General Trump Reporting for Duty

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago to say I was cutting back on the news and just following headlines in an attempt to detox from all the Trump crazy. I noted that it seemed like a good idea and would check in now and then to make sure we were not at war with anybody.

Then Donald Trump plowed his way through Europe shoving fellow diplomats out of the way, offending others, glowering like a petulant brat in the nice photo of the leaders and came home to declare war – on the American people.

He’s apparently mad that instead of golden trinkets, his own administration is offering him investigations and questions.

My guess is that the reason Steve Bannon wasn’t on the trip was so he could stay home and get busy on the Trump National War Room from which we’ll start being inundated with strategic tweets. I’m pretty sure General Trump will want a uniform complete with gold braid, an anthem, specially designed flags (crossed golf clubs on a field of extra-long ties), tanks, parades, a fully stocked armory, and a lot of saluting. He might even want an armada of ships with good old steam engines.

Since Donald Trump seems stuck in about 1952, he’ll probably also want Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe to tour and entertain his troops.

It’s been a great 9 days with everybody feeling lighter and happier with the King of the Kakiyaks out of the country, but we knew it couldn’t last. Now that Donald has been wined and dined, given lovely gifts, met the Pope, prayed in places he didn’t even know existed, and inked big deals, he’s ready to give America the business.

Donald Trump is an accidental master of irony, so it’s fitting that he’s declaring war in time for the Memorial Day weekend during which we honor those who honestly went to war and lost their lives for the sake of our country. Has any member, ANY member of Donald Trump’s family living or dead, ever served time in any branch of the U.S. military? I don’t count his stretch at that preppie school, which he apparently touts as military service.

I read the comment from one Republican grand poobah today that Trump is “learning to be President.” Learning to do a new job is one thing if you’re flipping burgers at Mickey D’s. It’s quite another when it comes to leading America.

We should be more careful next time we choose somebody for the job. Nobody has experience as President of the United States until they get elected, but this is the first time we’ve elected someone who not only doesn’t have the experience, but thinks that’s a big plus and also thinks “My Way” was written just for him, even though he can’t dance and doesn’t know what the words mean. We’ve never elected anybody who glowers as harshly as Unca Donald either. Bad old Mr. Potter is his model.

Gotta run now…just received an urgent message from the War Department that all officers, including commanding generals, will now get their meals in the company mess hall. I hear that General Trump threw a fit but was outranked by a grizzled old top sergeant:

“This ain’t Mar-a-Lago, soldier. And we don’t care how much money you’ve got. You’re still eatin’ the chipped beef on toast, and you’re still on K.P tonight! Yeah, I know it ain’t chipped beef, soldier, and it ain’t toast either.”

Oh, what a lovely war…

Weekly Post – International Protocol and Other Fun Stuff

Over the last few days – okay, over the days Donald Trump has been on the yellow brick road spreading whatever he’s spreading from one continent to another and being received in so many high places, the image that keeps popping into my head (bad Molly!) is the one of Sally Field at the Oscars excitedly proclaiming, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

(Contrary to popular belief, she didn’t say really.)

Poor Donald. He’s so hungry for adulation and so lacking in social skills, he’s confused ordinary protocol and courtesy for “They like me!” And he would definitely add the really!

“Look, he gave me a gold necklace!” “Look, he gave me a Roman medal!” “Look, here’s a picture of us!”
“Look, ma! I’m on top of the world.” (We know how that scene went.)

He’s gone even further with his inane responses to all the protocol, courtesy and visits to sacred places in the world. “Awesome!” “Fantastic!” “Great!” like some teen-ager at the nearest mall. I keep expecting to hear “Rad!” or “Bitchin’!” (which tells you how old I am…) And under his breath the constant refrain, “They like me. Right now, they really like me!”

I’m concerned about Donald’s next trip, possibly straight to hell for telling lies to the Pope. The Pope gave Donald several books and other papers which Donald (bad Donald!) promised he would read. The Pope’s no fool. He knows Donald doesn’t read anything at all, but it was – of course – a nice thing for Francis to do, and we can always hope.

The photo that’s making the rounds of Ivanka, Melania, Donald and the Pope is worth a thousand words. The two women are appropriately serious, Donald has on his one-size fits all shit-eatin’ grin and the Pope is as dour as it gets. Donnie, you are a world class clown. And not in a good way.

I was amused by a sidebar story about how the trip to the Vatican was almost derailed because the Trumpsters were waiting in Washington for their invitation from the Pope. They didn’t know enough about protocol to understand that nobody gets an invitation from the Pope. The visitor has to ask for an audience, and that includes Donald Trump. Someone from the Bush administration stepped in and advised them. He said they’d still be waiting for the invitation otherwise.

The White House is full of a merry bunch of churls who know from nothing.

Forgive me, but I just had a flash of a Mel Brooks’ movie in which the sitting Pope reaches into a big box of “old Roman medals” made in China, fishes one out and says “This will be fine for that moron. He won’t know the difference and we can use peace.”

“Hail, Mary, full of grace…

Jesse Helms Is Alive and Well and Gerrymandering in North Carolina

Oh, I’m glad I’m not in the land of cotton. Old times there will never be forgotten.

I haven’t been back to Dixie since the late 1990s but I spent more time than I wanted down South for a couple of decades, mostly on visits for my consulting business but also living in Charlotte, NC for one hot, humid and tedious eight-month stretch.

You have to understand some things about the South, including Charlotte, to get the full grasp of the Supreme Court’s decision today regarding North Carolina’s racial gerrymandering.

I learned how it works down there during my days as a misbegotten Charlottean in the early 1980s, but I thought/hoped things might be a little different now. They’re not.

When my husband and I moved to Charlotte in the winter of 1981, we rented a condo in an area near downtown that was being redone and restored…We liked the neighborhood with its big old southern trees and the walkable sidewalks and the lovely old buildings. It was conveniently close to downtown, too, which I thought would make shopping a pleasant jaunt.

Until the first time I went downtown and walked into what was one of the leading department stores – a kind of Saks of the south – and found the shelves and racks half-empty. This was not what I’d expected. There were other stores on the same street – a drugstore, some kind of discount place, and perhaps a restaurant or two – memory eludes me. I’d also noticed several large boarded-up buildings, apparently other former department stores. And there were bus stops all along the street where crowds of people waited in the sun – a few white folks, but mostly black.

In the store, I inquired about the pitiful stock situation and the clerk gave me all the information I needed to understand my venture below the Mason-Dixon line.

The “real” stores were in the malls that circled the city. Okay. This seemed odd, but not that unusual at a time when urban centers were disintegrating in many American cities. So, I told her, I’ll just catch a bus and go out there.

The clerk gave me one of those creepy, half-patronizing “God, you’re stupid” looks and straightened me right out. No, I’d have to drive. The buses didn’t go to the malls. Something about the city zoning as I recall. Now, in most places I’ve lived, shopping malls are located in commercial areas in the city or on the outskirts in big commercial strips. Not Charlotte in the 1980s. The beautiful shopping malls with all the best stores were located smack in the middle of the mansions and the money.

Where the buses – and the people who rode them – were not allowed.

Can you hear that humming in the background? A little chorus of “Way Down Upon the Swanee River,” maybe or “Oh, Susannah”? Hear those banjos?

There are many ways to keep racism and discrimination going, but this was my first experience of doing it by city planning. Apparently those good ol’ boys in North Carolina are still at it and hoped the Supreme Court would support their effort.

Downtown Charlotte is a prettier place these days, a financial center that puts the old Charlotte to shame. A city can put up all kinds of shiny new skyscrapers and beautify the hell out of a place with fountains and flowers and brick sidewalks, but if there’s a rotten core eating away from the inside, it’s going to take more than crape myrtle trees, dogwood and fireflies to make it really beautiful.

And it takes a whole lot more to make the people who live there – and still prefer racism – anything but ugly. By the way, my year in Charlotte was also the year of Jesse Helms and the ERA. North Carolina cut women’s rights off at the knee.

ADDENDUM

A few years later, still consulting, I was on a flight from Birmingham, Alabama, to Chicago. It was Election Day for the country but I didn’t think much about it as I’d voted absentee already. A distinguished-looking old fellow sat across the aisle from me – flowing white hair, mustache, every bit the southern gentlemen. We chatted for a few minutes and he asked if I’d voted. I allowed as how I had. Without any further introduction, he shook his head and said, “We never should have given those N…..s the vote.”

I was stunned and sought the words I wanted to cut him down until it hit me – he probably felt the same way about giving women the vote. I picked up my book and left him to his hate.

Standing Desk, Air Travel and the King of the Kakiyaks

So far, so good.

My plan to get my news without getting sunk has worked this week. I’ve not felt the urge to dip into stories much beyond the headlines. We are not at war as I write, the sun still comes up in the east and sets in the west, the White House is still open for business although the King of the Kakiyaks is on his official tour and living it up with leaders of the country that gave us 9/11.

As Yul Brynner once sang as the King of Siam, “Is a puzzlement.”

I’ll admit that my new standing desk has made a difference. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t spend a lot of time standing just to play solitaire or read “news” stories I can read in line at Ralph’s Market.

I do, however, like the standing desk. Sometimes I pretend there’s a customer on the other side of my monitor screen – you know, the way it is at the bank or the airline ticket counter or so many other places these days. The PIC (person in charge) looks serious as he or she concentrates on the screen, which you cannot see and could just be his or her email for all you know, before finally announcing something you don’t want to hear: “I’m sorry, but I don’t see that deposit here.” “I’m sorry, but that flight has been cancelled.”

The only place I can regularly count on good news behind the computer screen is at the library and there they’ll even swivel the screen around to show you what they’re looking at. Now that’s customer service.

The pretend customers on the other side of my screen always get good news. “Your check was deposited and you also received a $10 bonus for being a valued customer.” “The flight is not full, so we’ve upgraded you to first class at no extra charge.”

You can see that I live in a fantasy world too much of the time. I do read enough headlines, however, to know that good news on a flight these days is that no fistfights will break out in the aisles.

The U.S. population has doubled since my first flight in 1956. It seems that our angst and incivility have kept pace. My dad drove me to the airport just a couple of miles out of town and we had a quiet cup of coffee at the little restaurant that one of his cousins ran inside the airport. I was dressed to the nines for this adventure and felt like Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” as I climbed the stairs to board the sweet little DC-3 for the one hour flight to meet my boyfriend for a football game. I remember well the thrill of that first “wheels-up” moment and the quiet view out the window at the rising moon.

The last time I flew, two years ago, I was crammed into the middle of a 3-seat row watching disgruntled passengers cramming bags into the overhead, complaining about the space, refusing to put seats up for take-off and all the other usual joys of today’s travel.

We’ve come a long way, but not nearly far enough. And with not nearly enough space. Any pretend customers flying with GGMissM Airlines are guaranteed comfortable seats, on-time departures and arrivals and no lost luggage.

Enjoy your trip. Next, please…

Politics, Dryers, Serenity, Zen and Mehitabel the Cat

Last week was a tough week what with all the news from Washington, DC and one of the two dryers in our building laundry room Out of Order. I mean…

A new dryer is on the way, so that problem is about to be fixed. As for the news from Washington, DC I’ve settled on a fix for myself – and my readers – with a decision to follow the DC news (i.e. Donald Trump) only through Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live with an occasional quick run through the morning headlines to make sure we’re not at war with anybody.

Other than that, despite my best efforts, I have no influence on politics at any level and, more to the point, I’ve reached my September days (Who am I kidding? – I’m at least a week past Hallowe’en.) and am no longer willing to give up more than a few passing seconds to what I can’t fix.

It’s kind of like the Serenity Prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” A funny friend once added, “And a sense of humor when I don’t know the difference.”

I’m also applying the words of a couple of other wise souls I’ve run across over the years: “Daughters of the Goddess don’t brake for jerks,” “We are friendly but we are not tame” (from Women Who Run with the Wolves), and am opting to turn off radio station WTF which broadcasts 24/7 here, there and everywhere.

A personal moment here – I’ve also realized that some of my ranting about Donald Trump is more likely misplaced anger that I didn’t work through about the men he so reminds me of – men I’ve worked for (including the one aptly nicknamed Bluto by the rest of the staff), married in a couple of cases or was involved with back in the June and July of my life. My time is way better spent sorting that stuff out and I’ve already made a start.

In the spirit of my Zen leanings, “after enlightenment, the laundry.” Gotta get the clothes ready to wash, but oh drat, the new dryer isn’t here yet.

Life really is one damned kitten after another, Mehitabel.

The Old Drunk at the End of the Bar Part II: Disbanding the FBI

What does the old drunk at the end of the bar want? Attention. What does Donald Trump want? Attention.

What happens when the old drunk doesn’t get it? He gets louder and meaner and more obnoxious until either (a) he passes out and falls off the stool or (b) somebody calls the cops or (c) somebody with more clout and a measure of courage lands a punch.

What happens when Donald Trump doesn’t get it? He gets louder and meaner and more obnoxious until either (a) he fires and/or threatens everybody within shouting distance or (b) retires due to acute apoplexia or (c) is impeached.

James Comey is apparently driving Trump nuts by not responding to any of the threats but is instead, as one reporter put it, remaining “staunchly silent.” Sticks and stones may break his bones, but Trump’s childish yammering will not harm him.

Now that Trump is threatening no more press conferences except those he leads himself, we have a great opportunity – huge – opportunity to get back to our normal lives-before-Trump.

No press conferences – no press. Let the old drunk at the end of the bar tweet and yammer the night away mumbling to himself, but no coverage in the news. No more hourly “breaking story” or bulletins from the White House. No more pandering to the tantrums.

More than anything in the world, Donald Trump hates being ignored, like the old drunk at the end of the bar who shouts, “Hey! I’m talkin’ to you!” when nobody pays attention.

Your tax returns? Yawn. We know we’ll never see them. End of story, Trump. We don’t care any more.
Your dealings with the Russians? Yawn. We know you’ll never tell the truth about it. End of story.
What a bad person __________ (fill in the blank) is and what a loser? Yawn. We know you insult everybody who won’t fall at your feet, Trump. End of story. We don’t care anymore.
Who you’re firing today? Yawn. We know you can do it and that you will. We’ll survive, Donald.

Jerk your knees all you want, pal. We don’t care anymore. Your behavior is beyond the pale.

You are an embarrassment to America and to the world. The only people who like you are the enemies of America and that includes your armed pocket Constitution wingnut supporters who invade wildlife refuges and fight the government at every turn except when collecting their checks every month.

We already know you’re doing nothing to support our country. We may not be able to fire you – yet – but we can ignore you.

We already know that you’re mean old Mr. Potter in disguise trying to take over Jimmy Stewart’s bank. We know you’re lurking like a poisonous spider in your room at night – alone, watching cable TV in the dark, listening to the wingnuts, plotting and tweeting your threats and insults and denials. “I am not a crook!” We’ve already heard that one. Yawn.

You’ve proven yourself unworthy of the dignity of the presidency, but Shakespeare and the Greeks knew a thing or two about situations like this. The guy who gets too full of himself and destroys all around him. Or the old drunk at the end of the bar who won’t stop fighting everybody and everything. I can hear that old guy now: “I’m gonna disband the whole goddamn FBI, that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Here’s today’s word, Donald: HUBRIS. You could look it up.