Category Archives: Tales Out of School

Not Ready to Make Nice

One terrific result produced by the Donald Trump klepto- and kakacracy – no need to bother with restraint when any aspect of his crime organization administration is the subject.

Throughout the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the right never let the facts interrupt its false narrative. Right-wingers’ perversion of the story suited the narrow-minded, the flat-out bigoted, and ignorant continually inbreeding in less dynamic America.

While Obama and his team exemplified what had been extolled American virtues, channeling the federal government’s immense power to assist and lift Americans, right-wing barking heads and Republican operatives appealed to the nation’s lesser angels. They summoned the worst from the very people who would’ve benefited most from the prior administration’s proposals. Other than corporate America and its handmaidens determined to make life as disagreeable as possible for ordinary citizens, who could’ve been opposed to better health care, safer working conditions, and a less toxic environment?

All that improvement would’ve sliced into profits. Can’t have that, can we?

Reminds of the abject cynicism portrayed in The Third Man, a 1949 movie. Set in postwar Vienna, the theme is utmost exploitation for maximum profit. In it, blackmarketeers have flooded city hospitals with diluted drugs.

The film’s antagonist justifies his immorality by comparing people to ants. Seen from above, people become ants. Distance renders ants small and indistinguishable. Moreover, every “ant” poisoned earns him $25,000.

“And no income tax, old man! No income tax!” the refrain which no doubt resonates powerfully through the selfish among our current society.

As Americans have discovered, those residing at the most rarefied financial heights have decided degrading our lives is a fair exchange for their making even more bags full of money. Or as right-wingers and their increasingly reactionary elements gladly argue if macro America could possibly be enriched micro Americans should accept that our living conditions will worsen and through that our lives shortened.

Yes, that’s how the deal works. In real life, the rich get richer and are insulated from the maladies afflicting those below them. The wealthy lap up gravy; the striving and poor suffer ptomaine.

How have right-wingers made this disparity attractive to those who will bear the burden and endure its consequences? In certain segments of gullible America, the right has indeed made cutting one’s own throat desirable. The indifferent and comfortable have rendered self-preservation, much less evolving, as a disagreeable choice to those occupying the lower-rungs.

When Obama occupied the Oval Office, his supporters followed the chief’s lead. Despite what the right spewed, the levelheaded among us battled their falsehoods with reason. Facts and real numbers often blunted the opposition’s increasingly raving assaults.

In real life shouldn’t these efforts have been enough to dissuade all except those extremists committed and dedicated to creating an America in their most backward image? No and not at all. Der Trump is of such meager quality he would’ve astounded P.T. Barnum, a huckster who chiseled the book on suckers into stone.

One hopes in the short-fingered vulgarian our nation sees the last gasp of self-perpetuated desperate and despairing, needlessly fearful societal segments who wrongly believe that thanks to unfair advantages those they once marginalized have now vaulted ahead of them. People like Barack Obama, who despite his prior achievements and obvious abilities, never should’ve ascended to the White House.

No. The people who overhauled them did it the American Way. They worked hard and towards goals rather than sit on laurels long crushed by lazy expectation.

About one of the former president’s earlier jobs, his community activism, a position much derided by opponents who gave civic virtue lip service when they weren’t sneering at it, corralling the diverse elements of any community is akin to herding cats. So wasn’t it fine preparation for the presidency?

One would’ve thought the self-proclaimed world’s best wheeler-dealer might’ve possessed a skosh of the above skills. Instead an astounded public daily watches and listens to a White House menagerie running wild.

Once Obama ceded power, once Hillary conceded, Der Trump showed that he absolutely refused growing into the majesty of the presidency. Prestige alone wouldn’t make the vile pig grow an inch. And once the real estate fraud’s supporters misinterpreted the election results as open season on decency and opened tolerance to their rampages, these acknowledged that the restraint the 44th president’s side extended his detractors were empty exercises.

There was no need to play nice with such two-legged Trump vermin.

All the above signaled that true Americans could skip the give-and-take of reasoned debate. Their opponents proved themselves deranged. We could forego any rules regarding wearing properly padded gloves, eye-gouging, or even hitting – hitting? – kicking below the belt. The nation’s viability and future were at stake thanks to the Electoral College, the last vestige of the Civil War other than those statues in Dixie commemorating rebel traitors.

Hey. Mustn’t tell me twice. My elbows were ready to dig into enemy ribs the first moments that part of disbelieving Anglo America tried denying Obama’s legitimacy first as a man, then as a citizen, and finally as president.

Let me be plain. Perhaps what Republicans and increasingly reactionary right-wingers tried perpetrating flew above the heads of Anglos who saw Obama’s obvious qualities. They couldn’t fathom the disingenuousness engineered by America’s intentionally less enlightened.

But blacks knew. Latinos ought have known. While the “model minority,” Asians, probably knew themselves susceptible but hoped the first non-traditional President of the United States adept enough to thwart whatever menaces might threaten their own inexorble rises into national power.

Don’t we see harsh echoes of Obama’s Trump orchestrated birth certificate controversy in the dilemmas suffered by Latinos along the Texas border? There, suspect passports have been voided. Those occupying them stranded or deported to Mexico because midwifes instead of medical staffs inside hospitals assisted and recorded the holders’ births.

Social media serves the globe as a bane and boon. We may presently connect instantly with our planet’s farthest reaches. However, many of the communications sent, received, digested, then replied, purposely seek to retard the advance of civilization. Particularly in the ideological/political gamut.

Now that Obama has departed the Oval Office, now that Der Trump soils the White House, what need remains for polite discourse?

The current occupant of the Oval Office is unfit for the honor. He’s a disgrace. Absolutely. And if he isn’t a traitor to the United States, then he’s surely an asset an adversarial power has cultivated and exploited against these United States.

While it warms the heart that social media presents opportunities to find others with whom to exchange similar views, I prefer unfettered searching and destroying (rhetorically) those dupes, suckers, numbskulls, knuckle-draggers, mouth-breathers, halfwits aspiring to become nitwits, dumbass backwoods countryfucks, and mongrels who watched Der Trump on his unreality TV show, decide that after retakes and editing he’d be just the cur to transform the presidency into a buffoonery and reduce our formerly great nation’s status.

And social media constantly produces new targets of pitiable and pitiful opportunity. They are deplorable. They should be reminded of their awful state at every chance. I’m doing my part. Gleefully.

Early in September, one of the more egregious examples came to my attention. Poor fellow, a good ol’ boy mired in less dynamic America, launched a rant against the Democratic Party, progressives and tolerance so steeped in ignorance he transformed himself into a prime case for euthanasia.

Naturally he was an Anglo, or as he might’ve proclaimed himself, “a proper white man.” Nothing wrong with that except his claim of being a “proper” white male should embarrass other white men.

Looking at the self-selections for the picture gallery in his profile, he was all physicality. That’s right. The sort of fellow who bulked up, then got buff. He works hard to remain that kind of musclehead in order to intimidate lesser physical specimens and mask his shortcomings. What do confident people call that? Oh, yeah. Overcompensating.

How hadn’t he featured himself in his gallery styling camo standing beside an all-terrain vehicle holding one of those projectile-through-engine-block hunting weapons? When is mastodon season in Dawgpatch?

Anyway his rage goose-stepped into unbalanced. I thought I’d perform my civic duty and answer his harangue. If he became rabid, whose fault was that? The italics that follow form the response which got me a one-day ding from a social media site. Since it highly improbable for permission from the cracker and the social media site to cite him, my own comments will supply inferences.

Names have been changed to protect me. If the ogre and his nanny wish to confess being the disguised actors and open themselves to self-invited ridicule, okay by me.

Okay, Goober. First thing first. You’re using [party affiliation] in its adjectival sense, so it’s Democratic, not “Democrat.” This usage makes you come across as ignorant. Or at least unlettered.

Second, most of the people shot in Chicago’s lead orgies are members of the criminal element. Yes, an indecent portion of innocent bystanders get clipped but that’s because the NRA hasn’t infiltrated South and West Chicago with gun safety and marksmanship courses. Wonder why.

Nonetheless Chicago has had past lead orgies. During Prohibition.

A quick perusal of our American history will show that Irish and Italian gangs frequently resorted to mob behavior in order to get the advantage in bootlegging. Strangely no one called members of either side “animals.” Wonder why.

Know who presided as mayor for a good chunk of those bullet-riddled Jazz Age years? Bill Thompson. A Republican.

Then as now, we cannot and should not ascribe the violence to political ideology. Rather, there are conditions inherent and exacerbated by Chicago’s environment. Foremost, though, criminal elements seek dominance over certain turfs.

As long as these miscreants keep most of the mayhem among themselves, Chicagoans might be outraged for a day or two after these murderous outbreaks, but safe and distant from the trouble, won’t rouse itself and compel authority to quell the lawlessness occurring elsewhere between other people.

Just like in Old Chicago under Big Bill Thompson. A Republican.

Astonishingly the above was enough for some butt-hurt reactionary to bawl to the social media site’s Indecorous Language Chief. Absent throughout Barack Obama’s entire tenure when right-wingers had long field days mocking him as “a nigger in a suit,” setting some cracker straight with facts now roused the organization’s correction apparatus.

Somehow Goober’s, or some other Goober’s, mewling and puking about my refutation coming across as condescending and injurious to the tender sensibilities of the reprehensible (Oh, God, let’s hope so!) awarded me the aforementioned one-day ding. The social media site pronounced verdict in its usual gutless manner – through an auto generated judgment imposed before the sentence could be appealed.

Shades of the Red Queen.

Yes. The sentence could be rescinded, though only after having serving it! That’s not justice. That’s useless.

Best part of the sham? The site included a box in which those knowing themselves having been misjudged could provide extenuating testimony. Should the argument prove effective, it’d erase the unjust ruling … but too late to negate the penalty served.

Last year I’d had the same sort of set-to with these dreary digital overloads over a few trenchant statements regarding some brain-dead, right-wing mental vomit. Nefarious reactionaries hoped their falsehoods would be swallowed as beneficial to America. In pointing out the discrepancy I was ruthless, bloodless, and merciless.

Indeed I was.

Who on earth would be offended by that?

But these right-wingers, the reactionaries, they masquerade and strut around as if they’re tough. No. They’re not tough. Mean, yes. However, they’ve confused meanness with toughness. Here’s the difference. Barack Obama was tough. Donald Trump is mean; a bully.

Meanness is a manifestation of bullies’ weaknesses. A need to demonstrate strength where none exists.

Tough guys mustn’t resort to bullying. For mean guys their loud, ratdog yapping is all that inflates them. And when that’s exposed they simply become blowhards.

The real estate fraud, and those not just dumb enough to admire him, but emulate the swine as well, they’re not just sissies. They’re also pussies.

Throughout the Obama Administration these ideological malefactors never got called to account. Social media gave their lying and insults passes. Now that the Electoral College, America’s last vestige of slavery, prevented the second non-traditional president from immediately succeeding the first, those of us possessing true faith in our Republic have zero need to restrain ourselves when dealing with Der Trump malignancy.

Whose fault is it that right-wingers can’t swallow the antidote?

Again, in straightening out and wising up the social media site’s Indecorous Language Chief, I defended myself with precision. And spleen.

Mine was an adult and factual response.

What? [The social media site] can’t handle those? Then you better get out of this social media thing.

Perhaps the addressee who received my missive was shamed to have been exposed on a public forum as a fraud and lightweight. Rather than upgrade his/her game, he or she went whiny 21st century and decided to complain about being maligned.

I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m an adult. One who can debate and discuss without my feelings being hurt by an opposing view which may shred my own.

In any case, [the social media site] must have proctors who are mature and know something about American history and current conditions in America. Find him or her. Have either one or the other read what I posted.

He or she ought to find my refutation does not break [social media site] guidelines. In fact when I take to [social media site] I lift its standards.

You ought to thank me.

No, you ought to throw roses at my feet.

No, you ought to kiss my feet.

You will unblock my account and you will be damned quick about it.

The site’s answer? Why, none at all. The flunky responsible couldn’t have arbitrated the invalidity imposed. The message was never received. Though sent, it too was obstructed. The system had impeded its delivery. The message agitating for my unfettered communication was blocked.

How convenient. How cowardly. How childish. The best way of avoiding being rightly contradicted? Ignoring the counter-contention, of course! It reflects the manner of “resolution” increasingly salting college campuses nationwide.

Recent graduates of what today passes for academe form social media network worker ant forces. Wonderful. Adults aged 20-something who haven’t learned much and know even less about refereeing opinions gleaned from real-life experiences of those twice and three-times their downy years.

Seeking accountability from the spoiled cream of the Participation Trophy Generation frustrates in its futility. Such children know nothing about freewheeling, open-aired discourse. Oh, except that if a point raised somehow offends them, it must be wrong and must be suppressed.

How did our society sink from prizing straight talk to hollowing English with safe semantics? Those who will inherit our nation have been immunized from clear speech. They’ve been indoctrinated in benign-speak, an argot that leeches language of its vigor thereby dampening the exchange of ideas and points of view.

It’s impossible hearing the present cohort of newly-minted adults engaging in – and enjoying – the sort of freewheeling, no-holds barred verbal sparring stamping my same passage through life. Particularly once the first evangelicals and young adherents to conservative strictures appeared on my alma mater’s mall. Modeled after the circuit-riders of old, these were the precursors to the mega-church jacklegs and blandly-featured fascists bedeviling America today.

In our era of “safe spaces” and “trigger words,” the notion that Brother Jake or “that nice young man from the Bircher Club” could issue their sour clarions anywhere on the present campus’ grassy promenade is laughable. Then as now, or even more so now, the respective shouter would demand assembly-line conformity and soul-constricting obedience. One to a perverse Almighty, the other to men whose souls are so twisted they’d conceived themselves as high priests of the following sanctified financial faith.

Abject fuck you greed. Amen, and no alms for the poor.

Today’s generation would use all means to silence both. In doing so for presumably the best reasons, keeping the unreasonable voices muted would conversely give their messages greater credence. That sort of reaction is always the sort which increases curiosity. It creates skepticism about the messages’ alleged virulence and raises suspicions regarding those who’ve appointed themselves the community’s saviors.

Who doesn’t wish to hear what he or she is being saved from? Isn’t there always the possibility what others have concluded to be bad, privately, secretly, without the least input from those ostensibly being protected, may, in fact, harm the judges themselves? So of course they’d want to keep that under wraps.

See how the best intentions by those in the know who don’t want that knowledge generally shared can create aspersions and suspicions?

During my university years, more than a few of my fellow undergraduates and I were nowhere near that Machiavellian. Instead, we saw menace and jumped hot.

We didn’t try silencing evangelicals and speakers holding reprehensible views on distinctions seen as non-conventional through administrative means. Good thing, that. The occupiers of those admin offices would’ve justly laughed in our faces.

Instead, the stalwarts, the loudmouths, the would-be rabble-rousers objected, refuted, and rebuked while raising the visitors’ hackles. Atop the green expanse, under the Arizona azure, anyone understanding what the invaders’ positions portended – leveling and binding our individuality by stressing “proper faith” and “limited freedoms” – refused these chains by stepping up and speaking out.

While our youth had yet to bestow upon us anything near House of Commons oratorical graces, we did possess enthusiasm for the task. Sometimes this descended into crudeness; other times trains of thought derailed. Nonetheless what we recognized as threats were challenged.

These rhetorical mud fights occurred on many campuses, not just Arizona’s alone. Yet on that same campus today, as on plenty across America, who is willing to pick up the same standard and dedicate him- or herself to their era’s fights? Rather, like any other casual travelers who’ve aligned with group-think in order to remain inconspicuous, who truly and fully can’t articulate their beliefs, it is now preferable to ban what they deem objectionable and stifle the opposition than bare it to mass scrutiny.

Shortly those same timid figures will be in open offices, postures maintained in ergonomic seats. Bathed in the unnatural glow of work station screens, they will determine what’s appropriate for our social media feeds. Or someday without our ever knowing decide what’s indecent for you and me.

Inside the Assisted Drinking Facility

No Nevada buddies, no Las Vegas place to call a hangout should such even exist. Life’s dispersal has reduced the number of friends and associates remaining in Tucson, a k a the Desert Margaritaville. This same mortality has also shuttered many of the premises where we caroused while attending Arizona and afterwards.

One of those few elbow-benders which matured with us shares a Las Vegas connection.

During the days and nights of Sin City’s glorious mob rule, the proprietor of a vital, well-known Tucson establishment often gambled away fiendishly in Las Vegas. Away from the tables he proved himself a successful businessman. He headed franchises his family owned throughout the Southwest.

Who remembers what game of chance had buried him? The boys would’ve taken his marker. Doubtlessly both parties would’ve worked out a repayment plan to the outfit’s onerous advantage. However, the businessman defied the inexorability of his losing streak. Convinced the next hand, the next roll held the start of regained fortune he finally put up his enterprise as collateral and continued playing … only to lose everything. Continue reading Inside the Assisted Drinking Facility

Her Persian Voice

Heard the sharpest retort to one of the vilest insults recently. Of greater interest, though, was the woman who launched it.

Nasrin identified herself as “Persian.” Yeah. She’s Persian, all right. As Persian as I’m African. She’s a 20-something Cali girl through and through.

What gained my favor was her having enough pride in self to supplant Persian for Iranian. The former carries nobility stretching back into antiquity.

A Persian background is replete with culture and atavistic figures. Xerxes? Cyrus? Esther? Their respective histories are as current today as their living importance in the past.

Iranians, their inheritors, are poor cousins. Compared against their classic progenitors, they lack stature. Who esteems them? Continue reading Her Persian Voice

Yours Alone

When does sovereignty of naked photos expire? Do they ever? Or should they?

Not the commercial nudes adorning glossy magazines or porn sites, but those serving as, what, mementos that have been passed between lovers. In some circles, these are called “dedication pictures.”

As in “dedicated to the one I love.”

Naturally. What proclaims deepest affection and fidelity more than a lover’s or companion’s voluntarily exchanged nude photograph? Continue reading Yours Alone

Show Me a Sign

Promiscuity suits me. But that isn’t the impetus behind my Las Vegas residence.

No, instead raw economic necessity and the complete disappearance of Brigadoon, a k a, Quarropas, my New York former hometown, propelled this move 2400 miles west.

Funny. Living now in a place celebrated for catering to inhibitions hasn’t added to my libertinage. With all the candy at hand – literally – I’ve been disinclined to grab more sweets. Perhaps when the goods were deemed illicit and their acquisition only furtively gained treats, did they sweeten my tooth. Continue reading Show Me a Sign

Sometimes a Quaint Notion

A worthy gridiron rival recently shamed alma mater on national television. That’s great. It’s just the sort of trip/fall/lose-that-ball pie in the face which should prompt donations from already alligator-armed fellow alums.

Eh. Probably not.

What resulted fell into the tiger pit of unintended consequences and receiving just desserts. Prestige game as it was, if Arizona administration had treated outside forces with less deference and considered the homefolks above mammon, it may’ve improved the squad’s chances of victory. Surely less embarrassment would’ve ensued.

My school went for the cash. The do-re-mi, baby. A major sports network dangled a big bag of money before the accountants who today determine the athletic department’s direction. Bottom-line nabobs as they are lucre trumped the old virtues. Any old virtues. No one even bothered with lip service about “the fans.”

So making greed is good palatable, that Saturday also became an opportunity to promote the university’s “brand.” Just the sort of fresh-scented aerosol which ought have allayed most of the unsavory stink. Continue reading Sometimes a Quaint Notion

Strange Mercy

Before gray hair conferred wisdom …


The path Beryl and Trevor shared was tricky. No, twisty.

Perhaps had he been upfront with her at some point about his dalliance with Lesley the pair’s course of events might’ve progressed clearer and simpler. This likely concluded with him curbside and Beryl going her own way. Instead, what the sophomores shared in March 1979, what they concealed from another, lingered improperly resolved over miles and decades.

Long before hindsight, Trevor decided fate, love, and trust had coincided to his advantage. Rather, Beryl hadn’t used his sidestepping to discomfort or expose him … had she? As he could only see what he presumed then, Beryl’s, um, gesture, as magnanimous as Trevor had ever witnessed in his young life, proved the extent of her affection. Or was it the most elaborate, selfless snare ever? Continue reading Strange Mercy

An Appetizer

Using the most chance of coincidental encounters, Trevor wends towards certain confessions with his long-ago lover Lesley serving as his confessor.

Beryl must’ve known.

Thankfully or teasingly, she never confirmed Trevor’s suspicion. No need to, he supposed, for the unknowing preyed upon him harder than any naked accusation. His own anxieties about the matter created a greater imposition than Beryl’s confronting and exposing him.

Smugly, a little too smugly, almost throwing back at Trevor the same level of superiority he’d use, Lesley further aggravated his lingering apprehension by agreeing with him – then doubling down.

“Oh, Beryl knew. But instead of out-loud drama, she played on your guilt. You know, that feeling you say you’ve never bothered having. She plucked that tight string. And plucked it good, too, huh?” Continue reading An Appetizer

Saludade

Given a most coincidental of chance reencounters, Trevor and Lesley, long-ago lovers, have erased the years and resumed their intimacy. Revelations and observations between them are as naked as their post-coital state.

Lesley stood at the hotel window. Some activity occurring outside in the Southern Arizona night intrigued her. She gazed out, her back to Trevor. The autumn hour mild, their exertions having singed the sheets and heated the four walls, the couple had cracked the window wide.

Ambient city noise rose up to the sixth floor and lapped over the sill inside. Light from exterior sconces clearly illuminated Lesley’s front. Dimmed room lamps threw her side into shadow and cast her rear in murk.

Trevor appraised her still pleasing figure from the bed. Reclining there legs loosely crossed, one arm thrown behind his head on pillows, the other along his side, he addressed Lesley’s back.

“Say, wasn’t there a time you wouldn’t have been caught dead standing in front of an open window stark naked?” Continue reading Saludade

Bring Back That Sunny Day

After the most coincidental of chance encounters, Lesley and Trevor, lovers from decades ago, have bridged the ages and recoupled intimately. Revelations and observations between them are as naked as their post-coital state.

The phrase “By all rights …” stumbled through Trevor’s mind. By all rights no way dumb luck ought’ve reconnected him with Lesley.

By all rights they never should’ve plunged headlong into a merely sex-drenched, well, what was it? Couldn’t even refer to their much younger indulgence as a “relationship.” More like frequent interludes in which they willingly surrendered to that most earthly delight, fleshy pleasures. That was until gorging on so much candy either diluted satisfaction derived or exhausted his taste for, um, her sweets.

The thrill had gone. Those couplings quickly had become so common his desire for Lesley weakened. Worse than ordinary, the sex between them had become obligatory. And back for a youthful Trevor that defined a rut. Continue reading Bring Back That Sunny Day