Not a Photo-OP

We are here at the San Juan airport, and await the landing of Air Force One with the President, and the first lady, Melanie. My first reporting assignment, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. This is the first visit of the President to our island. Porto Rico is devastated, and we are looking forward to the President’s visit. Our hope that his stay is not just a photo opportunity, and just another opportunity to gain personal favor with his base. The advance notice suggested that we would all be surprised by the President’s visit.

The plane is just landing. I am trying to get close to the tarmac, but the Black Water security personnel are refusing to allow us to move any closer.  I must tell you, those men look serious, and somewhat mean. I just heard one of them speak to a colleague, and they spoke in German. Another guard was holding a AK 14, and softly singing in Hebrew. Interesting international group of personnel.

The doors of the plane have just opened. Several assistants have exited, and now the President is standing in the doorway, and climbing down the stairs. It is hard to see him clearly, since several aides and guards are standing in my sight line. It appears that the President is wearing what looks like a hard hat. Yes, it is a hard hat. His typical baseball cap seems to be underneath the hard hat.

I am about 30 feet from the President, and I now can clearly see him. He appears to be wearing combat fatigues, and black boots. Around his waist is what looks to be the typical carpenters belt – full of tools. I can see a claw hammer, several chisels and a large tape measure hanging on the right side. He just turned around to answer a MSNBC reporter, and he is carrying a back pack. I can see at the top of the pack what looks like a reciprocal saw, or at least some type of saw. The sight of the President is remarkable. He looks like a walking Tractor Supply. Draped over his right shoulder is a coil of heavy duty rope, with large hooks on each end.  Just beside the rope is a holster with a hatchet. In his left hand he is holding a crow bar that looks to be at least 4 foot long.

I just noticed that the first lady, Melanie Trump has exited the plane and she is also wearing a hard hat. It seems to have a decal of the football Patriots on the side. Holy cow, she too is dressed in a workman suit, but in black with gold trim. She is carrying… I can’t believe it, but I was just told that she is carrying the Jaws of Death machine. The machine that helps cut through steel, or concrete. It is clearly heavy, and a guard with a very heavy Italian accent offered to help her with the equipment, but she has refused.

The President and the First Lady are entering an armored personnel carrier. They have just speeded away. No questions have been asked of the President. Clearly, this was not the typical photo op. It appears that the President is here to do something. What, who knows, but hopefully he and his wife will not hurt themselves.

Tom Golden, writers cramp, September 2017.

Uncharted Waters

Today, February 9, 2017, Senator Mark Warner of the great state of Virginia stated that, “we are in uncharted waters.” Other political leaders and commentators have said phrases of a similar sort, e.g. “This is a new day,” and “Little seems the same.” and most painful, “It is difficult to know what to do – so many things are changing daily,”

Fellow Americans, the only person in the entire country that is “uncharted” is the President of the United States. The only citizen who can change opinion, desires, attitudes on a “daily”, or “hourly” basis is Donald Trump – Our pathologically disturbed President.

Perhaps, Senator Warner, and his colleagues feel that they are in “uncharted waters.” I feel sorry for them. It must be difficult for them to remember right from wrong, or truth versus lies. Have Senator Warner and ‘friends’ (those in Congress always refer to one another as ‘friend’) lost their moral compass and as such cannot distinguish between ill-will and respect. Have they totally suppressed or deny the teachings of their parents, teachers, church leaders? That Donald Trump resembles a buoy bobbing in the sea is not my fate. That Donald Trump is troubled by demons that deny him guidance and safety, is not my state of mind, nor body. I fear not uncharted waters, not because of some exquisite seamanship, but because of my humanity.

WPRD Nightly Quiz Show

President Trump: Puerto Rico is an island. A big island surrounded by water, big water.
Announcer: Correct. Mr. President. Now for the next question. What is the difference between Long Island and Ellis Island?
President Trump: Well that’s another island question. I like island questions. I really like Long Beach Island. My friend, Chris Christy has a home on LBI. That’s Long Beach Island if you like – I really like it a lot, it’s just great. Big, huge, and right on the water. Real salty ocean water. I like water in a lake. Do you?
Announcer: Mr. President, about the difference between Long Island and Ellis Island?
President Trump: Okay, you are stuck on island stuff. That’s o.k. Ellis Island is for refugees, lotsa of refugees from all over the world. Not from Iraq, or Syria, or Sri Lanka. Say did you ever visit Sri Lanka?
Announcer: Mr. President. No, I have never been to Sri Lanka. Now for Long Island.
President Trump: What about Long Island? It’s nice – real nice. Just near Jones Beach, and Fire Island.
Announcer: Forget that question. Just one more question that was submitted by a Mr. Omar Quor.
President Trump: What did you say?
Announcer: Mr. Omar Quor sent in a question for you.
President Trump: What is the question?
Announcer: Mr. Quor asks if you will release your tax return.
President: Who is this Omar person?
Announcer: He is a listener to our show.
President: Is this show on line? Is this being broadcast?
Announcer: Of course, Mr. President. Didn’t your daughter tell you that we would be broadcasting a quiz with the President.
President: Who?
Announcer: Your daughter, Ivanka said that you would be pleased to be on the show.
President: Well I’ll tell you something I love my daughter, Kelley Ann and even Rachel Maddow.
Announcer: Yes?
President: That’s it. I love a lot of people. Even not in my family. I even love you.
Announcer: Thank you – thank you Mr. President.
President: Say, you can call me Donald, or you can call me anytime. Get it? Call me anytime!

Tom golden, writer’s cramp, September 2017

I Represent…

Recently I heard a congressman state the following: “Get this straight. I was elected by my constituents. I was chosen by those citizens to represent their concerns, and that is my duty under the constitution. So when you ask me how did I feel about the Alabama election of Mr. Brown to the United States Senate I stated that he is responsible to his constituents, as am I. That Mr. Brown has stated that September 11 deaths were due to God punishing us for the issue of homosexuality, that is for his voter’s concern. I have my voters to consider.”

What about national issues. is the President the only person in government who is answerable to all of us? Why isn’t any representative elected responsible to all of us, regardless of district, and party?

There is a world of difference between a Politician and a Statesman. The Politician represents their residents. The Statesman represents all. Pitifully, the Congress of the United States is populated by Politicians. There are no Statesman.

Thomas Golden, Ph.D.
30 Riveredge Road
Tenafly, New Jersey 07670
201-567-1913

The Weather Superman and Woman

The recent storms of Harvey and Irma have produced broadcasters the likes of which we have not known since World War II. No, now our front-line reporters are the brave men and women of the weather reporting media, state and federal weather bureaus.

One hundred and fifty-five miles per hour winds. Drenching rains, carrying millions of grains of beach sand. Sand that sting the faces of the weather persons. “I feel as though I was getting a skin abrasion treatment. Oh, that hurts.” Another reported standing on a pier, just alongside the Miami River, slipped on a cement block, and fortunately did not hit the water. Other reporters braving unpredictable ‘catastrophic’ wind gusts, and yet standing just three feet from the safety of a concrete parking garage, and the warmth of a massive GM SUV.

They report on the rain, and Palm trees swaying. The program directors request more shots of the rain, and flooded streets. The producers and television directors ignore the fact that we can see the rain, and the Palm trees bending. We can hear the howling wind. We see the waves, white caps and the boats floundering in their moorings, or out to sea. The camera tells us all we need to know, without the added thrill, and death defying heroism of the weather reporters. How much danger do the reporters need to suffer to keep the television ratings on the rise? What kind of harm do we have to see, before the ‘entertainment’ portion of the weather report is satisfied?

Tom Golden, Writer’s Cramp, 2017

Hurray for Bipartisanship

On Wednesday, September 27, the Congress of the United States displayed a fervent, unanimous welcome to Representative Scalise of Louisiana. Congressman Scalise has recovered from a near death shooting, and entered the hallowed halls to 20 minutes of a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle – the no man’s land of our government.

Several weeks prior, Senator John McCain returned to the Senate after undergoing surgery and radiation treatment for a stage 4, brain cancer. As the Senator entered the capital building, the entire congress regardless of party affiliation applauded and cheered the Senators return.

It is clear that when one of their brethren is ill, the members of Congress can join hands in sincere brotherhood. Many of them teared on each occasion. It appears that the illness must have a terminal quality. No one gets cheers for the flu, or gout. The enthusiasm is reserved for that congressman who almost die, or at least face imminent death. Under those dire circumstances, bipartisanship reigns supreme.

When millions of civilians are faced with severe illness, terminal disease or possible medical intervention, health care rests in the congressional no man’s land. The proverbial aisle is inviolate.

Tom Golden, Ph.D,
Writer’s Cramp, 2017

A Name…

A NAME is important. A NAME is more than a label. A NAME tells us something about the person. Take buildings for an example. There are no buildings with a NAME such as: I, or ME, or US. Nor are there clothing labels that declare: IT, or MINE, or WE.  There are many structures that do carry a label, a real NAME.

For some persons, their NAME is important. To have a NAME recognized is food for their ego. Others have never expressed a desire to have public recognition of their NAME. In fact, Ulysses Grant never asked for a memorial to his NAME, nor did George Washington desire to have a city, or monument bear his NAME. Martin Luther King, never asked for an avenue named after him, nor did Francis Albert Sinatra ask for a “Way” in Hoboken, New Jersey.

And now for persons who have a fervent, spinal need for their NAME to be recognized by every inhabitant of the world. A person who needs his NAME on apartment and office building(s), Casinos, and golf courses. Such a person is our President Donald Trump. To have his NAME plastered for all to see, both in the United States and in foreign lands is a basic need, as is the need for food and water.

President Trump clearly enjoys the sight of his NAME in public places. BUT, there is one labelling of which he is most desirous. Donald Trump needs – a need beyond measure, to have his NAME on a health bill.

A modest proposal. The Congress, both parties, must make the needed corrections in Obama Care, and then NAME the bill as: TRUMP CARE. TRUMP CARE logos must be placed in every medical facility, pharmacy. Every auto sold, should carry a bumper sticker announcing TRUMP CARE. Only then will the Donald achieve some sense of comfort. Only then will Donald be able to sleep thru the night, and not resort to tweets.

The End

Thomas Golden, Writer’s Cramp, September ,2017.

Forget Bi-Partisan

I am in favor of partisan politics. Partisan politics reveals character, view points, personal history, biases, prejudices, and profound commitments. Partisan polemic allows us to realize the meaningless of such phrases as ‘my dear Friend from Georgia’, or my Honorable Senator Doe, or my Dear Colleague on the other side of the aisle. Other side of the aisle is code for ‘other side of the tracks, or wrong side of town, or just *&^>?$#+!@>:+*&@.

Partisan commentary allows us to hear the unvarnished, unadulterated principles that characterize a political figure.  The partisan comments announce the heart-felt biases, and systemic private allegiances of the politician. The truth and nothing but the truth, so help my prejudices. We should welcome the partisan perspective in order to better understand the opponent. We should demand complete partisan expression, since only then can we accurately assess the person, and run for cover, or attack as only a partisan can.

Be weary of the politician who is devoted to bi-partisan rhetoric. Such politicians have an appeal in that they seem to favor progress, and to avoid gridlock. They appear to seek consensus, cooperation, and accommodation. Remarkably such a politician appears to have rid himself of familial history, cultural influences and color perception? Beware, and never forget  Goldilocks.

All is not lost, in that frequently the Partigiano win. They win even though much heartache was endured. Remember the Alamo!

Did I Say That?

 

And now, the President of the United States – Donald Trump

“Thank you for the invitation, and the great welcome by such a great audience. I mean great – really great. First, I must give my thanks to the representatives who have come from far and wide. Very far. Not around the corner. Sometimes I wonder how come people come at all. I mean why do they come. I mean it, why? Then I say to myself that they really care. Not only do they care, but they really care – really. I say it, they care.

We are gathered today to celebrate the most important day of the month of October. You may not believe it, but all my life – I mean a long, long time, I loved Halloween. The fake news, all those fake news people sitting in the back. You see them – the fake people of the fake news. Say hello to the camera, you fake people. Forget them, I mean they love to hear me say fake news. Then they can say I called them fake news persons, love it, they love it. So, Halloween is a simple holiday. No religion, no racial things, just fun, fun. Real fun. You betta believe the fake news, yeh the ones in the back. Say cameraman, show the fake news persons. Okay forget it. They know they are fakers. The fake networks will say that President Trump made a big deal about Halloween. Yeh, that’s what they will say. I did make a big deal – it is a big deal for millions of my friends in Alabama, Ohio and mostly Pennsylvania. Would you believe I won Ohio, and Pennsylvania? Would you believe it. Believe it. Oh, poor Hillary, poor Hillary. What a bad candidate- really bad, so bad.

I have got to go to Mara Lago tonight. Big night there and thousands of kids -thousands are coming for their candy. Lotsa candy and things. Would you believe it thousands and with their mom and dad? Not just kids, but mom and dad, and maybe others. Thank you very much. A lot.”

Tom Golden, Writers Cramp, 2017

BACK TO YOU

Two world leaders “busting” on one another, and possibly killing all the rest of us. My best tom

Can you possibly imagine committing to a war on the back of:

Man 1: Fuck you.
Man 2: Fuck you too.
Man 1: You are a piece of shit.
Man 2: Oh yeh. Well your mother is a whore.
Man 1: Your psychotic.
Man 2: Well you are a doddering old man.
Man 1: Now you’re getting personnel.
Man 2: I am not done.
Man 1: What now?
Man 2: How about dropping a atomic bomb in the ocean.
Man 1: Big deal – who gives a damn.
Man 2: Say, I have to go eat dinner.

The End

Home Come, How To Books, Don’t Work?

 

I’d like to have more friends, money, sex, power, strength, sleep, intelligence, and feelings. In addition, I’d like to improve my tennis, skiing, jogging, fishing, and cooking. Furthermore, I’d like to learn to speak Spanish, sail a sloop, throw a pot, snorkel, and do macramé.

All of the above are possible my making a trip to the local paperback bookstand. There is a “How-to-Book” for each of my desires. For a couple of dollars, I can purchase the means to gain a skill, a friend, a job, a lover, or even a new personality. For another two dollars, I can buy a “How-to-Lose” book which can undo all that I have gained.

Now that I’ve purchase the book, my life gets complicated. I don’t read!! Well, I do know how to read, but rather slowly. No problem! On the rack above “How-to-Peel Onions and Eat Garlic without Coming Apart”, is a “How-to-Improve Your Reading Speed in 10 Minutes per Day.”

I purchase the speed reading book and head home. It is now time to make life worth living! I am not really interested in reading faster, so I will skim the reading book. Skimming a book is a skill in itself, like skimming milk. How does one skim milk, let alone a book designed to improve your reading speed?

I read the authors’ notes on the front and rear covers; then I read any book reviews extolling the virtues of the book; then I read the chapter contents. Sounds good! Just 10 minutes per day for 300 days. That’s 3000 minutes of training or fifty hours. Why not one hour per day for fifty days, or perhaps a marathon of 50 hours? I wonder if you can adjust the training schedule and still improve? If I fail, I know it will be due to my modifying the training schedule. I am anxious to see exactly what is involved in the program.

I light up a cigarette and sit in my reading chair, a stool in the kitchen. I wish I had a comfortable reading chair, and proper reading lamp. Maybe I’ll read in bed? Maybe I’ll go to sleep.

But what about the improvements? What about my friends, money, sex, power, Spanish, and macramé? Oh well, I saw a book entitled, “How-to-Procrastinate and Enjoy it.”

Copyright, Thomas Golden, 1981

If Birds Fly, Why Can’t I?

 

Everything is fine until the plane starts to move. Up to that point the experience is like sitting in a carpeted egg box. As the plane leaves the terminal parking area, the wings show the first signs of poor engineering and loose rivets. With each bump on the airport runway, the huge wings flutter. The flex is minimal, but only total repression would allow you to not see the wing tip movement. My first response is to make certain that my seatbelt is right, although the totality of a crash has always made the seatbelt procedure seem ridiculous.

Throughout the flight, I am devoted to the signal lights above my seat. I believe that firm adherence to the “No Smoking” and “Fasten Seat Belt” signs will insure the safety of the flight. It is as if that were my way of controlling the flight.

“Is this is 727 or a DC 10?”

“Which plane, design, and manufacturer was involved in the last crash?”

“Remember the saying, ‘Never two without three.”

“Damn it, were there two crashes this year, or only one?”

“Perhaps there were three already this year. Perhaps there were several in Europe or Russia. You never know. The local paper doesn’t report each plane crash. If only there were three crashes already, then I’d be safe.”

The stewardess is informing us of the emergency procedures in case of a land crash, sea ditching. or oxygen deficiency. They seemed so bored, so mechanical, so very pretty. What an exhausting job! I try hard to believe that they really are knowledgeable about, planes, engines, and flight. Certainly, if something went wrong they would detect it, and being very sensitive I would read it in their faces. Actually, I know better. The hostesses are no more aware of aerodynamics than I am. They must serve 164 people a meal, a cordial, a snack, a drink, and still look pretty.

The captain announces his presence, our flight arrival time, our cruising attitude and speed, and the weather in Dallas. Who cares! I want to ask him if he flew a B-29’s in World War II. Was he an ace? Does he drink? I want to see his face, his confident smile and sparkling eyes. I don’t care when we arrive. The airline worries about schedules. I need to know that we will arrive!

I survey the passengers looking for a young child, preferably an infant. If there is a God in heaven, he won’t take the life of an infant. Yes, there are two infants. One I can’t see, but I can hear her loud and clear. The stewardess finds the screaming charming.

“Oh, what blue eyes you have. Oh, she is so cute.” It is as if the infant were truly unique. In fact, the infant is great! Two babies are almost a guarantee of a safe flight.

Seated near the first-class compartment is a rather swarthy man. Approximately 36 years of age, dark complexion, and slick black hair. His jacket is wrinkled and his nails are dirty. He could be trouble. What kind of trouble? A hijacker, a bomber, or just bad luck. Just ready to die, since he’s obviously good for nothing and, damn it, he is on my plane.

We’re next in line for takeoff. The engines are revved up. It sounds as if the captain is testing the engines. We’re not moving, so he must be testing them. What a time to test the engines! I wonder if the hundreds of dials and lights in the cabin are all green, or blue, or at least on! A red light would be bad, but a yellow light is even worse. Yellow means caution. Not yes! Not no! Not stop! Not go! Just beware? Beware of what? Human error causes 99.9% of all crashes. If the captain has to decide in the face of a yellow light, is that the beginning of human error?

The engines sound so smooth, and very powerful. We head down the runway, faster and faster. Could he stop now? I try and estimate the speed of the plane. Maybe we’re going 100 mph. I have never driven my car more than 70 or 80 mph. I can’t tell how fast we’re going, but we are airborne. We rise in the air and the clang! crunch! squeal! What’s that? I look out the window. The wing is still there. I can’t see the damn engines since they are bolted at the tail. I hope the bolts hold. The noise must be the wheels being raise, or the flaps flapping. More squealing and grinding noises. The last noise was the flaps. Why doesn’t the ground crew grease the joints? What is so difficult about properly lubricating the gears? How often is the plane overhauled? The interior shows signs of wear. The seats are worn and some of the plastic light fixtures are yellow with age. How old is this plane?

We bank to the left and continue to gain altitude. If you turn the steering wheel too sharply, will the plane refuse to flip over? How many back-up safety systems are there? Even the idea of a back-up system is frightening. You install a back-up system when you know the front system will go haywire! The “No-Smoking” light goes out. That means any gas fumes that have accumulated in the cabin have dissipated. The seatbelt sign stays on.

The stewardess offers drinks and the food orgy begins. The food is worthless. The quality is always poor to neutral, but it is so welcomed. The food occupies the sense. Little packages to open, butter to spread, drinks to balance. I finish everything on my tray. Even the powdered chocolate mousse tastes fine. I could eat all the way to Dallas. The seatbelt sign goes off. I leave mine fastened. Why not? Why unfasten the seatbelt? The seats are cramped, the air is stuffy, the leg room is minimal, and the elbow room is non-existent. So why not leave the band around your stomach? Besides with the first sign of turbulence the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign will light once again.

Darwin was right. Evolution follows natural laws of nature. Fish swim, snakes crawl, and happy little blue bird fly, but why, oh why, can’t I?

World War III

 

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth. That was good, but the masterpiece was the creation of the coffee bean. Unfortunately, he planted most of the beans in Columbia and Brazil, and we will rue that decision. One of these days, the Colombians and the Brazilians will tire of being treated as third class persons. At that time, they are not going to send anymore coffee to any of the world major powers.

“That’s right. We not going to send anymore coffee – no more coffee – that’s it! We’re no send coffee at 60.00 dollars a case, 600.00 dollars or 6000.00 dollars a case. We no send any coffee. We no know what we do with the coffee, but we no send to any big powers – starting with the United States of America in the North America, Western hemisphere continent.”

“No more gringo – no more. We no give a damn what you pay us. We send nothing. Yeah, maybe you get some on the black-market – big deal. We no send and you are going to be in mucho trouble, because which big power drinks more coffee is gonna be more out of it. That’s when we start the Third World War. The United States Army is not gonna move their ass unless they have their coffee. Trucks ain’t gonna go, fliers ain’t gonna fly, jets won’t take to the sky, missilemen won’t watch their missiles, mommas won’t fuck their husbands, husbands won’t go to work, and children will go crazy because they get really loco parents who didn’t have their cup of coffee in the morning.”

“It’s gonna be all over for the United States of America, north America, because we ain’t sending you no more coffee. Oh, you try some artificial filler-inner, but that ain’t coffee. That ain’t the smell of coffee on the highway. It ain’t a hot cup of coffee on a cold, rainy morning. No more cigarette butts in the old coffee cup in the conference room. No, we no send anymore coffee, and if you don’t like it you better be nice, cause we got the bean.”

I wonder if the Russians drink a lot of coffee. I know the Chinese don’t – they’re hooked on tea. Perhaps that’s the answer to a coffee boycott. Tea and donuts; tea and a buttered roll; two eggs over easy, hashed browns, order of bacon, toast, and a mug of tea! What hath God wrought!!

The Multiplication Tables

 

Have you ever given a toll booth collector a Canadian nickel? He will blow up your car!

Instead of giving the collector the toll of 65 cents, you give him sixty American cents and a Canadian nickel. God forbid you give him sixty cents and no nickel. He will ring the bell, sound the gong, flash the lights – just go completely berserk.

“What the hell are you doing, mister? You owe me a nickel – you owe me a nickel!”

“Yes, I know.”

He stares are you – glaring with all his venom because you busted him for a nickel.

When you think about his position, a nickel can be important to his well-being. What if the toll collector is really negligent? Four hundred thousand people a day pass through his booth and each one “stiffs” him for a nickel.

“Oh, it’s only a nickel; – it’s only a nickel.”

Let’s see the mathematics of it all: 400,000 people a day times a nickel. That’s like, $2,000.00 – no – $20,000.00. I know it’s the four times the five and then you have to handle (in your head) all those zeros. It is the zeros that can create havoc in your head.

Now 400.00 times five cents – five times four is twenty. Now, 400,000 times decimal point, zero, five, then I do a twist in my head, just behind my eyes. Four times five is twenty, zero, zero, zero, comma, zero, zero, zero. I strain to see my mental blackboard.

Now you understand what makes multiplying in your head difficult. It is handling all the commas and the zeros.

Tom Golden, PhD. Copyright, 1976

The Asterisk **

 

 

While riding down the New Jersey Turnpike, I noticed on the right-hand side a huge billboard picturing a Buick, Le Sabre. The sale price was up at the right – $35,999.99 followed by a large asterisk, to the right and above the nine.

We know what to do when we see an asterisk. When we see an asterisk we usually scan the page and see what the asterisk refers to. Try and scan a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike while driving at 65 miles per hour. Thirty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred Ninety -Nine dollars and Ninety-Nine cents, asterisk and then you start scanning. Before you know it, you’re smashing through the side rails, guard rails, signs, billboard, power plant, while riding down the New Jersey Turnpike.

By the way, if you bother to stop and actually scan the billboard, you will that the asterisk means that the $35,999.99 means FPOE, COD, and FET. All that secret coding means that General Motors is going to own your life for several years.

Tom Golden, PhD. Copyright, 1976.