Paramus

I grew up in Bergen County and I must differ with Lucinda Rosenfeld’s attribution of Jared Kushner’s entitlement to his growing up there. I was there somewhat earlier than she was, though.

The neighborhood I grew up in was ethnically mixed, although yes, white. Czech, German, Irish, longer-time American, and, overlaid, Jewish and Christian. We were Democrats and Republicans. We were too working-class to aspire to the heights of New York society. We kids would have disdained that anyway. We had the local playground, the railroad tracks that our parents wished we wouldn’t frequent, and buses to get to the next town. Who needed more? We had good schools that continue to be good.  The diversity mix has changed, but diversity there is.

It particularly pains me when I read that Kushner attended a private school in Paramus. Paramus was, for me, a magical place. Read more



How Do You Cope?

Someone asked last night how we all cope. It’s worth considering that. Even Erick Son Of Erick tweeted that he doesn’t see how the country survives 3.5 more years of this. It’s hard on us individually, too. We need to think and act deliberately to maintain and protect our mental health. It’s different for everyone. Ric (at top) loves my orange and black caftan. Zooey likes at least partial enclosure.

As I walked out of the house to go shopping this morning, I had to stop and look at the sky and mountains and take a deep breath. I’m lucky to have great views, but there is usually something beautiful – the pattern of raindrops on asphalt or a flower peeking through cracks in concrete. I also listen to and play music – the Enigma Variations, which I posted a while back, are still in my car’s cd player, so I listened to them on the way to the store.

People are important too. I’m having lunch with a friend today, and I’ve got a bunch of connections going in different ways. The internet has been a boon to my interactions. The community here is comforting.

How do you cope?



Friday Night Open Thread: Eyewitness Account

It’s been a long week, humor me. Much appreciation to Mr. Pierce, and also Sen. Murkowski, and even John McCain:

After a motion to send the bill to committee sponsored by Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington failed, McConnell held the vote open for nearly an hour, giving his people time to work on any fence-sitters. Even Mike Pence came down to join in the lobbying and, if necessary, cast another deciding vote. Pretty soon, it became obvious that McCain was going to be the focal point of all the politicking. That was when Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, did a very smart thing. She walked over to McCain and talked to him for a good 45 minutes, essentially boxing everyone out, even Pence, who tried his best. The drama kept building and Murkowski kept talking to him. She, along with Susan Collins of Maine, were the true stalwarts against the bill, voting against every attempt to demolish the ACA, and even voting against the bill coming to the floor, which is something that McCain couldn’t bring himself to do. Murkowski even stood up against some clumsy—and marginally illegal—threats from Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior. She and Collins were implacable. If you told me that some of their courage rubbed off on McCain, I wouldn’t argue with you.

“Those were some of the bravest votes I ever saw in politics,” said Angus King, the Independent from Maine.

After a while, with the entire Senate chamber rapt with attention, McCain walked down the aisle and across in front of the presiding officer’s desk, over to the Democratic side of the chamber, where he joined a group consisting of Dianne Feinstein, Amy Klobuchar and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. The smiles started small, and then spread around the semi-circle of Democrats and McCain, whose love for the dramatic gesture remains undimmed, spread his arms out and lifted his head in mock supplication. Everybody laughed. Not long afterwards, Mike Pence left the chamber entirely, rather than preside over an impending political catastrophe.

The only thing that saved the day was the way it ended. The rest was taken up by a legislative process that had as much to do with orderly democracy as a tornado does with home décor…

You can spend hours trying to determine why McCain voted the way he did. He certainly took some convincing to do so, unless you think his inexplicable vote to proceed on Tuesday was the beginning of some Machiavellian exercise to saw off the limb behind McConnell and the president*. Maybe he truly was revolted by the bizarre process through which this exercise was conducted and perhaps he truly did yearn nostalgically for regular order. Maybe he didn’t want what may be his last major act as a U.S. senator to be the person who jacked their healthcare from 16 million of his fellow citizens. Or maybe it was just pure cussedness. Whatever the case, when McCain walked into the chamber and dropped his thumb down, the whole place turned into a goddamned Frank Capra movie.

“It was a pretty good movie, wasn’t it?” Angus King said. “It’s easy to stand up to your opponents. It’s much harder to stand up to your friends.”…



Open Thread: Shakespeare in the KULCHA! Wars

As reported in the Washington Post:

Two right-wing activists interrupted the Friday evening performance of a controversial production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in New York’s Central Park, causing a stir on social media — where numerous videos of the protest proliferated — and resulting in one woman’s arrest.

In the videos, a woman identified as Laura Loomer, an employee of the far-right website Rebel Media, can be seen storming the stage during the scene of the title character’s assassination, shouting “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”…

Within the commotion, a second pro-Trump protester, Jack Posobiec, can be seen standing and yelling in the audience, “You are all Goebbels!” and “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!”…

In a string of tweets, the Public Theater confirmed the interruption at its Friday show and said it had been “part of a paid strategy driven by social media.”…

Posobiec, a Washington-based Trump supporter who formerly also worked for Rebel Media, told The Washington Post on Saturday that, contrary to some media reports, he and Loomer did not coordinate their protests. Rather, he had attended the performance at the encouragement of alt-right personality Mike Cernovich, who posted a “challenge” on Periscope last week offering a $1,000 prize for anyone who could get tickets to the play and interrupt the show….

Cash Rules Everything Around Them — dolla-dolla, get tha monee…


(John Wilkes Booth)
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Thursday Evening Open Thread: Self-Pity Edition


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This has been my daily life since mid-November, even leaving aside the political component. But we’ve finally bid farewell to the attic insulation crew… whose ‘just a few hours, maybe an afternoon’ project stretched over the last two days. After being rescheduled twice since December, pursuant on the furnace-replacement project, which took ten hellacious days. And the roof replacement (only two days, mostly overlapping the furnace work). Also the Spousal Unit’s (minor, outpatient) surgery, in the middle of many days emptying twenty years’ worth of packrat projects out of the attic and finding a place for them, because roof/insulation replacement. And the Spousal Unit’s ten-day emergency trip to Florida when his mom went into hospice (she’s still alive, but her Alzheimers is stealing more of her every day). During which I got the flu. (I HAD A DAMNED FLU SHOT, okay? I got the flu anyway.)

Once he came home, Spousal Unit decided to make multiple day trips, culminating in a three-day weekend expedition to Cleveland, in pursuit of exactly the right replacement used car of his dreams. (Which turned out to be a VW Jetta ’14, so far the nicest car we’ve ever owned, but the timing could’ve been better.) And both of our elderly flip phones bricked out at the worst possible moments, which would not be so much of a problem if I hadn’t married a Virgo fussbudget who needs to ‘research’ every consumer purchase exhaustively. (I threw a fit & ended up with a refurbished Galaxy 6, but ‘we’ haven’t found the time to get me on a data plan yet; he’s using a drugstore burner because none of the five T-Mobile kiosks within range of the Florida hospice had a model he could stand to buy.) Last week we had a surprise two-day plumbing backup issue, which only cost $500 instead of a possible $1200, lucky us…
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So, now that the Epic Whinge is over, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



2016 Will Never Fucking End

There have been nothing but issues with the counters and sink and the shower door and I have been bitching up a storm to my mom, and she texted me that a tree had fallen on my younger brother’s house.

I am going to bed, because I may have to head down and make decisions regarding his house since he is away on vacation, the power company won’t touch the tree because the homeowner is not there, and the insurance agent is no doubt just scheming up ways to figure out how to fuck him.








Something Nice

The best way I can compare my mood right now is the trash compactor scene in Star Wars, where I am living in a fetid world of Trump shit, while the walls are closing in, I have a sick sense of impending doom, and the media keeps grabbing me by the ankle trying to pull me under into the noxious shit and choke the life out of me. I have never been as horrified and terrified by an election in my life. I feel like I am on death row, and the preferred means of execution is force-feeding me puke and bile and racist, sexist shit.

So here is something fun and sweet and nice:

besties

I hope in 50 years, long after I am dead, these two kids are still besties like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan and running around being like our Betty White for future generations.