Monday, June 17, 2019

Master of My Fate, Captain Of My Soul


Tuesday at sundown begins Sivan 16, 5779. That date probably doesn't mean much to many of my readers. Nor does the date Sivan 16, 5769.  But it means something to me.

That date marks a decade of life on my own.

A decade.  That's a long time.

That's roughly one-third of the time I was married, and that sounds impossible.

That’s so long ago that sometimes I don't remember what's it's like to make a "group" decision.

That's such a long time that I have to think about whether or not it's a movie we saw together. . . or something I saw after.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . .

I still wake up in the middle of the night and automatically fling my arm out to see if Ziggy is there...or if he fell asleep on the couch downstairs watching TV even though he's never been in this house and there isn't a TV in the living room where the couch is.

I still stand in front of the array of herbs at the grocery store and automatically think twice about buying dill because Ziggy was mildly allergic.

I still wear a wedding ring. I don't know why, but I feel naked without it.

What I have learned over these last ten years:

Time is a telescope: you can zoom in and out at will but you never change where you are standing. There are days it all happened yesterday and days when I can't remember what it was like to even be married. All at the same time.

Nobody is interested in helping you make decisions: You're supposed to be a grownup and you're supposed to be capable of making your own decisions even when you know nothing about what you're supposed to be deciding.

You are a third or a fifth or a seventh or a ninth wheel: your condition upsets the balance of congeniality. Without your partner, there are places you no longer fit. It's just the way it is.

Nobody wants to feel your keppie: Yeah, I know that was last week's rant, but I just re-read it and it's still true. (But I am feeling much better, thank you.)

Dating is not a requirement: If you want another partner, go for it. Do what is right for you. Look, if some handsome guy sits down next to me on a plane and sparks fly, I might be amenable. But the truth is, I'm okay with me as a whole; I don't have a burning need to be someone else's other half.

In the low  moments, and there are some, I think about what the Senior Son keeps telling me:  
Look at everything you've done since Dad died. You haven't exactly been sitting around.

A couple of days before he died, Ziggy asked me for my dad's anthology of English lit. When I gave it to him, he quickly found what he was looking for and read this to me:



Out of the night that covers me,  
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be  
  For my unconquerable soul.  

In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.  
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.  

Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years  
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  

It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,  
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

 INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley ~ 1875   

"That wasn't for me," he told me, handing back the open book. "That was for you."

I try to remember I am, indeed, the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. Some days, it's easier than others. Tuesday night won't begin one of them.





The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

YOU are the master of your own fate and the captain of your own soul.


Monday, June 10, 2019

The Best Laid Plans....

One of the great unsung joys of widowhood is what happens when you get sick. 

Nothing. 

There's no one to bring you toast and tea, no one to feel your keppie (foreheadto see if it's hot, no one to bring you a fresh box of tissues when you've used the last one. And no one to say, "Let's get some clothes on you, you're going to the ER."

Actually, no one goes to the ER anymore unless they're dying in the middle of the night.  Nowadays, we have UrgentCare, Doc-in-a-Box, Minute Clinic, or that thing in the grocery store where they'll give you a flu shot. Being I'm up-to-date on all my vaccines, including pneumonia, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, tetanus, and flu, I thought I was covered. Not so, Grasshopper. Whatever this was took me down like a lame horse going over a hedge. And for sure, Ziggy woulda made me put on sweats, loaded me into the front seat, and taken me to see a doc. 

Instead of Sunday morning sitting in shul for Shavuot followed by an afternoon on no-betting mah jong, I was examined by a lovely young doctor who pronounced me "really sick" with conjunctivitis and a sinus infection. That yielded two prescriptions, a solemn oath that my head would not detach from my neck from coughing, and an overwhelming sense of sadness that my 2nd Day Shavuot Adventure with Little Miss was about to be canceled. The conjunctivitis put paid to that. 


So, shoot me. I use tea-bags.
I'd planned a lovely morning with yizkor for me and junior services for her and her pre-school buddies, lunch at shul, all followed by a grand adventure to the Japanese Garden at Como Park, complete with bento box snacks and a new book called THE CRANE GIRL. Of course, there just might be a ride on Cafesjian's Carousel to cap the day. I love adventuring with her....and I was disappointed enough for both of us.

Drugs are great and by noon today (Monday) I'd turned a proverbial corner and could sit up. I even groped my way downstairs to make my own tea. And I slept. A lot. Be that as it may,  I don't have the wherewithal to write much. I'm amazed I've made it this far, and about here's where it's going to end. I have to cough some more.


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Don't get sick. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

All the Presidents and One Queen

 One Queen to invite them all, 
one Queen to dine them,
One Queen to bring them all 
and in the palace bind them.
Sorta. Kinda
Almost but not quite
You get the idea.

With sincerest apologies to JRR Tolkien

Here's a lovely look at many of our presidents when 
they were invited to dine with the Queen at  Buck House.

Harry and Liz

Liz, Ike, Mamie, and Phil



Phil, Jackie, Liz, and Jack

Dick and Liz

Liz and Jerry - 
I just love this shot. Total movie musical


Liz, Phil, Queen Mum, and Jimmy

Phil, Nancy, Liz, and Ronnie

Phil, Barb, Liz, and George

Bill and Liz

Phil, Laura, Liz, and Dubya

Liz, Barry, Michelle, and Phil

You'd think, at the very least,  POTUS could manage to get the rental tailored. 
Sure doesn't look like a young, vibrant man to me.
Or anyone else, I'm guessing. 

What is wrong with this picture goes far beyond the guy's ability to show up looking like he cared. I think a pressed t-shirt would've been nicer. As my mother would've said, "He's a schlub." Between the ill-fitting waistcoat and pants, paired with the scowl, you'd think this is one very unhappy camper. . .or a seriously pissed off maître'd. Take your pick. 

And I can see why. No one gave him any medals or ribbons to pin on his coat, no sash, not even a runner's up tiara. No, he doesn't have any bling at all.

Shall we all make book on how long before he gives himself a medal?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Wednesday at sundown marks the start of Grandpa Moishe's 40th yahrzeit.
He wasn't just my grandpa, he was my dad's best friend.
And my gin teacher. 
Ziggy would warn you against ever playing with either of us
 His memory is truly a blessing. 





Monday, May 27, 2019

From the Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction file.

As Memorial Day draws to a close, I find myself worrying more, not less about those who choose to serve our nation in uniform. I realize we are in somewhat of a "peacetime," but the saber rattling of this past week is disturbing and, quite frankly, frightening. Pence came right out and said it to the graduating class at West Point:

It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life.  You will lead soldiers in combat.  It will happen. 
Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region.  Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force.  And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.
I just don't like the certainty he expresses in that speech. That said, it dovetails right into the events in Asia over the weekend. 


While in Japan this weekend, our president made light of North Korea's latest round of test missiles, discounting and dismissing the position of his National Security Advisor John Bolton as well as the concerns of his host, Japanese Prime Minister and golf partner Shinto Abe, while praising Kim Jung-Un:
[He is] looking to create a nation that has great strength economically. … He knows that, with nuclear, that’s never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well.... 
Feckless leader's comments are counter to what his own experts are telling him: that firing test missiles is not a good-faith action by Kim, coming off as a deliberate provocation meant to demonstrate to Japan that the American is in his pocket, not theirs. And as if that was not sufficient to make even the GOP cringe, our leader, who has never been one to let courtesy, policy, tradition, or cogent thought get between his brain and his mouth, continued: 
Well, Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.
There are so many things I could say at this moment, but none of them are nice or allude to the concept of dignified statesmanship.

I won't even mention China at this point. This trade war is devastating our food chain beginning with the farmers. Food, clothes, electronics, all that stuff is caught up in the tariffs war. And every item in your shopping cart is going to be impacted. 

But that, as my mother would say, is from the kleinigkeitenTruth is, we have bigger things to worry about. This guy bypassed Congress and arranged the sale of a whole lotta weapons to Saudi Arabia. 

This past spring, both the House and the Senate passed legislation cutting off military assistance to Saudi Arabia's war against Yemen. BOTH houses passed this resolution...and the oval office vetoed it. You gotta believe if BOTH houses thought military assistance to a monarchy that orchestrated the murder of an American journalist was inappropriate, this was serious stuff. Usually the Senate just wipes the president's butt with paperwork, but even they thought assistance was not in the best interest of this or any other country. 

Meanwhile,Saudi Arabia is busy rattling its own sabers at Iran. One would think we learned all we need to know about regime change from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the disaster that is Syria. One would think the failed Arab Spring movement would've driven home the point that getting involved with Mideast internal affairs is a losing proposition for everyone involved. And this included, believe it or not, Israel. Who do you think is going to be in the middle?

Feckless leader is choreographing his own despotic kickline to rule the world. Only it's not that easy. Putin, Kim, Netanyahu, and Mohammed Bin Salam are all auditioning for high-stepping solos in the alternate universe kickline while vying to be heir-apparent dance captain...all at the same time.

You would think Israel would know better than to align itself with new Axis. Are  Netanyahu and the rest of his confederacy of dunces really willing to believe this will make Israel safe for Jews? If antisemitic acts are becoming daily occurrences in this country as they are in Europe, who do they think is dog-whistling the miscreants? Can they possibly be so naive as to think the Jews won't be dragged off the stage for the sake of the Rapture?

And I am forced to go back to Pence's speech and wonder what army our soldiers will be fronting. 

Folks, we are fast approaching critical mass in this country. You can choose to ignore it, to keep your head in the sand, or you can begin dialing your congress clowns at a furious pace. To date, I have not been a supporter of impeachment, but I am beginning to see why there may not be an option. More and more centrist Republicans are cautiously coming out of the shadows to speak up. I suspect more will emerge, but it will be a slow process. If you are in a GOP area, begin asking your own representatives where they stand on the Saudi sale or the remarks about Korea's test missiles. Ask the question; let your elected representative know you are watching and listening. Silence is always taken as tacit consent . . . remember they were called the Silent Majority for a reason. You may be a loyal member of the GOP, but if the events of recent weeks are not sitting well with you, let Washington and your state capital know. 

If you haven't ever heard Jacques Brel's MARATHON, or haven't heard it in a while, you need to listen to the lyrics..or at least read them. 

Brel was a satirist and well ahead of his time for so many reasons. I listen to the album more often these days and I am appalled at how far we have not come. It's the same shit all over again. Europe has never really been very good at peace, anyway. And neither have we. And with Le Pen picking up steam, along with the right wings of several central European countries, we have a reason to be concerned. We've seen this play before. Several times. 

Sometimes I think this kinda stuff is why no outworlders have ever contacted us. They already know the punchline and they're not playing. We're not worth it.

On the other hand, if you're thinking our sitting president is A-okay and wanna roll with this administration and its policies, keep this thought in mind: it's not just your tomatoes, TVs and t-shirts that are gonna get expensive real soon, it's everything, even the brewskis. 
A report published by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association has found that 40,000 jobs have been lost in breweries as tariffs on metal have inflated the cost of aluminium cans.
The study found that 2.19 million people were employed in the US’ beer industry in 2018, down from 2.23 million two years ago.
Suppliers to the brewing industry – enterprises that manufacture bottles and cans, cardboard case boxes, brewing equipment or marketing displays – generate nearly $102.0 billion in economic activity and are responsible for almost 436,650 jobs, according to the Beer Institute.
US president Donald Trump sparked a trade war with several countries after he implemented a 25% and 10% import tariffs on steel and aluminium respectively from 1 June 2018.
“Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers’ costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry,” the Beer Institute’s CEO Jim McGreevy said in an emailed statement. “Each brewer is deciding for themselves how to absorb that expense, whether it’s raising prices, laying off workers or delaying innovation and expansion.”                                                                             The Drinks Business - May 24, 2019
 Between the aluminum and the farmers going bankrupt, your beer is about to get really, really expensive. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Wednesday marks the 566 anniversary of the 
fall of Constantinople to the Turks. 
In my heart, there will be angel food cake with chocolate frosting. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Little Adventuring ~ Good For The Soul

Went to Boston last week. I was motivated to get my act together because there was a wedding I was not gonna miss come hell or high water, and this, in turn, gave me a great excuse to visit a friend from my misspent college days. Not that I needed an excuse; I just needed to make the trip happen and I did.

Ever laugh for 4 days straight? We did. Sure, there were some moments of serious conversation, but mostly we laughed. This is a good thing. About a year ago, Wendy was in the process of moving into her lovingly restored brownstone in Back Bay when a fire took it all out, lock, stock, and four floors full. A year and a whole lotta fortitude later, she is almost fully back in the house. The toilets work, but the fridge doesn't have a front panel quite yet. The rest of the kitchen is to die for, with counters tall enough for my very tall friend, and the rooms that are done are gorgeous. There's lots of work still going on, but I gotta tell you, I felt like a princess in the guest room. And that bathroom! The shower was heaven.

More importantly, I think Wendy is one of the strongest women I have ever had the good fortune to know. She has had a lot of challenges over the years. I won't recite the list, but let's just say she's still upright and sucking air when lesser folk would've folded. Not my friend Wendy. I admire her strength, her courage, her perseverance. And I love that when I'm around Wendy, we laugh. I mean, why the hell not? We're both upright and sucking air, and no adventure is too big. What's the point if you cannot go adventuring with someone who laughs as much as you do? 

We sailed on a whale-watching boat from Gloucester. The weather was glorious, there were more seals, both grey and harbor, than the naturalists had ever seen. It was a veritable seal traffic jam. And whales! Lots of Minke whales and a few humpbacks. And the humpbacks were pretty close in. This was the only breach I caught, but it was pretty impressive in person. Those little dark dots are actually harbor seals. It was so cool. If you ever get the chance to do this, do this.

From Gloucester we went to one of my favorite places on the planet: Rockport, where  I bought my first piece of original art when I was 12 or 13. Usually, it's on the wall of the study, but at the moment, it's awaiting a new frame. We talked to all sorts of seriously interesting people in Rockport, and bought two prints for the kiddos and one for me from a terrific artist named Bruce Johnson. The print I chose for myself is called CONGRESS. Look closely.  I love it. 
 © B.Johnson, LTD 2014.

And of course, the cannoli in Boston are really, really good.

While we were carousing all over Boston, we were not unaware of what was happening in the rest of the country. Although I saw no television while I was with Wendy, it did not stop us from hearing about the laws being passed in legislatures around the country. As two women who were around for the victory of Roe v. Wade, we are unquestionably concerned about what this war against reproductive rights will mean for not just the women who come after us, but for America. What can you possible say when

. . .the punishment for having an abortion is greater than the punishment for rape.

. . .forcing a 12-year old to bear a child is not just legal, it's the law.

. . .when proponents of this heartbeat rule refuse to protect the heartbeats of our schoolchildren against guns.
Consider this: No woman seeks to have an unwanted pregnancy. Men are responsible for unwanted pregnancies, yet, somehow, these legislators do not see them as the absolute cause. No; the vagina is responsible, not the penis that impregnates the womb. That has got to be the stupidest thing on the planet.

Funny thing, the weekend part of this trip was for the wedding, an event where two people commit to each other, and maybe eventually start a family with a wanted pregnancy. The bride is an incredibly talented singer. And while we celebrated with them, at every event I heard or participated in discussion about the future of this country for women, for Jews, for minorities of all types. Amongst the women, it was clear that we felt these draconian laws are hundreds of steps backwards from where we are now. We wondered aloud about the kind of world our granddaughters will find if they stay here. I heard a lot of people talking about "Plan B" in a way that is moving from ha-ha-it-can't-happen-here to what/when-do-you-think-is-the-point-of-no-return

Ken and Ariel
beneath their chuppah
But I digress....as usual. Just take a moment to listen to the bride. You Are The Light is a song of love and hope. To be at so joyous a wedding was a delight. I was thrilled to be there, to be a part of their day. I've known Ariel since the day she was born. Ziggy adored her to bits, and she is the one who, with the Senior Son on the guitar, sang BLACKBIRD at his funeral at his express request (and with the rabbi's okay.) 

I want the world to be right for this new couple, and for all our young families. None of us want them scattered across the world as our grandparents were once scattered. I don't want any of them to have to think about a plan B. I want them all to be safe and secure and unafraid. Yes; I know that's a tall order. I'm just not completely ready to give up on it quite yet. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week.
If you are ever in Boston, take a breather at the Mary Baker Eddy Library's Mapparium.
Excessively way cool



Monday, May 13, 2019

The Elephant in The Womb

Long, long ago, I mentioned Lysistrata in a blog episode called "There's no satisfaction for a man, unless.....".  I went back to that entry this past weekend as I was reading about the new abortion laws being passed in a number of states. At that time, I wrote:
If our male politicians want to use our sex against us, I would suggest that we follow Lysistrata’s example. If they want to inhibit access to birth control, we inhibit access to the birth canal.  If they want to limit our choices of what we can do with our bodies, well, I suggest we limit what they can do with theirs.
I don't think I went far enough. Seven years later, this has not gone away; it's gotten worse.


If you penis-waving Republicans truly want to prevent abortions while making most forms of effective birth control illegal, there needs to be some serious discussion about preventive measures that prevent implantation without risking harming a fertilized egg, since that seems to be the stage at which human life exists. I get it. I understand you think that sperm is sacred, and in as much, we women need to help you protect it. After all, did not G-d strike Onan down for spilling his seed on the ground? We get that ejaculating all those little buddies into a hostile womb is basically murder. 


Therefore, there needs to be established a protocol which prevents not merely pregnancy, but actual harming of all your little buddies. After all, an egg is just an egg without one of those swimming guys. 

Laws need to be written to require vasectomies when boys reach the  age of puberty. Since you have maintained that boys/men cannot control their impulses when girl/women wear clothing more fitted than gunny sacks, perhaps it's time to make sure no sperm is spilled unintentionally...or intentionally. Hey, we know about how you cannot control your wet dreams, so, rather than have you struck down by nocturnal emission, vasectomies are important. 


If you are serious about preventing unwanted pregnancies, you married men need to step up to the plate and start popping progesterone. You don't want God to strike you down for an accident, do you? Progesterone will take you down a notch at the same time it will help encourage the sanctity of the vagina. This is important stuff.

If you want to stop unwanted boners, no more girly magazines and underwear ads. You know very well those are the gateways to full fledged porno films. No boobs and explosions for you! Those things make men crazy with lust, and women are at risk as a result. Remember, a woman cannot conceive unless she has a boner between her legs, and you don't want that, right?

If you really are serious about protecting the unborn, you're just gonna have to stop having willy-nilly sex. You know condoms fail. You know there are accidents when your coitus ain't being interruptus, even with your wife. 

To help you emulate this new standard of moral behavior, we'll have a plan. Forget the anti-abortion stuff. Here's what you, those guardians of morality, need to do to put an end to all abortions:

  • Start with DNA registry for all men. Gone are the days when you can deny paternity; it's a simple, fool-proof test and if you are the father, you are the father. End of discussion. 
  • Pass a law requiring the proven owners of fertilizing sperm to pay for all prenatal care, all birthing cost, and all support of said children until the age of 21. No exceptions. No excuses. No backsies. 
  • If you refuse to pay for the welfare of the mother and the raising of the children, count on prison time while the proceeds from the sale of all your stuff, including but not limited to property, insurance, pensions, retirement accounts, IRAs, 401Ks, and unused sperm go right to the little family ...or families you rejected. 
Not crazy about those ideas? Okay. Here's Plan B from Inner Space:

Women - follow the Lysistrata  play book. Stop having sex with anyone who wants to control your uterus. Use your God given gift of a vagina to thwart their attempt to impregnate you. Do not let them off the hook or in the canal. If they try, you immediately scream bloody murder and expose them as the exploitative winkie-pushers they are. 

Florida's House Speaker José Oliva made it pretty clear he and his compatriots don't consider women to even be sentient beings. After all, he repeatedly referred to us as host bodies. When I hear that, I kinda think parasitic aliens, not the mothers of the future leaders of this country. Or maybe we really are host bodies since one of us produced him. 

But I digress. 

If you're not sure about how this is going to play out, go read THE HANDMAID'S TALE. Women who can conceive are host bodies. That's all. Sure, it's dystopian, but read (or listen) to the language they use. It is eerily familiar. Guys like Oliva use it all the time. They are serious about about stripping women of the right to self-determination. They keep talking about their health care plan? Do you know what it is? It sure as hell isn't universal health care. 

There are 224 countries listed on the UN Infant Mortality site. The nation with the highest infant mortality, 110.6 children per 1000 births, is Afghanistan. The nation with the lowest rate of infant mortality, is Monaco, with 1.8. The US ranks 169, right between Serbia and  Bosnia- Herzegovina. (stats from World Atlas)

Ladies Who Call Yourselves PRO LIFE: The GOP is not serious about protecting life. They are not serious about the lives of children, or the rights of the unborn, since they are so good at denying prenatal care and health care for all. If you care about those things, walk away from the liars now and start forming your own groups to fight for the right to have health care for all, born or unborn. Stop enabling their attempts to turn you into host bodies. The choice is yours. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
You are either part of the solution
or you are enabling the problem.
When your daughter asks what you are,
 what are you going to tell her?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Raging Against the Dying of the Light


If you had a friend who lied constantly about everything inconsequential from where his  parents were born to his college transcript, how long would that person be your friend?


If you had a friend who stood on a bridge over a freeway to lob rocks at passing motorists, how long would that person remain your friend?

If you and your friend were walking down the street and that friend knocked down an older person coming from the opposite direction, how long would that person remain your friend?

If you had a friend that went around gossiping about a total stranger, saying things that were blatantly untrue and proveably false, how long would that person remain your friend?

I suppose these are frivolous questions, but not really. Each sets out a paradigm in which you are asked: "What are your limits?"

Recently, I saw a post by an old friend that was not only untrue, it was damaging to someone I happened to know. The poster did not know I knew the target; he was only re-posting a meme, something someone else had posted. He thought it was funny. 

When I asked him about it, he said I'd lost my sense of humor. I said I did not find vicious lies funny no matter at whom they were directed. He said, "What about all the lies about the president. There was no collusion, no obstruction. It was all made up. Mueller and the whole committee lied."

Never mind he completely ignored what I said about the meme; he was using something entirely unrelated for a justification for doing something heinous. Suddenly, the question became do I want this person as my friend?

Social media, as everyone knows, is an anonymous platform even when it isn't. It's a place where you get to post truths, half-truth, untruths, and blatant lies for anyone to believe if they want to. On social media, you can say whatever you want. There are no truth police, and even if there was, no one would care. 

On April 30th, the Washington Post published: 
President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims
It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day. 
But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

This milestone appeared unlikely when The Fact Checker first started this project during his first 100 days. In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day, which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year presidential term. But the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger....

Do you care?

Who cares what your politics are? No one cares if you're liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Libertarian or Socialist. Everyone gets to have an opinion in this country. Or at least they used to. It's hard to have an opinion these days without getting stomped on by someone. The result is not that the opinion goes away; it doesn't. It goes underground.

In this way the right wing is winning the war of attrition. We, the People, have stopped listening, and by extension, stopped reacting. We're no longer hearing the lies as lies; we're accepting them as whatever. Instead of becoming mobilized to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, we are shaking our heads and tuning out the noise. There could be one hundred Democratic candidates for president; we're not listening to any of them. They buzz like wasps and say nothing meaningful inside the incessant drone. They are wasting our energy and our goodwill. Not to mention our bucks.

Never has there been a more selfish, self-serving bunch of wannabes in the history of this nation. Someone should lock them all in a room until they come out with four possible candidates. If they don't, they will be the reason we get another 20+ years of Feckless Leadership because in case you missed it, he tweeted he's not leaving office. 

You already missed the coup. It was delivered by William Barr when no one was looking.


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
Dylan Thomas



Monday, April 29, 2019

It Could've Been So Much Worse. Really?

Chabad of Poway, California
I heard someone say that what happened Saturday wasn't a massacre or even a mass shooting; only one person died and three or four were slightly injured. Someone else added that the only reason it wasn't worse was because the AR-15 jammed. Someone else insisted that was because the rabbi jammed the gun with his stare. (Really?) Of course, in the process, two of his fingers were blown off, but who's counting? It wasn't a massacre.

 It could've been much worse. 

Lori Gilbert-Kaye saw the terrorist aim his gun, and stepped in front of the rabbi. She is the one who died. 

It could've been so much worse.

The rabbi turned to face the terrorist and raised his hands; that's when two fingers were shot off. Bleeding, the rabbi ran into the sanctuary to get kids, including his 4-year old granddaughter, out of harm's way. And when the terrorist fled, he went to the bimah to speak. He was still bleeding. 

It could've been so much worse.

All I could think of when I heard the rabbi was on his way to start Yizkor was that kids had to be heading out into the hallway. Anyone who grew up in a traditional kinda shul knows that you don't stay for Yizkor if your parents are alive. Those kids, if they were anything like my kids, were in the process of leaving the sanctuary to go hang out while parents and grandparents cry a lot.

It could've been so much worse.

Sure, lots more people could've died on the last day of Passover if this 19 year-old terrorist had been able to keep firing. How much worse does it have to be before it's worse enough? 

It could've been so much worse is right up there with thoughts and prayers.

Excuse me while I go vomit. 

Someone could've walked right into Sunday morning minyan at my shul, the one next door to city hall and our little cop house, and taken out 17 Jews before anyone could've gotten to us. It could happen in any shul, in any state, on any day. Yeah, we have some security in place, but if you're coming in the door we make the grand assumption you are coming in the door to pray. Isn't that what a shul is for? 

Or a church . . . or a mosque, for that matter? 

We know we run the risk of being wrong. 

Four-year old kids in preschool know what an active-shooter drill is. Elementary through high school run active-shooter drills with regularity. I happen to know my shul has an active-shooter plan. And y'know the scariest part about all of it? This isn't about a guy with a pistol or a regular rifle. This is about someone with an automatic or semi-automatic weapon obtained legally with the intent to use it to kill people. Jews. Muslims. African Americans. In houses of worship.

Worship. 

This is the new form of human sacrifice. 

People who attack people at prayer are offering human sacrifice to whatever god happens to be in their twisted pantheon. The terrorists are spilling blood on the holy ground of others to sanctify themselves in a new kind of death cult. The swastikas, the skulls, the Confederate flags, the lightning bolts are all logos calling for the death of the other. The blood of your enemy makes your stronger? Their altar is our bimah covered in our blood. 

We . . . people of faith . . . stand on that altar voluntarily every day. We keep going to services and study groups because we are not going to let terror change the very foundation of who we are. We are in the line of fire and we know it. We are neither blind nor stupid. We are acutely aware that we are targets. Right now, Jews and Muslims in the US are in the cross-hairs. We know this will not be the last such attack. There will be more.

And they will be so much worse.

They buried Lori Gilbert-Kaye on Monday. In a plain box the way we do it. Lots of people were there honoring a woman who died the way she lived . . .  caring for another human being. She who was at shul to say Yizkor for her own mother became a hero.. I'm certain she did not wake up on Shabbat morning and think, today is a good day to become a hero. I'm sure she was thinking about putting away pesadik dishes after sundown because that's what Jewish women think about on the last day of Passover. 

It could not have been worse the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye.

The real bottom line here is that we live in a country that does not love its people as much as it loves weapons of mass destruction. We cannot get our civil act together to ban assault weapons. Most civilized countries do not allow private ownership of this kind of gun. I'm not naive; banning them won't stop people from running out to buy them before the ban, but truth be told, this is not a Second Amendment issue. 

This is a hate issue.

There is no reason in this country to own an automatic/semi-automatic weapon. You can't conceal it for personal protection.  It's not a hunting rifle . . . unless you're hunting Jews, Muslims, African Americans, or even country music fans. The finest people in our country already know exactly that. We are so on to them. Eventually, someone will shoot up something that even the GOP can't talk down. It will happen. Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait for it. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Patriotism isn't just loving your country,
patriotism is loving your country enough to care about
all of We, the People,
not just the ones who look, think, or believe like you.