Drain This!

Here we are on the second full day of the new Trump Administration and I’m writing like I’ve not done in years. I think I’m inspired to do this sort of thing when there is uncertainty in the air and when I want to express things that I might not normally say verbally out in public. I’m a pretty solid introvert by nature but I don’t mind expressing my views in appropriate circumstances.  So here are a few things that have happened in the last 48 hours in the Trump House.

The Release of Scientific Papers to the public banned by Trump Administration edict.

This is pretty scary though at this point I’m treating everything I read with a grain of salt. Scientific discovery is something I would consider to be one of the bedrock foundations of our country.  Through it, we have established the most advanced research facilities, care facilities, and healthcare systems in the world.  Through it, we have discovered important things from the far reaches of outer space to the depths of our oceans and everything in between.  This country has led the way for a century in scientific advancement. Since Trump and his ilk apparently base their lives on #alternativefacts, clearly they have an interest in preventing the public from knowing what our tax dollars fund in the scientific research arena.  So much for that cancer cure which nobody will know about now until after the drug companies are finished raping us.

LGBT Protections?  Fugittaboutit.

Just hours after Trump was sworn in as our 45th president, certain things began to disappear from the whitehouse.gov web site.  Among them, all mentions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender advances made by the previous administration.  I’m not freaking out about this one yet because if I recall, the same sort of thing happened when Obama took office.  The web site was scrubbed and subsequently replaced a few weeks later with a revision.  That said, Trump has made no friends within my own community through his administration picks. Some of his chosen people are, by public record, some of the most virulent anti-gay forces in politics today.  These people would like nothing more than to wipe out anything and everything that was accomplished over the past 8 years under Obama, including marriage equality. Should this start to become apparent we are fortunate to have people who are actually competent on our side.


On Tuesday, surrounded by men with small dicks, Trump re-imposed the “global gag rule” which had been had been last in effect when Ronald Reagan was in office.  In short, this rule effectively cuts off all funding for any NGO around the world that provides abortion services even if those organizations provide abortions with their own funds.  While I’m not a fan of abortions (why would anyone be?), I am a strong supporter of women having the right to seek them out where they might be performed safely and with the interests of both the mother and potential child in mind.  This rule reeks of religion and misogyny, written by men who have absolutely no idea what it means to be a woman.  I can’t pretend I do either however I will say as a non-procreating man that the world is too overcrowded as it is.  If we are suddenly going to criminalize abortions, then can we at least make a rule to knock off a few of these politicians in office who want government hands out of EVERYTHING except this.  Maybe a 1 for 1?  I don’t believe in abortion as a form of birth control (education works far better) but for the love of god (who’s God doesn’t matter), there is no man alive who could possibly understand the vast number of reasons abortions should be legal and safe.  With this rule now in place, it’s only a matter of time before these folks usurp the rule of settled law in this country and start grabbing as much pussy as they can, after all, they won’t have to pay out the child support judging from the lack of morals seeping out of Washington.

The Arts are for Gaybies

With people now in power who have clearly never seen the benefits of any sort of Art’s education, threats have been made to de-fund the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities and at least 15 other small beans federal agencies or programs in their attempt to “balance” the budget.  Entities such as CPB and the NEA are clearly corrupt because (gasp) they enjoy about 500,000,000 (2016) in funding from our Government in the form of grants.  That’s way too expensive they cry, as though the nearly 598,500,000,000.00 (53.71%) of government spending on our Military is somehow justifiable.  Yes, that’s 598.5 BILLION in 2015 out of the discretionary spending of the United States.  Priorities matter.  If things keep up like they have over the past 2 days, we’re going to need that Military money to keep the rest of the world from blowing us all sky high!  Let me give you some perspective dipshits:  Of the 17 programs or agencies on the cutting block, they cost each tax payer a WHOPPING total of $22.36 per year.  I’m quite sure that’s a good $10 less than the shitty 2-hour movie you just sat through at the iMax theater.

Donald Trump


Like everyone else, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about politics and about where I fit into our national discussion.  In my last post, I outlined my early opposition to Donald Trump who, despite my opinion, I still must refer to as President because that is how our institution works.  Simply giving him that title does not compel me to swear my allegiance to him or to the policies of this country.

Yesterday during my short breaks at work, I spent some time marveling at the massive crowds demonstrating around the country. I flipped through my Facebook feed observing that nearly all of my female friends and their partners and children were taking part in these demonstrations. Empowerment matters for a variety of reasons and it was clear that this movement, this resistance, has strength.

Demonstrators on the streets of Washington DC


I’m posting a quote below that I found buried in one of the comments to a Facebook Post about these demonstrations.  I think it’s important to understand history and context as we go forward.  The ideals of our democracy are important and I am certainly not beyond making the next 4 years debilitating for those at the top.  In a huge country among millions of people, it’s easy to lose one’s place.  It’s easy to believe that your voice is irrelevant, that nobody else is listening, that you’ve been left behind in some existential movement.  Tipping points do not occur without provocation and provocation cannot occur without intent. One of the great things about the type of democracy we live in is that collective groups of people can create change.  We’ve been there before.  Our history is rife with movements that forced positive change.  We are not yet beholden to a dictator and we do not have to tolerate a speedy transition from our democracy to a plutocracy which then becomes only a short step to autocracy. It is through complacency and simple disbelief that we allow that sort of transition to happen right beneath our feet.  Clearly, there are millions in our country right now who want to be sure we don’t go down that path and I include myself with them.

I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To “Get over it.”
To accept this…
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I’ve tolerated all I can.
Now it’s their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day
forward is now Trump’s fault just as much as they thought it was Obama’s.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give.”

The Politics of Nasty

For a number of years, I’ve tried to avoid discussing politics within the realm of my various blogs. I’m not the type of person who enjoys conflict and really, who am I kidding? Most of my readers are already members of my own choir.  Occasionally, however, I’ve received emails or comments from random strangers who either agree or disagree with my assessment of the world. I enjoy those because all said, my world is pretty small. I enjoy a healthy debate about issues. Not the “I’m right and you’re wrong” sort of debates but the type where the debaters have an actual clue what they are talking about.  Having said that, it’s appropriate that with the inauguration of a complete lunatic occurring tomorrow, it should be known that I did not vote for Mr. Trump nor do I in any way accept the outcome of the 2016 election in the United States.  Since my web sites tend to get recurring hits from various Ukrainian and Russian web bots and script kiddies, I just want to make sure all readers know that I am a US citizen and I have a vested interest in the politics of my country.  So then what do my politics consist of?

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary this year.  It was the first primary election I had voted in and this year I felt I really needed to be sure and do it.  In Michigan, we don’t have a requirement to declare a party affiliation.  I’ve always voted for the Democrat in most elections but that doesn’t really mean I don’t have a few “Republican” view points.  I also like and support Capitalism but that doesn’t mean that I can’t support aspects of Socialism.  Bernie sort of fit into the middle of that.  To be honest, I really had no major issues with Hillary Clinton and would have been proud to cast a vote in the primaries for a career politician with a habit of making cronyistic men uncomfortable.  In the end, when it was election time, I did cast my vote for her since Bernie had been beaten off the ticket.  It was a tough choice for me and in the end, I’d have been happy with either one of them as president.  That’s not how things played out.

Holly Hill Estate Parlor
The main parlor of Brooke Astor’s Westchester Estate

Tomorrow, January 20, 2017 our country will swear in a man who I first met in person when I was 13 years old. As this blog progresses, readers will pick up various bits and pieces of my past through my story telling. This story is pertinent and should be recorded at least for posterity. Back in 1988 I was in a choir and we had been shuttled to upstate New York to perform at the then sprawling estate of (Lady) Brooke Astor. For what it’s worth, the Astor Estate has now fallen into disrepair and that’s only slightly sad because it was a beautiful home in it’s day.  For those not in the know, Wikipedia describes her as an American philanthropist, socialite, and writer who was also chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation.  If you still don’t know her, it’d be a good idea to brush up on your American History and read about the Astor name and legacy.  In short, she had some bucks and lots of friends in very high places.  Myself, I didn’t really grasp that or care all that much at the time, this engagement was just another concert for someone important in hopes of getting some financial support. We were told to be on our best behavior and that our little soiree mattered because we were singing for some very important people.  That instruction can be a little complicated for a group of 25 pre-teen boys to get their heads around but we knew what we needed to do because we had done it hundred times before and so we silently got on board with the adult’s request.

I can say with certainty that there are few things that older women like more than watching and listening to angelic little boys sing. When we arrived at the estate we were taken into a parlor (pictured) where we would eventually be singing various Americana selections and we were told to walk around and socialize with those who had gathered. It was then we found out who some of the guests were.  Two individuals who stood out to me were Malcolm Forbes and Donald Trump.  I knew of Forbes because he had a magazine with his name on it (and was rich). I knew of Trump because his name was plastered on a big golden building on 5th Avenue in New York City.  The first thing that struck me about this dynamic duo was that neither of them really looked or behaved like the rest of the “dignified” (and shall we say older) men attending this event. Mr. Forbes was wearing a tie but Mr. Trump was sporting a casual pink pinstripe shirt with the top several buttons undone and a sportcoat, also unbuttoned. It was notable to me that many of the other folks were in more formal attire. Both men had a drink in their hand when I was able to introduce myself and shake their hands.  Both men left an impression on me.  It wasn’t a star-struck “WOW I can’t believe I just met Donald Trump and Malcolm Forbes” impression either, it was pretty much a “what the fuck did I just see” impression.

Choir engagement at the Astor Estate in Tarrytown, NY. 1988

The picture to the left shows both Malcolm Forbes and Donald Trump along with the Headmaster of my school and 4 of my classmates.  Even at 13 years old I had pretty good idea about what it meant to be a decent human being. Trump didn’t fit that image for me (Forbes really didn’t either) and skipping ahead now 30 years later, he certainly does not match up to my image of a decent person in 2016. I just couldn’t fall in line behind a man who thought it was somehow appropriate to dress down at a formal fundraising event I went to as a kid and I absolutely can not get in line with a man who today has the audacity to “grab em by the pussy” and laugh about it. I get the whole celebrity culture thing but for God’s sake, even gangsters know what a tie is. Because Trump could not bring himself to at least pretend to have a little class and dignity the image of meeting a misogynistic dirty old man stuck with me. Trump entered my field of vision every now and then throughout my growing up years and into adulthood.  Whether it was another story of a failed Casino or another bankruptcy or the image of an angry wanna-be blond man sitting in a board room chair that was very clearly too big for him telling kids my age that they were worthless human beings on his TV show, he just wasn’t a believable or even a likeable person.  Over the years he continuously struck me as someone who cared very little about anyone but himself. Someone who didn’t have the sense of self to understand that the world didn’t and shouldn’t revolve around him. Someone who, even 30 years ago, could barely put together a coherent sentence and who now we will have the pleasure of watching him fumble his way through State of the Union addresses, embarrassing everyone in America along the way.  So, reflecting on my own personal experiences with our soon to be president, there was no way he was going to get my vote.  Sadly, my vote against him didn’t matter.

We left the Astor’s Estate that day in a formal double line still wearing our concert attire. While we were waiting to board the bus, as boys tend to be, a scuffle broke out, complete with hitting, tears, and a boy on the ground. Two of my classmates had quite enough with each other, folders were slapped out of hands, music was strewn about on Lady Astor’s driveway and our choir director and manager were distraught with this scene that was unfolding in front of them.  There’s always one right?  The fight was broken up and we were quickly moved on to the bus and for the next 3 hours we were intently and loudly schooled about what exactly our place was in the world and how expulsion from school was a very real and looming threat that we all needed to think about really hard.  We sat in silence for the rest of the way home reflecting on our childish inadequacies, something not entirely lost on me today.  The choir got its check and the world kept turning.