don't think he has any respect for Clinton. I think he respects me. I think it would be great to get along with him.” – Donald Trump

I always knew he was very smart!” – Donald Trump



 How Do They Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways - Putin’s Resume
"Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan, 'You're either with us or against us.'" - Vladimir Putin
Before the GOP files the legal documentation for the official nomenclature change to Good Old Putin, some lowlights from the matinee idol who sets Trumpsters hearts aflutter and launches libidos into overdrive -

Anyone with a remote control is aware of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its installation of soldiers on the Ukraine border (Obama’s fault, of course) but a U.S. State Department study reveals the wide-ranging extent of Putin’s human right’s violations. He has suppressed dissent, persecuted LGBT citizens, ignored the rule of law and allowed killing and torture by police -

“… allegations of torture and excessive force by law enforcement officials, life-threatening prison conditions, interference in the judiciary and the right to a fair trial, restrictions on freedom of speech and press, restrictions on free assembly and association, restrictions on religious freedom of some religious minorities, electoral irregularities, widespread corruption, societal and official intimidation of civil society and labor activists, violence against women and limits on the rights of women in certain regions, trafficking in persons, and limitations on workers’ rights… Reports from human rights groups and former police officers indicated that police most often used electric shocks, suffocation, and stretching or applying pressure to joints and ligaments, as those methods are less prone to leave visible marks.”

Then, of course, a particular favorite of America’s holier than thou population is Putin’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which makes it unlawful to inform children of the existence of homosexuality or to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality in any way. Violators face fines, jail time, and immediate deportation (the latter being much more of a reward than a punishment.)  Resulting violence against members of the LGBT community has skyrocketed as police not only provide no protection but actively participate in the brutality (actions many U.S. Bible-thumpers label, “defending our religious liberties.”)


Treason: a violation of allegiance to one’s state

From the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, continuing through Russia’s installation of Donald Trump as their puppet ruler, Republicans have demonstrated, time and again, their disloyalty to America and to its foundation and principles. And their voracious, vocal and vehement exaltation for Russian President Vladimir Putin is merely a continuation and most contemporary communication of that outlook. 

Ironically and irrationally, while GOP supporters spent 8 years painting our president a Communist, their pulses race wildly for a genuine, card-carrying member of the Stalinist flock, preferring a ruthless, dictatorial, Bolshevik foreign leader to an American, democratically-elected President whose ascension and whose biography is the living embodiment of the American Dream. The Right Wing’s problem with pigmentation perception is tragically sad, and pragmatically perilous for, when all is said and done, no matter the harrowing consequences, in the cocktail lounge of global politics a Conservative will always chose a White Russian over a Black and Tan.

We conclude as Little Peggy March performs the GOP anthem, “I Will Follow Him.”

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