To Snark Or Not To Snark: Question Of The Day

I have felt very “snarky” in my Twitter posts this a.m. Perhaps it is this half-headache I have due to sinus stuffiness as early as mid-February in an Atlanta that has seen daytime temps up in the 70s and turn around and be in the 40s the next day. But stuff has started blooming. And my head IS hurting. Should I blame weather or climate change? Frankly, in my present mood, I will just blame President Trump and call it a coin toss today. (Ah, finally, I have found a use for Trump – blamecatcher.)

While I didn’t watch The Donald vs. Beto competing rallies, I have read much about them. I have repeatedly looked at the video of the BBC cameraman assaulted by a Trump supporter. And I think that everyone is missing that at that moment, Trump was not only denigrating immigrants and asylum seekers from the Southern Border, but Asian Americans as well.

I did not realize the border wall would also keep Asian Americans out of the country. Oh wait…they are Asians who ARE American. I think they ALREADY belong here, Mr. President. 🤦🏼‍♀️smh

Had I been in El Paso, I would definitely have been jamming with Beto and the band. His vision of who we are as a nation is much more appealing than Trump’s dark, dystopian world. I mean, the man won’t even keep a dog. That alone should have been his absolute disqualification to be President-forget Putin.

Speaking of Russia, Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov says we need to be more afraid that Russia is worming its way into our conscience than its interference in our elections. Yeah, that bare chested photo of Putin on horseback is rather unforgettable. But am I conscience-stricken about it? Not really.

Meanwhile, the Moscow Times announced that an “aurora” of polar bears has landed on a remote Artic archipelago. After checking the dictionary to make sure “aurora” was not also a grouping of polar bears, I felt compelled to send them the proper definitions of the word. And those bears were sooo cute. Like I said, I am full of snark today. (Also sinus stuffiness and my half-headache.)

I even snarked about Laura Ingram sending Trump a “comfort photo” of the crowds OUTSIDE his rally so his feelings wouldn’t be hurt that Beto had more people INSIDE his venue than Trump did. Well, snarking at Ingraham is actually something I periodically do, so maybe I shouldn’t feel too badly about it.

Is begging Hillary Clinton to sue Trump for copyright infringement for appropriating as a printed slogan the title of her book, “Stronger Together,” “snark?” How about sending her a tweet with praying hands that she at least send a cease and desist letter?

Oh Lord, he is on TV talking about his “big, beautiful Wall” and how well we are doing economically with the Trade War with China. He may keep going to the border with great frequency, but he obviously hasn’t talked to any soybean farmers in the MidWest recently.

My headache just got worse. For this, I do blame Trump.

To snark or not to snark? My Catholic belief would tell me to “not snark” is the more Christian attitude.

But my headache. So – snark. My answer and attitude for today.

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Writer’s Block

So I just finished watching “The Wife” starring Glenn Close.

While I don’t want to blow the movie for anyone who has not yet seen it, the final scene made me ache as her character, Joan, puts her hand to the blank page of her own possibilities.

I know that ache.  It has been with me since I was ten and wrote my first story about a robin sighting in the woods surrounding our lakeside home. It told me spring was on its way, and I had to share that news.

But like Joan, I have always doubted anyone would want to pick up a book that had my name on it as an author.  Not because I am a woman, mind you, but because I have always been afraid I had little to say, or that what I said would not be beautifully enough told.

My writing career has always been peripatetic, despite my degree in journalism; six years working for a local California newspaper; a win for my paper of a California Newspaper Publishers Association award.

Yet it was always my writing skill employers most appreciated, regardless of my official job title and duties.

After self-publishing on Amazon Kindle my own work of spiritual poems a couple of years ago, I thought I was finally able to settle down to write all the things I need to say.

Yet my fear of the irrelevance of my stories has stopped me cold-I am afraid they will end up strung out like Christmas lights upon the bushes, with mostly burnt out bulbs punctuated by the occasional sputtering light.

I so want all my words to shine.

I stopped blogging right before Christmas out of a sense of holiday depression and Trump fatigue. I was tired of his daily outrages spurring my posts rather than what I wanted to write myself.

But having met the character of Joan, I am encouraged to face the blank pages of this blog and the cursor that blinks wildly at me from my laptop.

Like her words, I am determined mine will be hidden no more.

With my former publisher, Dick Blankenburg, Five Cities Times-Press-Recorder, 1982

A Star Shone

A star shone over Bethlehem

To draw our eyes to see,

The Christ child who would grow,

Our Lord and Savior one day to be.

Wrapped in rags, lying in a trough,

The cows mooed lowly round him,

While shepherds on their knees did drop

And angel song resounded.

For the one to be Shepherd of all,

For the Man of Sorrows, Mercy, Love,

Who would break our sin upon the Cross

And all our fears dissolve.

This is the gift he gave us –

His love, our spirits free –

From hate, disputes and prejudice

For all eternity.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. 

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Seeing Red

For those few people who regularly read my blogs, my apologies for an illness related absence.  My body just wouldn’t giddy up and go for the past several weeks. Autoimmune sufferers will understand. I was at 1/2 a spoon.

I started feeling better last week, but kept it low-key to be sure I had energy for family Thanksgiving.  It was delightful and I am grateful for another year.

I also managed (on purpose) a fairly Trump free holiday. I continued binge watching certain series (sorry Liev Schreiber – I made it up to half-way through Season Five of “Ray Donovan” and had to give up.  The Abby story line just got too depressing.)

I caught up on “Versailles” on Ovation and watched some docudramas on the Bourbon dynasty of Louis XIV, XV and XVI.  I think the GOP should have watched how over-taxing the lower classes and not taxing the “nobility” (aka the 1 percent) cost them their throne.

Of course, “Gladiator” is always a good movie choice and another cautionary political tale for our times. The first two episodes of “Escape from Dannemora” were interesting.  (Paul Dano, you look so different from Bezukhov in “War and Peace!”  Patricia Arquette, I hardly knew ye!)

Ooh, and “Dirty John” on Bravo is a very, very bad boy, Eric Bana.

And I don’t know why, but I can always count on “Black Rain” to take me to dream land, despite my decades long crush on Andy Garcia.  Or maybe because of it. (Who knew a violent movie about the Yakuza could be sleep inducing?)

Then today there were the nightmarish pictures of the shoeless, diapered migrant children being tear gassed on Mexican soil. No, the babies were not storming the gates, and those adults who did reportedly did not touch U.S. soil.

Thank God it was not our soldiers having to decide if Trump’s lethal force order was in order.

What is our sovereign right to tear gas people on Mexican land any way?  Hello?  Any international law expert available?

And tonight it is all about Trump’s efforts to subvert our legal system to jail his “political enemies” ( Clinton and Comey). Again, a not legally cool move.  How many dubious legal and policy decisions is one President allowed to make?

This leaves out Russia’s ramming a Ukrainian cargo ship, firing upon it and taking crew as prisoners, or the climate change report just issued, a damning report about the fire and ice that will destroy us.

In fact, the world seems to be spinning faster on its news axis than ever before. Is it a combination of the advancing Christmas shopping rush along with Democrats taking power in the House come January?  Anticipation for Mueller to do something, anything, that shows his investigation is still on target after Manafort has trashed his plea deal?

It seems like I have come down with Trump Tizziness just as I was feeling better.

I even fantasized Melania took Elmo’s fur and created red cone Christmas trees to decorate the White House.  Somebody please tell me I was indeed hallucinating.

Lord, I pray I make it to the New Year.  And please hurry up the schedule for the rest of the “Vikings” season on History Channel.  Ivar the Boneless looks good to me as a 2020 candidate about now.

Elmo would be even better.  Hopefully his fur grows back by then.

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Voting in My Dreams

First, I voted early yesterday – hooray!

Then today I woke up dreaming that I worked for Donald Trump, entertaining pets. Except he has none. Weird.

And he was staying in this big, white house – not The White House – and I was advising him that he needed to fly in a gardener to mow the lawn because the grass was weedy and high and it made the house look inelegant for a President to live in.

The pool needed cleaning up too.

Any psychologists out there – have a field day with the dream analysis. And yes, I really was in the midst of dreaming this when…well, nature called.

I love Mother Nature.

I don’t ever recall having had a dream like this before after casting a vote, regardless of whether or not the person I voted for was on the ballot, won or lost.

Except this election IS about Trump because – well – he makes everything about himself. Even when it shouldn’t be.

He MUST steer the national conversation all the time, because if we aren’t talking about him, I think he would cease to exist in his own mind.

Such as when he tweets his “expert” advice about how the World Series should be managed on a day a man took an assault rifle and several other rapid fire guns into a Synagogue and killed 11 people.

His own grandchildren are Jewish; just a reminder.

You would think it would have given him sober-minded pause that was genuine.  It seems not.

(I am no baseball fan, but if someone has pitched seven perfect innings, as the manager, might I not think his arm should have a rest? Especially with more games in the series to be played? Just seems kind of a, well, rational decision to me.)

The point of all this is that I am tired of Trump permeating my thoughts to this degree. Neither Barack Obama nor any of his predecessors ever did.

(I do admit to still being angry at Bill Clinton for all the lying about Monica Lewinsky and the way he called her “that woman,” as if he played no role in what happened between them.  There was about 9 months of hellishnish the country didn’t need and his family didn’t deserve.)

Ah, Presidents. What are you going to do.

Vote early.  Vote absentee.  Vote provisional.  Vote Election Day.

Just vote.

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I Am Satisfied

For those in my cadre of blog followers and curious Twitter readers who have been wondering where my spiritual side has disappeared to amidst recent political posts, let me assure you it is still there.

I continue my ministry activities, which have lessened in leadership positions and increased in worship service, as I am now a Lector, Cantor and occasional choir member at Mass.

I am still active in a social outreach ministry as a mentor, take the minutes of Pastoral Council meetings and lead a study group focused on Marian and Divine Mercy subjects.

My prayer life has suffered inconsistencies, though I speak to Jesus in my head and “at” him to the Divine Mercy image on my altar at home.

Still, this has more to do with personal struggles right now than my social activity regarding politics on Twitter.

It seems I am always running away from Jesus at the times I should be running faster towards him.

That has more to do with my desire to self-isolate when times are tough than a lack of faith or desire to pray. My secular self triumphs over the spiritual in these moments.

And of course, I still struggle mightily with auto-immune dysfunction that has run headlong into aging.  So, to those who don’t mind doing so, please send up a health prayer for me as I am going through a particularly difficult time right now.

Still, on balance, my blessings are greater than my trials.

And my virtual “pen” is still mine to wield.

Yesterday I wrote that words echo down the ages, though I doubted my own would. I say that because I am not a famous person, nor particularly profound.

But I have written poetry that has touched some hearts. I am satisfied. I have tweeted thoughts that have been “liked” or retweeted by a few famous people. I am satisfied. (Not because they are famous people, but for the size of their social platform and the number of others they reach.)

I also have more than a thousand Twitter followers with wide platforms of their own.  I feel “heard.” I am satisfied.

I have a loving family, loving friends, a solid roof over my head, a fairly new car in the drive, food in the fridge, an elderly cat who is living comfortably with palliative care.

I am satisfied.

“My soul is satisfied,
My soul is satisfied;
I am complete in Jesus’ love,
And my soul is satisfied.” *

*Daniel S. Warner, 1893

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“The British Are Coming” and They Are Us

I know I spend too much time on Twitter and that my words may be little more than shouting in the wind.

But sometimes words echo down through the ages.  Not that I believe mine will.

Words have always been my own two-edged sword: my saving grace and my weapon.  “The pen is mightier than the sword” is a motto in which I deeply believe.

Words matter.  This is why so much time and attention is given to what a President says; for its tone, its intent, whether actions and words align.

So as much as Donald Trump may hate it, his words will continue to be parsed, examined, questioned and – yes – criticized.

It goes with the job of being President.  If Trump didn’t have such an “I alone can do it” mantra, there are four past Presidents alive today with whom he might commiserate.

Sometimes my words on Twitter are too impassioned.  But only because my passion for the salvation of my country has never been as urgent as it is now.

I fear for it as I did when I was a child. I remember pictures of the Cuban missile crisis being beamed over our black and white console TV, the Russian ships moving inexorably toward Cuba, the footprints of missile sites being shown, the intonation of Walter Cronkite’s words.

I was only seven, but that is old enough to comprehend when life as you know it might be forever altered.

Our country was in danger; that was all the knowledge I needed.

Today I feel much the same way as I watch TV footage of the shooting of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

It follows a week in which more than a dozen pipe bombs were mailed in an assassination attempt against top former Democratic officials, including two past Presidents, a VP, Secretary of State, Attorney General, sitting Congress people and an actor.

Right now, I would say I don’t recognize the country I live in, but I have seen this before: it is an amplified version of the Civil Rights, anti-Vietnam and Watergate eras at one in the same moment.

I know the amplification comes from having so much choice in cable channels and social media platforms.

But it also comes from an inability and an unwillingness of those governing this country to reach across the aisle and come up with real solutions for the problems that beleaguer us.

Perhaps with my Twitter feed and this blog, I am part of the amplification problem.  I don’t know.

Trust me, there are plenty of other things I would rather be doing than this. It is neither a peaceful nor stress-less way to spend one’s time. I would rather cuddle up, watch a movie and drink hot chocolate now that winter is nudging at the door.

But inside, I feel like I am one of many Paul Reveres spreading the warning that “The British are coming.”

The problem is, this time the British are us.

(Photo from srcalifornia.com on Pinterest)

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