The Venezuelan Candidate

I didn’t bother watching last night’s third and final presidential debate because, for starters, Donald Trump was toast already and Hillary Clinton has the election sewed up. And also because I am weary of contemplating the fact that one of America’s two supposed major political parties nominated an ignorant bigot with the maturity of a 6th grader as their standard bearer, thus forcing me to vote for Mrs. Clinton just to keep his itchy trigger finger away from our nuclear codes.

Nonetheless, I read about last night’s debacle this morning, and I hope all the Republicans were proud to hear their candidate tell debate host Chris Wallace that he doesn’t know whether he’ll accept the results of the election (thereby implying that he may order his tribe of followers to riot in the streets and spend the next four years declaring their collective refusal to recognize Hillary Clinton as their president). This is approximately the type of thing I’d expect to hear from a participant in an election in, say, Venezuela.

Trump’s apologists immediately ran to every news media outlet available and tried to say that if Trump doesn’t accept the results of the election, he’ll only be doing exactly what Al Gore did when the Supreme Court ruled that a recount showed the state of Florida tilted to George W. Bush by a couple hundred votes.

Which is, of course, a stinkin’ lie.

Here is what Al Gore said in December of 2000: “I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

And that’s the difference between an American and Donald Trump.

Posted in Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be, Politics

Adam & Eve, Party Of Two – Your Table Is Ready

Unexpected consequences from the Great Flood of ‘016 include a ruined fig and pecan crop – pretty disappointing to those of us who look forward to those gastronomic treats. However, the pain has been eased by a great load of Hachiya persimmons from what looks like the Tree of Life out back, several large bunches of bananas with more ripening, and a promising crop of Satsuma oranges and Meyer lemons. You win some, you lose some.

Our house took on not a drop of water from the raging Brazos River, which crested at nearly 55 feet just four months ago. However, our five figs and all the towering native pecan trees in the neighborhood stood in three or more feet of water for several days, and apparently that was traumatic enough to ruin the crops. The usually delicious dark figs in back ripened up and looked fine, but when you bit into them, they contained almost no sugar. As for the pecans, most of our trees have almost none. Usually they have many hundreds.

So you eat what you have. Stop by this fall for a banana-persimmon smoothy.

Posted in Brazos River, Food, Fruit, Garden, Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be

Another Fine Mess

Waking up and reading the national news as I do, I feel like I’m being strapped in the chair to have my teeth cleaned at the dentist, over and over again, each day, every day. What incredibly boorish, thuggy thing will Donald Trump have done since I turned the computer off the evening before? And regardless of whatever the new offense, how much lower will Hillary Clinton sink in the national polls?

For weeks I’ve resisted writing about the presidential elections, because recalling the play by play and putting it into personal historical context is painful. Really, I spend a lot of time doing a double take at some story on the computer screen, standing up and sputtering unintelligibly, like Lewis Black mid-rant, on the way to the kitchen for more coffee.

There’s a lot – a lot! – I could say, and am tempted to say about the two major political parties and their candidates and their followers. I remain resistant to doing so, because it wouldn’t change anyone’s mind but most likely would hurt some people’s feelings, and I remain convinced that personal relationships are almost always more important than personal political party preference.

I’m just going to say this: Republicans who have really thought this campaign through should conclude that they have a lot more to lose from a Trump presidency than a Clinton presidency.

If Clinton becomes president, Republicans in Congress can (and will) just continue obstructing every single utterance and action the Democratic president tries to take, simultaneously pretending the party’s conservative underpinnings remain intact and that the Trump phenomenon was merely a statistical fluke, almost randomly occurring due to the sheer mathematical number of candidates striving to represent the Grand Old Pachyderms. Then in four years he of boyish good looks and charm, Paul Ryan, can swoop in and save the day for the Republican old guard and, with lots and lots of luck, perhaps happy days can make a conservative comeback.

If, however, Trump becomes president, you can pretty much bet that once he tires of using his executive powers for revenge on all his real and imagined enemies, he’ll grow bored and turn the whole Ship of State over to the Three Stooges of his cabinet: Chris Christie, Rudy Gulianni and Newt Gingrich. (Gingrich, by the way, says he recently told Trump “I want to be the senior planner for the entire federal government, and I want a letter from you that says Newt Gingrich is authorized to go to any program in any department, examine it and report directly to the president.”)

Like anyone who has closely studied the personal histories of the above four individuals, I have to ask: What could possibly go wrong?

The answer is, of course, everything. I believe Major Things will go wrong for a Trump presidency within six months at the outside. Fingers will be pointed; blame will be assessed. Hopefully, we will somehow avert nuclear war and maintain diplomatic relations with at least most of the free world. But that’s no sure bet.

Whatever major domestic and world-wide problems Trump creates, the Republicans will be blamed for them, and rightly so, since they will have gotten us into this mess. As a consequence, the Democratic Party will be swept into power, maybe for decades. Most probably, in four years you can say hello to President Elizabeth Warren.

And whatever feelings you hold in your heart for Hillary Clinton, you will harbor those same feelings, magnified, like brandy is to wine, for Elizabeth Warren, regardless of where you fall upon the political spectrum.

All right then, everybody ready? Lets see what happens!

Posted in Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be, Politics

The Way We Were

They hadn’t told us there was no passport photographer in the embassy. We only found out that Monday afternoon, when we tried to get in line there, in order to have our small mountain of adoption paperwork finally approved so that we could bring our new adopted son home to Texas with us.

But no, now we had to search for a passport photographer. Luckily, that didn’t take long because several such photographers were parked in vans in the backstreets around the embassy building. We handed little Nick to one of them, he took three photos and handed the baby back. We waited a few minutes, then walked back to the embassy with our Polaroids.

By that time the long line had grown longer, filled with couples and the babies they were trying to adopt. Several more lined up behind us, too, however, as the clock ticked on toward 5 p.m., we were the last couple to have our papers processed. We were happy and relieved. This long adoption ordeal was coming to a close after all this time, and tomorrow we’d fly back to the United States and baby Nick would see his new home.


Or so we thought.

We were up early the next morning, packing up, double-checking our plane tickets, ready to grab a cab to the airport. Then the phone rang. My father-in-law from back in Texas. Turn on the TV, he said. And there was the plane, flying in slow motion through one of the World Trade Center towers and into the permanent memory banks of my brain.

Sept. 11, 2001, in Guatemala City. No, we soon learned, there’d be no flight. America was closed.

Posted in Family, Kids, Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be, Travel, War