Monday, May 21, 2018

What Are Your Innermost Thoughts About the President?

Sara Huckabee Sanders, Press Secretary
What have I gotten myself into?
Defending my boss to the press 
He changes his mind every second
Sean warned me that this is a mess 

Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy
The Trumpster and I, we are good old boys
We’re true backers of oil and coal
We’ll soon be rid of wind and of solar 
To make the rich richer — our goal 

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
Like Tillerson said, he’s a moron
But this could be great for the House 
It means we can set the agenda 
That’s why I must act like a mouse 

Rudy Giuliani, Personal lawyer
The Donald and I are like peas in a pod
New Yorkers, we like to spout off
So many felonies I’m trying to hide
To his credit, he has a good coiffe

Sean Hannity, Political commentator
Thanks to the president, Fox News is now king
We’re so blessed he has no information 
He tunes in all day to our talk show hosts
So it’s Fox that is running the nation 

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education
We billionaires stick together
That’s why I’m in charge of the schools
My aim is to serve the religious right
Most teachers are nothing but fools 

Michel Cohen, Personal lawyer
I know more than Mueller about goings-on
Many facts that I’ll never reveal
It’s true that we’re antsy about Russia
But the Stormy thing, that is surreal

Mike Pence, Vice-President
It’s true that our president is morally depraved 
But so far I’ve played my cards right 
I just keep quiet, put on a bland smile
With impeachment, I’ll win the whole fight  

David Dukes, Louisiana politician, white supremacist, anti-Semite
These are the best times we’ve ever had
White nationalism has risen from its grave
Trump will get rid of the immigrants
It’s us white racist Christians he’ll save

Barack Obama, former President
I try to avoid foul obscenities
But this guy is clearly a (blank) 
He’s cancelling everything good we achieved
And, trust me, I’m not being a crank 

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Trump is much better than we ever had hoped
So good we made him man of the hour
The more pacts he breaks, the stronger we get
Putin Russia, a new super-power

James Comey, ex-FBI director
I released all that stuff about Hilary
But kept silent about Russian collusion
I never foresaw what a nightmare we’d have
Democracy, it’s now an illusion

Hilary Clinton, Presidential candidate
This is the worst scandal ever
I was eighty times more qualified
Trump was elected by deplorables
I went to the forest and cried

Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea
This strange person calls me Rocket-Man
But look at the attention I get
He’ll help me take over South Korea
He’s the most clueless president yet 

John McCain, Republican senator 
A terrible time to be gravely ill
I want to stand up to this tyrant
He’s dragged our party down the sewer 
I’ve begged Mitch to be more defiant

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC commentator
In the boring old days no one tuned me in 
But now I’ve got three million viewers 
There’s crazy Trump news every single day 
I love doing in the wrongdoers 

Donald Trump, President
I didn’t even want to be President
But so huge that I won over Hilary 
The greatest comeback in history
Now I get to ravage and pillory

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Savage, Heartless So-and-So's

Dear George,
We arrived home from our recent seashore vacation in the best of moods.  Unfortunately, that was short-lived.  The first thing Katja did was to go through our accumulated mail.  Midway in that task, she opened a letter from our insurance company which announced that our automobile insurance would be terminated in four weeks.  My reaction was a mix of shock and outrage.  We’ve been clients of this company and its predecessor for fifty years, and both of us have near-perfect driving histories.  I haven’t had a ticket since 1969; Katja, one or two.  “This is nothing but age-discrimination!” I blurted out.  

After I calmed down and read their letter more carefully, their facts were more or less accurate.  We each had filed claims for two accidents in the past four years.  Two of these were “real” accidents, i.e., moving collisions where we were at fault and which resulted in moderate damage.  The other two were minor fender-benders while parking or backing out of parking spaces.  If we’d had our wits about us, we would have paid for the minor damage out of pocket in these two cases and avoided jeopardy to our insurance. 

For the subsequent week I’ve been in a state of nervous collapse.  Being pretty old, I decided that we would never get insurance again.  That was workable, I decided.  We live right on the edge of the Clifton business district, and between the grocery, the drugstore, the hardware store, restaurants, movie theater, and multiple ethnic clothing stores, nearly all life needs can be met within two or three blocks.  It would be like living in a rural French village.  Katja prefers to drive ten miles and shop at the fancy mall, but that’s more of a recreational thing than a necessity.  We would probably give up the theater and the symphony.   If need be, we could call Uber (which our son J fortuitously set up on Katja’s phone several months ago).  I don’t like the idea of Ubering around, but it’s better than nothing.  

We called the insurance company, and they were no help.  They suggested an alternative company who would give us a policy at four times our current rate.  I would rather live in a French village and walk.  Instead I posted a blurb on our neighborhood website, asking if anyone could recommend a helpful insurance agent.  Half a dozen people responded, and, after looking at available websites, we picked the one recommended by Alissa J.   We met with the agent on Friday, and he took a bunch of facts and assured us that we would get a new policy.  I asked the pivotal question at the end, “Am I going to be able to start sleeping again?”  He assured me that I can.  I have slept better, but I’m going to be fully relieved when we sign a new contract.  (What I took away from all this: Be careful about filing claims with the [evil] insurance company.)     

Sunday, May 6, 2018

So Happy On The Beach

Dear George, 

Katja and I are just back from a weeklong vacation in Siesta Key, one of the barrier islands neighboring Sarasota, Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico coast.  Katja summed it up as being in Paradise, and I’d have to agree.  Beach vacations are my favorite, and Siesta Key was one of the most desirable locations we’ve been to.  Here are some pics and comments.

We stayed at the Tropical Beach Resorts at Crescent Beach in Siesta Key.  Perhaps 200 yards from the ocean, the beach was easily accessible from  complex.  Tropical Beach Resorts has an “old Florida” ambiance about it, probably originally a large multi-building motel complex that has been renovated in resort-like fashion.  Lots of amenities: two swimming pools, several small parks with palm trees and flowers, a shuffleboard court, barbecue grills, free beach chairs and towels, etc.  We liked our resort more than the huge high-rise hotels which lined the beach in several areas.   

The beach and the ocean, of course, were the center of our stay, and we spent two or three hours there every day.  Travel experts have designated Siesta Key as having the #1 beach in the world, and we could see why.  The white sand is so soft and fine-grained that it trickles through your fingers.  The Gulf varies between calm and wavy enough to body-surf, though the waves were less high than we’ve previously seen on the Atlantic coast.  Siesta Key had kite-surfing, paddle boards, kayaking, fishing, parasailing, helicopter rides, sail- and power-boating, and lots of swimming and hiking.  I saw a 6-year-old boy who had built an immense sand castle with at least 150 turrets. 

When we weren’t relaxing at the beach, we were usually getting ready to go out and eat.  There are endless restaurants catering to the tourist crowd.  Our best dinner was at Miguel’s French Restaurant on our last night.  We both had delicious cobra, a north Atlantic fish I’d never had before.  My favorite place was the HH and DD restaurant (with the red awning), which claimed (I’m sure correctly) to serve the Reuben sandwich voted #1 in the State of Florida.  Katja had oysters on the half-shell at Captain Curt’s Clam & Oyster, Daiquiri Deck (the best), Spearfish Grill, and the Siesta Key Oyster Bar.  We also enjoyed meals at The Toasted Mango, Clayton’s Siesta Grill, Muse, Anna’s Deli, and the Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe.  (Now I am fasting to shed a few gained pounds.)   

Sarasota, of course, was for years the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.  John and Mable Ringling had their opulent estate there, and The Ringling is now the State Art Museum of Florida.  We spent one afternoon at the 21-gallery Art Museum, modeled after the Uffizi gallery in Florence.  The Ringlings’ massive collection centered on old masters, including Velazquez, Poussin, van Dyke, and the world’s largest collection of Peter Paul Rubens.  The contemporary galleries were also exciting, especially a photography exhibit by Brooklynite Hank Willis Thomas. 

We returned to the Ringling the next day to tour the Circus Museum, and it was an emotional, nostalgic trip.  Circus wagons, train cars, costumes, posters, props, and paraphernalia of all sorts.  In addition, there was an astonishing “miniature” circus model built by Howard Tibbals, 44,000 pieces and 3,840 square feet in area.  Katja bought a Ringling T-shirt, a Ringling cap, and a Ringling coin purse before leaving, making her a walking advertisement.   


Siesta Village was the resorty shopping/restaurant/nightlife section toward the north end of the Key.  A free trolley shuttle picked us up at our resort and deposited us at Ocean and Beach.  They were having an art festival on our first visit, and it was fun to see all the images of the Gulf Coast, especially the eye-catching photography.

The Mote Aquarium fit our desire to immerse ourselves in Floridiana.  One of the major oceanographic research laboratories in the nation, they provide refuge and healing to many wounded or orphaned sea creatures.  We were especially taken by the sea turtles and the manatees.  

On our next to last evening we took a Sunset Cruise from Siesta Key marina along the length of the barrier islands.  The massive wealth in the area was evident, including Sarasota homes or former homes of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Bette Midler, Stephen King, Jerry Springer, Nick Bolletieri, Martina Navratilova, Prince, Dick Vitale, “Macho Man” Randy Savage., and many others.  We stopped at a big sandbar near the gulf, waded in the water searching for seashells, and enjoyed the gorgeous Gulf Coast sunset.  

On our last day we drove down to Venice and Venice Beach, took a hike on their beach (also lovely), did some browsing in Venice Beach shops and gift stores, and had our last lunch at the Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe.  

Our week seemed to whiz by, and we were sad when it came to an end.  Katja stopped at one of the Siesta Key realtors and got information on monthly rentals.  Who knows what lies ahead?


Friday, April 27, 2018

The Merry Month of May

Maia, the Greek goddess of Spring, with her six sisters 

Dear George,
It’s just four more days until the start of May, and already my mood is getting cheerier.  We’ve had an o.k. April, but sporadic snowstorms and too much rain have put a damper on it.  I was amazed by the photos from my hometown in the U.P. — snowdrifts ten feet tall in mid-April.  May, though, is definitely the best.  Flowers in full boom, birds are singing from all directions, and good weather for taking a stroll after supper.  Our Cincinnati summers get hot and humid in June and July, but May is ideal.  I was pleased to discover on the Internet that Americans in general share my opinion.  In December 1960 the Gallup Survey asked people to name their favorite month of the year.  May came in first, followed by June and July.  Gallup repeated the question in June 2005, and May again was the most popular.  Here are some facts about May that will put one in an even better mood. 

MAY SYMBOLS (2, 16) [Note: Numbers refer to sources at end]
Name: May was named after the Greek Goddess of Fertility, Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants and vegetation.     
May Birthstone: Emerald (symbolizing rebirth and fertility) 
May Flower: Lily of the Valley (symbolizing the return of happiness)  
Zodiac signs: Taurus (Apr. 21 - May 20); Gemini (May 21 - June 2) 

In any given year not one other month begins or ends on the same day of the week as does May.  
May is the only month of the year in which no U.S. president has ever died.  
May was called Tri-Milchi in Old English because it was the month in which dairy cows could be milked three times a day.  
According to Google, “may” is the 55th most frequently used word in the English language.  

Maius (Latin), Mei (French), Maggio (Italian), Mai (German and Danish), Maj (Polish, Russian, Swedish, and Norwegian), Mei (Dutch), Mayo (Spanish), Traven (Ukrainian), Toukokuu (Finnish), Wuyue (Chinese/Mandarin) 

It is unlucky to buy a new broom or to wash a blanket in May.
May is a bad luck month to get married (“Marry in May and you’ll rue the day.”)   
If you get up early and wash your face in the May dew, it will remove all your freckles and pimples.
Cats born in May won’t catch mice but they will bring home snakes.
“A dry May and a leaking June / Make the farmer whistle a merry tune.” 

Date Your Mate Month
Zombie Awareness Month
Fungal Infection Awareness Month
Chocolate Custard Month
Better Hearing and Speech Month 
Better Sleep Month
Loaded Potato Month 
National Smile Month 

MAY 2018 HOLIDAYS (6, 7, 13) 
May 1: May Day 
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
May 7: World Naked Gardening Day 
May 7: Kentucky Derby 
May 8: End of the Second World War 
May 8: Teacher’s Day 
May 11: National Eat What You Want Day
May 13: Mother’s Day
May 14: National Dance Like a Chicken Day 
May 16: Ramadan begins 
May 19: Armed Forces Day
May 28: Memorial Day 
May 28: Victoria Day (Canada) 

May 1, 1967: Tim McGraw, county western singer 
May 3, 1964: Wynona Judd, country singer
May 4, 1959: Randy Travis, country singer
May 5, 1942: Tammy Wynette, country singer
May 9, 1914: Hank Snow, country singer
May 18, 1952: George Strait, country singer
May 26, 1949: Hank Williams Jr., country singer
May 30, 1964: Wynona Judd, country singer 

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888).  American novelist, poet; author of Little Women. 
May Miller (1899-1995).  African-American poet, playwright, educator, leader in the Harlem Renaissance   
Rollo May (1909-1994).  American existential psychologist, author.  
May Sarton (1912-1995).  American poet, novelist, and memoirist.  
Elaine May (1932- ).  American screenwriter, oil director, actress, comedian.
May Britt (1934- ).  Swedish film actress; married Sammy Davis Jr. 
Lee May 1943- ).  Former Cincinnati Reds first baseman.  
Theresa May (1956- ).  British Conservative politican, current UK Home Secretary.  
May Andersen (1982- ).  Danish former model (Victoria’s Secret, SI Swimsuit Issue). 

May 10, 1869: Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads completed the Transcontinental Railroad.  
May 20, 1927: Charles Lindbergh took off on the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic. 
May 23, 1934: Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death near Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
May 24, 1935: The Reds beat the Phillies 2-1 in major league baseball’s first night game at Crosley Field.  
May 6, 1937: The Hindenburg exploded over Lakehurst, NJ, killing 36 passengers and crew. 
May 6, 1954: Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile at Oxford, England. 
May 17, 1954: The Supreme Court, in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.  
May 16, 1983: Michael Jackson performed his “Moonwalk” dance for the first time on TV. 
May 22, 1992:  Johnny Carson’s last show on The Tonight Show
May 1, 2011: Osama bin Laden reported killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan. 

Autumn to May (Peter, Paul, & Mary) 
End of May (Michael Buble) 
First of May (The Bee Gees) 
The Lusty Month of May (Lerner & Loewe, Camelot) 
People Who Are Born in May (Julie London) 
Stormy May Day (AC/DC)

MAY QUOTES (4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 17, 23, 26)
For May wol have no slogardie a-night.  The season priketh every gentil herte, And maketh him out of his slepe to sterte.  (Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Knight’s Tale”) 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.  (William Shakespeare) 
May, queen of blossoms, and fulfilling flowers; With what pretty music Shall we charm the hours?  (Lord Edward Thurlow)   
Sweet May hath come to love us, Flowers, trees, their blossoms don.  (Heinrich Heine) 
I thought that spring must last forevermore; For I was young and loved, and it was May.  (Vera Brittain) 
April is a promise that May is bound to keep.  (Hal Borland)  
May: the lilacs are in bloom.  Forget yourself.  (Marty Rubin) 

(1), “7 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About May”; (2), “The Month of May 2018”; (3), “6 Songs to Welcome the Merry Month of May”;(4), “Month of May”;(5), “16 May Day Quotes That Celebrate Spring”; (6), “2018 Holidays”; (7), “Month of May: Fun Facts, Quotes, and Trivia”; (8), “May in History”; (9), “Top ten facts about May”; (10), “May”; (11), “May Quotes”; (12), “Famous May Birthdays”; (13), “May Holidays in 2018/2019”; (14), “11 Famous Birthdays to Celebrate in May”; (15) omniglotcom, “Months of the year in many different languages”; (16), “May Trivia”; (17), “Month of May Quotes and Sayings”; (17b), “The Best Movies With May in the Title”; (18), “Famous People Named May”; (19), “Famous People Whose Last Name is May”; (20), “Words and phrases that rhyme with may”; (21) The Washington Post, “The definitive ranking of the best and worst months of the year”; (22), “13 Songs About May”; (23), “21 May Day Quotes”; (24) the, “6 interesting facts about the month of May”; (25), “Song Titles with Months in Them”); (26), “May Sayings and Quotes”