Lite Blog

Hi. Howaya? I started writing the piece below on December 30th. I got busy. Plus I wasn’t really all that taken with it, so I shelved it. I also felt it was analysis with little in the way of “fun” spin, so I thought it wasn’t in the spirit of the blog. I wanted to get in my general disappointments with the administration and the lack of movement nationally toward an assault weapon ban as a sort of “end of year wrap-up”. It just seemed slight in light of the actual year.

Today, January 11, 2019, our federal government is in the midst of a record-setting-long government shutdown that is the work of one man (one immoral and vomitous man. Guess who.), in a desperate attempt to create political momentum to brace himself…to save himself from the incoming storm that will sweep over him when the Mueller Probe drops their report. If federal workers and those that rely on them, their income or services suffer, so be it. Most sickening is the support this behavior gets from the Republicans in the Senate.

I just want to make a short point here based on the news of the day, before I get to the news of yesterday.

Trump’s wall and the philosophy behind it must be fought to the death.

There is a need for a lot of funding on the border (even funding for new walls, barriers and fences, as well as maintenance and upgrades on the existing 500+ miles of existing barriers…that is what we call “infrastructure maintenance”). No one with any reason is calling for “open borders”, or removal of exiting barriers. Okay?

I just don’t trust the racist, xenophobic assholes of this administration to apply that funding. If they are really concerned about the influx of refugees fleeing Central America seeking asylum in the US, then I need to hear something in the plan about how all that is going to be addressed at the source. That really should be the main thing to talk about. I also need to hear about the investment in humanitarian solutions to help these refugees until the source problem is addressed (such as investment in better refugee handling facilities or procedures).

Instead, we just get the same old tired fear tactics about crime, drugs and terrorism as justification to push through the manifestation of that tired old 2000-mile-long-wall trope. Everything else, the source problem and the humanitarian crisis it creates, gets swept under the rug. Why? Because construction projects are easy. Finding solutions to actual problems that work…that fix the source of the problem…that’s hard. That takes real commitment, empathy, investment, sacrifice. I don’t think these asshole Republicans understand any of these things.

I’m not going to support funding some racist band-aid solution…A solution that’s only being discussed (at this level of national attention) because some asshole wants to say he kept his promise to his asshole supporters…so they’ll “be there for him” in the inevitable, upcoming impeachment fight.

Today, I see so many “band-aid” solutions to very serious issues. The southern border security issue (as framed by Trumpists) isn’t even on my radar as a crisis. We have robust, well funded border security and immigration enforcement. But this band-aid solution of a wall will do nothing to address the problems it is purported to “fix”. We will still have an opioid crisis. We will still have crime where there is poverty. We will still have shifting demographics and the insecurity and fear they can generate.

It’s really tough for me to witness this farce…to know how many people it’s hurting. All in some sick attempt to give solace to isolationist, racist and xenophobic Trumpists and White Nationalist. And the Republican Senate is totally behind it. They could get us out of this shutdown with a supermajority vote…They could, but they wont. I wonder why?

So now on to the other bit…

The “crummy” End-of-Year piece

So, this year. This fucking year. I’ve been so challenged this year. Remember when people said that 2017 was rotten?  That was so cute. Well, here comes 2019.

And I know 2019 is either going to be Trump’s impeachment or the fight for Trump’s impeachment. It has to be. His behavior as president has been too disgraceful for the new House to ignore. I mean what is a “President” anymore? The construct is so degraded at this point.

Trump’s doctrine of “I alone”-ism is an affront to and assault on the constitution he swore to obey and protect. His impeachment in the House (regardless of the Senate’s support) is going to happen in 2018. Bet on it.

Trump was (shortsightedly) protected by the Republican majority in the House until now. With the Democrats taking over, things are going to get really tough, really fast. And it needs to be that way. Trump is a threat to our country through, just to start, his immorality and incompetence. You need to face a threat like that head-on. There is no other way (We don’t a “Chamberlain” right now. We don’t need to appease him. We can’t afford it). We don’t need to live under this Trumpism bullshit; this never-ending bullhorn blasting hatred and lies.

If the Democratic house does not pull out every stop to make Trump completely transparent to the American people they will have failed.

As I see it, all presidents need to be totally financially and ethically transparent to the population they serve; we need to know every connection point, every sphere of influence. That must be the price paid to become President. If you want to serve as the President you have to come clean. No lies. You lie (specifically to hide a crime), you’ve perjured yourself to your oath of office and you need to go.

Trump’s obsession with southern border security and his popularity with the white nationalist movement are also worth feeling sick over. The child separation policy is a perfect window into the mind of this fuck and the people who support him.

So yeah, in 2019 were going to need to put all of Trump’s shit out in public and try to get the Republicans to “manage their yard”…ya know? “Pull the weeds”. We do this not because we want to, but because we have to. We have to protect this country from this treat.

2019 is going to be intense. You throw a recession on top of that and we’re talking fun city. It’ll make 2018 look like a fucking daydream.

Guns

Anyway, I really came here to write about guns. Which is something I think about at this time every year. I’m always seeing a “Year’s Biggest Stories” news special around this time of year and there is always a section about the mass shootings that happened in the last year.

I’ve always been sensitive to this. If you aren’t you are a sick fuck (IMHO). But I became more sensitive in 2012. I became very rigid on this subject when the Newtown massacre happened, when twenty 6 and 7-year-olds where slaughtered, literally blown to pieces, in minutes (seconds) with an AR15. I recall watching the news that day, ELEVEN DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, holding my newborn son in my arms. I saw the truth with such clarity that day, I never will be moved off of it. The voice of GOD! This truth I saw? All assault rifle style firearms need to taken out of public circulation NOW!

I hate all guns. I prefer no guns at all. That said, I appreciate and respect that people want to have the right to feel protected. They want to have access to a lethal weapon that can afford them that protection. I say we can meet that need without the assault weapons.

I’ll give you the common arguments I see (arguments I have had to answer) and my responses.

Argument 1) “What you call assault weapons are really semi-automatic firearms; a category that includes handguns and hunting rifles. You, as someone who doesn’t own a firearm, don’t know what you are talking about. There are no differences between semi-automatic firearms. You outlaw one and it’s a slippery slope. Your ignorance is going to impede my right to protect myself and my right to bear arms”

So, this one is easy. AR15 style weapons have a long barrel, high muzzle velocity and ammunition that explodes inside the body. It is not a hand gun. It is not a hunting riffle. It is the semi-automatic version of a military assault weapon designed with one purpose, to kill large amounts of humans efficiently.

In that way it is its own category of weapon and ammunition. See? People with reason or brains understand the concept of categories. Like “because this item has these specific pre-determined attributes, it belongs in such-and-such category”…Go to an online firearm retailer, they seem be able to determine categories. See? https://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/semiautomatic-centerfire-rifles/_/N-1114861/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_105524280

Militaries choose this weapon and ammunition type over handguns and hunting rifles (and their related ammunition) for a reason. They want to inflict maximum casualties, to bring maximum lethality. They choose a long barrel gun with a high muzzle velocity that causes the bullet to explode and shred the organs inside the target…to insure not just “incapacity” but death.

When the bullet hits your body whether it comes from a fully automatic version of this weapon type vs semi- automatic hardly matters. Your organs explode…You die.

To go one further semi vs full auto doesn’t really slow the shooter either. Per some self-confessed firearms expert on Quota (https://www.quora.com/Do-you-prefer-3-round-burst-or-full-auto-in-a-military-rifle):

“Suppressive fire is the classic reason one uses a weapon in full automatic configuration, but continuous fire from a skilled operator firing a semi-automatic weapon can create the same desired effect.”

This 60 minutes story lays the facts out pretty well (if you care to know them):

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ar-15-used-mass-shootings-weapon-of-choice-60-minutes/

So, no. AR15 type weapons are not the same as other semi automatic firearms, they are a type or category of firearm and ammunition and, as such, can be singled out and banned based on pre-determined attributes that would not affect access to other categories of semi automatic firearms.

Argument 2) “Assault weapons only account for a small fraction (2%) of firearm related deaths. Singling them out is foolish, unfair and unreasonable.”

I’m not sure about the accuracy of firearm death statistics because the CDC isn’t funded to get all the info. I want to see their full report, when it is funded. I think it will be very illuminating.

When we get these reports and records, I want to see these deaths put into very specific categories. For example, if we make a category for “unhinged shooters” I think we will see that the percentage of murders committed using assault rifles goes up.

Bottom line, I don’t care if it’s 2% or 0.2%.

The day we have a mass shooting with an assault rifle that was illegally acquired because it was against the law to own such a weapon will be a sad, tragic day. But it will be a day I’ll be comforted to know that we, as a country, did what we could to stop it from happening with our system, legally.

I’ll be comforted to know that we will able to prosecute every link in the illegal/black-market supply chain that delivered that gun to that killer.

Argument 3) “Regulations don’t stop the criminals from getting banned firearms.”

Okay…That is the dumbest argument of all. Following that logic to its natural conclusion means we shouldn’t have any laws at all, because all laws can, and will, be broken.

People who have an understanding about reality, understand that laws do not keep immoral, antisocials from committing crimes. Instead these laws give law enforcement and the judicial system the ability to create programs to fight the black-market, collect and destroy contraband and punish people who break the laws related to owning, trading or committing crimes with banned firearms.

Laws don’t stop crime; they define what a crime is.

In conclusion

I’m a dreamer. I want assault rifles gone. I want Trump and Trumpism gone. Is 2019 gonna get me any of this?…Well, probably not the assault rifles, anyway.

Butt Boy

I am a middle-aged, married, straight white male (photographed above). Long ago, at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I was ostracized by my all male group of friends for being “gay” even though (as far as I know) I was not gay. This was the beginning of my awareness that homosexuality was a “thing” (Sure, I was aware of the AIDS crisis, and remember that being connected in the media to homosexuals, but sexuality, in general, wasn’t something I thought about much pre-puberty).

I made new friends (I know, hard to believe). As the years went by, a couple of them “came out” to me…my reaction, I was glad they could live their truth.

I remember, as an adolescent and into my young adulthood, seeing news stories about homosexuality, framing it as a social issue/problem and discussing how clinical studies were trying to determine if people were born homosexual or if it was a choice. Social conservatives (from both parties) stated it was a choice (the wrong choice) and warned that accepting homosexuals and homosexual partnerships/marriage into open society would influence impressionable children to choose homosexuality as a lifestyle. As a straight man, I always saw a core absurdity in that “make someone gay” argument…because I know you can’t make me gay (For the record, Hugh Jackman’s existence was a good shot…but it didn’t take). I, of course, took my thought pattern one further and quickly got to the conclusion, “If you can’t make me gay, then you certainly can’t make a gay person straight.”  Next came, “and why would you want to? Why would you care to? Do you need a hobby?”

But that’s me, I’m just not that hung up on gay stuff. I don’t understand the societal/religious obsession with it….but I have a theory…because I’ve been forced to have one in the face of all this mishegaas. I’ll try to make it quick. Most people are conformists. Most people are heterosexual. Homosexuals represent a minority group that can not conform to the majority’s norms (as I said, it’s not a choice). The trouble starts when conformist homosexuals are forced, or force themselves, to repress their sexuality. Repression becomes perversion and self-hatred. Self-hatred becomes misanthropy. This leads to repressed homosexuals hating their own kind, which heterosexual conformists are happy to go along with because conformist majorities don’t have to be pushed hard to accept minority scapegoats. It’s a vicious circle. So in my mind, whenever I see a fervently homophobic person I immediately assume I’m also looking at a “deeply conflicted” person. That’s my theory anyway.

Applying that to my high school ostracizing, I imagine that someone within that peer group was painfully closeted and acting out…the others just “went along”…Why? Because I’m just sooo super hot…I could be wrong.

Honestly, I didn’t appreciate what those a-holes did, but it wasn’t so bad. I think about the countless stories of men physically attacking homosexuals, beating them to death, in some parts of the world arresting and executing them. When confronted with such events I fall back on my theory that the perpetrators are deeply repressed people acting out.

Funny, I guess you can turn this on me and say I’m homophobic for saying homophobia is caused by homosexuals…You might call it “victim blaming”. That’s fair. Like I said, it is just a theory.

By the by, you can also say I’m homophobic because if I had a choice (I know I don’t, but “if I did”) I would choose that my child be heterosexual. Why? Because I’m heterosexual (I think I am anyway). It’s really that simple. That said, if my child was homosexual I would gladly accept it. It just shows how silly it all can get, even in the mind of someone as innocuous as I am. I’m not going to beat myself up for having a whim. It’s silly. What we think. What we want. Our prejudices. Our theories. Our future visions.

I think it’s all harmless so long as I can be humble enough to accept when I’m wrong, or accept that some of the things I think I want aren’t relevant in the bigger picture.

I really just want my child to be happy. To be educated. To be able to do something they enjoy with their life. To be loved. To love themself. To know I love them unconditionally. Does their sexual preference really come into this? I don’t see why it would.

Hey, speaking of future visions and things I want, here goes…

  • I want homosexuality to be total accepted in open society, with no stigma.
  • I want homosexuals protected from discrimination under federal law as a minority group.
  • I want homosexuals to have equal rights in marriage, adoption, you name it.
  • I want the Federal government to actively stamp out all state level homosexual discrimination.
  • I want this bullshit about protecting anti-gay-bigotry as a religious conviction called out as the discrimination it is and made illegal.
  • I want America to be a world leader in homosexual civil rights and I want our state department to sanction and censure countries that persecute homosexuals.

I believe we are really getting somewhere as a society in the journey toward just letting gays be gay. I know it because I’ve seen it come so far in my lifetime and it is great. And if we keep on this path, we just might be surprised how everything changes for the better.

But it is a real world out there, and there’s still a lot of pain. And a lot of homophobic sentiment baked onto the collective conscience and subconscious. We have to be sensitive. By “we” I mean we the people who are “all in” on the acceptance of homosexuality as a societal norm, as a reality to be accepted and integrated.

And so we now sail into the choppy waters of insensitive and homophobic gay slurs made in jest.

Gay Slurs

So I’m trying to evolve here on this gay slur issue. I laid out the background above to give you some insight into my feelings on homosexuals. In short, I want them to be happy, accepted and protected. But now I’m on the highway to the danger zone. I’m going down the “butt boy” hole. A hole I will endeavor to penetrate deeply into in an attempt to find an odorous truth. BTW, this post was inspired by something that happened on TV.

You see, as part of my coping mechanism in these troubled times, I set Morning Joe to record on my DVR (which airs from 3am-6am PST) so I can watch the first hour while I eat my breakfast, drink my coffee and check my internet. They get through some national and international news highlights in that time, summarizing, in some broad strokes, among other things the latest happenings in our federal government’s current leadership crisis. I don’t necessarily agree with their editorial stances, but they share my sense of deep concern that our current president is an immoral liar who constantly degrades his office and corruptly abuses his position of power. It’s a national tragedy that compounds day by day.

Obviously, I could go on and on here litigating against Trump and his cult or tribe, but that is not why I’m writing today. I’m just saying that Trump is what brought me to Morning Joe. When Obama was president I was listing to Howard Stern in the morning, having a laugh. I could give a shit about Joe. But things have changed. Now my weekdays have common bookends; I watch Joe in the morning and the previous night’s Colbert monologue after dinner. And that’s what it is and I’m okay with that for now. It’s a pacifier. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s my meds.

On Wednesday December 12, 2018 (a day that will live in infamy), Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski used the derogatory gay slur “butt boy” in chastising Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on national television. Specifically, it was in regards to Pompeo’s sickening attempt, through disinformation, to minimize the damage caused by the Saudi orchestrated Khashoggi assassination on our nation’s relationship with the Saudi monarchy. Mika’s point was that Pompeo was serving Trump’s interest over our nation’s and, in so, he is making himself Trump’s “butt boy” (I suppose he should be America’s butt boy). I didn’t see it live but I caught it on YouTube. It was very out of character for Mika’s television persona (I’m assuming she picked up the phrase from a friend). She has fully apologized since. Here’s the full story at the Advocate in case you want to read more about it.
https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/12/12/brzezinski-i-shouldnt-have-called-sec-state-pompeo-butt-boy

Bottom line, it was unfortunate. It gave Trump an opportunity to twitter slam Mika. I believe she’s sincerely sorry and regretful she went there. I’m pretty sure it’s all forgiven and forgotten by the LGBTQXYZ. But it did get me thinking.

If you look at this very webpage you find a political cartoon I created where I refer to Paul Ryan as “Buttboy” (apparently, I prefer the contraction). So this news story blipped my radar, because if she’s guilty, I’m WAY guilty.

So, let me ask you, is my political cartoon homophobic? Well, if you think it is, I guess it is. Even worse my “Buttboy” slur was the joke’s “topper”. When you write comedy you’re supposed to end on what you think is the strongest joke, the “topper”. So Mika’s charge would be butt boy manslaughter (a crude off the cuff gaffe). But I crafted that cartoon in Photoshop for hours…I’ve committed premeditated first-degree buttboy murder. I’m guilty!

And I’d do it again!

But I am sensitive to the position that buttboy should be retired. I’m not there yet (as you can see, the cartoon is still up) but I’m getting there and I’m willing to listen and keep thinking.

To my insensitive mind, when I heard Mika’s gaffe my first thought was that Pompeo, who looks to me like an ambulatory baked potato – well past his prime, is not a good candidate for the buttboy moniker. When I think of buttboys I want them young and fit, preferably shaved clean/clean.

“I’ve known buttboys. Buttboys were friends of mine.
Mr. Secretary, you’re no buttboy.”

Technically, Pompeo would fall into the category of “bottom bear”, but that’s a whole other can of worms (In case you were wondering, National Security Advisor John Bolton would be classified as a “Bottle Brush”).

When I’m thinking buttboy, in the context of today’s political players, it has got to be Paul Ryan and Jared Kushner (maybe Marco Rubio…oh baby, the way he hits that stubby water bottle really sets the imagination reeling). Buttboys have to be men who still have the kiss of youth about them…Slim-ish builds…Watching their carbs…Oiling up to hit the gym.

Wait stop…

I did it again, didn’t I? I used the homophobic trope stereotype of the “buttboy” to insult and emasculate men I disdain. But I can do it, right? Because I’m “edgy”? Because I’m “funny”? Because my targets are straight? Because I’m “punching up”?

I’m not so sure it’s okay anymore. It’s hard to say…to judge definitively. It’s a grey area in my mind for now. I think about how I would hear it, if someone else said it to me, in any context. They would have to be really fucking funny to sell it to me…and I’m not so sure I’m that funny.

So yeah, I’m on the fence and on the ropes, but Paul Ryan is still Buttboy…for now.

But I do evolve. Ten years ago, I used to be pretty glib and indiscriminate in my use of the word “fag” as a “good-natured ball buster” between friends, but I wouldn’t touch that word with a ten-foot pole today in any context. I’m serious.

For example, this Tuesday, the day before Mika’s slur, I uploaded an old humor video I found that I made back in 2005. In that video, in character, I referred to the rhythm section of U2 as “fags”. Seeing it in 2018, that joke made me uneasy, but I liked the rest of the bit. So I made the decision to edit the audio and comically overdub the word “gentlemen” over the slur. You see, I just couldn’t stand behind a joke with that word anymore. I didn’t want to stand behind it. I guess that’s evolution.

So, if I’m being honest with myself, is buttboy my methadone for fag? It’s tough to say.

I’m prone to say, at least for now, we agree to the general rule of staying away from the big, agreed-upon dehumanizers (n, c, and f), but we must allow some wiggle room for lesser epithets so long as they are artfully played and not used to “punch down”.
https://www.glaad.org/blog/punching-down-navigating-jokes-someones-expense.
Just understand playing on that field means you have to be ready to take the criticism that may come back at you in good humor. You gotta thread a needle to sell that shit, and if you can’t take the heat stay out of the bathhouse sauna.

Look, sometimes I will be crass in the pursuit of my humor. In my form of humor, crass language, imagery and scenarios are essential ingredients. They are a tool. They are not the only tool. But sometimes they are the right tool for the job. It’s the spike and hammer. It’s shock humor. Shock humor has a place. It breaks down people’s perceptions and gets right to the core.

When done right, I think it’s healing, epiphanic in its destruction. I believe that sometimes you have to cut in order to heal.

Look, I’m sorry if this post isn’t much fun. A meditation on the deconstruction of humor seldom is.

It’s just tough now, man, because everyone is so…so…

Butthurt?

The 60 Minutes Piece Is Shelved…Indefinitely

Well, I go away for a couple of days and now we have letter bombs going to Democrats, including the two previous Democratic presidents, and CNN…the press, Trump’s #1 “Enemy of the People”.

Thank God none of the bombs went off. But there could be more bombs, and we don’t know who’s doing this. And this is happening less than TWO WEEKS before the midterms, during the most divisive political period I can remember, where every dirty trick in the book is being trotted out to keep power in the hands of the minority ruling party (voter suppression, race baiting, xenophobia). It’s fucked up. I can’t process it.

My two cents on this start with addressing any conspiracy theorists that call this a “false flag” or “spoof” attack (because none of the bombs detonated) and anyone who seeks to minimize the importance of this historic terror attack. If you minimize it, you are complicit with it, period, and you deserve to be harshly rebuked…as a fool or an immoral propagandist.

Trump read his prepared statement condemning the attack, and I know and believe he is against this kind of murderous terror violence.

However, Trump has repeatedly called for, or justified, violence towards, and the legal prosecution of, his political rivals, or really anyone he deems to be against him. He dehumanizes and falsely attributes malevolence to his rivals. He has a cult following of people who live in a world of “Alternative Facts” and self-justified LYING. They are lying for a cause, so they accept the lies and accept the enemies list.

Bottom line, Trump, with his cult-of-personality as a “strong” man who “punches back” and as a President who lauds people who violently physically attack his opposition, sows the seeds of violence with his irresponsible rhetoric.

The thing about a violent action is that, once it starts, it cannot always be controlled and its consequences can be chain reactional, unintended and permanent (like death or maiming… and I don’t like either of those things, personally).

It takes just one person to think they are understanding Trump’s “code” better than anyone else to start this chain of events that we are now on and can not pretend to see the end of.

Is it so hard to do the math and see murderous violence is inevitable?

Do you think this will get better without a major change?

How fucked are we? (…pretty fucked)

The entire Republican Party leadership, in their refusal to officially censure Trump for the irresponsible handling of his office and his reckless and dangerous rhetoric, are digging a deep hole of moral bankruptcy…of immorality. Immoral behavior solely focused on holding on to the reins of power, no matter the cost. In light of these events, the cost is becoming more and more clear.

To put it in the vernacular…“It’s bad, really bad.”

And none of fundamentals of this equation are going to change unless we “Flip the House”.

So, yes, please VOTE for the most-likely-to-win non-Republican candidates…if you can.

(Warning…at this point the piece gets kind of “tangenty”…but it’s from the heart.)

Oh, by the way, I just want you to know that all this chaos, it’s the perfect environment for the wealth class to run their game of consolidating capital to more deeply entrench the wealth gap (for example, that sham of a tax overhaul). Us common people are being set up for the next big ripoff (yeah, based on cycles, we’re due for a recession..so look forward to that). Just watch.

Republicans need to take the bench for a good long while, to make room for someone with ideas on getting capital out of the hands of the hoarders and into the hands of the citizenry…So we all don’t feel so insecure…So every institution isn’t so underfunded and beleaguered…So we’re not all so primed to fall for the first snake-oil salesman who comes into town…So we don’t become so invested in the snake-oil salesman’s lies that we plot to murder the doctor. You know, the “Doctor”, the one who wants to use practical, proven means to “treat the patient”. I mean shit. I don’t even trust the doctor, but I’d rather take my chances with him…That’s some overwrought metaphor, huh? Woof!!

Look, if some of the wealth class don’t like paying American taxes they can fucking go. They can get the fuck out (and feel free to take Trump with them). They can go back to wherever they came from, or whatever country they are using as their tax shelter…But if they want to live in America, and be Americans, and enjoy our privileges, they have to PAY IN, period.

We have to fix this wealth gap problem or we are fucked…we’ll be looking back on these letter bomb days wistfully.

In closing, fuck the bomber and the toxic ideologies that inspired him.

This is gonna be a tough couple of weeks.

VOTE!!

Trump on 60 Minutes, a Rebuttal: Part 1

Note – I began this longpiece last Thursday and haven’t been able to find the time to get back to it since. So I decided to serialize it to get this first part out now. I’m not sure when I’ll have the free time to finish it. Hopefully soon?…

Leslie Stahl interviewed Donald Trump (aka #PresidentShithead) on 60 Minutes, broadcast on October 14th 2018. I watched it and it caused me so much stress that it made me feel physically ill. It gave me a migraine. I cannot believe that so many people in this country align themselves with this toxic, lying, hateful, corrupt megalomaniac. It shows a real failure in American culture.

I have been forced to observe and live with these faults in our culture for my entire life. And on some level I’m okay with it. I have to be to function. Nothing is perfect. I forced myself to believe these issues were manageable. But Goddamn when you are in the midst of a backslide of this order you really have to wonder where we’re going…and then…if you’re like me, you get a stress headache.

To “set the table”, I love America, but I am not a jingoistic robot. I am not a political animal. I do not align with at political party. I have been a nonconformist my entire life, not to be a contrarian, but because I am a skeptic. I am an observer. I analyze. I research. I accept scientific consensus. I accept empirical fact. But when it comes to cultural, religious, economic and political theory and orthodoxy I question deeply.

To my mind, anyone who even has thumbnail sketch of an understanding of human history should be right there with me…but they are not. In fact the vast majority are not. Why? Because the vast majority of people are conformists.

Conformity is the human condition that allows you to believe in supernatural forces through group think. It allows people to put aside all reason in order to live within a protective blanket of orthodoxy. It’s “In God we trust” (whatever your “God” is). It is a human survival instinct. I don’t even think it is all bad, per se. For example, I want people to come together as communities and share rituals. It’s just when those rituals, at one time, included public extrajudicial executions, I, personally, have to question the foundations of our culture…and I will. I want to look at it as objectively as I can. I want to embrace what I value in it and disregard or fight the rest.

Truth be told, America has a very spotty past (institutionalized slavery, genocide, racism, colonialism, subjugation of women, eugenics, environmental degradation…I could go on). Honest historians will always say that the USA represents an “experiment” in “small ‘l’ liberalism” through democracy (as in the experiment is still ongoing). That even though, at the outset, this liberty was only afforded to an elite (white, male property owners), that over time it was extended to all (at least on a Federal law level). In fact, liberty for all was not truly protected under federal law until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was 188 years after Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

As you know, Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner until the day he died.

So, yeah, spotty past, high ideals. Bottom line, fifty-four years ago, in 1964, our federal government finally came through and made these high ideals law. Fifty-four years is a blink. Don’t get too comfortable.

All this liberal protection…it can end. It can end just like that [snaps fingers]. “We the people” have to manage it. We have to protect it. We have to understand it and believe in it’s value. We have to share it…even with people we hate (through prejudice or life experience). We have to share it even with people who use it and yet still want to destroy it. We have to protect it in spite of them. And most importantly, we have to pay into it. All of us…even rich (or poor) Libertarian assholes.

I’ve said it before, we are living in the afterglow of the post WWII boom. Our current American society, our current American culture, our infrastructure, our iFucks…they are all birthed from Great Depression followed by an even Greater World War. We won. Even better, because we didn’t have to fight the war here, all of our great cities and factories weren’t firebombed to rubble like they were over there. All we had to do after the war was not be Nazis, create a global order, make money and innovate. We heavily taxed the rich, paid off the war debt and built the infrastructure for the suburban “reality” that I grew up in.

It seems like it should have gone on forever, but entropy being what it is, it didn’t.

For people older than me, the Vietnam War was where the “post-war dream” started to show signs of wear. And that lead to the Reagan era, where “trickle down economics” meant protecting the rich from taxation and regulation.

As for taxes, I’m just gonna say it…Bottom line…If we don’t tax and control the wealth class this “post-war dream” world the common man is living in is going to die. If you want it dead, I guess that’s your prerogative. Just be aware of the alternative. That’s all I ask. It may not be all it’s cracked up to be. We might be looking at its beginnings right now.

Now regulation is a complicated thing and it can go too far, but when it gets painted with the broad brush of “regulation is bad for business” I’m not buying it. Regulation exists to protect the common man and his natural environment from sociopathic sharks (i.e., a certain class of “businessmen”).

So, I wasn’t really here for Vietnam. I was a child and adolescent in the Reagan era. In my lifetime, I saw the “post-war dream” get its stress test in our society’s response to 9/11.

The 9/11 attack was a terrible, unforgivable crime and war was inevitable. I am not a pacifist. That said, the invasion of Iraq was not justified, period. Our government, military and intelligence communities normalization of torture and blatant war profiteering made a mockery of everything I came to believe about post-WWII America. It was at this point that I became an enemy of the Republican party. I never liked them up to that point. I knew they were just a haven for the selfish, racist and superstitious. But when their party leadership fought for torture, I determined they were malevolent and I swore I would never vote Republican at any level.

Then there was the great recession of 2008. Here we saw an unregulated wealth class (thanks Reaganomics) basically pull off one of the greatest financial crimes of all time, just basically ripping of the retirement savings of any common people who were in the position to have retirement savings in any kind of market account. And these thieves…they got away scot-free. A few low level scapegoats were hassled, but no one of any note was prosecuted. Our government, having lost complete control of the situation and in an attempt to avert total economic catastrophe, just printed new money to bail out these “market geniuses”.

Truth be told, a lot of the economic suffering and wage stagnation today’s American common people are suffering can be traced to Reaganomics, the War on Terror and the Great Recession. We lost a lot of ground there. We lost a lot of revenue and momentum that could have be spent on infrastructure, education, healthcare, eldercare…Who’d we lose it to? Rich assholes, that’s who.

But you’d be had pressed getting anywhere talking about it. Who would listen?

And this is just my little superficial observation. I could dig and dig and go on forever…but I came here to write about what our President, The President on the United States of America, is talking about. I just wanted you to know where I’m coming from before I dive into the, as I said before, literally sickening interview I watched last Sunday, several weeks before we pick our new government.

What she didn’t ask

First, I want to mention what Leslie Stahl didn’t ask about, the New York Times article about the Trump family’s tax fraud scheme. The article outlines how Trump, over the course of his career as a “businessman”, received hundreds of millions of dollars, tax free, from his father. This puts the lie to his bullshit backstory about how he was a self made man and explains why he will never willingly release his tax records. He was born wealthy and has spent his entire life dodging his tax obligations to this country, even to the point of committing fraud (as outlined in the NYT article).

I feel like this subject would have been worth a few moments of time in the interview. Even though he would have just dismissed it as “lies” and “fake news”, I think it would have been nice to see it addressed on camera, one-to-one. After all, these taxes the wealthy like Trump are dodging, if they were paid, that would be helpful to keep that “post-war dream” thing (that thing I seem to care so goddamn much about) going on…It would be nice if we had a leader a little more tied into the concept of embracing their citizen’s obligations to the betterment of all…just sayin’…moving on…

So what did they talk about. I took notes…

Hurricane Michael/Climate Change

Stahl asks about climate change. Trump, of course, is a denier. Why? Because of business interests, of course. There are still a lot of hydrocarbons left to dig up, process, burn and send into the air. Stopping now would be unfair to the robber barons.

On the Business:

President Donald Trump: I don’t wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t wanna be put at a disadvantage.

This is a oil/coal/gas company lie. Energy jobs are energy jobs, be they pollution creating or environment saving. This is just trump siding with the robber barons.

On climate change:

President Donald Trump: Something’s changing and it’ll change back again.

This is just stupid. Melted glaciers and drained aquifers don’t “change back”. What a lying asshole.

On the scientific consensus:

President Donald Trump: We have scientists that disagree with that.

One of Trump’s tropes is stating there are undefined “people” who support his positions. This is a lazy salesman technique. We all know he is pulling this out of his ass. We also all know that climate change denial scientists are right there on the same level with the doctors who said unfiltered Lucky Strikes cigarettes help to clear out the lungs.

On the “political agenda” of climate change scientists:

President Donald Trump: They say that we had hurricanes [in the distant past] that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.

Lesley Stahl: Who says that? “They say”?

President Donald Trump: People say. People say that in the–

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but what about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?

President Donald Trump: You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley.

This exchange is just bizarre. Here we have Trump doing the “people say” when producing a fresh batch of “shitformation” from his ass. To which Stahl challenges to ask who the “they” he’s talking about are. The honest answer is, of course, that he is caught is a lie (because he is constantly lying) so he pivots to making the unfounded accusation (another lie) that climate change scientists have “a very big political agenda”.

So let me get this straight. Scientists are the enemy of the people, too? Bullshit! These scientists have an environmental agenda, in that they are trying to protect it. Trump and his donors have a economic agenda, in that they want to sell fossil fuels to make money regardless of the toll it is taking on the environment and the global population.

Since the industrial revolution mankind has been challenged with balancing economic factors, natural resources and environmental protection, related to mass production and mass energy consumption. All over the world governments and political parties are on board with the idea that these things must be better managed (maybe even, dare I say, regulated… as in the Paris Accord that Trump pulled out of) as they are having a scientifically proven direct and detrimental effect on our atmosphere (detrimental to the living conditions of human beings…rocks will be okay).

The Koch Brothers and their ilk can give a shit, they just want to make big money. They want to have power. They want to have total control over their big business of fracking the world into a toxic wasteland…just so long as they can have a picturesque ranch in some remote area that isn’t affected too badly. They are Libertarians which means they do not believe in anything outside of self interest.

Libertarians…they don’t trust you, they don’t care about you, they just want to use you, and once your utility is exhausted, they will discard you. Why do they feel this way? Because they are cynics. They know they are under threat of people who share their world view and want to be the master, no matter the cost to society. They do not believe in the collective good. They want to exercise their “freedom”, their “liberty”, by being immoral, selfish grabbers who give nothing back. It is a toxic, and, in my opinion, un-American philosophy. But there is good money in it apparently.

Because the US political system does not firewall robber barons like the Kochs from buying political influence we have a compromised government who deny the science because they are paid to deny it. They claim moving away from fossil fuels is “too expensive” and “bad for the economy” because they are paid to.

Bottom line, environmental protection is a responsibility more than it is a political issue. The real political issue here is the corruption created by robber baron lobbying and dark campaign money flowing into the United States political system. And now, with the Supreme Court stacked with “Federalist” asswipes, don’t expect this to change anytime soon.

I just want a President that isn’t such as willful dipshit about this…Next.

Jamal Khashoggi (i.e., executing journalists)

This is another one for the books. This fucking Saudi prince. What’s his name? DJ Khaled? He plotted to have this “US resident” dissident journalist Khashoggi tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It was just the most bumbling, ham-fisted, keystones cops straight-up MURDER you can imagine a spoiled little shithead brat and his “court” could have cooked up.

Saudi Arabia is a brutal, repressive monarchy, which holds public executions, and where atheism, homosexuality, blasphemy and adultery are capital crimes punishable by death.

America has this long-standing, ridiculous, compromised marriage of convenience with Saudi Arabia because we have a common enemy, Iran. It’s fucked up. It’s always been fucked up. I’ll give you an example of how fucked up it is. The 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia…the US invaded Iraq. See? It’s fucked up.

Anyway somehow, this prince, he got it in his head that he is so tight with Trump and buttboy Jared that he has some sort of get-out-of-jail-free-card to MURDER green card carrying US residents who write for the Washington Post. That is some assumption, huh?

The optics aren’t helped by this whole “the press are the enemy of the people” bullshit that asshole Trump as been peddling for over a year now (I’ve always said he should be impeached for making those statements alone).

Anyway, Trump and the prince are working on their cover story (imagine the brain power there…you could power a potato) to try to minimize the fallout from this TORTURE and MURDER plot. You know, so they can get back to doing the sabre dance and touching the glowing globe. It is SICK, just SICK.

In the interview Trump cried about the threat the TRUTH about this CRIME has become to his precious ARMS DEAL with the Saudis. Ya know, because when a foreign government shows you that they are lead by immoral murderers, your first instinct should be to sell them as many high grade weapons as they can possibly buy. For economic reasons of course…so it’s good to know we’re thinking straight on BOTH world peace AND the environment. Sleep well at night.

In the interview, Trump repeated the Saudi denial. Said it was made “Strongly”. Of course that denial was a lie and attempt at a cover up which immediately fell apart (BIG surprise).

Trump said he didn’t want to “hurt jobs” by backing out of the arms deal. I’m going to cry a river thinking about the Military Industrial Complex taking a hit. God knows they get such a small slice of our tax revenue to eke out their existence. Trump then warned us Russia and China would grab the deal “Everyone wanted that order.”…I say let them have it.

This whole scenario just highlights that Trump is a garbage human and a garbage example to our youngest generation. He is a criminal and sociopath who has no compassion for other human beings. This dead journalist is just an impediment to his narrative. Trump’s first instinct is to have surrogates smear Khashoggi and try to wait out the news cycle. So for now we’ll just get his “nobody knows for sure” dodge until they stop asking…I hope they don’t stop asking, because this is unacceptable…and the more he helps in the coverup the more complicit he is in the crime…the more blood is on his tiny hands.

End of Part One

To be continued…

Unicorn Steaks

Yesterday, I witnessed two things that I will never forget. One was harrowing and terrifying – the other inspirational beyond anything I have ever had the honor to have witnessed.

Bad news first

If you know me, then you’ll undoubtedly know the first event (the harrowing one) was watching #PresidentShithead’s joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki. After a week of setting fire to the NATO alliance and the Special Relationship, yesterday, #PS [aka Trump], with the whole world watching, willfully spread misinformation denying Russia’s very real cyber attack on the United States.

In doing so he went against, and publicly betrayed, our institutions of national defense and US law enforcement. He instead sided with the murderous, lying despot standing next to him. A dictator who is actively leading an attack on America, via cyber warfare, to undermine and corrode our DEMOCRACY and world influence.

We now add this offense to the list of impeachable offenses #PS has committed. Offenses the Republican congress won’t act on…but instead will allow to be forgiven and “normalized”.

I just want to take this moment to send a heartfelt message to my Republican brothers out there…Sorry. I don’t think we can give him a “mulligan” on this one, boys. This really is the end of the road and the end of this Presidency. Accept it, it’s over. As you like to say, “There are winners and losers”. Well, you picked a big fucking loser. Time to flush the bowl before you get any more shit on your hands. Kapeesh?

Nuff said about that for today.

Now the good news

SO YEAH it was the “worst of times”. But then something else happened yesterday that was maybe the most inspirational thing I have ever seen, in person, in my entire life. The most inspirational thing I have probably ever been a part of (even if only in a peripheral way). And I’m not fucking exaggerating! It was real life drama played out with real stakes and, when it was all done, it made be believe in America. It made me believe not that we are the best, but that we can be the best if we do our best. If we do our best for each other, especially when we need each other. If we can change our hearts through empathy, when it counts, we can achieve anything. I saw it happen right before my eyes and it was radiant, and I will, for one, never be the same.

[So I’m going to write my story about what happened…and it’s going to be long. With an exceedingly long tangential lead in . It will hopefully be goodish…but, fur sure, it’s going to be looong. If you just want to just skip ahead to the actual event, scroll down to “The Event”…but you’re missing out if you do…just sayin’. – Ed.]

I officially moved to Visalia, California to be with my wife, then my girlfriend, back in 2010. She, having secured a good job as an elementary school teacher, was able to buy a house in her lifetime hometown at a good price (it was bottom market, mid-Great Recession) and invited me to move in (Even though we were not married. A SCANDAL!). This was the beginning of the rest of my life. My life is with Jenny. And so I have adopted this new hometown, Visalia.

I grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, where my parents and siblings still live. When my parents bought their house in Thousand Oaks in the mid 70s it was a different place than it is today. My father had brought the family across the country from Farmingdale, Long Island, New York for a new job and a change. As an electrical engineer, his work and work opportunities were closer to Los Angeles, but he wanted to live in a suburb, like Farmingdale was a suburb to NYC.

He looked at buying in the San Fernando Valley, but thought the lots and houses seemed small, the communities dingy and packed together. He looked a little further out and found Thousand Oaks, sure it was a longer commute, but the houses and lots were bigger and, EVEN BETTER, CHEAPER. We ended up in a beautiful, idyllic home in the Wildwood development next to the Jewel of Thousand Oaks, Wildwood Regional Park.

I wish I could say my family story was altogether idyllic, but it wasn’t. That’s a story for another day.

I loved my hometown. But, over the years, it became strange to me. It grew in ways I didn’t want to see it grow. Between the influence of Hollywood Royalty overflow and the assent of pharmaceutical giant Amgen’s campus (along with many other factors) the cost of living in Thousand Oaks exploded. It became more congested. Also, the superficiality of the Hollywood-esque culture there, always a problem, became more and more pronounced, to the point that I felt no desire to kill myself trying to find the money for the high buy-in and the cost of living.

The Thousand Oaks I knew was gone anyway. Wildwood Fort gone. Geppetto’s gone. When I hiked in Wildwood Park, all I could see on the horizon was the encroaching housing developments metastasizing off of the Amgen campus. I remember developers wanted to parcel off the beautiful entrance to Wildwood Park, an open field under a majestic skyline of bluffs (made famous in many Westerns) to turn it into a golf course. And it almost happened. Thank God the residents rose up and put a stop to it…And that little slice of history kind of dovetails into yesterday’s events. Which, I swear, I’ll get back to.

Anyway when Jenny introduced me to Visalia it was kind of like someone turned back the clock on Thousand Oaks. It had that isolated and small, but well managed and bustling air about it that felt like home to me, much more than modern day Thousand Oaks. And there is no Amgen here, and our Hollywood overflow was miles away in Three Rivers (that’s a joke BTW). It just felt right.

Are there issues? Yes! We are in Central Valley ag-land so politics run red here. This area is a strong enclave for the racist tea party movement. We have a high percentage of Fox-News-watching, Limbaughtomized, water-rights-obsessed, gun-loving growers (their partners, advocates and allies) out here. Sure they don’t mind the free water, marketing agreements and subsidies that made it all happen for them, but they hate the “big government” that provides it.

And then you have our US congressional rep, Devin Nunes, who works full time debasing himself in a campaign to protect the aforementioned treasonous President. If you think #PS’s behavior gives anyone in Central Cali pause know this, in our recent jungle primary Nunes defeated his democratic opponent Andrew Janz by over 26%. So yeah…there’s that. And that’s a problem…for me.

And, honestly, that aspect of the local culture has been getting me down about my new hometown a lot. Especially in light of the political and cultural divisiveness we are all coping with and hoping will end and not worsen.

The Event

So with a little bit of dread and in this mix, earlier this year, I became aware of the threat to our local children’s non-profit theatre company, the Enchanted Playhouse. They do a hell of a lot of good for the children of this community with very little. They are on the verge of getting kicked out of their home, the Main Street Theatre, which they leased from the city of Visalia, who seem determined to sell it out from underneath them. Without a dedicated theater, the Enchanted Playhouse company will not survive and without the central downtown location they will lose their prominent placement in the identity of the community.

Last night, the Visalia City Council meeting had on its agenda the vote that would determine the immediate fate of the Main Street Theater Redevelopment and, in so, the fate of its tenants, the Enchanted Playhouse Company.

On paper, it was not looking good for the Enchanted Playhouse. Basically, months ago a bid was accepted by the city from a developer to convert the centrally located downtown theatre landmark (somewhat rundown) into some restaurants. It was all “by the books” but it was also a bit underhanded in the way it was carried out (because the city was not reaching out to Enchanted Playhouse). Any way you looked at it, this was a situation where the city council, by law, had the right to move ahead with the redevelopment, and the theatre company would be hard pressed to do anything about it, without having to get into a big legal battle it could not afford. These are volunteers; no one is making any big time money off this deal. And it’s the money that seems to be the thing causing the confusion.

To keep the background short, there was a time about 14 years ago when the city and the city council went to bat for the company, big time, getting them set up in the location and fighting for it legally. The city spent a lot of money. In return, Enchanted Playhouse, did their part and produced, in a hardscrabble time (they got through the Great Recession) as unpaid volunteers, quality children’s theatre that incorporated local children into the productions. They did this and paid rent to the city. Did I mention that children’s theater non-profits don’t make crazy money? I did, okay.

They presented their productions to the public and schools from all around would bus their students in to see them. It spread culture and joy. It created a farm-team for local live performance talent. But most importantly, it was a haven for artistic children, an extended loving family for these creative, emotional, sensitive kids.

Take my wife [, please! – Ed.], she saw the plays as a child and started performing in them at 18. Knowing my wife as you never will, you can not measure the importance and influence this company had on her life, even as a young adult. How it built her confidence up and inspired her to do other things. How it connected her to new friends who shared her interest in the dramatic arts and who encouraged her to act more and “follow her bliss” (I stopped all that). And you can add her to the thousands of children, young adults and parents changed for the better by this local institution. It’s impossible for me to put into words what it means to so many. What the value of this institution is.

The Enchanted Playhouse at the Main Street Theatre is a unicorn. It should not exist. It can not exist on a purely capitalist playfield, and yet it does exist. It exists because it spouted from the dreams of a merry band of dreamers, of gypsies that found their home. This unicorn creates magic, it inspires the weary, it heals the broken, it saves children’s lives. Literally. Period.

Somehow, in the years that followed the initial support, this connection between the city and the theatre company became disconnected. Council members change, mayors change. Emotionally stunted “businessmen” on the council start to think,

“Do we really need a unicorn? Unicorn food is too expensive. Let’s slaughter the unicorn and sell unicorn steaks! We’ll hang up some flat screens and watch freakishly large men give each other concussions…What?! Some fragile kids can’t play make-believe anymore. Too bad! Have some unicorn steak. It’s delicious. It’s seasoned with salt made from the dehydrated tears of the children.”

It’s fucked up. The city fucked up. They forgot heart and soul makes this city’s downtown what it is. Visalia has a god damn unicorn there. PROTECT IT. Its value can not be quantified in dollars and cents on a spreadsheet. Sorry, mister businessman (aka Mr. Potter), you’re just gonna have to believe me on this one.

It is a family-friendly community hub. And in so, it is priceless and worthy of preservation.

So the people who know what’s at stake (unicorn steak) heard the call of the gypsies and determined to push back on the city. This city council meeting was last night and, under a lot of pressure from the community, the city council wisely made special rules allowing for extra time and moved the meeting to the convention center to allow for extra seating so the theatre company and the community could make a final appeal to ask the city to pause the redevelopment plan to give the Enchanted Playhouse non-profit a second chance to make a bid to keep their home.

Supporters meet at the Main Street Theatre. When we got there, I was disheartened to see it not exactly overflowing with people. Could this rag tag band pull it off? We were looking like the Rebel Alliance. It put fear into me. But somehow, when we marched to the convention center, it started to feel like an unstoppable army.

Then the discussion period opened on the subject. The passion of the people who appealed to the city, over the course of an hour and half, was truly inspirational. The testimony of the children, changed and healed by their experiences with Enchanted Playhouse, moved me to tears multiple times. A father and actor told the story of the memories he had performing with his daughter on that stage, a daughter he lost soon after to a tragic and sudden illness. His testimony and the testimony of so many others declared that stage sacred ground.

And then it went to the five man (old white man) council to make their decision.

The Vote

Well that vote was high drama, too. The council was pretty hard in their opening remarks on Enchanted Playhouse board of directors for not behaving like businessmen (but as we’ve established they’re not businessmen. If they were businessmen they would have opened a sports bar. They are dreamers and unicorn wranglers).

It seemed like all was lost.

The first councilman said he was inclined to vote for redevelopment because the theatre company failed to make their bid in time which he felt showed a lack of responsibility. He asked, “Where were you?” to which many in the crowd answered “We’re here now!” (I think I might have been one of those people) But he deferred his final decision at that point.

We then heard from the second council member, who said he heard the children’s pleas and he would allow for a pause on the redevelopment. I loved this guy.

My heart soared!

Then it got to the third member, he was a hard-assed, old jarhead or jarhead wannabe. A Limbaughtomized douche…I will call him Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter said there are “winners and losers” and the market has decided to kill the unicorn (to paraphrase). He also added that 14 years ago he voted against the initial deal to set up the company at the theatre, as it went against his free market ideals, and he still felt good about that decision today (He probably thinks the NEA is a homosexual, socialist propaganda machine, too). It took a lot of self control for me to not wing my water bottle at his fat head…but I knew it wasn’t about me.

Let’s just say my soaring heart lost an engine and was tilting into a nosedive.

Then we got to the vice mayor who was also not moved by the children. He voted KILL THE UNICORN! I immediately regretted ever spending one cent in this “sweetheart’s” store before it closed (locals will understand). So I was doing the math.

1 undecided (but highly critical of the Enchanted Playhouse)
1 for giving the theatre company a second chance
2 unicorn steaks, rare

My heart was plummeting toward the earth, both engines on fire. The hydraulics were out. I was pulling on the flight stick to no avail.

So now it goes to the mayor. He tears up as he says he acted with his kids and he understands the unicorn. He hears the children. He wants to give the unicorn a shot.

I see a flashing light on the heart control panel. I hit it. One of the propellers starts to spin up again. But the altimeter is still spinning counter-clockwise out of control.

So it goes back to the undecided councilman to break the tie.

The suspense was a 10. He’d already said he was inclined to vote against the theatre. The tension was thick enough to cut with a unicorn steak knife. If he said “Kill the unicorn!”, it was gonna be real sad at the least, real ugly at the worst. He said he was still concerned about the viability of the non-profit to make an offer and that giving them a chance might be a waste of time, but ultimately that the pleas of the children moved him to give the Enchanted Playhouse a second chance.

The unicorn’s execution was stayed!

My heart stopped just before it crashed to the ground. Turns out it ran out of gas, Looney Toons style.

There was great applause and a feeling of sober jubilation. The Enchanted Playhouse was given 90 days by the city council to submit their plan to buy the Main Street Theatre.

Now the hard work and reality of fundraising the money and finding deep pocket backers to make it happen is real. But knowing it is real, knowing they have a chance to save themselves, gives me hope that things everywhere can get better. Knowing I live in a city that listens to dreamers and cares about giving creative children a home made me a believer in the system…for now.

I really hope it works out and I’ll be there if they ever need me to show up for them again.

Long live the Enchanted Playhouse at the Main Street Theatre!

Support your local theatre companies

Support your local theatre companies and children’s theatre non-profits. They need it!

See a local play, See a local musical. If you find a theatre company you like, go again, and again. They need you. Most likely, they killed themselves for months as volunteers with no pay to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience to you. They need you there. Movies and TV are great, but believe me, your community can entertain you just as well, if not better…and they want to. In supporting them, you become part of something. You are supporting creativity, expression, culture.  It’s not a fad, it goes back to the beginning of civilization. Civilization is not social media, it is “being there”. Plus, the more you support your local theatre, the better it will get. Experience, support, confidence, as in any endeavor, these things are the fuel of greatness. You don’t have to go to Broadway or the big city. You can witness greatness, right in your hometown, just by showing up. And you will feel the performances unfiltered and direct, a true connection between performers and audience sharing a space. Something that can never be recreated by watching recorded media. If you don’t show up, they can’t do what they do and everybody loses. Support your local unicorn…erm,  I mean theatre community.

What can we do for the Enchanted Playhouse?

I am hoping that a social media fundraising campaign will be launched to drive donations for the purchase of the Main Street Theatre from the city by the Enchanted Playhouse non-profit.

To light a fire under that campaign, I suggest they seek celebrity support, starting with approaching Ellen Degeneres, who has a great track record with these kinds of things. If not her, I have to believe someone with a platform will understand this story, the dire odds Enchanted Playhouse faces, the consequences of inaction, and will get behind making a happy ending for this situation.

Time is of the essence. LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!

[Jenny informed me that Ellen’s show came to Visalia  earlier this year to help Washington Elementary’s free dance class program. SHIT!… I mean, good for them… but SHIT! – Ed.]