No More Questions…

At a meeting of the White House press corps, the participants were to discuss a new way of engaging the President during his news conferences. The Washington Post reporter had sent a proposal to all participants, so they were familiar with the plan.

N.Y.Times: Folks, I don’t think my Editor’s would approve of this plan.
Cable News: Yeh. I am certain, my boss would say forget it.
BBC Reporter: I was curious at first, and then I became enthused by the possibility.
Jewish Post: As I understand the proposal, when the President asks us for any questions, we will not offer any question, or any comment. Is that the case?
Washington Post: Simply put – that’s it. The President turns to us, and asks if we have any questions. We just sit, mum. You can look at the President, but not a comment. Not a word.
CNN: What do I do when he asks me a direct question.
Washington Post: Mary, the likelihood that he will ask you anything is zero.
CNN: You’re probably right. Well what does one do when asked a direct comment or question by the President.
BBC: You do nothing. Just stare back with an expression that indicates you heard the man. But you say nothing.
LosAngeles Times: Even he will get the idea. What if he says, I quess you people, you fake people have nothing to say. Is that it? No questions? No comments?
Boston Globe: Mum. We do not respond to the President no matter what he says. If he does his rude thing, we say, nor do nothing.
New York Times: Look. For months when you ask a question, he either lies, or avoids an answer, goes into a song and dance, or dumps on you. I have had it!
Fox News: This idea is gonna get you fired. No way is your boss gonna accept this.
Huffington Post: My unfortunate replacement will do exactly the same. For once we will show that the press has ‘balls’. We are done being pawns. It’s over!
Fox News: I don’t think I can do this. I don’t mind his questions.
Philadelphia Enquirer: Okay- you can handle all his stuff. Go for it. No problem.
Washington Post: If he has other persons speak, no response to questions asked by them either.
Jewish Post: What do we report? What is the news?
New York Times: Write whatever you’d like. Report what he said. Just the facts – just the facts.
Cable News: I’m all in. I love it!
CNN: A one time thing?
Washington Post: No way. This is through every news conference. We will report what he says, and what others say, and that is it. Think about it and get back to me. Thanks for coming.

Tom Golden, writers cramp, 2020

Media Credo…

As a Media Journalist I resolve to not repeat a word that President Trump says. I will state the following: “Today, President Trump said…”. After that announcement I will offer my commentary, but never what “President Trump said…”.

If Covid, Vaccine, Masks, China, Economy, Employment, Immigration, Rioting, Chicago, and Civil War Statues, are spoken about by the President, media professionals are welcome to speak to each topic. But not what the President has said. Not a single reference to his comments.

There is no need to comment on the President’s rambling. It is demeaning when you do so. The habitual repeating of the President’s comments is seemingly unavoidable, but when you do repeat his comments, you typically ridicule his every word. Ridicule his choice of words, syntax, mispronunciation, and constant repetition. You seem to relish in critique. Some of you highlight his ignorance of facts, the lies, inconstancies, lack of focus and self-serving comments. Some repeat the various psychiatric diagnosis that have described the President. Some attempt to explain the political relevance of the President’s comments. Some snicker, and likely long for the next commercial break.

When he contradicts himself, you embrace the opportunity to criticize. Should he offer a bigoted, racist, sexual, or ethnic abuse, you are energized and offer vigorous assaults. The President offers a glowing target. A target that is all bullseye. Impossible to miss the target.

Clearly your jobs as network and cable commentators demand that you offer  content. Perhaps Corporate demands that you reflect on the President’s comments. A job may be on the line. I am certain that you have thoughts about every issue of concern. Each of you is schooled, and well read. Each of you is curious and enthused. Each of you are creative.

The journalistic attempts to cleanse his comments, or to offer insights into the roots of his talk are all failures. Of greater concern is that your sincere reflections do an injustice to your professional standing. The President stirs the pot, and you must avoid tasting the brew. Recently, with the death of Congressman Lewis, you all extolled the Congressman’s courage, and his devotion to truth. Each evening you have the same opportunity with audiences of millions.

Tom Golden, 2020

The Chant

We watched the monitors. I just finished my third cup of coffee. Almost 8pm. I could not stand the suspense. I got a call from the show producer. He wondered if there was any news. He was ready to go with our copy about the Squad. I knew the commentators were seated in the Studio D. Tonight we had six of our best. They were primed for the “send her back”.

I told the producer to be patient, and I would call. Just then the President entered the stadium. The crowd went crazy. I quickly opened the screens to see our commentators. They were just describing the cheering crowd, the signs, the music.
The President began his speech. The crowd was silent. He began to talk about the media and their lies. He then spoke of the difference between cities and the rest of the country.

When will he start on the ‘Squad’? Any comment about the ‘Squad’ would get them going.  Our television commentators kept repeating descriptions of the crowd. Was the crowd ready for a chant? I softly mumbled, ‘please start the chant, please.’ My assistant director heard me, and she smiled, and said, “I’m a nervous wreck – what is he waiting for? ”.

Just then someone in the crowd shouted, “lock her up – lock her up.” Immediately the crowd joined in, and all 10 thousand voices were screaming “lock her up.”

Why that chant about Hillary? One of my staff said that moments ago, the President mentioned Hillary’s name. Perhaps that started it.

My show producer called and shouted what was he to do? What to tell the commentators? Perhaps the ‘send her back’ would come later. But what to do now. What a mess. The commentators silently listened to the President’s speech. Every so often they commented on this repetition, and fact-less talk.

At the last commercial break, the lead commentator called me, and asked what to do. I told her to do her job. I cannot start the desired chant. I would if I was in the audience. What the hell was I to do? What a waste!

Tom Golden, 2019

Bar Talk

Location: McMurray’ Bar, Brooklyn
Evening: 7:00pm
Harry: Say, Mike, a Miller’s.
Pete: Make that two.
Jack: Say, Mike, have any Rollin Rock?
Mike: Yeh, at home. We don’t sell it.
Jack: O.K. Tequila on the rocks.
Harry: Ain’t we the latin lova.
Pete: You guys heard the Presidents screed.
Jack: His what?
Pete: His screed. Yesterday on the t.v.
Harry: Yeh, I heard him. What’s this screed shit?
Pete: Forget it.
Harry: No, what screed? I did hear the trope.
Jack: What the fuck are you talkin about?
Mike: Say fellas, I saw this fuckin meme last night. Hilarious.
Pete: You mean the one on Fox. I saw it too. Existential as hell – just great.
Jack: Fellas, I gotta get goin. See ya tomorrow. (Swallows the Tequila)

either – or

The newscaster declared, “whether you are a democrat or a republican, or right or left”. I said to my self – self you are neither. This way, or that way? Right or wrong? In or out? Lost or found? On or off?

Dichotomy is not life. I am not so simple. Every child instinctively knows that life is not simple. When asked a question, the child frequently responds: “I don’t know.” The answer is not born of ignorance, but an innocent response to the complexity of life.

Tom Golden, December, 2018

The Asterisk

While riding down the New Jersey Turnpike, I noticed on the right-hand side a huge billboard with a photo of the newly appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. The Justice had his right hand on a Bible. Just above his head was a large asterisk.
When we see an asterisk we usually scan the item to see what the asterisk refers to. Try and scan a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike while driving at 65 miles per hour. I was able to pull on to the right shoulder. As with most writing following an asterisk, the print was quite small. I climbed over the guard rails to get a closer view.

* “Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh has allegedly fondled a 15 year old classmate when he was 17 years of age. Judge Kavanaugh has allegedly revealed his penis, and requested it be kissed by a college classmate while at Yale University. Judge Kavanaugh has been accused of participating in “gang rape” of high school girls. Judge Kavanaugh has been accused of excessive drinking that resulted in sexually assaultive behavior while in high school. In his mid-thirties, Judge Kavanaugh has been accused of attempted sexual assault of an adult female in the streets of Washington, D.C. It must be noted that none of the drinking or sexual allegations have been proven in a court of law.”
Tom Golden, PhD. Copyright, 2018

Wrong Side of the Bed

Many years ago, the wrong side of the bed was clearly marked by the presence of a “pot de chambre,” that is a chamber pot. Upon awakening during the night, a careless move to the floor on the “wrong side” of the bed resulted in disaster. With the passage of time and the introduction of in-house plumbing, the chamber pot has been transformed into a planter, or a flea market novelty.

The pot may be gone, but the expression “wrong side of the bed” has endured as an explanation for annoying personal behaviors. Getting up on the “wrong side of the bed” is now considered to be the cause of grouchiness, moodiness, depression, and lethargy and a host of other regrettable feelings and behaviors, not the least of which is “feeling lousy”.

Perhaps there is a “right side” of the bed, which if located and used will ensure vigor, good will, affection and sex. The physical structure of most beds offers few cues as to the right or wrong side, let alone the good or the bad side. Beds with a headboard, and/or a wall behind the bed offer just three possible “right” sides. One might eliminate the foot of the bed as an escape route, and thereby enhance your chances of choosing the “right side” by 33 percent.

The prospect of having just two choices to select the “right” side might be too risky. One might move the bed to the center of the room and then have four sides to choose from, or at least three sides with a rotating ‘foot’. For the avid gambler, a circular bed would offer a limitless search for the “right side”.

It’s possible that the number of bed sides and their locations will not solve the demand for a splendid morning personality. We must hit the floor on the “right side” and the design of the bed offers no help.

The presence of a bed mate insures a forced choice of the “right side.” In a bed with a head board, foot and partner, the “right side” is most likely your own side. Whether such a choice ensures a personality change is a much more complex issue, and never under your direct control. Furthermore, the sleeper is never concerned about the side of the bed to get up on. Sleepers just get up after a night’s sleep. They could, if asked, describe their mood. It is the observer, that is, spouse, friend, or ‘other body’ who feels compelled to identify a cause for the sleeper’s mood state.

“Boy, I see that you got up on the wrong side of the bed today.”

With that pronouncement, the sleeper quickly surveys the bedside looking for the infamous “pot de chambre”. Not finding any, the newly awakened must assume total responsibility for the mood in the bedroom or immediately leap into the other side of the bed with the hope that there lies the “right side”, and acceptance.


Small talk is seen as trivial, meaningless, and superficial. “I can’t stand small talk!” “Oh, all that small talk is driving me crazy!” Why do we engage in small talk? Because we are small people? No. Big people engage in small talk. Perhaps it is because we have small minds. I don’t believe so, since many small minds are known to talk BIG. The main reason for small talk must be the mouth size. Small talk is probably caused by a small mouth. BIG mouths are known to talk BIG. In fact, BIG talk is the hallmark of a BIG mouth, or is that a loud mouth? Have you ever heard loud mouths talk small talk? It might not be possible. Since small talk is bad, then BIG talk must be good. Remember the joyful hours we spend listening to BIG talk. BIG talk, out of BIG mouths, with small minds. Small talk is not at all trivial. Small talks allows us the time to become acquainted; small talk allows us to gracefully engage a stranger, or to painlessly tolerate the friend. Copyright, Thomas Golden, Writers Cramp, 1980

Up Against It


Just this evening, MSNBC commentator, Kacie DC, was interviewing Andrew Young, a past representative to the United Nations, and renowned civil rights leader. She asked him about the recent children’s march in Washington. He responded, but not completely since she had another question. After apologizing for her interruption, Kacie asked him about Martin Luther King, and John Lewis, and he was responding, but less than completely since Kacie was up against the clock. She apologized for the rush job, and he accepted the apology. Kacie was up against it. Up against what? Up against PNC Bank, AWAY luggage, Cisco, and two pharmacy commercials. Kacie was up against a loss in revenue – her loss of a job. Kacie was reflective of how our life is UP AGAINST IT. Up against money. Up against the power of capital. Up against the need to pay for everything we do, despite our desire to comfortably hear Andrew Young. MSNBC invited him to speak. He was asked to talk about rather important social issues. Mr. Young was politely given the old heave ho. Given the ‘hook’, to allow for the real stars of the show – banking, drugs, a touch of technology and a piece of travel equipment.

Tom Golden, March 2018.


The Vice President was focused upon the hockey game. The North Korean representative was seated just behind the Vice President. The scene was as cold as the ice.

I had no idea that my sister could skate. Not only was she skating, but on ice, and dancing to music. Michelle was taking dance lessons for several years. She hated going to class, but hating to go was no excuse for my Mother. Both Michelle and I would express our “hate”, “do I have to,” and “I have a headache” in a forlorn attempt to cancel the next piano, dance, or karate lesson. “You wanted to have the lessons, and we paid for them. At least finish the year”, she said. I was just three weeks into the karate school.

Michelle did a leap on the ice, and she landed into a full split. The audience went wild. Everyone cheered. Everyone except for my Father. My Father starred at the ice rink, with Michelle in a full split, and he showed no emotion. He just sat and starred straight ahead. His head held fast, as if in a neck brace. I turned to look at my Mother, and she seemed to only see her history, and not Michelle.

I forgot to mention, that when we arrived at the skating rink, our seats were reserved for parents of the contestants. In our row G7, sat my Father, my Stepmother, and me. Also in row G7 sat my Mother, and her husband, Bert. My Father sat in Seat 16, and my Mother sat in Seat 15 – just to the left of my Father. I sat in Seat 17, just to the right of my Father.

The exhibition ended and we all left. As with hello, no goodbye.

Tom Golden, February, 2018


Words Are Not So Easy

Grandson: Papa, I like democracy. Do you like democracy?
Grandpa: Of course I do.
Grandson: Is that like Democratic.
Grandpa: Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that Democratic was bad. He said Republican was good.
Grandpa: Well, son, democracy is really good. Democratic is not exactly the same.
Grandson:  But they sound almost the same. Grandpa, is it good to be right?
Grandpa:  Yes. I guess so. Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that the left is really very good, and the right is not.
Grandpa: Well words are not so easy.
Grandson: I know that I’m going to be democratic, and also I want to be right.
Grandpa: Sounds good son – just fine.
Grandson: I love you Grandpa.
Grandpa: I love you too


The Gettysburg Address, Circa 2017

Ladies and Gentleman it is my honor to introduce the President of the United States, President Lincoln…

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Announcer:Just a brief break:

“Folks, it can happen to all of us as we age. Elderly dementia patients taking Albuminide have an increased risk of death or stroke. Please call your doctor if you believe that you are having a stroke that is not good. Sometimes your sugar levels will unintentionally rise with Albuminide, and coma can result. Enjoy success, and health with Albuminide.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war.

 Announcer:  We will be right back.

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We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate we cannot consecrate we cannot hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

Announcer: return in a minute.

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The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here. It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion.

Announcer: Mr. President, we will return in a moment.

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That we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people. by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

“You’ll Know – You’ll See”

President Trump is inclined to hint at his future actions. Trump will tell us that he has very important plans, and joyfully offers little clarity, other than the phrase: “the calm before the storm.” When asked what he means by that phrase, he will say, “you will know.” That lack of clarity, yet foreboding causes some minimal concern in Kingston New York, Bangor, Maine and Des Moines, Iowa. But the concern is much more provocative in….

North Korea: “Considering that the President of the United States has announced that a storm is coming, we have put our armed forces on 24-hour alert.”

Paris, France: “The Prime Minister, has ordered that all French ships near Iranian waters are to immediately return to the nearest French Ports.”

Ottawa, Canada: The Defense Minister declared: “We have learned that the President of the United States has declared that he will be making a decision that sounds rather ominous. In that light, we will be closing the Peace Bridge at 1400 hours on Sunday to all traffic entering from the United States.”

Teheran, Iran: “We have every reason to believe that the President of the United States intends to cancel the Iranian Treaty. As such we will immediately initiate the rehabilitation of all equipment that is needed for our nuclear production.”

Caracas, Venezuela: “Citizens of Venezuela, we have long feared that the United States is prepared to invade our territorial waters. President Trump has stated that a “storm” is coming. In the light of his threatening comments about our nation, we are ordering our Navy to intercept any naval vessel of the United States that enters our waters.”

Secretary General of the United Nations: “I have informed the members of the Security Council that we will meet tomorrows morning to discuss the implications of President’s Trumps announcement that portends some harmful international event is likely to occur. We have absolutely no idea as to the meaning of “calm before the storm”, but I have no other choice but to require an immediate gathering.”

Words Are Not So Easy

Grandson: Papa, I like democracy. Do you like democracy?
Grandpa: Of course I do.
Grandson: Is that like Democratic.
Grandpa: Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that Democratic was bad. He said that Republican was good.
Grandpa: Well, son, democracy is really good. Democratic is not exactly the same.
Grandson:  But they sound almost the same. Grandpa, is it good to be right?
Grandpa:  Yes. I guess so. Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that the left is really very good, and the right is not.
Grandpa: Well words are not so easy.
Grandson: I know that I’m going to be democratic, and I want to be right.
Grandpa: Sounds good son – just fine.
Grandson: I love you Grandpa.
Grandpa: I love you too.

The LIE Word

Senator Corker from Tennessee stated that in his home, his family never used the LIE word. Currently, the Senator is in a newsworthy conflict with President Trump. Senator Corker has said that the President, “tells untruths.” “Untruths” may be difficult to say without an outburst of laughter, but it eliminates screaming, “liar, liar, liar!” The President said a “untruth.” Not only an “untruth”, but a “provable untruth”. Senator Corker may be unleashing a needed reform in our culture. The rebirth of manners and specifically mannered control over our communication.

What words were, forbidden, or at least avoided in your home. Let’s start with the “H” word, or at perhaps the “S” word. In some homes the list might include the “F” word,

Now as to our careful avoidance of forbidden words. I was told not to say the “H” word as in HATE, like, “I hate you.” I would instead say, “I hope you die” (but under my breath), followed by a quick “Oh, God, please don’t let my Mother die” (also under my breath). I believe that children express much of their feelings under their breath.

The “S” word as in STUPID -What is so wrong in calling your sister stupid? Many times, my sister, and my brother were stupid. Why punish me, when they were so stupid? I avoided stupid, by simple saying: “Wrong!” or “You’re such a jerk.”

And now for the biggy: “FUCK” as in “Fuck you!” Never, no never say that in one’s home. If by chance it slipped, then comes the soap mouth washing. The notion that cleansing a mouth with soap could suppress such intense feelings was at best a temporary suppression. You might say “Fuck You”, but to the air. That is with no eye contact to anyone. You might hear, “What did you say?” You then say “Nothing – nothing.” That usually works.

When and if children use forbidden words, the origins are usually attributed to the child’s playmates, or classmates. “Frank, I don’t want you to talk like your friend Michael. I have told you many times that Michael’s parents are hardly ever home, and he has sitters teach a lot of things that are not right. I hope that you understand. Do you?” Frank nods approval, and immediately returns to Mario on his computer.


Tom Golden, writer’s cramp, 2017