A Million Miles From Camelot

I figured out what it was. This inability to build a lucid narrative on Trump; an affliction I’ve been toting around since November of last year when reality TV met up with the real thing. It’s because to talk about the man would simply lead me down a rabbit hole whose confined space would force me to rant instead of reason. I would equivocate rather than elucidate. In other words, I would be screaming textually rather than arguing sensibly.

And then this past weekend happened. I was busy as all get out, but who can run away from that kind of news? I mean, really. There’s no place to run and hide when something like Charlottesville happens.  And when it happens inside of an already turbulent time, it kind of feels like Mephistopheles scored the deed to our backyard.

Horrible events such as this leave you with a dull ache- full of hopelessness and dread, for what might come next. Because the worst days always seem to have a sequel just waiting to be unleashed, especially nowadays. To be a true believer in this day and age is akin to being accused of witchcraft in Salem back in the day. You’re a freakish misfit to the villagers. And I guess that’s where I came to understand why it is that I have been silent for so long on Trump.

Out of disbelief? Partly. Out of dread for what comes next? Mostly. Out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to stitch the right nouns to the proper verbs and make it cohesive enough sounding without coming off as a fraternal member of the Young Turks? Definitely.

Until now. Until Charlottesville. And I really hate the fucking timing of this post, because it means that Saturday happened. It’s like a meteor crashed down on my clueless skull and opened me up to the truth of the matter, and how to express it.

I don’t believe in blaming others unless they are directly responsible, which is another reason why I couldn’t bring myself to write on Trump for the last ten months. Because I most certainly wasn’t blaming him for all those votes he got. And I wasn’t even blaming all the people who thought he was the best idea this country had left, even if they were woefully wrong on that point.

No, I blamed the people such as myself. The ones who voted for Hilary and thought that was all it was going to take, and all the others who didn’t think she needed their vote to win by a slam dunk. I was one of those people who made fun of a Trump presidency, over and over and over again. Until November happened, and all the humor of such a thing became an Orwellian story line come to life.

And now, none of it is funny or irreverent. Now, it’s just a series of piss poor comedic skits with no punch lines. Now it’s just a sad and lonely and interminably long truth.

I wish I had some pretty words to dole out, on how we all have to come together and how peace and unity is the only way. But right now, it feels as if that “I Have A Dream” speech by Martin Luther King happened inside another world. Right now, it feels as if there is more of Charlotteville where Saturday came from. Because we have a President who never met a middle ground he didn’t blow to smithereens. And now, he has the guns to do just that, in more ways than the horrible one.

I can’t blame Trump for what James Alex Fields did in Charlottesville. Because to do so would be to buy in to the trade off of accountability that has allowed us to arrive at this mess in time. Fields made the decision to kill and injure when he plowed his car into a group of people. Just as those Nazi’s of another mother country and the white nationalists with their Tiki torches made the decision to be moral degenerates long before Trump came into office.

My problem with Trump has nothing to do with the actions of these disenfranchised losers. I don’t blame Trump for their seething hatred and bitter ignorance. Trump didn’t make these people who they are.

My problem with Trump is that he accepted it.

January 28, 1986

Challenger Crew 2

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
“Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

John Gillespie Magee 

How To Bullshit a Bullshitter

Pickpocket PostSome people come into your life and change the way you look at things forever while others . . not so much. So it is that I received an email from a Sabir Ali requesting my assistance in a financial matter he deemed “most urgent”. I’ll give you a spit and polished excerpt of Sabir’s letter since it was longer than a Meryl Streep acceptance speech and contained more errors than the Philadelphia Phillies infield. I mean, the dude spelled Sunni wrong! That would be akin to me misspelling Kardashian.

Hello Dear, 

I am a personal aide to the oil chief in Iraq. Because of the ongoing fight between Sunni rebels and the Iraqi government, the country has been divided and we have been under house arrest for weeks now. I have 9.5 million US dollars that I successfully moved out of the country. It is my share of an oil business deal with the Iraqi government and it is legal. I am willing to offer you 35 % for your assistance while you hold my 65%. Your own part of this deal is to find a safe place where my portions of the funds will be until I come to meet you for discussions on investment plans and business partnership. As soon as I hear from you I will furnish you with more details on how to proceed for the transfer of funds. 

I look forward to your cooperation and I thank you in advance as I anticipate your response. 

My regards, 

Sabir Ali

For one thing, I haven’t been called dear by a man since I was in Cub Scouts. For another, this isn’t a one night stand business transaction. Judging by his language, he’s thinking long term. Sabir might not be perfect but the reality is that the guys aren’t lining up to discuss long term investment strategies with me soooo, I’m gonna listen.

I know what you’re thinking. Cayman, don’t be a fool! This is nothing more than a scam to get in your pants! Or more specifically your wallet, to procure all manner of personal information. Snap out of it, he’s not worth it! 

Lying PostMaybe you’re right, but all I know is I’m not getting any younger. So I sent Sabir a counter offer (This is my email response, verbatim). If he’s truly legit, he’ll respond the way any savvy businessman would. By telling me to go to hell.

 

Sabir, 

While your deal sounds promising, there are elements that seem shadier than Marshall Mathers. If you’re not down with Slim, his stage name is Eminem. He killed Vanilla Ice, bedded Kim Basinger and inspired the Motown ad campaign. Oops . . sorry, I’m speaking American. 

I figure I should get some guarantees before I become a household name at Homeland Security. Your come on is brilliantly devoted, but I owe it to myself to question the promise of riches rather than succumb to its slavelike affectations. Man, I really should stop reading Ayn Rand before bed, but I can’t help it . . bitch was inspiring. 

You’ll see that I have reworked certain of the terms of our fledgling business arrangement. In America we call that ‘tweaking’. Which is not the same thing as ‘twerking’. Okay . . . it’s kinda the same thing. 

Anyways, here’s my counter offer. 

1- Bill Murray’s phone number. Not the toll free job he gives out to aspiring screenwriters. I want the real one, because it’s fucking priceless.

2- A Bengal tiger cub. It should be obvious as to why I want a cub and not a full grown Bengal tiger.

3- A hoverboard. Metallic red, chrome trim. White script on the side which reads “Papi Chulo”.

4- World peace. Just kidding, I want Cheetos for life.

5- A meeting with Vera Farmiga. Tell her I have a script she’d be perfect for, make up whatever shit you need to in order to get me a face to face. ‘Detain’ Mr. Farmiga for a few hours, no rough stuff. If I can’t convince her I’m the man for the job, that’s on me. Her rebuff will not affect our deal in the least. I’ll take it like a man by grabbing a bottle of wine on the way home and crying myself to sleep whilst listening to Barry Manilow. Again.

One more thing. I only agree to this deal if we split the money equally. I might have agreed to your 35/65 split but your misspelling of Sunni (It’s two n’s!) convinced me that I must insist on a larger share. After all, if a Westerner can possess a better grasp of the world’s largest Muslim population than yourself, I figure that makes me a prophet for profit. Here’s an exercise that might help you out (It’s always Sunni in Haditha). 

Should you be amenable to my terms, I suggest we move ahead post haste. Those four and a quarter million enchiladas I got coming to me will turn into twelve bucks if Bernie Sanders is elected. And not for nothing but if Trump wins I’d start looking for real estate in Greenland if I were you. Because he’s going to marry that Joni Mitchell song with Dr. Strangelove and the reception will take place in your backyard. Translation? Nah . . I don’t feel like it. 

I hope to hear back from you at your earliest convenience. In the event this correspondence should be intercepted by the NSA, I plan on denying everything, except for the part about Vera. Worst case scenario is we cross paths again at Guantanamo Bay. I hear Kobe Beef Friday is worth the price of admission. 

Your friend at arm’s length, 

Fitzwilliam Darcy 

 

 

 

The meaning of fight

Boston StrongThe Boston Marathon, aside from being the oldest marathon in the world, is also one of the most celebrated. It begins on Grove Street in Hopkinton and slinks across Ashley, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and finally Brookline, before finishing up on Boylston Street. The twenty six miles and three hundred and eighty five yards is a living testimony to the spirit of a town whose muscular resume was indisputable long before a slogan rallied an entire nation.

The finish line is a ten minute cab ride from Logan; the airport out of which American Airlines flight 11 departed with Mohamed Atta and eighty seven innocent souls aboard on September 11th.

A couple hard scrabble towns separated by 218 miles and whose rivalries run the gamut- from political families to baseball allegiances- became united under the banner of a flag that will always matter more than the differences. Two proud cities, two hateful wicked punches, same resolute response. Hey, we’re still here.

On April 15th of 2013, Boylston Street became something other than a finish line. It became the North Tower, and the South. It became the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. It became the latest example that when Americans are pushed, we tend to push back. Hard and mightily and for as long as it takes.

Martin RichardWe have experienced our fair share of savage consequences since 2001. All the way from 8:46 am on September 11th to 2:49 pm last April 15th. Our most impossible losses have necessarily become our most important inspirations. Namely, Christine Lee Hanson and Martin Richard.

Christine Lee Hanson was two years old when she was stolen from the world back in 2001. She was a passenger on Flight 175. Eight year old Martin Richard of Dorchester succumbed to injuries sustained during one of the twin explosions near the finish line in Boston. The fight matters because the loss of innocents will never be an acceptable conclusion. It’s not about winning or losing since you can’t win a September 11th or an April 15th. The fight is about staying the course in the face of unimaginable loss. The fight we show is in living a day that Christine Lee Hanson and Martin Richard never get to wake up to. When you can’t settle a score, the only thing left to prove is everything else.

Monday morning will mark the 118th running of the Boston marathon. It will bring together mothers and fathers, firefighters and athletes, young and old, gay and straight, conservatives and liberals, Yankees and Red Sox. And for twenty six miles and three hundred and eighty five yards, the differences will unite in a common cause. For a few hours time, Americans will respond to the worst humanity has to offer the same way they always have; by getting to work on doing some good. They will move with purpose and grace and dignity and faith because they understand the fight isn’t about showing the bad guys what we have. It’s about showing ourselves.

They will run to Boylston Street.

 

 

A day that begged for rain

JFKA quaint thing happened this week.

People came together to commemorate an event that happened before Facebook. It was heartening to see people engaged in meaningful and substantive conversation about November 22, 1963; even if- like me- their only memory of that time comes from stories passed down and news reels with hair on them. Fifty years later, it still matters.

To paraphrase Joyce Carol Oates, everything John F. Kennedy stood for is consigned to posterity. Camelot may have been a beautiful illusion, but his place in this country and the world is very real. There were myriad crimes perpetuated in Dealey Plaza on that Friday afternoon, not the least of which was the theft of work unfinished by a man who introduced us to hope, long before it became a commercial property.

My mother had been the product of a Republican household, but it was her Catholic faith that steered her into pulling the lever for the handsome young man from Massachusetts. It was her first time voting. Smartly, she kept the details of that curtained decision to herself but in her heart, she knew she had made the right choice.

She was working as a secretary in New York City when someone walked into her office, crying out that the President had been shot. The initial reaction was anger at the messenger of this news. They thought he was pulling a prank and they let him know it wasn’t funny in some very specific language. “He was the office comedian, and we were pissed. Until we saw his face and realized this wasn’t a joke.”

She gathered around a transistor radio with her co-workers and listened to the slow march of updates gather and form into a horrible conclusion. There was no more business to be had, no more plans for the weekend to be talked about. All that was left after the flash out of Dallas was a collective daze full of soul numbing disbelief.

It was interesting to see how much the day still matters to many Americans, fifty years later. The aching void of a Friday afternoon when a political king lost his life and a country lost its way, it still matters. As it should, still matter.

If only it would have rained that day.

 

The lesson of Trayvon Martin

“You ever been to the Grand Canyon? Its pretty, but thats not the thing of it. You can sit on the edge of that big ol’ thing and those rocks… the cliffs and rocks are so old… it took so long for that thing to get like that… and it ain’t done either! It happens right there while you’re watching it. It’s happening right now as we are sitting here in this ugly town. When you sit on the edge of that thing, you realize what a joke we people really are… what big heads we have thinking that what we do is gonna matter all that much… thinking that our time here means didly to those rocks. Just a split second we have been here, the whole lot of us. That’s a piece of time so small to even get a name. Those rocks are laughing at me right now, me and my worries… Yeah, its real humorous, that Grand Canyon. Its laughing at me right now. You know what I felt like? I felt like a gnat that lands on the ass of a cow chewing his cud on the side of the road that you drive by doing 70 mph.”

– From the movie Grand Canyon

Out of a laundry list of memorable scenes from the Lawrence Kasdan flick, I keep coming back to this one. Danny Glover and Kevin Kline are blowing off steam after Glover’s character- Simon- comes to his rescue. Inside that moment, they were just two guys talking about the problems of the world, figuring it out as best they could. A world they were sharing the space of, but one which possessed a racial chasm of wide and complicated truths and consequences. Inside their peaceful summit, they reduced the mean thick into a palatable solution, resigned to the fact that its balance was a fleeting bask. Inside the answers to their questions, their differences were unifying, not divisive.

And therein lies the grand canyon of which I thought on over the last couple of days. The screaming gap which still exists between two cultures whose shared existence is fraught with self made obstacles. Let’s face it, this country does a bang up job of talking up how we want to democratize every little corner of the world while conveniently ignoring the lack of democracy in our every day language, gestures and deeds. Asking whether Trayvon Martin should have been followed on that night is a fair question. It may be an unpleasant reminder as to how far we still have to go, but it’s a fair question nonetheless.

Say it would have been my son walking home that night. Would we be having this conversation? They were the same age, basically the same height and weight. Excepting for the color of their skin, you could have stood them next to each other and called it even. Of course, you can’t discount color. Not when it transforms Trayvon from a strapping young man looking to get home to a menacing thug looking to find trouble. While I understand this narrow minded description of Trayvon possessed the context of a criminal trial’s unforgiving devices, I’m also well aware it exists independently of a courtroom.

Trayvon Martin fell into that canyon that divides us. His loss has to be our loss, it has to matter that much. It should matter, to everyone. It’s not just the latest sad story, it’s his story. We have to look to Trayvon Martin for what he can become.

Our lesson.

Absence of malice isn’t a defense

HibbertI’m not gonna pile on Ron Hibbert for insensitive remarks he makes at a press conference. Who among us hasn’t uttered patently offensive crap while simultaneously possessing no desire to offend? Hey, I’ve got a glass house post right here that deals me out of judging anyone on the matter.

What I can have a problem with is Hibbert’s confounding inability to follow the protocol that was drilled into his cranium at those media seminars after he was handed the keys to his brand new NBA life. Yeah, his NBA power suit came with an owner’s manual that laid things out from the get. It goes something like this.

When you feel the need to say stupid shit, make sure you’re speaking . . . .

A) Off the record
B) In the locker room
C) At the club (As long as cell phones are not present)

Airing out the malodorous thoughts in your head when hot mics are involved is akin to passing around a hookah pipe at your kid’s show and tell.  It will fetch giggles aplenty, but it will not end well.

Hibbert understands full well what happens when you throw the word ‘homo’ around, even in jest. The time and place sure as hell ain’t a press conference full of Saturday night deadlines begging for a Sunday morning chew toy quote. Which is what Hibbert gave them when he went blue boy with his material. I believe him when he claims no malice was involved. But he can’t expect a free pass for his lousy judgment and he didn’t get one.

I’m not defending the guy. I’m simply wondering why it is that the media feels compelled to consider the opinions of athletes on matters of propriety and sexual preference when these guys can’t even figure out when to speak up and when to shut up.

I mean, really.

All the News that’s Print in Fits AND Bonus YouTube Video!

Obama UmbrellaToo much to catch up on, so I’m gonna play Name that Caption with Umbrella-Gate. Otherwise known as “Sarah Palin Never Gets Tired of Saying Really Stupid Shit”.  I know it’s two week old news, hence the caption game.  So here then, five things President Obama might’ve said . . . .

5- Yes, I like the Weather Girls. No, I do not own any of their music.

4- That stuff about being struck down by a bolt of lightning if you’re lying . . . that’s an urban legend . . . right?

3- I told you guys we should’ve held this press conference at Hooters

2- Do you think Iron man gets rusty?

1- Hey guys! W is up on the roof again!

And now for a quick sampling of the news that wasn’t . . .

Brooklyn Bridge shut downAn abandoned car with no license plate or VIN shuts down the Brooklyn bridge? Great! Now the terrorists are messing with our freedom to steal a car and hit a chop shop.

Fast and Furious wins box office- This is the 6th installment in the series. I won’t see the movies until I read the books, if you get my . . umm, drift?

China’s still trying to kill America– It’s one thing to sell defective toys, crafts and lumber. We might be able to forgive that. Mess with our Happy Hour and you better kill us, and at 110 proof? It very well might. This Chinese baijiu makes tequila taste like Sprite in comparison. Doing shots usually means stripping your clothes off, not your insides.

Whopper + Hands Free Device = The human race officially has more time on its hands than it knows what to do with!I mean, a hands free device for your phone I understand. But the only way a hands free device works for a Whopper is if it’s attached to the front of a treadmill.

And finally . . . My favorite YouTube video this week makes me wanna grow a ‘stache just so I can walk around telling people how hard it is being me. And most importantly . . why.

 

We fight for the fine places we make in this world

This blog is where I come when I feel a soapbox moment happening, or to loose an idea or to rage over some miniature catastrophe with tongue firmly planted in one cheek while the vodka drenched olives hold tightly to the other. And then last week happened, and so I don’t feel much like camping out as Cayman Thorn today.

There was little Nichole Kristine Cable, who we came to know inside the desperate hours of her too short life. She only got fifteen years because a sick bastard lied her away from the house, and there’s no way you can wrap your head around this case without wanting to scream. My initial reaction is to curse the door that our connected world has opened. But I realize it’s not that easy. I realize that the worst laid plans of people do not concern themselves with convenience so much as they concern themselves with doing bad things, no matter the avenue they have to take to get there.

My reasoning self was justified and my scream stifled when I witnessed the rolled up sleeves I found across WordPress during the search for Nichole. Bloggers pressing their re-blog button, and showing me why a virtual neighborhood can matter every bit as much as the white picket fence variety. Hey, the only sense this world really makes, is that which we give to it.

What happened in Oklahoma is a humbling reminder that we don’t have the last word, despite our top of the food chain existence. Because the truth is, Mother Nature’s name is on the deed and we’re just renting. The proof of this was supplied by pictures of a town that went the way of a bad science fiction ending. And so it was heartening to see all the help that moved in just as swiftly as the tornado which had taken so much away. Cayman Thorn and I would agree on one count. Give.

I’ve never been to Colorado, but I have a solid education on the place thanks to a gal who possesses more back story on the Rocky Mountains than Sacajawea. Susie Lindau is a renaissance woman of the hottest order, with a To Do list that runs chapters long and never goes stale. She’s a one woman band, whose wild ride blog treats readers to heaping spoonfuls of love on everything from skiing to tennis to Christmas card making.

Susie shared her reality with all of us in a post this week. And I can’t go somber on this, because if I do, she’s going to fly in simply to kick my ass and fly back out. And there is nothing worse than having to pick someone up at the airport just so they can kick your ass.

Kicking ass is what Susie is going to be doing to the C word. Seriously, you mess with the bull, you get the horns AND Colorado, AND Danny. And all of us.  If you need more backup than that? You’re a shit screenwriter rehashing an ’80s cop show who’s hogging up all the Wi-Fi at your 7-11, so nuke that Hot Pocket and take the Asst Managers job at Target already!

As for backup, we got your back, Susie. All of us, from here to there and every other single place in between.

We love you. Much and always. For teaching us the one simple thing in a world gone mad.

Love wins.