Gratitude

These are the things for which I am grateful today.

I am grateful that I have a home and that I am warm.

I am grateful that I have Facebook friends who could laugh at me and cheer me on yesterday as I crawled home with an injured back.

I am grateful for a long suffering partner who brought me a cup of hot chocolate this afternoon.

I am separately grateful for the milk and for the chocolate.

I am grateful for my daughter who hung a Santa Rosa marathon medallion around my neck as I lay immobile on the floor.

I am grateful to have two pillows to tuck between my knees and one behind my head.

I am grateful to have windows that allow me to see the fog and the sunlight and tonight’s epic moon.

I am grateful to Kaiser Permanente for their excellent back care videos.

I am grateful to have hot water and to have a shower with walls so that I can stand and brace myself.

I am grateful to have high speed internet so that while I’ve lay prone, I’ve been able watch no small number of documentaries about the European theatre in World War II.

I am grateful to the persons who perhaps without any foresight of the future shot film and took pictures and wrote words so that three quarters of a century later we have evidence of all the things great and terrible that occurred.

I am grateful to have guidance for what may come.

I am grateful to the mathematicians of Bletchley Park who broke and broke again the Enigma code so that we could keep open the American maritime supply lines to Britain.

I’m grateful to Alan Turing for imagining the impossible.

I am grateful to the ruthless Germans who invaded my mother’s country.  If it were not for them, I would not be here today.

I am grateful to the ruthless Soviet troops who brought an end to the Third Reich and in the process chased my family all the way to the Elbe.  If it were not for them I would not be here today.

 

I am grateful to each and every one of the boys who fell from the sky on the dawn of June 6th, 1944 across the hedgerows of the Cotentin Penninsula.  If it were not for them, I would not be here today.

I am grateful for my thrown out back that gives me cause to be.  And the aching back that affords a moment to be grateful.

Why I Should Be President

I would like to ask for your vote as I run for President of this Fair Land.

I believe in our most core values.

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And I too have been known for making unwanted advances on beautiful women.

 

I also have been victimized by the rigged and corrupt legal system.

 

In the past I have associated with cruel and malicious despots.

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And yet I get along famously with the common man.

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I am firmly grounded in reality.

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And I am well read.

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I have a sound platform founded in consistent and thoughtful policy.

 

I am not opposed to the right kind of Muslims.

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And most importantly, I have always stood by Native Americans.

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May we all join hands together in our journey to make this Land great again.

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Winning

Anna and I are losers.

And we don’t want to be losers.

We want to be winners.

And you can’t be a winner if you don’t play the game.

So last night we took up Safeway Monopoly.

We bought 24 cans of Friskies cat food for our dying cat.

And we got 48 Safeway Monopoly tickets.  Safeway tells me that if I just buy enough Friskies and Poptarts, we’re going to be winners.  We’re going to win a million dollars.  And a big TV.  And lots of other stuff.

Last night we spent one hour tearing and sorting and pasting.  Now the Lewis family is running the table.

Because in the end we won 6 more tickets.  And so we’re going back to Safeway to buy some more stuff and get even more tickets.  And it’s just going to get better.

We’re going to be winners.  And you can be a winner, too.  You and all of our country will no longer be losers and the rest of the world will stop laughing at us.

In a few more days, I’m nailing Park Place.  And I’ll have my Dawn Dishwashing Soap.

And you just wait and watch as I build me my Trump Towers.

Super. Tuesday.

 A reminder on the cusp of a perhaps grave and auspicious day.

85 years ago, they were a silly and disregarded minority.  People chuckled at the circus antics, the self-infatuation, narcissism, and obscenely transparent self-glorification.

The beset people who first joined on to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) believed in a united country, promotion of nativist values, and the expulsion of minority populations who posed a perceived threat.

But for years, the vast majority of the country paid little attention.  Initially these small crowds of cheering admirers were nobodies.  Routinely arrested for civic disturbances, laughed at for their absurd fanaticism, they would amount to nothing.  And then Goebbels discovered that spectacles and calls to violence brought them attention.  And the attention brought them more crowds.  And the crowds brought them power.

And then one day, that silly minority became a grudging, then an accepting, and then an excited plurality.  More respectable ones joined because it would help them get what they wanted. And it would help them retain power.  They couldn’t stop it. And so they joined it.

And then no one was laughing any more.

 

Terrace Cafe at Night

IMG_8659In my imagined heaven (unlike the fundamentalist heaven muddled in moral condemnation) van Gogh, along with Rothko and Francis Bacon, while away the mornings appreciating and talking about color.

But for now you’re not yet in heaven.

Instead it’s a warm September evening in 1888.  You still sit on a stool in the Place to Forum glancing to the south down the Rue de Palais in the town of Arles.  Your paint brush dips all over that lead and chromium palette.  The constellations of Perseus and Andromeda shimmer in the sky wedged above the narrow alley: although you capture them imperfectly, some life forms long extinct once unknowingly cast their own eyes toward your future visage that would receive them.

As for us, you remain anchored in a world of substance while I hover in the immaterial world that has not yet come to be.  The street is filled with ghosts, future and past and present, and perhaps you find our presence claustrophobic.  The film between us remains impermeable.  We will never touch.

A blue cloaked waiter ferries glasses of Lillet.  A woman cloaked in a thin coat crosses the street with her husband. None of them pay any heed to you. You’re nearly as invisible as I.  But if not for you, their even now scant mark on history would be lost forever. If they’d known, they might have interceded or perhaps offered corrections.

But the crowd thins until it is just you and I. You are tired.  You will be dead within a year.  And people will champion you and fight over you for a very very long time.  You will ignite passion and fury much like the first wandering preacher.  But if the truth be, I wouldn’t even be here with you on this night but for that odd portal you created with a bit of oil and pigment brushed on to a tightly stretched piece of fabric. Tired yet exultant, you pack up your oils in a wooden box and set to walk home.  You carry a canvas, the paint still sticky and wet.  I follow.  You can’t see me and you never will.

All the same, I would just like you to know.

On the Act of Puzzling

Here’s the great irony.

The puzzle really only exists in the moment of puzzling; once you place the piece with that satisfying click, the puzzle ceases to exist.

We generate joy more from the act of figuring outthan from the solution itself.

The mind of God must indeed be a desultory place where the unknown unknown does not at all exist.

By definition, serendipity cannot exist in a world without surprises.

I imagined this area to be a thick strap of black dotted with specks of canvas.

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Instead, why look what shone from the walls that night.

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And for better or worse, once the world becomes known, it’s very very hard to regain the bliss of ignorance and innocence.