“Terms of His Surrender”

July 30, 2017
WWCK Air Staff -- 1981

WWCK Air Staff (1981) — Michael Moore on Far Right (Only Time Ever)

I sold popcorn with him at the University of Michigan (Flint) student theater when his annual income was less than I paid in taxes. Years later, legal papers estimated his net worth at over fifty million dollars, the bulk of it accidentally earned when Walt Disney chickened out at the last minute and allowed him and partners to acquire, release and distribute a new film Disney had bankrolled. That was “Fahrenheit 9/11” — the highest grossing documentary of all time. Michael Moore had just turned 50.

Mike and I first met in the early ‘70’s when religious leaders in Davison, Michigan were attempting to throw me (“Satan’s Pied Piper”) and my rock concerts out of town. They also wanted to shut down Michael’s “Davison Hotline” – an organization dedicated to helping troubled area teens. It didn’t help that Mr. Moore had just been voted onto the Davison Board of Education at the age of 18, becoming at the time the youngest person ever elected to public office in the history of the United States.

Michael Moore became our “Director of Sunday Programming” on WWCK-FM in Flint for many years, hosting “Radio Free Flint” Sunday mornings with twelve incoming lines ringing off the wall. This is when WWCK became the highest-rated Rock & Roll station in the country. Mike played no small part. I paid him with free airtime to promote his fund raising activities, including sold-out concerts with the late Harry Chapin, who donated all proceeds to “The Flint Voice” – Mike’s alternative newspaper.

In 1987, Michael started working on a movie about Flint, personally handling every aspect of preparation, production and promotion. My major contribution was obtaining some TV credentials from Toledo so he could film the closing of a major Flint assembly line and sending him my personal copy of “Jingle Bells” by The Singing Dogs. This can be heard in the final minutes of “Roger and Me” as a Flint family is tossed out of their home Christmas Eve, brilliantly juxtaposed against a festively attired General Motors Choir singing traditional carols at a lavish corporate banquet in Detroit. Mike thought he might get ”Roger and Me” on “Frontline” if he was lucky. The rest is history.

After “Bowling for Columbine”, which won a 2002 Academy Award as Best Documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Sicko”, “Slacker Uprising” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” in 2009, the election of Barack Obama brought about a seeming resurgence, however temporary, of mainstream progressive thought and Michael was no longer the almost singular “voice of the America left” he had inadvertently become.

When I contacted Michael after surprisingly seeing him on MSNBC with Chris Hayes shortly after Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency, Mike said that was his “first time in a live TV studio in years.” Now he’s super charged up, mightily motivated and on the move.

Last Friday, Michael Moore’s first Broadway show, “The Terms of My Surrender” opened for a 12-week run at the 1,018 seat Belasco Theater. Seats are quickly selling out. Additionally underway is a follow-up to “Fahrenheit 9/11” in cooperation with Bob and Harvey Weinstein, founders of Miramax. They’ve purchased worldwide rights to “Fahrenheit 11/9”, which will deal with the aftermath of Trump’s election commencing the day after voting ended and the insanity began. Mike also returns to television this fall for the first time since 2000 with “Michael Moore: Live From The Apocalypse” on TNT.

 When you’re hot, you’re hot.

Thanks, Mr. President, for giving my old pal work.

That’s one done, ten million to go.



“I Like Mike”

April 19, 2018


 Elect the clown – expect a circus.

Our Philanderer-in-Chief never fails to disappoint –offering three ring spills, chills and thrills as he enters his second year of dazzling degeneration.

Abandonment of governmental perspective and social policies established by our World War Two warriors of “The Greatest Generation” are accelerating exponentially, almost unnoticed.

Distraction dominates. Our eyes and ears are filled with daily head spinning details of the latest outrages, each replacing and erasing the last. Paying true attention with appropriate response requires strength, stamina and stability beyond levels of normal human experience and expectation. That’s why Michael Avenatti is my new media hero.

“There are results. Then there are excuses.” – Michael Avenatti, — (2018)

47 year-old Michael Avenatti is a professional racecar driver who has competed in dozens of events in recent years, including the American Le Mans Series, the FIA World Endurance Championship, The Porsche Supercup and United Sports Car Championships in the United States and Europe. But that’s a hobby. His day job is attorney – an occupation in which he has displayed decades of excellence. With a porno star as client, Donald J. Trump is now in his cross hairs.

“Stormy Daniels” says she spent some adult time with Trump back in 2006, shortly after First Lady Melania gave birth to Barron, even as the boy’s father was also sharing special moments for an extended period with Karen McDougal, Playboy’s 1998 Playmate of the Year.

Just before Trump was elected our 45th President in 2016, Stormy received $130,000 supposedly to be quiet about their liaison. That’s fancy French for you know what. While exactly who coughed up the cash for precisely what is now the subject of a major federal investigation or two, Mr. Avenatti has leapt to the forefront in defending Ms. Daniels and defining one of Trump’s closest confidants, personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as a spectacular screw up and potential nightmare for the White House.

Avenatti has recently logged more TV time than Johnny Carson in his prime. Mike’s really good at it – enthusiastically engaging. And he’s committing the most unforgivable sin of all in grabbing the spotlight from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, holding the stage with Donald enraged. That’s entertainment. So is this.

The current #1 best seller,” A Higher Loyalty”, is not about Keith Richards. The very thought of comparing Donald Trump with the former Director of the FBI in matters of truth, honesty and integrity is patently absurd. Look in the nearest mirror. Ask your image, “Who would I trust with my family’s lives? Jim or The Joker?”

Mr. Comey is now a private citizen. Those complaining about his brief subjective and marginally unflattering references to the president in “A Higher Loyalty” might reflect that (a) these things make the book much more interesting and (b) Comey was fired in a ham fisted, devastatingly humiliating manner. It’s no wonder a certain amount of cool attitude comes shining through.

I hope to see you tonight at Yosemite High School for a major debate between our three candidates for Madera County District Attorney. It will be our current DA, David Linn, facing off against worthy opponents Paul Hornick and Sally Moreno. Doors open at 6 with the program kicking off at 6:30. The Oakhurst Democratic Club is sponsoring tonight’s debate with assistance from Yosemite Mock Trial Team Members. They’re just back from doing us proud representing Madera County in State Competition.

I moderated the 2014 debate between Mr. Linn and Michael Keitz and was honored being asked to repeat such tonight — as an old fire horse slides down the pole again.




“A Children’s Crusade”

March 30, 2018


The original “Children’s Crusade” seems to have taken place in the early part of the 13th Century when well-intended but ill-advised European Christians attempted to regain The Holy Land from Muslim rule by sending children to peacefully initiate conversion. Most ended up being sold into slavery.

A next instance of encountering the phrase happened when my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, used it as a 1969 subtitle in his most influential and popular semi-autobiographical work, “Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.” I believe Vonnegut’s point was that it’s youth who often pay most for sins of the old.

Perhaps not this time?

Happy Easter Week.

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19; 13-14

I was magnificently stunned by the awesome participation generated by our young in their “March for Our Lives” dramatically manifest with over a half-million attending at The National Mall in wintry Washington and even many more at almost a thousand sites around the world.

The kids are alright. Dialed in. They get it.

I love how Trump frump Sarah Huckleberry Sanders kicks off virtually every response to White House reporters with the word, “Look”. It’s something Sean Hannity started a few years ago with “Look” functionally positioned by tone and temperament to mean, “Listen, Stupid!”

But, look — my use of the word intended to “please reflect upon the following with fairness:”

The right to privately bear arms separate from a regulated militia was only affirmed once by the Supreme Court. This was just a decade ago in “District of Columbia vs. Heller” — 2008 — and by only a single vote (5-4.) Even then, Justice Anton Scalia wrote in his majority opinion that, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The minority position presented by Justice John Paul Stevens states, “The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…. I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.”

 So much for the “Sacred Constitution Right to Bear Arms.” There’s no such thing, unless all majority opinions automatically carry divine sanction and heavenly endorsement.

In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed a federal ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The law specifically banned certain semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15, as well as rifles that could accept detachable magazines. That ban lapsed in 2004, when Congress did not reauthorize it. Several serious attempts to do so in the wake of subsequent massacres have been block by Congressional Republicans led by the NRA.

According to a recent Harvard/Northeastern University Study, 3% of the American population own over 50% of our civilian guns. 7.7 million own between 8 and 140 guns.

I am not for confiscating anything from anyone at this point, but let’s heed the voices of our future.

Every good law should increase freedom. In this instance, let’s balance individual freedom to own, display and detonate weapons of war against a collective freedom to not get killed by such, particularly if you have most of your life still ahead of you.





March 10, 2018

Christmas DNA Results


Curiosity carried the day. Surrendering to irresistible and inexplicable primal forces, I spit in a tube and off it went.

Enchantingly enticed by a continuing barrage of alluring invitations to uncover my genetically traced geographic origins with state of the art precision, I received notice last Christmas Eve morning from Ancestry.com that magical machines had finished their work. Final results were a simple click away.


With St. Patrick’s Day 2018 not that distant, please allow me to share with you this outline of my bloodline:

DNA Story for Peter Cavanaugh:

Ethnicity Estimate – Ireland, Scotland, Wales – 88%

Highest Confidence Regions – Munster, Ireland and Connacht, Ireland.

Lowest Confidence Regions: Great Britain (4%), Scandinavia (3%), Caucasus (2%), Europe West (<1%) and Europe South (<1%). That’s it from the spit.

Eileen and I have visited Ireland twice for an extended period, in 1992 and again in 2002. It was like going home. There were familiar faces everywhere, but how could there not be? It is an enormous gene pool.

Our bus driver from Killarney looked just like my brother, Paul. A retired schoolteacher from Boston questioned him why some sheep in the countryside were marked with red dye and others with blue. With a perfectly straight face he replied, “That’s how we tell the boys from the girls.” The nice lady nodded. Of course. How else could such be known? Ireland.

In Kells, we stopped and asked an older man of many years where we might find a nice place for some tea and conversation. He brought us to his home. We were there for hours. Ireland.

Most Irish-Americans know very little about relatively recent Irish history. On Saturday the 17th, try streaming, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” or “In the Name of the Father” or, best yet, a magnificent film from 1996 starring Liam Neeson as “Michael Collins”— Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician, ambushed and killed during the Irish Civil War of 1922 by men he had formerly led. 500,000 attended his funeral in Dublin, a full one-fifth of the Irish Republic’s population. Ireland.

Ireland was England’s first and last colony. Brutally oppressed for over 800 years, many of its native citizens came to America in the 1840’s during the “Great Famine” on “coffin ships” – poor, illiterate, subject to every indignity known to man.

Although the Cavanaughs seem to have remained proudly Catholic on the paternal side of things, William McClasky, my Mom’s Dad, was a MacClasky for many decades, being a “Mac” rather than “Mick” offering significant career advantages when “No Irish Need Apply’ signs sprang up from coast to coast. He finally informed his four daughters, “We’re Irish and we’re Catholic.”

 “Dad McClaskey” gained substantial notoriety in Syracuse during his final years training a track team of Mohawk Indians from The Onondaga Indian Reservation and winning a number of New York State championships. He was also quite an amateur boxer in his time.

With our four daughters and our first grandchild being our first little girl’s first little girl, the gender dam finally broke when our second grandchild (from daughter Colleen) was – a boy! Named – William!

Of our twelve (I believe we’ve stopped counting now) grandchildren, seven are male and five are female. That doesn’t include a great granddaughter and great grandson.

William is a senior at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, an Eagle Scout and a proud member of our National Guard.

We slept in William’s room during our recent Cincinnati visit.

I was supplied in advance with a note from Will as to where he stashes his Jameson’s.


Happy St. Paddy’s Day straight ahead.


Postcard From Ohio

February 17, 2018
  26850365_10212725645789080_1692600142382133391_o                                    Colleen Cavanaugh Pyron

“Twilight Zone”

February 1, 2018

Rod Serling

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” – Rod Serling – “The Twilight Zone” — CBS Television Series — (1959 – 1964)

Rod Serling was from Syracuse. He became a renowned screenwriter, playwright, television producer and narrator. His aunt lived next door to us on Hawthorne Street. Every so often he would stop by to visit her. This is before he became famous. He was always active in progressive politics.

It’s 2018 and here we are – in his Twilight Zone.

A super conservative friend of mine who shall go unnamed (Ray Krause – Westbrook Wine Farm) just sent me an essay entitled “The Feel of Sincerity in a Handshake.” It’s about Donald Trump visiting a severely wounded warrior and, as he notices both of the man’s arms missing, he empathetically brushes the soldier’s face in lieu of a handshake.

In praise of this, the writer passionately states, “In his stead, I certainly couldn’t imagine Hillary (or Bill, for that matter) or Obama making anything close to this gesture. He closes with,  This is what I see when I think of Trump’s motives. He gave up a billionaire lifestyle to now be insulted, dragged through the mud, and lied about in the media on a daily basis. All to save this country and people he loves.

Ray sends this stuff all the time to drive me crazy. It works. I always return the favor offering a differing perspective.

As readers know, I consider Trump to be a malignant narcissist and active sociopath completely unfit for office, a threat to our country and an imminent danger to the entire world. That’s for starters.

The point is — I don’t doubt for an instant the honesty and validity of Ray’s clearly expressed opinions – as I would hope he regards my own observations and overviews as functional, if not fanciful.

Friends, neighbors, relatives, beasts of the field and small domestic pets are now living in vastly separate political realities – different Twilight Zones. Watching Trump’s Mistake of the Union Address brought this into terrifying perspective.

Sticking to the teleprompter and limiting his signature wheeze to passing gurgles, Donald delivered one of his finer moments in maximizing content and minimizing contempt. One could tell different writers at work by the volume of venom – toned down, but not turned off.

While Pouty Pelosi didn’t help her Party, Poodle Pence was pleasantly present. He does have perfect hair. Don’t tell the boss.

Russia wasn’t mentioned much at all – not a bit as far as the “witch hunt” is concerned. There wasn’t anything said about Trump not initiating harsh sanctions against Moscow for election interference within the legally established time frame as ordered by Congress. That vote was 97 to 2 in the Senate and 419 to 3 in the House. But when Putin says, “No” — Donald the Debtor delivers. When you owe hundreds of millions to the wrong kind of folks, one does what one must.

Then came the “four page memo” debacle courtesy of Dimwit Devin down the road. He wasn’t alone. Our own congressional representative, recklessly pandering for promotion, went on record supporting an expanded investigation “involving actions of senior officials” of the FBI and Department of Justice.”

Tom McClintock? You embarrassed us all.

Come back into the light.





“Too Many Teardrops”

January 25, 2018


“”96 Tears” is the best Rock ‘n Roll song ever” – John Lennon (1972)

I was talking with Question Mark just this morning.

 “Q” remains somewhere between 7 and 77 years old, his physical essence having originated on Mars and transported to earth in a brilliant flash of timeless metaphysical transcendence – as it always was and forever will be. He clearly remembers walking on this very planet with dinosaurs. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

 The name on “Q’s” Michigan Driver’s License is Rudy Martinez. His Martian name can’t be spelled nor visually depicted and is completely unpronounceable.

When I was a young DJ in Flint, Michigan back in the early ‘Sixties, Rudy and his band would play at my record hops and rock concerts. I paid them twenty bucks apiece and would spring for pizza and beer after the gigs.

Members of the group were the sons of Mexican-American migrant farm workers seeking a better life for themselves and their families “camino hacia el norte” – “way up north” in Michigan.

When the group recorded a cover version of Wilson Picket’s “Midnight Hour” for their debut 45 single on March 13th of 1966, they needed something to put on the other side.

Rhythm player Robert Martinez introduced a curious organ riff into a tune he and Rudy had been working up. They recorded it in mere minutes. At WTAC we thought it was cool — even better than “Midnight Hour” – so we played it experimentally. The proverbial phones started ringing off the walls. At the time, Rock Critic Greg Shaw wrote that the deceptively simple song delivered “amazingly precise execution.”

By October, “96 Tears” by Question Mark and The Mysterians had sold 2.5 million copies and was #1 in the world.” It’s still heard by hundreds of thousands everyday on FM “Oldies” stations all over the planet.

In 1968, their record label, Cameo-Parkway was raided and shut down by the Security and Exchange Commission for stock manipulation, taking the band’s accumulated royalties and contracts with them. The group was left with nothing from that relationship. Not even pizza and beer.

The band has broken up and reformed many times through the years offering many new tunes — most disappearing in the competitive fire and frenzy of modern rock. But their “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” (1967) proved to be a monster hit for San Jose’s “Smash Mouth” in 1999.

In January of 2007, Question Mark’s house just north of Flint burned to the ground, destroying all of his irreplaceable memorabilia. A number of benefits were held across the country, including a major concert in San Francisco. Having moved to California and Oakhurst only months before, I was amazed at how familiar West Coast musicians were with early Michigan rockers, particularly Question Mark.

“Q” and I have kept in touch through the years. He has his plans and projects and these words for this column:

“No matter what’s happening in your life, just Rock & Roll, Babe. Enjoy the romance of who you are and share with others the love, the caring, the kindness and so much more that you carry in your heart.”

I have a special place in my heart for Rock & Roll Pioneers such as Question Mark, the fleeting fame and fortune of careening careers often leaving many, in the defining words of Billy Squire, with lifetime pensions limited to “loneliness and alcohol.” But that’s not “Q.”

He promises to still be performing in 10,000 more light years all over the Universe.

That wouldn’t surprise me for a nanosecond.

“Misery Accomplished”

December 31, 2017


“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” — Pope Francis – “Evangelii Gaudium” (2013)

We let it happened on our watch – a trillion and a half borrowed dollars making the rich yet richer at the expense of the old, sick, powerless and poor – Americans all.

Shame on you for abandoning integrity and joining the moneychangers, Tom McClintock.

Record crowds are already turning out in Roseville, Mariposa, Oakhurst and elsewhere in the Fourth District to hear from Democratic contenders dedicated to driving you out of the temple. And as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) might happily observe, they’re all GIRLS. Newspapers in LA and San Francisco already agree that we are in serious play for the first time in decades. These ladies are resisting, persisting, insisting and — enlisting.

Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” into law before leaving for an expensive Christmas vacation at Mar-A-Lago, his private club in West Palm Beach. It wasn’t long before he was bragging to millionaire friends in his bar, “You all just got a lot richer.” He might have been looking in the mirror. The law puts many new millions into Trump’s own pocket in the immediate future with lots more saved for the Trump family not that far down the road.

But after all is said and done, it turns out you’re as dumb as you look, Donald. With a single signature, you made yourself functionally obsolete, having served your primary purpose as President of the powerful by signing into law the most massive transfer of wealth in our nation’s history. Republican donors unheard of, but not unheeded, wanted no more, but would accept nothing less. Your services are no longer required. “Poodle” Pence will be encouraged to pounce. His obeisance is proven. He’ll stay curbed.

For the one percent of our population at the very top, a mission of misery for the masses has been accomplished.

83% of the new Republican tax “reform law” benefits will go to folks on top of the hill after ten years, but 60% will actually go to the top one percent of the top one percent. That’s one out of ten thousand citizens grabbing 60% of the action, leaving the remaining 40% to 9,999 others. Do the math yourself.

92 million middle-class Americans will end up paying more in taxes by the end of a decade, 8 million this year alone. 13 million Americans will lose their health insurance as the rest face sharply rising premiums for significantly less coverage. The devastation won’t stop there.

Here come “responsible” Republican cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and other vital social programs in the name of “deficit reduction” and “budget balancing.”

Infrastructure investment? Bring back toll roads.

Universal health care? As long as it’s The “Star Wars” plan – offered

in a galaxy far, far away.

Food stamps? Let them eat cake!

Free cake? Only as paid for!

Never before in the history of our Republic have so few robbed so many so ruthlessly under the guise of free enterprise — dollars returned for pennies invested at the very top of the pyramid.

Feel the trickle?

Or was it a trick?

Jessica Morse, Regina Bateson and Roza Calderon say it was tragic.

Tom McClintock offered the measure his “enthusiastic support” on behalf of California taxpayers. Tom also claims that those who insist that “trickle down” doesn’t work are Marxists.

Such as Pope Francis?







“Here Comes The Sun”

December 17, 2017


I bet you never felt a thing.

At precisely 8:28 this morning (Oakhurst Time) – the Northern Hemisphere of Earth once again tilted back toward the sun as our darkest day of the year dawned with Winter Solstice 2017.

Perhaps these dire days of Trump will soon find similar end.

“With flames from the dragon of darkness, the sunlight blinds his eyes” – Led Zeppelin – “Battle for Evermore” (1971)

The rats have been cornered and are attacking.

Fox News has moved from truth to treachery to treason.

California Representative Adam Schiff’s’s chilling call for alarm last Friday is ignored at great peril.

“I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House Intelligence Committee Investigation by the end of the month. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact.”

 Schiff is burdened by being forced to deal with the embarrassing inadequacies of his Committee Chairman, Devin “Nitwit” Nunes, who had yet to explain his extraordinary involvement several months ago in dramatically holding a major press conference, then bringing to the White House documents he had obtained in the dark of night – at and from — the White House. Move over, Bozo. A new King Clown was thus self-crowned. Watch him closely. Furtive eyes tell no lies.

 Republicans in Congress have willfully abandoned any pretense of proper protocol in a desperate end of the year rush to give the grabber his pathetic “win” with a tax bonanza for the rich and corporations they control. Damn democracy — full greed ahead! The old and poor can pay for it. They’ve been coddled long enough.

Meanwhile, the Internet is now open to bidding by power players thanks to last week’s 3-2 party vote to abandon “Network Neutrality” and allow broadband suppliers to throttle speeds and/or refuse competitor content.

Virtually every cabinet position is held by those dedicated to governmental destruction, the only saving grace being that many of Trump’s choices are proving to be grossly incompetent at anything they do. See that candidate for a lifetime appointment as Federal Appellate Judge on TV? It’s a miracle he remembered to put on his pants before testifying. I rest my case.

Yet I sense we are finally reaching a brilliant crescendo as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team relentlessly pursue ultimate, healing truth with sworn loyalty to the American people and commensurate accountability by all.

It should not be overlooked that Robert Mueller is a lifelong Republican who ran the FBI from 2001 to 2013. George W. Bush appointed him to this position. President Barack Obama extended his original ten-year term for two years, making him the longest serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover. Mueller was a Marine Corp Officer in the Viet Nam war. He received the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Heroism and a Purple Heart for wounds incurred in heavy combat. Folks, he ain’t afraid of Donald “Draft Dodger” Trump.

It is undeniably evident that insidious Russian interference in our 2016 election cycle took place nationwide with surreptitious sophistication. The Trump Administration not only denies this. They have unforgivably done nothing about it.

My own summary suspicion on this whole deal is that Trump became heavily entangled with Russian financial alliances and potentially deadly obligations way back after he filed his six business bankruptcies when no legitimate bank would lend him another penny.

For any practical purpose, Donald J. Trump is now functionally an agent of Vladimir Putin’s global agenda as Sean Hannity obstructs justice on a criminal level with kindred souls equally lacking fundamental integrity.

As the world turns.







“Hands to Yourself”

December 10, 2017


 “Don’t hand me no lines, and keep your hands to yourself” – Georgia Satellites (1986)


It’s too late to do much about it anyway.

But I’d like to believe I’ve had more than my fair share of forbidden flesh in the 76 years I’ve been spinning around our sun. I’m still just not sure how much fair might be and exactly what’s forbidden.

As an Irish Catholic lad attending parochial school in the early ‘50’s, I can tell you what I was originally told was forbidden flesh. Everything. Even my own.

Desiring pleasure brought the same guilt as finding it. “Wanting to” was “doing it” with an identical penalty – burning in the flaming fires of hell for all eternity. And – what burns the hottest – is the part you’ve sinned with. I’m not making this up.

There was even a fancy word that summed it all up. “Concupiscence.” That was defined in the catechism (“rule book”) as “a natural desire for sensual evil.” Father Dan Berrigan, S.J. thought this was stupid and had us write “or good” after the word “evil” in our Theology textbooks at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. That took care of that. I decided way back then that appropriate sexual conduct comes down to responsible behavior, common decency and mutual consent.

The indisputable fact remains that males of our species are genetically predisposed to initiate an act that rhymes with “Tex”. See? Echoes from the past still haunt my psyche. But romantic mechanics in getting things started have happily evolved upward through time from a hair drag in the cave to a bent knee lowered in humble petition — King Kong to Prince Harry.

Nevertheless, we now witness a sudden cascade of caustic castigation as accusations of impropriety are levied against dozens of iconic male figures, such charges offering easily definable variance in severity of offense despite nonsensical demands for “zero tolerance” in certain batty circles. Please. A passing posterior is not the Ark of the Covenant. One shouldn’t die for touching it. A sound slap? Sure.

What a roll call. Among the better-known accused Media types are Dustin Hoffman, Russell Simmons, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Ben Affleck, Nick Carter, Louis C.K., Richard Dreyfuss, Sylvester Stallone, and even Garrison Keeler. Skinny-dipping in Lake Wobegon?

There are politicians, preachers, cops and teachers. Sailors, jailers, priests and tailors. Young and old, brave and bold. George H. W. Bush, our 41st President, claims his favorite magician is “David Cop-a-Feel.” Really. Trump frump Sarah Sanders says her boss, currently President by divine misfortune, does not lie — especially about women.

In my mind there’s a vast difference between the criminal activities alleged of casting couch lizard Harvey Weinstein and a few ill positioned squeezes by Senator Al Franken at the Minnesota State Fair. That “playful” picture on the plane leaving The Gulf in the old dark comedy days didn’t help matters any. Rod Stewart was right. Every picture does tell a story, especially if it’s not the one intended.

Senator Al was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency by sister senators of Democratic persuasion who wanted a better shot at Judge Roy Moore without being encumbered by a bothersome brother. Even though Franken had been an outstanding advocate of women’s rights since his earliest days in office, he had to go. From a tactical perspective, this is probably true. In other ways, I’m not so sure.

It seems that some ladies can be as rough and tough as the boys.

That’s fine with me and comes as no surprise.

I remember those nuns.







“Dates of Infamy”

December 3, 2017



“December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt — “War Message to Congress”

Today, December 7, 2017, marks the 76th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War Two, a conflict that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions and a narrow escape from global despotic rule. We’re still speaking English in Oakhurst. This need not have been so.

Tomorrow is the 37th Anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon in front of the Dakota, his residence in New York City, an assassination which brought to an end the remarkable career of a musical master and working class hero. Have we ever actually given peace a chance?

In less than two weeks, on Tuesday, December 19th, we confront the 1st Anniversary of the Electoral College officially verifying the November 8, 2016 election of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States, sealing our fate to be led by a lunatic until such time as the madness mercifully stops or we all end. Let’s add these to our list of infamous dates.

I find myself struggling to write the same thing in different ways. Our beloved country is turning “tribal”, normally referencing a group of distinct people existing before the development of nation states. Now it defines modern day separatism and largely accounts for the tawdry triumphs of Trump – raising taxes on the poor and middle class, taking health insurance away from 13 million, raising average premiums 10%, increasing the federal deficit by several trillion dollars and desecrating every traditional institution that comes within reach of his puny putrescent paws.

Prominent British anthropologist Steven Corry defines “tribal people” as having followed certain ways of life for many generations, regard themselves as largely self sufficient and reflect attitudes clearly different from the mainstream, dominant society. The immediate clan is elevated to a position of highest allegiance. Group thought is supreme, regarded as a measure of character, connection and safe guidance. It’s going along to get along. It’s surrender of the soul. It’s acceptance of witless external direction that can change a pedophile to a parson in the wink of an eye. Praise the Lord and Saint Roy Moore of Etowah County, Alabama.

Sports tribes are fine, unless we forget there are quite a few meanings of the word “game” all the way from “an activity providing entertainment or amusement” to “an object of attack, ridicule or pursuit.” Eileen and I were treated to examples of both when we attended Game 4 of the 1968 World Series at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

A group of St. Louis fans made the mistake of displaying Cardinal sportswear as they walked in front of ice-cold Stroh’s guzzling Tiger fans. The visitors were thoroughly doused in beer from head to toe – and it wasn’t even Bud. One fact does remain. They became game at the game. Thank you. Thank you. Next show’s at Midnight. Tickets in the lobby.

Last Friday (12/1/17) had to be a day of infamy for Donald the First with his former favorite General, Michael Thomas Flynn, copping to a Federal felony and singing like a canary. Adding insult to injury, “Two Scoops” found out about it watching “Fox & Friends.” He thought being President meant you knew stuff first. “The first shall be last.” Matthew 20:16. Look it up in the Bible, Mr. President. It’s that big black book next to your crayons.