Monday, June 29, 2015


"Pledge? They made each other a pledge?"

Tevye’s daughter marries outside the faith in spite of tradition.
And in keeping with tradition, Tevye rends his garment and refuses to speak to Chava for years.
The Russians come, and evict Tevye and his entire town.  They are displaced, to be refugees. They begin packing their wagons for the exodus.
Chava and her husband, already packed, pass by Tevye’s house.
Chava tries to call to her father: “Goodbye Papa!”
He doesn’t look up, keeping Tradition by ignoring his daughter, keeps packing the wagon.
Chava calls to her sister Hodel, “Goodbye Hodel”
Hodel, who has been helping her father Tevye to pack the wagon, looks up and waves “Goodbye, Chava”.
She looks down, sadly,  to her father, still packing the wagon.
Her father mutters under his breath “Go with God”.
Hodel smiles and looks up to Chava and delivers the message:
“Go with God, Chava!”

From the Supreme Court ruling, lifting the ban on Same Sex Marriage in the United States:
 "The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. Changes, such as the decline of arranged marriages and the abandonment of the law of coverture, have worked deep transformations in the structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as essential. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution. Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations" 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Sometimes, this is what you have to try to do:
To focus more on understanding, and less on being understood.

Its easy for me to try to understand why people would want a Confederate Battle Flag flown at a State Capitol. The unity experienced by the South, and the pride it inspires is immeasurable. Damn, it’s a good looking Flag too, Ol’ Dixie, and I can remember the swelling in the chest I would get when I saw one. I remember as a boy in Detroit we would sing "Dixie" in Music class, and I would almost tear up as we sang it. I was the only person in my grammar school class from the south, and my buddies would all look at me and smile as we sang it. I read a lot of history books way back then, and could tell you all about Fredericksburg and Stonewall Jackson by the time I was in the Fourth Grade. On vacation trips back to Texas and going to Six Flags, I was always delighted watching the Confederate Army march past, with the black drummer boy bringing up the rear.
It filled me with an enormous sense of southern pride, and when I got back to Detroit and would try to tell my friends how wonderful it was, the story always fell a little flat.
There is no way you can explain that feeling to a Yankee. There is no way they can feel it themselves. I should not expect a Chinaman, or an Israelite, or a Negro to feel that way about Dixie.

Likewise, it’s a little harder for me to completely understand the other side. But I can try to put myself in the shoes of a black parent, with their four year old child, walking up the steps of a courthouse to register my car and seeing that flag. It just might give me a chill. It just might remind me of my Great-grandfather, who died in bondage. It might remind me of my grandfather, who was lynched. It might remind me of my father, who experienced the harshest effects of Jim Crow south. It might remind me of the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle form of systemic discrimination and racism I had experienced in my life time.

And I think how I might feel, standing there with my four year old daughter, and watching the flag be lowered from the State Capital for the last time and forever. Its difficult for me to imagine all this.

Its even more difficult to imagine what that four year old might think, presently and some twenty years into the future, as America plays out this long history of dysfunctional race relations that began as our country was born.

I also remember that at Six Flags I was afraid to ask mom and dad could i have a Dixie Flag, because I thought they would say no. I thought they would say no, because I always sensed deep inside that there was something a little wrong about wanting that flag.
But damn, its a handsome flag!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I watched  Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center and former deputy director of the FBI National Security Branch on Charlie Rose two years ago.

He is an interesting fellow, who gives a hell of an interview.
He outlined the differences between the terrorists of 9/11 and the two kids who were responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombing.
He said those responsible for 9/11 were ideologically committed to a cause,  a Jihad, while the Tsarnaev brothers were just a couple dissatisfied kids, with more in common with Columbine than 9/11. That the 9/11 guys would never apologize for what they had done, but the surviving Boston bomber, 21 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, would eventually apologize and show remorse.
And today, after being tried and convicted and sentenced to death, he did just that.

Follow the first link for a great Charlie Rose interview with Phillip Mudd.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Dad had this swim trunk outfit he wore.
It was red, with Tongatoan writing and Easter Island statues printed on the fabric.
There were the trunks, and then a matching top, which amounted to a loose fitting shirt with no buttons. Dad was an apple, and his big belly stuck out, but the whole outfit looked right on him.
Of course he always had that cigar.

He wears that when I see him on the shoreline of Grapevine Lake, launching the boat, and we are about to go fishing.

“Do you think I can drive the boat today dad?” I always ask.
“Umm-hmm” will come his absent minded reply. But I know that I will not drive the boat today. I never did. Instead, we will cruise across the lake, and he will pull up to a spot, and say “Do you want to try it here?” and I will grin, and grab my pole.
As we lower our lines into the water, dad will look at me, and with the cigar still chomped between his teeth he will say:
“This looks like as bad a place as any”

Sometimes we caught fish, and sometimes we didn’t, and I never did get to drive the boat.

If I count the years back, I haven’t seen dad for 28 years now. I count all the years that he had Alzheimers, and couldn’t do all the things I remember him doing, locked away in that VA hospital. That would make more than 40 years without dad.

But I imagine heaven, and seeing him in that funny red outfit, and we are fishing again.
In heaven you get to do stuff over you know, and I’d like a do-over on our fishing trip.
You might think my do-over would be where I finally get to drive the boat.
But that’s not it.

In my do-over, when we stop to fish and dad says “Do you want to try it here?”, I beat dad to the punch, and it is me who says:
“Looks like as bad a place as any, Pop!”

I have to remember to do that when I get to heaven.
I think he will like that a lot.

Originally posted 3 years ago, but I found pics of dad, and the outfit I described to add to the post!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


I wish the AARP would not send my sister any more mail. I wish they wouldnt send her any more invitations to join, with a 3X5  sized "Temporary Membership Card" made out of Credit Card stock, with a big picture of a "Day Bag" on it which can be "YOURS, ABSOLUTELY FREE" just for joining AARP today by sending in $16.
It says the Day Bag will hold your electronic tablet, your copy of AARP magazine, and a six pack of Ensure. Its "great for day trips, or any time you are on the go".

The thing is, I'm older than my sister. Why are they not sending ME offers for free stuff? Do they know that because of bad financial planning I will never be able to retire? They seem to know that in order to get my sister to join all they needed was to offer her a free Day Bag.
If they know all that, why do they not know my sister is dead? That she will never need another day bag, not even for a minute?
I wish the AARP would stop sending my sister offers for free stuff.


Has rolled out his Flat Tax Plan.
Among Republicans, having the lowest Flat Tax Rate is like having the biggest dick in the locker room.
Paul strikes me as a needle-dicked little mother fucker.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


“You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.”

–Dorianne Laux