Monday, July 16, 2018

Top 5 Posts ~ #3: Yes, We Have No Pajamas

For a very long time, Yes, We Have No Pajamas was the #1 most popular post. No longer. There are 2 ahead of it, both political in topic. This no longer surprises me...the politics of the time are dire; people on both sides are paying attention to the developing reality.

Especially on Monday, July 16th, 2018. Remember that date. It's the one that will go into history books. And not for a good reason. 

No other president in the history of these here United States, ever sucked up to an autocrat/dictator they way Feckless Leader did today. It's just never happened. He called our most staunch allies, "foes," and the Chinese and Russian dictators our good friends. He's already kissed up to Kim Jung-Un, so I suppose his next adventure in boot-licking  will be a visit to Rodrigo Dutarte in the Philippines. 

Anyone remember Neville ChamberlainHow he was excoriated by the people of Britain and the world for attempting to appease Hitler with the Sudetenland concession? I could not think of  a more recent example of public fury until i got to Hanoi Jane. Now, let me just say I was never a great fan of this action even when I was marching against the war. Was she a war criminal for going there? I don't think so. Fonda didn't give anything to the North Vietnamese except her opinion. She had no state secrets to sell, she had no tariffs to deploy, no bombs to drop. She was a celebrity with a mouth and that's it. The only power she had was that which we gave her by jumping up and down. And she was called a traitor over and over and even by some today. I get it. 

Any other politician who attempted to ally this country with Russia and China away from NATO and the rest of the western world would have been pilloried by the GOP. Today, there are plenty of GOP followers who are sucking this right up. They think this is all okay. I have one thing to say to them all:

Когда-то КГБ, всегда КГБ. Учить русский; вам это понадобится.

Can you imagine what those same conservative hot-rocks would be scream if it had been President Obama standing there trashing the country to the world. Or Hilary Clinton? Give me a break. What a bunch of hypocritical troglodytes. 

On that horrible note, here is something completely inane:

It was an innocent, friendly kind of social question: What did you get for Christmas? There was no intent to mock, tease, or otherwise deride anything about said gift. But I could not help but howl when he told me “jammies …and flannel sheets with snowmen on them.” 

I couldn't stop myself. I asked if the jammies had feet. No, they did not. Well, that’s somewhat of a relief. My next thought was to ask if the jammies are flannel, (they are) and  then whether warn him about the Velcro Effect. I did. But the  vision of a grown man in flannel pajamas velcro'd between flannel snowman sheets just danced in my head.

I felt terrible about thinking these thoughts and decided instead that further research was required.

With the help of a colleague, I narrowed the term “pajamas” to mean a 2-piece ensemble made of either broadcloth or flannel that comes in a single package. The top should have buttons, and the bottom either an elastic or drawstring waistband. In other words, that which one imagines when one says “pajamas.” For the sake of Minnesota, thermal pajamas were included but excluded from this most scientific sampling were Joe Boxer flannel pants paired with unassociated t-shirts and/or scrubs.

Okay, the results are in. Almost 60 guys from all over the country were asked whether or not they wore pajamas to bed; of those polled, only 3 admitted to wearing pajamas, and one of those specified thermals in winter only. Otherwise, no way.  The rest of them had great answers like, “Not since I was ten,” or “Does a big t-shirt count?”

Every time I asked the question either in person or over the phone, there was this kind of shnorkly guffaw, like I couldn’t possibly be asking this question. And the routinely incredulous “no” made me wonder if I was, perhaps, asking something excessively weird. Apparently yes.

So, I began running a secondary survey for women, asking, “Are pajamas sexy on men?”  This was an interesting question and I had no idea what the response would be. Other than a single, “Only if George Clooney is in them, and even then it’s kinda iffy,” crack, without exception, the answer was no.

Moms report sons stop wearing pajamas around the age of 9, with pjs being replaced by  over-sized sports jerseys and later on, with weird t-shirts.  Some wives reported the sport jersey thing has carried over into adulthood, especially during football season.

Does any of this mean anything? I’m not sure, but I do think it speaks to a greater overall trend toward informality. Pajamas imply some kind of structure; one wears them specifically when one goes to bed, the same way one wears a tuxedo to a black-tie event. One does not take the trash out in one’s pajamas. And these days, one does not loll about in them unless one is called “Hef.” A haphazard collection of boxers, flannel pants, and decorated t-shirts signals an attitude of would-be cultural defiance. One may select the pattern of flannel pants, but more time was probably spent picking out just the right KISS t-shirt at that concert 20 years ago. 

And should you dare to ask what women do find sexy, the answer is “clean and commando.”  Really; I kid you not. 32 women were asked, and 27 of them went with the buck naked option. The other 5 said, “bottoms” as long as the top was buff.  Oddly, buffness was not an in-the-buff requirement. Go figure.

Wifely Person Tip o’the Week
There truly are times when less is more;
other times, not so much.

Her Majesty the Queen's Bonus Tip o'the Week

Monday, July 9, 2018

Top Five Posts ~ #4: Dignity of Earth and Sky versus Feckless Leader

So, before my brief remarks about this week in Loonyville, let me just mention I finished binge-watching The Handmaid's Tale. How Margaret Atwood managed to be so prescient is downright scary. Watch it if you want to be scared shitless.

Meanwhile, the man Feckless Leader has nominated for the Supreme Court just happens to be the same judge who wrote the opinion saying a president should be exempt from investigation while in office and, by the way, can pardon himself. Brett Kavanaugh has a raft of opinions that favor a certain religiously oriented point of view, so I shall leave it to the Democrats in congress to screw this one up on their own. The guy may look  reasonable enough, but don't be fooled.

Meanwhile, this may be the 4th most popular blog, but leads the pack in global hits. For reasons I cannot explain, this lady speaks to people in a way similar to the Statue of Liberty. There is something about her. The emails she generated were amazingly positive and respectful of her being. One reader wrote: 
I did not realize such a monument existed. Why didn't I? She should be shared, cherished, and on a postage stamp. 
 I could not agree more. 

And now (drum roll, please,) #4 

Photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock
Meet Dignity of Earth and Sky. She's 50 feet tall, and stands on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. She is a Plains Indian woman, a member of either the Dakota or Lakota Sioux nation, native people to this land.  She was designed by Dale Lamphere and her dynamic star quilt was created by David Claymore. Three Native American women posed for the sculptor. She was a gift from Norm and Eunabel McKie to mark the State of South Dakota's 125th anniversary. The dedication ceremony took place on September 17th, 2017.

The diamonds of the star quilt are not stationary; they move. Star quilts replaced buffalo robes as gifts for life cycle events, the most important of which were the memorial quilts commemorating the Lakota dead. Dignity's quilt is made of glass painted in shades of dark and light blue; they catch the light of day and spin with the winds of the Great Plains.  As Mr. Lamphere said of his creation,
Dignity represents the courage, perseverance and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota cultures in South Dakota. My intent is to have the sculpture stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred, and in a sacred place. My hope is that the sculpture might serve as a symbol of respect and promise for the future.
A friend posted a picture of Dignity on her Facebook page and I wondered how the hell I missed this, especially when it's just not that far from me. I wondered how this did not get huge amounts of coverage. And then I knew why.

We were busy focusing on the smokescreen: shitter-twitters, Feckless Leader's refusal to disclose the Mar-a-Lago Resort visitor list from January 20 and March 8, denials of Russian collusion, un-presidential world appearances, the White House dithering on the Paris Climate Accord. On September 17th, Tropical Storm Maria was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. We, the People, could've used a little break from the bullshit had anyone bothered to tell the country about Dignity's dedication.

We woulda heard if it was a statue of Custer. Boy, would we have heard about that! 

Or not.

While we were missing the dedication of Dignity, our government was undermining the rules of checks and balances in an ongoing attempt to shred the fabric of our star quilt. While we are distracted, they persevere.

Meredith Corporation has announced its intention to buy TIME magazine. with backing from the Koch brothers. As my friend Jill Cozzi (aka Brilliant at Breakfast) noted,
Having completed their purchase of the U.S. government, the Koch brothers now set their sights on the press.
Should we be concerned?

Net Neutrality is on the chopping block. The Department of Justice appears to be demanding AT&T sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, or sell DirecTV as a precondition for approval of the $85 billion merger with Time Warner. The Oval Office Occupant routinely trash-talks about journalism, journalists, and the news media while he consistently lies like a rug. 

We've been so busy obsessing about fanny pats, that we seem to have given a pass to a predator who now says that's not him on the video tape saying all that stuff about grabbing pussies and 
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
Well, he now says it's not him on the video tape, that it's an imposter. In that case, I guess it's not and we should all just forget it ever happened. That's the same stand Feckless takes on Putin's meddling in our elections and Roy Moore chasing 14-year old skirts. Who should we believe....that pathological liar...or our lyin' eyes?

Instead of focusing on important stuff, like federal judicial appointments, the latest Keystone oil spill in South Dakota, the bogus tax Ponzi scheme, or dueling agency heads over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we are falling for every trick in the GOP playbook. 

On the bright side, the Washington Post had a moment of clarity and actually vetted a story that turned out to be a honey trap: A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.


But do pay attention to what this sick, sick individual said to 3 of the surviving 13 Navajo Code Talkers on Monday:
 You’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special. You are special people, you are really incredible people.
How dare he even talk to these men who gave their all for a country with a history of hatred directed at them...while standing in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the president who signed the Indian Removal Act and was responsible for the Trail of Tears? Could you possibly see Angela Merkel giving an award to Jews who survived the Holocaust while standing in front a of portrait of Hitler? It would NOT happen in Germany, but it sure happens here. 

His thrall, Sarah Huckster, had this to say when confronted about her boss's racist remark: 
I don't believe that it is appropriate for him to make a racial slur, or anybody else. I don't think that it is was and I certainly don't think that was the president's intent. 
This is not a leader. This is a teeny-tiny putz with a teeny-tiny brain to match. He hates. He dismantles. He destroys. He abuses. He lies. He runs to do evil. I wonder if Jared gave him a copy of the Al-Chetthe Yom Kippur confessional, and he's making his way down the list. He does nothing but bring shame and humiliation on this nation. 

Today was no different. And we tolerate it anyway.

In a contest between Dignity of Earth and Sky and Feckless Leader, there is no contest. Dignity wins every time, hands down. Dignity of Earth and Sky represents the best that we can be. I don't need to tell you what Teeny-tiny Brain represents. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Silence is not a protest.
Silence is acquiescence.
Remain silent at your own peril.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Top 5 WP Posts ~ #5:

On July 19th, 2010, I wrote my first blog post. Except for May 30, 2016, I have never posted the "Gone Fishing" sign, and I have never missed a week, not even the two consecutive weeks of breast cancer surgery. Nope. An episode went out on schedule. 417 of 'em. So deciding to slack off a bit for the month of July took a whole lotta forethought and consideration...about ten minutes worth.

The pearl-clutching over Justice Kennedy's resignation really pushed me to the brink. It's not like he's a liberal judge; he's just sorta in the center sometimes, but he's not a man of the people, especially not after his vote on labor unions this past week. He's just not as bad as he might be. 

Grandma Bessie at my wedding.
41 years ago I write this. 
Now, as Grandma Bessie intoned when Gamal Abdul Nasser was assassinated, 

"Dis is not good. Better the noodnik you know den the noodnik you don't know." 

She had a practical, pragmatic side I did not come to appreciate until it was too late to tell her I got it. Sometimes I wonder what she would say about politics right now. I can guarantee it would not be at all sunny and bright.

Grandma would also tell me to take a break. She was a good one for saying that although she never really did. Even after she retired from being a seamstress at Mays Department Store in Brooklyn and was spending winters in Flah-rida, she had "a little side job." She didn't like to talk about it...because she was the lookout at a news-and-tobacco store that had a bookie operation in the back. "It's okay," she told me, "they're nice men and they pay me without taxes." But, me she would tell to sit down and have a glass seltzer. Which I'm having right now.

So on that note, here's the deal. For the next five weeks, I'll be writing a short intro, followed by one of the Top 5 Wifely Person Episodes. Here is your first holiday installment. What struck me about it? Nothing has changed.  Enjoy.

first published May 2nd, 2016

I was thinking Mies Van Der Rohe said, "The devil is in the detail," but I guess not; his usual attribute is "G-d is in the detail." Not that it matters much, but for the record, it's the devil.

This moving thing is draining. Not only am I living between two houses, I can't find stuff. I desperately wanted to make an egg cream last night and could not remember where i put the straws.  Maybe it was because the straws were in the bag with all the kitchen drawer stuff sitting on the kitchen counter of the old house because I forgot to put the damn bag in the car? And let's not forget to mention the U-Bet was missing. Maybe because I have yet to take stuff outta the fridge? So after Talmud class, I trooped over to the house to pick up the bag on the counter and take the U-Bet. And as long as I was there, I took some stuff outta the freezer, and the rest of the art sitting in the dining room, and a few other odds and long as I was there. And then I had to unload the car....which was made infinitely more pleasant because one of my new neighbors saw me and popped over to help schlep.  And then Senior son called because he hadn't heard from me in a while and was wondering if I was still alive. And then I had to put stuff away. And then I had to make that egg cream...... See what I mean?  

This is very distracting from more important President Obama's stellar turn at the Washington Press Corps Dinner. Or Trump accusing Madam Secretary of playing the "woman" card. After his little foray into mensuram aetatis with Marco Rubio, it's perfectly understandable why he would say such an immeasurably stupid thing to Madam. Ziggy used to say "A man's attitude toward women is inversely proportional to the size of his dick." Frankly, that explains a lot about Trump; the guy must have a peanut instead of whatever, because if he didn't, he wouldn't be braying about it the way he does. 

The campaign is so disappointing on so many levels. I've said this before. The GOP has reduced the process of selecting the next President of these here United States into some kind of reality game show. It's so twisted that it's pathetic beyond description. And although I have moved into the Hillary camp, I am devastated by the smears and personal attacks of the latest incarnation of the Democratic campaign. I desperately wanted them to stay above the fray. I wanted a thoughtful, intelligent, issue-centric campaign like we had at the beginning....but alas....even theirs has sunk into some Ring of Hell arena. Crushed, I tell you. I am crushed.

Trump's schizoid presidential-asshole-presidential-asshole pendulum is really tiresome. And what's worse, it's just plain stupid. His so called policies are ridiculous. They don't exist outside of the ether filling up his empty cranium. His rallies are borderline excuses for violence. And the inhuman-on-the-street interviews of his supporters harken back to pre-war Germany. Read about the fall of the Weimar parties where there was no liberal, middle class with enough support to stop Hitler. Read the timeline, there are too many parallels not to view Trumpism with concern. 

One of the biggest differences, however, is in the division of wealth. Whereas Hitler rose from poverty, Trump has not, and all his posturing will not made him Everyman; he is the poster child for elitism. He is anti-intellectual, a provocateur, and impulsive. And this is the guy a whole lotta people want talking to the rest of the world on our behalf? How quickly they forget. 

But some of us don't. This year, Yom Ha'Shoah begins Wednesday at sundown. Ostensibly, this is a Jewish holiday, but it isn't really: it's a world commemoration. Remembering the Holocaust is the responsibility of every person on this planet. Yes, it's about the everyone who died because of Hitler's madness, but that's not where it stops. It forces ALL of us to confront that genocide is still out there. That unless we remember, it will happen again and again. The last of Shoah survivors  are dying. We are losing their voices. Those of us who grew up in the last half of the 20th century bear our own version of witness because we were the first post war generation. We heard the stories from the Greatest Generation, and we heard the Shoah Survivors. We heard the stories of great bravery, and the stories of how others managed to survive the hell on earth that was Europe. For many of us, arms with numbers were not unusual sights and we all knew they weren't phone numbers. 

Those who are the children of survivors have a unique obligation: to be the voice of our parents. Those of us who did not have survivors as parents have an obligation as well, to tell and re-tell the stories we were told, the ones hesitatingly told by our parents in uniform who were there and bore witness. I have my dad's stories, and one day, I hope I will finally be able to transpose them into written history, but I'm not there yet. 

My friend, Margie Newman, however, has started down that road. She has begun the arduous and painful process of writing a memoir. This is a project worth supporting...especially if you are seeking the courage to do something similar. Some of you know Margie from her writing, others of you know of her because she was my partner in protest behind the silent flash mob at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit back in March of 2014. 

Once again, silence is not an option. We, the People, may not be able to prevent Donald Trump from getting the nomination, or running an independent campaign if he does not get the nod, but we can stop in the voting booth. To be silent is wrong. Not to vote is even worse. We, the People are the only ones who can save our own country. To be silent, to not vote, to be bystanders is just like giving this neo-Fascist a leg up. Don't do it. 

Wednesday night, at the beginning of Yom Ha'Shoah, stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say in your best, strongest voice, "NEVER AGAIN." If you don't say it, who will?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Standing up for what you believe is hard;
Going to the gas chamber for what you believe is even harder. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Lil' Dash of Ipecac'll Do Ya!

In the land of things that mean little to the world at large, I had a sad encounter yesterday on my way home from a funeral.

The funeral was for a fine lady I greatly admired, the widow of a man for whom I once worked. He died long ago, but his widow and I managed to stay in touch over the years, often meeting over the melon bin at Byerly's where we both shopped. She died after being unwell for a while, but not the kind of unwell that keeps you in bed, the kind of unwell that slows you down and then one day you just don't wake up. Her name was Eleanor but everyone called her Honey and the name certainly fit this tall, graceful,Viking princess who fell in love with a short, Jewish guy, joined the tribe, and raised a passel of Jewish kids. She was buried in a kosher casket, plain, unadorned, and amazing for a woman who was the epitome of elegance and class. everything looked great on Honey. I will miss her not just because she was my last link to a part of a long-gone world, but because every time I saw her it was an adventure.

And in that mood, I was not in much of a mood to go straight home. Instead, I drove through the old neighborhood, the one we first lived in when we came back to St. Paul. I loved living on Goodrich Avenue, on the top of a duplex, with a fireplace, built-in shelves, a real dining room, and a sun porch. I loved sitting on the stoop in summer with a book in my lap, planting a little flower garden, and greeting the world as it walked by. We outgrew the flat after senior son was born, but unbeknownst to us, something would travel forward with us, something we didn't know about, and now, Ziggy's gone 9 years and I stumble onto something I never thought I'd have the answer to.

Instead of a neatly tended duplex, there was a condemned/unfit for human habitation notice taped to the door. As I stood there in shock, a neighbor lady came out. I asked what happened, and she told me the owner had died, and that when the bank took possession, they discovered the house was consumed with mold. So much so, that it was unclear whether it will be re-habbed or demolished.

Mold. The thing that triggered the headaches. The thing that started in 1980, before Senior Son was born, and would plague Ziggy until the day he died. Mold. I can't tell you if the flat had mold when we lived there, but the basement sure did. But it was a basement and Ziggy could never be down there for more than a couple minutes. Was it already creeping up the walls 38 years ago, probably. We fought mold in the bathroom constantly. Was the exposure toxic for Ziggy, probably. He was already sensitive to mold. Did this exacerbate it? Probably. From 1980 until the day he died, we lived with the headaches, those painful, debilitating, life-altering, uncontrollable headaches, not migraines, not clusters, something else they could barely identify but ultimately were able to mitigate through a variety of drugs, bio-feedback, and facial positioning. Would having known and vacated immediately have changed our lives? I don't know, and I don't want to think about it. But it's there, a spectre in the back of my mind that, at the lowest moments, whispers, What if....

I could not be angry at or hate that flat that held our best-ever dinner parties, flying parakeets, my very first fireplace, the place we brought our teeny-tiny Senior Son home, or where he learned to walk and climb bookshelves. Truth be told, seeing that sign taped to the door kinda broke my heart a little. 

I think it must be my age. 

Lots of things are chipping away at my heart these days. Palestinian fire-kites destroying fields; children separated from their parents, some of whom have disappeared into "the system," never to be seen again; a sitting president advocating setting aside the due process portion of the Constitution; and farmers considering dumping milk because tariffs set by this administration make selling milk overseas virtually impossible. These things all rolled together represent the bedrock being chipped away. As the extremes of both parties become increasingly shrill, more and more people are turning away, beaten and defeated by the hate-speech on both sides. Congress has to change; we cannot go on at this pace; it's destructive.

And we cannot continue to be distracted by the red-herrings of Melania's coats. While the left was consumed with her message, the GOP passed their version of next year's budget. If you're old or poor, you're gonna get older and poorer. Massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security just slid right by. Granted, this is their proposal, but they are counting on the rest of us not paying attention to the trolls behind the curtain.

Thursday night, I attended a political fund-raiser for Angie Craig, candidate for Congress from MN-2. Yes, I am actively supporting her campaign. Okay, now that that's outta the way, let me say this about that: Angie is a remarkable woman; she grew up in a trailer park, worked her way through school, was a VP at St. Jude Medical, and a married lesbian. Doesn't get more left than that. She spoke well on Thursday, and I think she understands that we have to go after fence-sitting GOP folks big time. Angie is a practicalist, and that's a very Minnesotan trait. But what I worry about most in this election is that we need to be running FOR something, not running AGAINST. That's where the Democrats get into trouble. To get the vote tally we need, the voters have to know what we're fighting FOR. 

Interestingly, however, this is exactly what we are fighting AGAINST: that strange kind of furor when Sarah Hucka-Sanders was asked to leave The Red Hen restaurant after the staff told the owner serving her made them uncomfortable. I believe the owner's response should've been, "Unlike Ms. Sanders, we serve anyone who walks in the door. But I recognize this makes you all uncomfortable." 

Throwing her out, however polite and satisfying it was, lowers the bar to ground level. The staff at The Red Hen becomes the left version of the Colorado wedding-cake-bakers. Of course, after that speech, I probably would've been tempted to add a little more than a dash of syrup of ipecac to her salad dressing. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Silent is complicit.
Are you?