Marches for Gun Control Were Exceptional, Don’t Sweat ‘Bots, Negativity

safe_image

Last nights date kind of ticked me off by stating, several times, that maybe pro or college teams would do better *for the psyches of non-starters*—if they played instead of first teamers. She used her cousin’s JV girls basketball team as an example of kids who got a lot better from one coaches efforts in that area.

Now, the difference between JV teams and say, a $17 million a year pro quarterback, should be obvious. One is a developmental situation, the other is being rewarded economically for ability to put a larger quantity of Ws vs. Ls on the board, almost always because of proven statistical-physical prowess. You don’t put anyone else in a starters role unless you want some serious blowback from stars and the fans.

I sent her a note to that effect, and I expect that’s the end of any relationship where an old psychology major’s ivory tower thinking goes against over thirty years of sports writing expertise.

The point is, we all get to have our opinions, because this is still ‘merica. I’m sure she felt as right as I believe she’s wrong, and that will be the case for a lot of things, including Trump and collusion (at least until Mueller gets to bottom of things),

Another situation, an exceptional difference that splits the idea experience makes all the difference, is the students from Stoneman Douglas HS and their terrific push regarding gun control.

A united, one issue block of voters has appeared on the horizon

It’s easy to equate student protesting with the anti-war protests of the ‘70s, when 500,000 people at a time, across the country, put other differences aside to say STOP THIS!together. By all accounts and pictures, this past Saturday was a match to those historic efforts, with some 800 rallies around the world organized through social media. Members of Congress BETTER recognize that a united, one issue block of voters has appeared on the horizon. Statistically, not all 75 million will vote against anything, but its a helluva number to consider.

There have been plenty of BS negatives about this– identifying a sheep drive as photo of one of 800 rallies, photoshopping David Hogg in a Nazi uniform with Hitler behind him, and taking a girl to task for having a Cuban flag on her jacket– but I’m not sure its people or those damn ‘bots getting into act again.

Vietnam split this country in half, and going against the military-industrial complex, yeah, that didn’t look like a winning fight for a very long time either. Vietnam marches always generated tons of “f’n cowards!” talk, now its “f’n stupid KIDS!” There may not be a name to hang on this generation just yet, but I‘m thinking that having them focus on this specific situation will not only define their future, but be a whole lot more productive socially/as citizens than almost any class they miss.

They’re active, clearly sincere about a topic that was never on anyone’s radar until Columbine in 1999, and, as pointed out, has mushroomed into a fact that Stoneman Douglas was the 18th such school assault of the current year–with kudos to the guard who quickly ended #19 in Maryland, only two kids shot.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to work with teenagers, putting every post-millennial or Gen X/Yer down as unworthy compared to The Greatest Generation that won WWII and created the America that lead the world, that’s not the whole Truth.

The naysayers will continue to impugn their age, efforts, and ability to put an effective coalition of the like-minded together, mostly by saying it’s useless tilting at windmills, that they’ve been co-opted by others, or because the NRA’s political and economic reach with government at all levels is too strong.

That some are stuck in a malaise that affects great swathes of this country, and is primarily responsible for the rise of a populist like Trump is seen as different; the sort of young leaders that we’ve seen on the nightly news calling B.S. is a flip side of that coin.

They’re active, clearly sincere about a topic that was never on anyone’s radar until Columbine in 1999, and, as pointed out, has mushroomed into a fact that Stoneman Douglas was the 18th such school assault of the current year (with kudos to the guard who quickly ended #19 in Maryland, only two kids shot).

I’ve had the privilege of working with HOBY leadership programs for a number of years, and those selected 15-16 year olds are *sharp*. They look you in the eye, know how to assess being told specious ‘facts’ (which they will Google), and assimilate truth readily, even if its not used in particular situations the next day.

Having seen the question, “What did they accomplish by walking out of school?” that rings hollow when held against the light of the American Revolution—or Vietnam– which certainly wasn’t fixed in a day or week or month, or without blood, sweat, and tears.

Trump is probably thinking he’s gotten a break by having so many people concerned with this gun control situation vs. porn stars, personal malfeasance, personnel shuffling, trade wars, stock market losses and RUSSIA, but thinking positively, here’s hoping we are seeing something significant from a new force in our country.

Its been said that the world stands aside for a man with a plan—add a whole bunch of women, and yes, a lot of passion from youthful observers who saw the worst up close, and you’ve got something that could move this country’s weak psyche up a notch. Youth is always the overriding casualty of war, so even if gun legislation will be a grind, I’ll hope nobody has to be involved in a full out war where *everyone* has an AR-15 level weapon in any near future.

When the many are fighting for the same goals—and #Blacklivesmatter is in the same neighborhood regarding violence, even if not the same house—it makes a difference. Less guns in Chicago just HAS to slow down the slaughter, and major kudos to David Hogg and others for recognizing they have the spotlight and going to a school in DC to bring their pain into the light as well.

Mom is Forgetful, School Slaughters and a Definitive Response From ‘Kids’ Shouldn’t Be Glossed Over

Every day since we brought my mother back from the hospital last Wednesday, she has expressed sorrow whenever she reads or sees mention of the 17 students killed at Marjay Stoneman Douglas HS in Pageland, FL. Mom turns 84 on March 1, and while she often asks the same question several times in a single conversation, such forgetfulness is a LOT less acceptable from so many Americans taking a similar “Oh, that’s a terrible thing to hear (again)!” route regarding such carnage, forgetting the last time and thinking this just happened.

God’s honest truth, that there’s an on-going slaughter of people of all ages in places like Chicago or Detroit, including fact that so many of them are black lives lost, isn’t lost on ‘them’. That many in this country beat their breasts over the agony of 17 dead teenagers killed in this school shooting is shown repeatedly on TV, but almost zippo is heard about *constant* death elsewhere isn’t ‘fair’, but I’ll stay with the basics on this.

Paper wraps rock, scissors cut paper,

GUN ends argument.

This problem is pretty much an American deal, because we have TONS of guns, and lots of people who are willing to settle a situation without further ado who will reach for them. Point to that situation in Sweden (years ago) where a gunman killed like 80 kids on an island because he was ONLY one with guns, well, it happened. That cases like England and Australia, where it only took ONE major slaughter to get guns banned effectively enough that it hasn’t happened again, and you wonder what could stop U.S., even with that gnarly deal about ‘well maintained militia…keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.”

SOMEONE has to make a difference, and if kids from the latest massacre want to take up the grail, and others pour in along the way, I’m kind of thinking that’s how both VIETNAM and getting Big Tobacco under control happened. You know what? Throw in *environmental concerns* and civil rights, and you can understand that while its not EASY, concentrated actions by such groups brings results. The first anti-war protesters were labeled cowards, and even when it was obvious the war was just churning out young American corpses at incredible cost of material for an unwinnable situation, it tore families apart, because it was your JOB to support what your country was doing…

The only line where that works now is *politicians* MUST defend guns and the NRA that supplies a high financial incentive to them—pols are reminded that campaign contribution $$ can go to someone else who will watch out for their (NRA) interests more carefully. If Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida, got upset that a 16 year old who lost friends in that school last week braced him with, “Will you say right now that you won’t accept contributions from NRA?” that’s a legitimate question for every one of our representatives in Congress.

Those who (and how ‘bout those bots, getting ‘re-tasked’) smear articulate youths, and declare that the situation has been hijacked by LIBERALS to further anti-gun programs, I declare bs! I’ve worked with HOBY program for years, and the 15-16 yr. old rising juniors ARE that good, and they LISTEN to good counsel. Try to deny them or use stupid arguments your co-workers won’t put up with either, they tune you out and walk away. Stopping guns in schools any way possible is a worthwhile agenda, and they WILL get help from professionals who recognize high schoolers can’t craft legalese enough to get it on anyone’s legislative agenda. That’s not co-opted, that’s *smart*.

It won’t be easy by any stretch, but trying for the Biggest Difference they can imagine counts. Don’t denigrate their efforts, HELP THEM.

Politics? Ehhh–Hanging with Mom at Hospital Takes Most of the Caring I Have

boehner2small

It’s not easy to admit, but politically I’m starting to lose some control of whats been a pretty solid Caring function because its been used up on my Mom. One of the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ (Covey) is don’t worry about things you can’t affect, and while I haven’t pulled that book off the shelf in a while, I know 90% of the stuff many/most of us worry about will happen no matter what. That’s why ‘effective’ means dealing with things you CAN control, like taking an hour away from TV watching and putting some effort into a novel, or sticking to diet goals by not eating (another) frosted doughnut just because it looks lonely in the box.

Time with Mom in her hospital room hasn’t exactly been productive, but politics, geeez! it seems to come up hourly, in an almost relentlessly negative way. Even Rachel Maddow takes a few moments now and then to mention she knows it sounds a bit repetitive. I’ve busted on CNN because Wolfe and the crew show the same 4-5 clips and repeat the story heard 20 minutes ago because they have LOTS of time to fill, and if you watch more than one of the political shows –with a snarky ‘versus the puppet shows on FOX’– yeah, there’s lots of same old, same old. The Mueller Russia investigation grinds on, and while its good poker playing to not show your cards (HE sure doesn’t), this waiting for Godot feeling ain’t cutting it on the Whoopie! Scale.

It seems like I’m shirking my duty as an American who cares about right and wrong to just shrug

The problem is, it seems like I’m shirking my duty as an American who cares about right and wrong to just shrug about a TON of bizarre stuff out of D.C., especially the exceptionally stupid enabling/stonewalling/stick up for the Prez while cramming a mess of brutal negatives (example A-1 being that $1.5 trillion ‘tax break’) down our– well, the non-1% anyway– collective gullets. Yeah, I know some people got extra $$ in their paychecks from that, but along with rolling back civil rights people *died for* 50 years ago, crushing of environmental regulations that truly made a difference, and hey, more than a whiff of misogyny from guys at the top, how can numbly “letting him do the job he was elected to do” be legitimate, liars and Russian bots be extra damned?

Bottom line, what *possible reason* could there be for not wanting to get to the bottom of what is clearly a blatant, documented interference in our election process?

Is there an alternative? Olympics watching maybe, but what about at work? I’m not generally a whiner, but a couple blowhards/apologists/cretin-y Trump-eteers, or even a Demo-centric ‘did you hear?’ conversation just rrrrrs! me. Offer it up for Lent? Sounds whack, doesn’t it? I haven’t done that suffering bit in quite a while, but hey, stop my beer drinking is not a *real* option. A lot of information to be gained from watching triple headers on multiple channels to prepare for upcoming March Madness, y’know, and water with all those chips (but no politics) just doesn’t seem right. I’m doing some volunteer work for Reading Buddies, but that won’t affect politics, nor will getting back to bicycle riding with my new knee, because there is plenty of time to think about things beyond shifting gears on 10-12 mile rides.

Curling up in a ball and just taking it? Naah, that’s useless to the max.

So, my decision is to focus on writing, working on a fantasy world and events I *can* control. I knocked out 50,000 words for annual NaNoRiMo event on November mornings  while working crazy graveyard shift hours, and getting three chapters edited and sent to a couple publishers by the end of the month is legit. I KNOW my heroine (Marlena the Magnificent) will pull her fiancee’s bacon out of the fire in time, because while his getting kidnapped sort of messed up the week before their marriage, I have an exciting and righteous path already laid out.

America, good luck to the rest of you about having things work out as necessary– I’ve got Mom and Edgar Allan ‘Poe’ Starkes to think about.

‘Trump’s America’: If We’re Still on the List for ‘His Light Shine Down on Thee,’ Cool

stat3 spag dinner
“Believe me, EVERYBODY says my spaghetti and meatballs are absolutely the *best* they have EVER had the privilege of putting in their collective mouths.”

Saying my spaghetti sauce and meatballs is world famous, that I came out of a knee assessment meeting Friday and sank my first five free throws (nothing but net) in a light rain, and that I made an AMAZINGLY ballsy $50,000 bet on Jacksonville to beat the Steelers would be (1) an un-humble opinion, even if these firefighters liked having dinner made for them, (2) seriously un-good counting, and (3) an absolute and outrageous lie.

In Trump’s America, this range of alternative facts clearly leaves Truth outside in the cold– it’s been hovering around freezing in Charlotte most of the last two weeks– and dissing other countries and people has never been in my personal mix.

Okay, I’ve made fun of New Jersey a couple times in my life– nobody cares about that.

I’m just Glenn Shorkey, a decently above average writer and human being, not the President of the United States, and very few people care what outrageous things come out of my mouth. Actually, to have one of those resumes I sent last week draw enough interest to schedule an interview would be gratifying, but at no point will my signature be enough to affect the health care of millions of fellow Americans, or roll back forty years of  progress on issues like the environment, voting rights, and social welfare.

I can’t be the only one worried about what the relative avalanche of negatives D. Trump has brought to this nation means in the Biggest Picture. Yeah, yeah, 18% No Matter What base, I gotcha about he’s doing what you– and the Russian robots– supposedly elected him to do. (Charlie Coalminer, you been called back to work yet? Uh huh, didn’t think so.)

All the Sunday morning politicos seem to believe midterm elections, where the Dems will regain control over in the House and *maybe* impeachment can begin? is on the horizon for late 2018. (Sigh) Control? Yeah, that worked soooo well for eight years, when Repub minority was willing to stop the government and toss the country over an economic cliff rather than let Obama get *one*stinking*thing*done* that they might have to give him and Dems credit for.

Politics haven’t made life better in the United States for a while. To continually see the disdain Trump and GOP have for almost everyone– and that $1.5 trillion ‘tax break’ takes the proverbial cake– is stupefying to watch, outrage after outrage that nobody could have imagined 16 months ago. Most are simply hoping Mueller scrapes a few of the real S**tholes (pedophiles aren’t his deal) away from the political scene, while others swear that when the jackboots are on different feet, ohhhh BOY! is there going to be payback.

I sang that ‘God shed his light on thee’ verse for years, but I’m starting to wonder if fatigue is going to set in on resisting, or whether we can gut this current mess out and be somehow worthy again.

The world is truly watching, and amazingly, they don’t hate US (vs. U.S.) for what’s coming from the Twitterer in Chief’s mind and fingers. They don’t trust us to be the light of the world we always kinda prided ourselves on, but that’s legit. The only real power we actually had was the ballot box, and man, we got schtupped on that front, no matter HOW many times anyone says, “No collusion!”

Fingers crossed on next time…? (and if you say “Oprah” that’s kind of what got us to here, y’know?)

For the record, today’s spaghetti sauce was the worst batch in a very, very long time. I missed the first six free throws– including two that were so off to the left they didn’t even draw iron, my knee assessment isn’t until the 17th, and the last time I put 50 thousand on the line, I had quad eights, and it was in CHIPS, not actual dollars.

I’m of the belief we have to get back to saying things that are True True, not b.s. that anyone with a cell phone can Google to check on– like who was/wasn’t #1 in their class at Wharton. If as a country we still rate having His light shine down on us, cool.

 

Knee rehab, 2018 and Beyond: Effort is Always a Primary Ingredient to Success

late crewdoes tree12-17
The night crew for St. Gabriel Men’s Club 32nd Annual Christmas Tree sale.

It was a very different final quarter to 2017, so I’m catching up to many friends and contacts about where I’m at, with start of new year as a good and necessary idea.

‘Where’ is within touching distance-completion on my very personal One Thing. When I started in real estate (with Keller Williams-Southpark, 2016), that was a factor they wanted us to articulate during training: What reason would get you out of bed every morning, getting busy with whatever was most important to you and your Success?

Economics of real estate aside, that One Thing always meant my iffy left knee getting replaced in 2017. I wasn’t  sure HOW (Christmas Wish for Knee–bazinga!), but was willing to pursue as possible. Getting x-rays became a major immediate step, from go-go, more-faster! environment pre-loading UPS trucks overnight, to front of the Make Me/Knee Physically Better line.

When you catch a major break like that, I’m thinking you owe the Universe your very best effort in return.

I believe that *every*little*bit*more*I*do* goes directly to helping the strength and functions of my knee-quad-whatever. (What I’ve told my PT person, Amanda, often, and myself even more frequently)  

Saying I’m knee deep in rehabbing is certainly accurate, and it’s definitely a quantifying of effort deal, doing whats needed to become Better.

Better? Maybe not a crazy good jump shooter again, but able to plant the left foot for a forehand up the line, or maybe throw a snowball and hit the damn tree? How many toes risers or quad flexes, and how often for that?  I am pleased that Becca keeps saying, “little bit more!” until I hit a solid extra marking point.

There are obvious economic goals to be handled soon in 2018, but a couple times a day I look at ERMI (Extended Range of Motion Improvement, Inc.) machine, pull that pneumatic lever a bit further than ‘uncomfortable’, and I can SEE my new knee working. Bringing that quad back to life, *every quivering extra second those muscles twitch* means Glennie is doing best and necessary on effort front.

Hearing you’re at 96 and thinking about 100 as a next mark is one heck of a motivator when I’m in the ERMI saddle getting scrunched for 10 minutes.

Its been ten days of meat locker temperatures here in Charlotte, but its cold everywhere, and that’s not why my knee feels stiff. Staying on the exercises, doing ERMI scrunching four times a day, physical therapy is PERSONAL. You know that ‘You can’t fake steak’ commercial? Its like that.

===

Friday was my Men’s Club meeting (St. Gabriel), and we had a special send-off for a super-dedicated member, Mark Herboth, who among other things, fed our group well for as long as I remember. While he’s moving to Raleigh area for grand kids availability, ‘Herbie’ is the guy who got me doing overnights for ROOM IN THE INN program–this would’ve been Year 8 with same crew…

My taking on the ‘Tree Tsar’ role for our group’s  Christmas tree sale the last two years came from examples like Herbie—my brother, Mike too— guys who have cared and DONE for a long time, but Herbie was an Inspiration. When we needed a leader on trees, our biggest project of the year, I was willing-able to step up. And doesn’t that float most of our boats? A couple sincere attaboys! when what you do makes a difference, doesn’t hurt to let people know you appreciate the effort.

We had an exceptional sale, even if there were a couple code red calls for workers on evening shift. My Attaguy! guy was Greg Hebesian.

We’re going to need more, not less, of similar willingness to stand up and help each other going forward, give the best little bit of You possible to someone who maybe needs it a little more. The beauty of RITI program is that maybe seven groups all do a piece– there are drivers, dinner people, lunch makers, laundry people, and yes, over-nighters.

In 2018, I’ll continue being thankful for two good legs to stand on. I’ll also work with a ‘Less Trump, more Matt Damon’ (reference from ‘Martian’) attitude. Stranded on Mars, astronaut Damon takes an *awful* lot of events in the chops for a long time, even starving. At the end, he gets told to cannibalize and turn his recovery spaceship into a convertible, but his mantra is to ‘do the numbers, and if you get enough of them right, you get to keep going’.

Think about that for working the whole plan, step by step. I gotta go scrunch my knee.

My Christmas Wish for Knee–Bazinga! In 32nd year of Christmas trees, you go guys!

When I mentioned a Christmas Wish on timing of long-time necessary knee replacement– because who know’s what health care will look like in 2018?– it was an acute surprise when scheduler said two cancellations would mean I could have surgery the following Monday, at least if I wanted friend and highly-regarded ‘cutter’, Dr. Robert McBride.

Doc is exactly who everyone should want in such situations, you immediately know where you stand. Its cool that he comes to our Christmas tree lot and does the sales thing: just one of the guys.  This  is our clubs biggest fundraiser of the year.

After six years of very gimpy knee, I’d set this year– at age 60, and in better than average physical shape– as the time to be ‘physically whole’  again in my mind. To be rehabbing a week later AND not being $1000s in debt, was only possible by ACA coverage through Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

The speed of x-ray appointment on Tuesday and ability to be rehabbing a week later was only made possible by ACA coverage through Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Give a shout out to those people, everything I needed to overcome two major physical problems, they handled it, like this life-changing new knee and after a bicycle accident two Memorial Days ago.

That accident would have been nearly $6800 in emergency assistance, and it came down to my $100 deductible plus $325 worth of ambulance. Getting crunched on a bike path isn’t even a consideration for many young-healthy people. Even under generous terms of ACA, they often see buying health care as something they might not use, so they rely on bad luck staying clear of them. That’s kinda called ‘skating’,  and  you should be considering  buying vs. alternative of NOT being all lucky.

How thankful am I NOT to be many thousands of dollars in debt from two bumps in the road, here at Christmas? Surgery meant losing last two weeks of temp assignment at UPS, but even overtime rates wouldn’t create better economics than my DOING IT NOW with surgery. I’m going to my 2nd PT session tomorrow, first session with physical therapist was about basic exercises to keep blood clots from forming.  I’ve heard about, and am not tingling with anticipation of constipation from oxy-whatever meds.

Everyone knows I’m going for surgery– at least 1/2 dozen in our club have used ‘Doc’ and nothing but praise. The next two weeks will likely be pain filled, because PT is about *getting you walking*, and they base their Success on getting that done. I’ve always been a good patient– Good, not ‘great’. In earlier times, I played in a rugby tournament five weeks after earlier injury– doc had said ‘at least 4 weeks’. The first time I tried a fake punt move, my knee buckled on me: 9:10, done for the day. I’m thinking more of the freedom to do whatever I used to choose now, nice for the walk vs. skip across street so I don’t get run over.

On Saturday our Men’s Club decided to extend the sale, and these guys are the troops. Do I feel guilty at not being there down the stretch for our 32nd year in tree selling? Not a problem– these are cagey veterans, they know about making decisions. They take pride in finishing off the event, I believe they won’t leave extra dollars around.  Of course, the knee is the culprit, but that’s changing as we write.

Lastly, at the end of November I submitted just over 50,000 words to NaNoRiMo, which they consider having written a book. I’m already several sessions  into editing for the follow up book about Marlena the Magnificent, ‘With Platinum Warrior Focus’.  Nailing  the sequel while working over-night shifts and an epic family Thanksgiving, I’ll take credit for the W because it was a goal, clearly 100% earned.  I’ve promised myself this won’t get tucked under my bed for three years like before.

Lots of social events coming, I’m looking forward to walking around to every one of them.

 

Monday morning QB-ing: Nice Play, President Bush

curtiss pilot

Gotta give some props to President Dub-yah Bush, it always counts more when strong thoughts come from experience. I definitely wasn’t a fan of W most days, but that speech, I believe he hit the nail on the orange head quite well, a voice of reason for sure. Trumpy’s time at the wheel has scrambled *everything* about this country. Signing stuff just to tear down what came before is a failure as progress. And the constant negativity on all fronts, its not what most of us voted for. Germany is leading the free world, and the Euros continue to support that Iranian deal because just *maybe* they don’t have ego involved in what it accomplished as Obama legacy– which DT hates so damn bad.

I make a point of informational difference to many, and especially to my Italian public speaking client, Sabine, who feels Prez has totally polarized this country. “Watch ‘Vietnam’ on PBS,” I tell them, “because THAT was when people decided to make a difference, 500,000 at a time saying STOP THE WAR!”

A lot of changes came with 60s and 70s protesting, and having rights and expectations of fairness ‘rolled back’ by every twisted hump that Trump has put into a position of power more than rankles me. If you want ‘take a knee’ to mean anything except what its intended for– a peaceful protest about young black men being killed at an unacceptable rate in police situations, not disrespect for this country– this climate is a great fit for  a similar personal guarantee of 1st Amendment expression. The crowds may not be the same gargantuan events, but on the issue of whats better for the U.S. and world, we should agree on that.

Vietnam went down my senior year of high school, Spring 1975. I’ve never regretted missing that particular meat grinder of a war. That PBS series was how I remember things, including the Kent State shootings– very powerful. Trump has *nothing* on that period of strife in this country, and like with Nixon, I have a belief in Justice (and Mueller’s step-by-step progress) that we’ll get through this crisis as well.

And fyi, foreign policy-wise, nice freaking job on screwing up with Chad. Straightest talk  –by Kelly, of course– about getting called by a President as a Gold Star, since DT and weasels started ‘fake news’. Keep any nuke buttons out of the adult day care area.

Glenn S.

Hope Springs Eternal Isn’t a Lock (but burn that MAGA hat anyway)

cooking4
Working at the Men’s Shelter for annual cookout.

Given the unreal twist of a week D. 0000000000000000000000Trump had with the Democrats, there seems a tremendous analogy about Hope available, because it’s something said to spring eternal in the human breast.

Let’s use sending a note to a Woman on line whose pictures and profile *totally* float your boat– the exact physical dimensions and attributes, sense of lifestyle, Attitude, and ability to articulate how she desires someone like YOU in her life– and getting a favorable response about a date. That’s outrageous and joyful, much better than finding $5 in the jeans you just took out of the dryer.

Having knocked (or cursed) all things Trump for eight months—justifiably, from all that I and the majority, screw those damned Russian ‘bots, have seen– about things people have been shocked-disgusted-afraid of, could anyone have seen the wonderful pivot that top Democrats Schumer and Pelosi had front row seats to the other day? An evening that came with Chinese dinner and chocolate pie, and featured positive discussion about DACA Dreamers and the possibility of that brutally expensive wall becoming a non-factor in our lives?

What could possibly come next? The Prez stopping the Dakota pipeline, “because it really won’t create that many jobs, and it’s a bad idea to put something like that over our biggest aquifer,” or saying “Just kidding” and returning to become a force in the Paris Accords? Wearing a tie that doesn’t hang 8” below his belt? Hearing that he watches the Rachel Maddow Show?

Really, which scenario would you have bet the grocery money on being touched by?

After feeling like civilization was hanging by a thread for so long, it seems *impossible* not to feel a sense of elation about the latter events arriving on a silver platter, with Mitch and Paul not even in the room to spoil the evening with their shrieks of betrayal. While Ms. Huckabee might walk the whooole thing back in another day or two as another misunderstanding– or that the ecstasy ends with an effed up tweet that causes a whacky North Korean dictator to push the proverbial button– I’d bet millions are willing to forgive her “more reaching across the aisle in last week than Obama in eight years” hyperbole, because Hope does spring eternal.

With the stench of a million burned MAGA hats in the air, it’s worth taking a deep breath and considering what might be the greatest turnaround since, well, the Patriots coming back from 28-3 down in the Super Bowl.

Things with an All That Woman can turn south on any number of factors. If she’s as rich and dynamic as the character (Marlena the Magnificent) in my book, concerns about bank account digits or the attentions of a supremely studly and equally thoughtful and articulate guy could wreck a dream. I’m just sayin’, Rachel on ‘Suits’ show is all about Mike, but in real life she’s dating England’s Prince Harry, and regular guys don’t win many of those situations. Having lived in a constant state of undies-in-a-twist with Trump, do this weeks gratifying changes mean everyone was wrong about the artless negativity of his dealings so far? Does he get off ‘good meds’ next, or just blow a nation’s surprise/delight on a fistful of ugly tweets and a definitive leak about Russians?

My reality– because awareness should be followed by action—would be doing all things possible regarding Ms. Right, even if its probably going to be a couple weeks before seeing her face to face. I waited this long, I can stand that. On the political side, there’s a whole country that’s wondering, after the longest eight months they could have imagined enduring, if they can/should consider trusting a person they never considered dancing with or saying a good word about.

The best part is, if I impress the lady sufficiently *and* D.T. continues to stiff Mitch and those who now want him impeached (whoa! there, Anne Coulter) more than you could have imagined two weeks ago, Hope won’t just be springing, it’ll be a factor that could launch a life of bliss I’ve envisioned as a Writer. I believe its legit to raise a glass of wine to both possibilities.

 

 

A Different Kind of Time Has Started Ticking for Me

dad-mom-me

The chimes of my cell phone started at 6:05, and I dutifully turned on the bedside lamp so I wouldn’t/couldn’t ignore the fact of needing to get up. Coming back from putting on the coffee, reading a few pages from an inspirational book, there was a small acknowledgment it was already 6:25.

That today is 9/11, a date causing many in this nation to recall a significant, almost surreal event– those terrorist attacks with airplanes full of people that took down the Twin Towers in NYC sixteen years ago– is obviously legitimate. More personal, less definitive, and somehow scarier, was a conversation with Mom yesterday on the drive back from church, when she got a little upset about ‘not being there’ to help Dad at the time of his death from congestive heart failure. Even after explaining the circumstances– a good, graceful exit after only two days in the hospital– her not remembering where he was buried (next to her folks), or that she’s lived in Charlotte for over two years after staying two-plus years alone in Tampa, wasn’t easy to listen to.

For all the times she’s commented about “it’s another glorious day in Charlotte,” it was overcast and sweater-worthy instead of sunny and 80s yesterday, and somehow a different kind of Time began ticking with her admission that, “I just can’t seem to remember any of that.”

She called brother Mike several times Saturday, ‘worried about the house in Tampa’, because you can’t ignore the fact– a major part of every newscast– that the biggest, baddest hurricane in 100 years is going to pound the city where she grew up, and retired with Dad to for 25 years. It’s easy to see how TV watching got her thinking about her good neighbors, how much the guy next door had loved being around my Dad, and then drawing a blank about what came after that upsetting her. Easy to see, somewhat harder to deal with for both of us.

As Director of my church groups (32nd annual) Christmas Tree sale, I have to send the order quantities today for the various sizes to my top assistant to pass on to the supplier. I have a confirmed 10:00 meeting with a veterans organization that I expect to work on a housing proposal with, and I just got a text from my Italian lady about moving our 2:30 public speaking session to Wednesday. Time is a fact of life we tend to build around daily, whether that’s waking up, picking my brother up at work, or knowing at some point I’ll need to drop by Mom’s place at Carmel Hills and find the box of Excedrin PM I know we bought and gave her yesterday.

Today, most of America will be thinking about a long, ugly struggle that blew up into an unmistakably dramatic point 16 years ago in NYC. Many of us are still be thinking about a flooded-out part of Texas with billions of dollars of destruction from one hurricane, while millions wonder how long the specter of Irma, still plodding up the west coast of Florida– with two more major storms still brewing in the Atlantic—will rule their lives.

Mom-wise, a little different kind of time seems to have started ticking for me.

“They’d probably be glad to see anybody besides him”

Having watched a lot of the Little League World Series, I had to smile about one of the ESPN commentators making this observation last night.

The situation was Southwest team from (Lufkin,TX) was rolling over Conn. by about 12-2 at the time, after SW got 8 runs in bottom of first off three Conn. errors. A victory would cause a rematch for SW with the Southeast (Greenville, NC) team, which beat them 2-1 in 7 innings Wed. The nucleus of the comment was about the pitching of Matthew Matthijs, who simply took the air out of room on SW, striking out 12 of 14 he faced, including the last 11 batters of the game, with only *63* pitches.

THAT is just cockin’ and firin’ pitching.

The verdict was, how could you *possibly* take him out when he was pitching like that?

Hunter Ditsworth of TX team was sort of remarkable too, keeping Greenville scoreless from 1st inning until he ran out of pitches (85 is the limit, he threw 88 over 5 innings because he was mid-batter), and this was *great* baseball, the proverbial “too bad someone has to lose” game.

It brought a smile to see three Greenville coaches doing some chin-stroking as Matthijs got to the 55 pitch level, the question being whether to save him for another game, because Greenville has operated with a ‘three headed monster’ pitching staff vs. having anyone go a whole game and be unavailable for 4-5 days. The verdict was, how could you *possibly* take him out when pitching like that? and being under 65, he is actually available for World Series finale if Greenville wins American half of tournament.

And yes, Lufkin will be glad to see *anybody* else.