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Ali / Frazier

March 11, 2021 Leave a comment

New column posted. Read it here….

Categories: Uncategorized

Dr. Seuss and Mister Potato Head walk into a bar…

March 4, 2021 Leave a comment

New column posted today for my subscribers. Read it here….

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Maybe Mexico paid for the gold statue?

March 1, 2021 Leave a comment

New column just posted for my subscribers today. Check it out here…

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The Science Guy

February 26, 2021 Leave a comment

New post is up for my subscribers! Read it here…

Come join us! We do this 3 times a week (at least!)

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It’s the little things…

February 23, 2021 Leave a comment

New column posted for my subscribers. Sign up and join us!

Read It’s the Little Things now….

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Remembering Live Aid

February 22, 2021 Leave a comment

Today’s column just posted

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Categories: Uncategorized

Mars and Ted Cruz

February 19, 2021 Leave a comment

Hey all. I’ve moved my columns over to the Substack platform. Come join me over there. Will be posting multiple pieces a week, and you’ll have access to the entire archive for $5 a month. Joining under the free plan will allow access to few columns a week.

It should be fun. Just getting started.

Today’s piece for paid subscribers can be found here…

Categories: Uncategorized

Graveyards

February 17, 2021 2 comments

I’m not a spiritual person or a religious person. Blind faith in anything has never held much appeal for me. The two biggest losses in my life were losing my parents a few years apart. They were the gorilla glue that held it all together, and with them gone sometimes it feels like we’re all just using scotch tape down here. There are still nights when a part of my brain wants to pick up the phone and hear those voices…..quiet and reserved and oh so wise. I was the youngest of 6 so it was pretty hard to throw a new wrench at them. Not that I didn’t try. They always knew what to say. And just as importantly, they always knew what not to say.

They’re laid to rest together…….in a beautiful spot…..up on a little ridge, surrounded by majestic trees, tucked away in a quiet corner of a well maintained cemetery about 30 minutes from home. We can only have one way conversations now, but when I want to dive deep I like to do it there. Onsite as it were. I’ll bring a folding chair. They feel closer when I’m there than when I am here, and that doesn’t go hand in hand with what I believe in, and I don’t know what this means other than faith is low hanging fruit, and sometimes we’re all a bit peckish.

Interesting place….this cemetery. Filled with captains and commoners, huge marble edifices and simple plates in the ground that require a good shoe to kick away the grassy edges to read in full. Civil War congressional medal of honor winners sit within spitting distance of fresh 2020 sod. Flags are endless, testament to our wars, and the dying they brought on. Fresh flowers abound, testament to the grieving that gets easier, but never goes away.

Seemingly everywhere I go in this world, there’s always somebody acting like an asshole. Loud. Obnoxious. Inappropriate. But never here. Ironic. Nobody is here. But everybody acts like they’re being watched.

My parents are surrounded by family. My Mom’s parents and siblings, each of whom could carry a novel, are a few paces away. War heroes and rogues, saints and sinners…..lives of quiet triumph and tragedy….known to nobody except those who share the same blood. What a crew they were. My mom was 1 of 13, growing up in a small house with a single bathroom, with brothers (and sisters come to think of it) one didn’t trifle with. And here comes my Dad…..gawky and poor with holes in his pants but relentlessly smitten, winning them all over with his no frills niceness and a quiet tenacity. My Mom was his only love. And he was hers. Don’t tell me you can’t die from a broken heart, because I saw it happen….my Mom sat in chair waiting to see him again, and growing so confused and anxious the blood got too tired to flow anymore.

During winters like this I can’t get there…..and that bothers me as much as the relentless show and ice we’ve been battered with. As pretty and idyllic a place as it is when the green takes over…..it’s desolate and wind-swept and cheerless now. There’s no place to park my chair for one thing, and the snow is knee deep. I’ve got lots to say, but nobody to say it to. Usually it’s mid-March when I get there again…..Scranton Parade time means different things to different people, but it’s always a line in the sand that folks around here understand. It means spring…or at least the promise of it. And besides, is there a easier place to be socially distant than the graveyard?

I miss them, but I’m glad they’re gone. I’m glad they missed Covid-19 and the wreckage of the last 4 years. I’m glad that Alzheimer’s can’t have her way with either of them anymore. They deserved better than so much of what this world threw at them, but they never wavered. And they never broke. When I listened to them, I became a better man. When I ignored them, I regressed.

Graveyards scare a lot of folks. Evil lurks and all that. Bad movies galore. Which is horseshit because nothing evil lurks there. WE lurk there because the circle is never closed. There’s always that thing that we wished we said, and somehow it feels better finally saying it in front of the names and the dates and the fresh flowers, with the gentle breeze topping off that gentle ridge like a cherry on a Sundae.

I’ll talk to you soon Mom and Dad.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Us vs Them

February 12, 2021 Leave a comment

I don’t do hallucinogenic drugs so there’s no way I can watch any more of this impeachment stuff. At least if you’re buzzing, Trump’s lawyers might look like Gila Monsters or the Manson Girls or some such, and it might spur on some phantasmagorical trip that kick-starts the search for the elusive “middle”. But straight? Just more dumb white guys who somehow passed the bar and aren’t gonna get paid. It’s distressing and I want all of this to be over so we can get back to shoveling snow and taking bets on how long the Trump/Pence 2020 signs are gonna stay up.

**********

To be 100% honest I lost my glasses yesterday…..which is pretty hard to do when you haven’t left the house. But I managed. Tore the house apart. Blamed the dog and the cat. Unmade the bed 3 times, and pulled the cushions off the couch twice. I even emptied the garbage. By hand. They are nowhere. They sleep with the fishes. Passed on. They have ceased to be. Bereft of life. Rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. Poof. Gone. I can read and write just fine without ’em, but other things like reading the clock on the wall, or even recognizing which kid is in what picture, elude me. Driving is out of the question, as is watching TV unless I’m standing with my nose pressed to it. I’m that guy who sits in the eye doctor’s office, and when told to read the smallest line on it, reply “what eye chart?” Always gets a laugh.

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We’ve been shut in for so long. Just the simple act of navigating your cart through a grocery store can kick-start a moribund day, even if I have to squint. You notice everything. Things you never would have noticed in pre-Covid days. Noses and mouths especially. It’s become second nature to give wide berth to the ones who still haven’t grasped the masking concept. But all in all folks seem a tad more cheerful than they were back in the spring when this thing took hold. Somebody without a mask now is likely to get the same amount of eye-rolls as a shirtless guy wearing a viking helmet. And, you know, pandemically speaking at least, that’s progress. Sometimes it’s the little things, Bubba.

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In cancel culture news, that country guy who was screaming the n-word outside his house last week has seen his sales sky-rocket, which is kinda awkward to the entire genre….but whatever. I mean….whadda you do if more and more of the nation not only accept things like fascism and racism, but seem to actively embrace them? And that sorta-wacky Trump cultist actress from the “Mandalorian” was dropped from the show (and her talent agency) after a tweet comparing being a Republican today to being Jewish during the holocaust. She’s made other dumbass posts as well, denigrating mask-wearing and pushing Dear Leader’s “big lie”, (although these are nothing more than middle of the road Republican dogma these days, why single her out?) but this one and its snowballing consequences makes me feel a little queasy….because while nobody who wasn’t a fucking gargantuan idiot would compare herself to Anne Frank, in her small mind I don’t think she was being anti-Semitic. She’s just wallowing in the same victim porn circle-jerk that conservatives have been hosting for years. Sometimes people are just assholes, and if we start cancelling for that the world is gonna be filled with even more out of work actors. And then it becomes more us vs them and you have a couple of super-jizzed rent-a-cops spying Bruce Springsteen accepting a shot of Tequila from fans as he drove past on his motorcycle, and the story being framed like he’s drunken David Hasselhoff crawling on the ground trying to eat a cheeseburger.

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One thing 2020 did was erase the feeling that we feel younger than our age. I always felt like a bit of a cheeky kid. But now our age washes over us like a tsunami. We’re slower. More cautious. Both bedtimes and the mornings after come sooner than they used to. Things hurt that didn’t use to hurt. And the things we used to be able to overlook, we don’t/can’t overlook anymore. There’s no such things are youthful indiscretions anymore. It forced a reckoning. A growing up. For better. And for worse.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

“Middle”

February 11, 2021 Leave a comment

I’ve watched the Capitol riot footage. I watched it in real time. I re-watched it many times. I’ve seen it from this angle and that angle, from surveillance cameras and cell phone videos, and in the last few days we’ve seen never before released stuff……showing…..indisputably…..that as bad as it appeared…..as bad as we thought it was at the time…..it was way worse. There’s a particularly chilling moment when a rioter is roaming the hallway mockingly, contemptuously calling out “Naaaaancy…….Naaaancy…” and all that’s missing is the dragging leg and the hatchet. What might have happened if lawmakers had not been swiftly brought to safety is enough to stop that heart.

And it’s all there. This is not a “he said she said” moment, distorted by any partisan lens. This is all on camera, each gleeful face as clear as the selfies you save on your phone. Each sent there with a clear mandate from Dear Leader. Each convinced of their patriotism, but prepared to be a bit…er….flexible at times. I mean, they did have a guy waving the Confederate flag front and center. You may be familiar with that that was all about. And they were chanting “hang Mike Pence” repeatedly, and normally wanting to hang the Vice President isn’t part of the Patriotic bingo card. Even now, with Trump stewing illegally at Mar-a-Lago, our area is filled with TRUMP 2020 signs, but with a new twist. The “Pence” on the signs has been crossed off. So their boy is alone now….fighting the good fight…….our last hope against Jewish Space Lasers and Pizza Parlor Pedophiles and Chinese Hoaxes. But, alas, Twitter-less…..which as it turned out was kinda like slicing his achilles tendon. With the hate-spigot turned off, and his seeming unwillingness to deal with that he called the “low-class” on more….er….white supremacist friendly social media outlets, his devotees are left to wander in the desert, not sure if they should shine Mitch McConnell’s shoes, or threaten to hang him too. SAD.

And so now we have impeachment. Again. It’s not gonna happen of course. While the videos of a violent coup were being shown, Trump sycophants were sitting in the gallery with their feet up, doing their best to appear blazingly uninterested for the cameras. The same party that was mortally offended by a blow job are able to whistle dixie through an attempt to overthrow an election. They will acquit their man…..freeing him up once again to the drag what’s left of the “grand old party” through what Andy Dufresne crawled through to escape from Shawshank prison. That they consider this a politically expedient thing to do is precisely why Bruce Springsteen heading to Kansas in his Jeep looking for the “middle” is kinda like searching for Bigfoot.

Trump has had a series of legal teams lately. Who would have thought his habit of not paying his bills would catch up with him, but here we are. Reputable firms are reacting to his phone calls the way we do when we get extended warranty calls from the car dealer. What he’s left with now is 2 guys who make Rudy Giuliani look like Clarence Darrow. It’s like being defended by Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels. But at this point he could hire the 3 stooges and it wouldn’t matter. All that’s left is the vote. These people need to stand up and say, for the record, and for all time, that fomenting a coup is not grounds for impeachment. And with that, they become historical pariahs. They get to hang out in political hell with Joe McCarthy. In the short term? The Klan will cheer and Parler will light up like a pinball machine and guys like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley will consider themselves instant Presidential timbre, but the arc of the universe bends towards justice, which is something racists always forget. It’s a long, lonely life. Just ask the guy who stood in the schoolhouse door.

There can be no unity without accountability. More and more this mythical “middle” seems a place where we’re supposed to kumbaya. A place where we don’t have to take sides, because we accept that universal health care and jewish space lasers can exist on the same plane.

They can’t.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized