Can’t fight the urge… or maybe that’s someone else

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 – Photo taken from Donald J. Trump’s upcoming book on Zen Buddhism

Last week in my inauguration piece, I wrote about how at the beginning of the day, there was a hint of bipartisanship in the air, courtesy of a “smoke out” aptly timed to precede Trump’s inauguration speech and swearing in. After accidentally stumbling upon the rally, or gathering, or zombie fest (whatever the proper label is), I tried to convince, or maybe console, a few happy attendees that de-legalizing recreational marijuana use was not “high” on the president-elect’s agenda.

Depending on what side of the fence you stand, this has either been a bold or brazen week for President, actually lets just call him Ronald Mc”Donald” Trump. I will reserve more judgment until after my description.

As an aspiring journalist, I am also not sure whether to be appalled or enriched by all the commotion, but as someone who is drawn to satire, this is truly  manna from heaven.

And as far as the weed issue goes, lets just say Mr. Trump himself might benefit from keeping it”high” on his priority list, and even more so, for the rest of us, even those like me, who are not too well-versed on the ways of the weed world.

Size matters (at least to Trump)

The hullabaloo started last Tuesday when after three or so days of staying on his meds, a man who is pathologically insecure, admitted his embarrassment at the stated size of his, especially compared to Obama’s, size of his, size of his…………… inauguration crowd.

Granted many aging men express clinical despair over the size of their………..inauguration crowds, but this is something you are supposed to well, sort of keep in your pants.

crowd_split_social_y

Mr. Trump, in what then could only be described as both delusional and maybe the subject of a good Polock joke, took to compensating for his inferiorly sized inauguration crowd by challenging the popular vote count of 10 weeks ago, perhaps asking for a recount. I could think of ridiculous analogies galore but will simply say this would be like the Super Bowl winning quarterback taking steroids before the game, celebrating in the locker room, prepping for his Disneyworld junket then sometime the next day, and then stating that outcome of the Super Bowl should not be made official until both teams’ quarterbacks are tested for steroids. Or calling the IRS to revisit the tax code because you think you cheated on your taxes.

Hopefully you get the point.

His insistence on voter fraud was all the buzz until he created another diversion by experiencing an intense bout of a premature executive-actulation. Needless to say, Mr. Trump has gotten a bit infatuated with his newfound power, a little bit like giving an eight year old a bazooka squirt gun at a mid July birthday pool party. The only problem of course, is Mr. Trump’s executive action gun has a little wider range.

Wednesday:

This reckless spree started by re-igniting the border war with Mexico, in the form of announcing an executive action to build the wall. Can anyone please say “Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson?”

Having considered the sane possibility of mending PR fences with our closest neighbor and largest trading partner in the hemisphere, Mr. Trump opted to fan the flames of mistrust. His solution: return to his bravado-filled, almost drunken pledge to build a border wall and make Mexicans pay for it by of all measures, forcing them to sell everything they stole from the Incas back to Peru and reclaiming the copyright royalties to Speedy Gonzales.

speedy_gonzales_1955_short

Arriba, Arriba, Andale, Andale – Translation: “I can run faster than you could build!”

What psychologists now associate with this draconian pledge is a latent resentment towards Mexican culture, specifically at Dos Equis for not choosing him many years back as “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.

Thursday:

Speaking of Speedy Gonzales, Mr. Trump pledged a day later to re-assemble his national security team, removing anyone with expertise in the field and/or peaceful intentions and instead replacing them with John Rambo, Ted Nugent, Yosemite Sam and Wayne LaPierre, the head of the N.R.A.. Atilla the Hun was also added as an honorary member.

Friday:

Speaking of honor, Mr. Trump did the most honorable thing he could do to “honor” the many domestic achievements of former president Barak Obama by moving even further to undo Obamacare which provided health insurance to 20 million previously uninsured Americans; In fairness, Mr. Trump opted to keep several important provisions from the original bill by maintaining coverage on pre-existing conditions such as delusion, megalomania, erectile dysfunction and premature executive-actulation.

Saturday:

Speaking of Viagra, Mr. Trump was in full erectile spirit when he issued his 73rd Executive Action of the week (2 more than his number of tweets) by declaring a ban on transients entering the U.S. from Muslim dominated countries that have at least two syllables in their names, falafel sandwiches whichcost more than the cost of an inauguration t-shirt and places where the most popular hashtag is now #WeactuallymissGeorgeW.Bush

The ban has not gone over well with unexpectedly detained passengers, many of whom were asked to play interrogatory games of uncle in which they were asked questions such as:

(1) If Allah’s name was changed to Trumpah, would you now bestow praises on him ten times a day instead of your traditional five?”

and

(2) if they would issue a religious fatwa that would force Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to change his name back to Lew Alcindor.

Speaking of tall people, Donald Trump claimed he had finished reading his first novel in 40 years, a little Spanish fantasy tale named Don Quixote. Asked what he liked most about the book, Trump was quick to respond: “I like his imagination, you know his flexibility of mind. This Quixote guy, along with his sidekick Steve Bannon, I mean Sancho Panza, is a visionary. He tends to see things that, well, the average person, does not.”

dq

Stay tuned my friends, Dos Equis may have new “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, Just don’t be surprised if they change the adjective in that punchline.

 

 

 

 

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A Tale of Four Protests, well maybe 3 and a pot-fest

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I was excited to go to the inauguration on Friday, at least in the  journalistic sense. Cocooned in six layers of clothing, I grabbed my #Imwithher poster,  a Clinton-Gore hat from six inaugurations ago, and two phones for ample picture and note taking.

As I stepped out of my door onto O St., however, I realized I had forgotten two things. One, to drink a cup of coffee and two, to remove any layers of red.

Once both of those steps were taken, I read the newspaper headlines just to make sure I hadn’t been a coma for 10 weeks. With that scenario disproved by the headlines, I grabbed my three day old coffee stuffed a half-charged iPhone (Which implies 32 minutes of battery life), four unusable pens and a notepad into my parka. I also attempted a minute of deep breathing techniques in case I ran into, well, lets just say a few too many folks donning those infamous red hats.

In truth and in my typically naive fashion, I expected to simply find scattered masses of people engaging in  healthy debates about the future of the country, bi-partisan yoga workshops and food truck vendors so swept up by the unprecedented level of national unity and immigration support, they were giving away meals, especially the Mexican vendors.

To add to the anticipation, I heard a fairly large demonstration only two blocks away from my apartment. Since, I also had to go the CVS just across from where the commotion was emanating, I grabbed my “Goodbye Obama” sweathshirt, sweatpants and rushed over to the noise. It was roughly 9 am.

As I approached the throng, surprisingly the dialogue did not appear to be hostile nor even disagreeable. However, as the crowd more clearly entered my field of vision (I may have been the only one who could see clearly), I did a double take. Rather than seeing Trump or Clinton or “#not my president” signs, or anything even remotely political, I saw lets just say, many symbols of a Reggae Fest. My sense of smell confirmed this first impression.

So yes, this was not exactly a political rally. In fact, I am not sure a good chunk of the people even knew it was inauguration day. At least not anymore. They were rallying alright,  Cypress Hill style, one puff at a time, for: More munchies, hemp products and the right to get every bystander and cop in a six block radius loopy from second hand smoke.

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Frankly I am not sure I have ever seen a more zealous and patient queue, particularly on a Friday at 9 am. My guess is a good chunk of these “activists” wouldn’t have waited more than five minutes on a voting line, but promise them one free joint and discounts on “medicinal” paraphernalia, and they could wait the entire morning. Apparently some of them did.

I wasn’t sure whether to immediately turn around and head to CVS. But I replayed the wisdom of my public affairs professor who always says that the news is usually the opposite of the plans, so I took out my phone and attempted to interview one of the dutiful souls on the queue. As a non-pot smoker, I am not so savvy about the weed hype. In fact, my biggest point of departure is why legalization is so important when its previous illegality never denied anyone access to it. But to better play an objective on the street journalist, I pressed the issue a bit.

Me – ” So what brings you to this rally?”

Bob Marley Jr – “Dude, I’m sure you can figure it out. Look at all the weed”.

Me – “But do you have to go to the other end of the city just to get “weed”? (I felt a little phony just saying the word)

BMJ – “Yea but it’s free”

Me – “But don’t you have a bunch of friends who would give it to you for free?”

BMJ – “Haha.. Yea but I can’t guarantee that. Besides, Trump’s probably going to take all our weed away. The fascists want to take away all our freedoms”.

Me – “Actually I’m not sure Trump has mentioned anything about weed. My guess is that it is not big on his agenda. ”

BMJ _ “Yea just wait. Pence will. He’s one of those uptight Christian guys. Probably thinks hippies are all the devil’s army.

Me – “So how long will you wait on this line?”

BMJ – “As long as I need to. I waited forever for weed to be legal. What’s an hour?”

My weedfest observations could continue indefinitely. But my brain is getting a bit Trumpy just thinking about it. I’ll just relate a little anecdote from waiting in line at CVS to get my TB test read. There were at least half a dozen people waiting to use the bathroom. They were very fidgety. Most had died hair. Others had ripped jeans and multiple earrings. And they kept talking about the line.

Me – So are you here to get a flu shot too? If so, you can sign in at the kiosk over there.”

Them – laughing, more laughing “Nay man, we’re here to make sure it stays legal.”

Me – “You mean weed or the flu shot?”

Them – “What’s the flu shot? Does it protect us against Trump? You getting one?”

More laughter.

Me – “Actually know I’m here to get, ah never mind, nah ( I wanted to seem a bit saintly), not my thing.

“Right on. You’re missing out though”.

Me: (eavesdropping on their conversation):

Them – “Dude, the line is crazy. It goes up the street like three blocks. Think there will be weed left?”

Another dude: ” I dunno. If I were you I would cut the line.”

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“Political” activists wait patiently to inhale their deepest sentiments

(Photo courtesy of Donald J Trump – CNN photographer)

“Yea but thats not cool. Could you imagine if I cut in front of someone and I ended up being the last guy to get some?”

“Holy shit, That would be dope, I mean for you. But they would go crazy. That might actually get you deported.”

This is where my weed story ends, well almost ends. Just as I was leaving three girls walked out of a bathroom designed for one person. Before my inner 22 year old jumped to conclusions, I asked one of my informants what she thought was going on.

“Oh they were probably rolling a joint. I think they were in the bathroom earlier. There was so much green stuff on the sink, I almost licked it”.

The smell of clean air, well sort of:

At this point, I felt more compelled than ever to do some real journalism. I heard there was a Dream Act rally going on towards the Mall so I took the metro to Foggy Bottom and started following the crowd from there.

My sense is that there were some people who were genuinely afraid their first amendment rights would be taken away when Trump was sworn in, so they took full advantage of their last few hours. As I started walking around Foggy Bottom, a larger procession of revelers was heading towards the Tidal Basin. I didn’t see any #MAGA hats so I started tagging along, eavesdropping on conversation and trying to get caught up in the democratic spirit. This procession was in fact heading towards to Dreamers gathering so I had guessed right.

This was a fairly PG rally. And low and behold, there were two red hat Trump supporters there who said they didn’t think Trump was going to follow through on his deportation threats but if he did, they would be at the head of the line to protest. My 32 minutes of iPhone battery life expired so I have no pictures from this rally but I’ll share some of the best lines from posters.

“Melania can stay but deport Donald”

“As long as you hump Trump, you can stay”

“Deport hate, protect hope”

“A dream deferred is our future denied”

“Beware of things that go Trump in the night”

“Your wealth was built on our backs. No immigrants = No buildings”

“Note to president Trump – Let he who be without sin cast the first stone”

At about noon, the promise of rain came true. Mind you this was the time that Mr. Trump was taking the oath of office. I’ll leave any possible symbolism to the reader. So I left the Dream Act rally and started heading towards the center of the action. About an hour later, I received warnings from my wife and sister not to go towards 13th and K. At first I had no intention of going to K street but after their warning, I immediately started heading in that direction. Though on the way there, I heard something that sounded like the combo of an Obama campaign rally and a spoken poetry contest so i stopped there first.

My sense is a good chunk of the attendees had also waited on the weed line. I’ll assume that once they realized it was inauguration day, their priorities had shifted somewhat

It was spirited, inclusive and overtly anti-Trump. Given my preppy, shy nature, I felt a little out of place, but I listened.

Te first speaker, lets call her Wanda, had an Afrocentric, 90’s feminist hip hop kind of tone. I will try to recreate what she said using some poetic license:

“We will not let the machines of oppression remanufacture our souls,

Nor white supremacy murder our goals,

We won’t let Obama’s dream be destroyed by that son of a bitch

We won’t let them re-enslave us so they can get more rich,

They can’t confine us, Trump can’t redefine us

We will stay at the front of the bus

Black lives matter. Can I get a black lies matter?”

“Black lives matter!”

“Louder. Prouder!”

Black lives matter

“We aint niggers, we aint diggers, we aint forgotten, we don’t pick cotton”

Black Lives Matter!!

The remaining speakers were equally fired up. A Native American who had apparently run for Congress in North Dakota named “Chase Iron Eyes ” spoke in really Thoreauesque terms about saving the river from oil exploration and a bunch of other really deep spiritual metaphors about the “omnipresent soul of nature”. I don’t even think he went to the weed fest and was still this deep.

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He was also playing the harmonica, a flute made from bamboo and sang with a cadence that pulsated river currents through my veins. I was rather awed as was the crowd who chanted a bunch of really cool verses in authentic native american dialect. I felt like I needed to see Dances With Wolves again.

The last speaker I heard was a Muslim-American female. She was pretty intense, blaming pretty much everyone for the mistreatment of a handful of Muslims and negative perceptions of them. Clearly Trump’s speech didn’t sit well with her. Islamaphobia, in her eyes, was more widespread then lets say love of major league baseball. But everyone cheered and chanted “Down with Islamaphobia. Don’t with xenophobia, down with gynophobia, down with diversophobia (or something like that).

She was a little too extreme for my taste but I cheered anyway. Apparently she didn’t even know she was to going speak so everything was said extemporaneously. Her last comment was particularly striking.

“If they say Muslims don’t belong, I say bring more

If they say Muslims are the problem, I say just look at the score

of American terrorists on Muslim lands and Muslim values

Confining Allah within the hateful chambers of biblical lies

If you are really afraid of Muslims Mr Trump, look in the mirror and take off the disguise.

You are the enemy. Your hate bullets which spread from city to city, state to state

You and your millions of ignorant followers are what keeps America from being great”

……. I clapped, I’m not even sure I agreed with much of her rant, but I clapped like my team had just gone ahead in the last minute of the game.

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1st Amendment in the spotlight

I could go on and on here but I will close by saying that I felt a little boring by comparison. I’m a white guy from New Hampshire who’s biggest complaint is that my neighborhood sidewalks are a bit hard to traverse with a baby stroller.

From here, I felt ready for some more adventure.

At first I felt stronger than nature. I even facetimed my wife to prove how brave I was. But as I got closer to the center of the action, I could see that something was burning and no it was not a Caja China nor a recreation of the weed-fest. There were overturned trash cans and they were either making human sacrifices or burning Trump gear or maybe both. A Trump guy came over with a fire extinguisher and then as squatters tend to do, they got a little resentful and sure enough everything I was forewarned about came true.

Most people stuck around to take photos but I went running. Ironically stopping only to speak with a group of Red Hats…

I apologized to them.

Me – “These are not real Democrats. I think they are just a little too stoned and still upset that Bernie Sanders lost. Or they really just want to make the news.”

Them – “Yea I know. But still this is ridiculous. (One of them started ingesting chewing tobacco. Another seemed pretty hammered.) I survived eight years of Obama ( I hate this line) and we didn’t break things or try to pick fights. We sucked it up.”

Me – (better part of reason) “I mean it’s a free country. People can vote for whomever they want, even Donald Duck. Anyway, I hope you guys have a good inauguration weekend. Hopefully I won’t see you in four years though.”

They – laughing, hopefully you will see us. I wish more Democrats were like you, friendly and all.

Me – I’m sure they are, they are probably just hanging out in coffee shops reading the paper right now.

More laughs

Like a casino enthusiast, I was tempted to go back for one more look. Really. All the swarming cop cars and sound and fury didn’t dissuade me. But I looked at my phone and saw a message from my wife telling me to be safe. I actually followed her suggestion.

Disclaimer – The next few sentences will depart from satire.

Walking along the parade route, I had conflicting feelings. One I was embarrassed or at least confused by all the hysteria. Trump was elected 10 weeks ago. They had plenty of time to exercise their first amendment rights. Secondly, did all these vigilantes actually get out and vote? Third, maybe free marijuana and the constitutional right to assemble on inauguration day isn’t such a good blend. Fourth, If Clinton had been elected, would the Trump people be doing the same thing? For some reason, my instinct told me no. And five, Trump hasn’t even moved into the White House. Maybe the hysteria should wait until he actually does something.

I kept walking, peering over at the White House and getting a little miffed at a guy selling big Trump banners. Shit, he must be making a ton of money on this crap. I think I was just a little jealous. The only knick knack I have ever sold are Mindo t-shirts and I sold those at cost.

The slogan perplexes me. When did we stop becoming great? Obama created 10,000 million jobs in his second term and the economy is more robust than at any time in decades. Millions want to immigrate here every year. Why did 63 million people buy into this trope?

And then an idea came to me, a coy response to this ridiculous and erroneous slogan. Why not flip it on its head?  Okay Trump wants to make America “great” but we were “really great” before he took office. America’s status has now been downgraded. “This is genius,” I thought to myself. I’m going to make bumper stickers, hats, flags, towels, etc. This will be the opposition’s catchphrase.

My pace quickened. Where should I post this? Facebook? Twitter, text all my Democratic friends or just catch everyone by surprise?

Now I was floating on air. Hah, I bet Trump’s PR people never thought of this. I wanted to scream it out to all the Trumpeteers. “Wow, so we are great now, but we used to be really great. The joke is on you.”

By now, I was out of the eye of the storm. I fought the urge to text my new slogan and went inside the GW gym, ready to release much of the day’s angst on the squash court. I was a bit curious as to what was going on K St. And then another thought crossed my mind.

Maybe I really need to get a life. Either that or start reading more Native American philosophy.

#GodblessAmerica

 

 

Tweet off dude

Disclaimer:  I am reposting this because I sat on the initial thought for several days but a mound of new non-Russian generated evidence confirmed my feelings. There is no need to re-read it.

What do Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Nicolas Maduro and Donald Trump have in common?

If you feel a little loopy just trying to answer the question, I understand.

Given my teacherly disposition, I will make it multiple choice:

(a) Five people I nor you will likely ever have dinner with nor care to

(b) Five people whom nearly all of us wish their 15 minutes of fame were over

(c) Five people who regularly tweet, as in more times a day than they likely poop or sneeze

(d) all of the above

All are worth answers, but the full credit response is…… Drum roll please, unfortunately (d). Yes D for Donald Trump or D for dimwits who really think the world wants to know what is on their mind more often than they eat. Five modern day sophists who have added to the historical progression of thought by kindly donating several daily 140 character brainfarts to the written record. Five of our more enlightened and of course, well-intentioned souls who have exhausted every other possible means of communicating with their fan base before opting to tweet.

Here’s a sampling of the President-elect’s tweets from last Friday.

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And today… ( So far 3 before 8 am)

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Sorry in advance if my sarcasm is unappreciated. Perhaps I am underestimating the viral power of the social media version of having electrodes perpetually hooked up to our brains. Perhaps I am also underestimating the power of compact philosophies, tweet-sized aphorisms like “I think therefore I am” or “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.  After all, Yogi Berra made an indelible name for himself with his famous Yogi-isms like “If there is a fork in the road, take it”.

But this isn’t about the pun-ish, self-deprecating wit and wisdom of one of the Yankees greats. Nor is it about the enduring power of proverbial comments. This isn’t even about the role of Twitter, which gives millions of us starstruck or at least slightly overcurious and  under attentive souls including myself the chance to follow our favorite icons or catch up on what is trending such as #donuts or #Christmasjingles.

This is about a man who is two days away from becoming the most powerful person in the world and has a seemingly untreated addiction to tweets. And it’s not as if he is sharing mundane details such as ” I had Boston cream pie for my lunch dessert and it was off the chain” or “Go Tom Brady. You’re the only guy with a better life than I have”. Even “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”.  Those would actually be catchy glimpses into his unique thought process.

No. Our president-elect prefers to use Twitter to make bold policy proclamations, play verbal games of uncle with unsupportive celebrities and most likely, deal with his insomnia in the way most 70 grandfathers of eight do, by settling discomforting grudge matches with those get under his skin. The man who famously had someone ghostwrite the “Art of the Deal” now wants to do the writing himself in the wonderful high art platform of social media.

Mr. Trump, once accused of being callous, narcissistic, manipulative and you name the other pathologies, must show his 5 million followers that he is also, well, a little sensitive. Earth to Donald, no one likes to be criticized but the more powerful you become, the more opposition you invite. Where is Oprah when we need her most? Or Freud.

To provide tangible evidence of the sources of my bewilderment, I am going to post a few of Trump’s more prominent twitter exchanges, or as I would like to call it, Twittantrums. As a burgeoning journalist, I should probably be grateful for Trump’s candor and compulsions.

But as a relatively well-informed citizen and regular voter, I am perplexed. So much for old adage of sticks and stones….. More on that later. For now, I will select four exchanges out the 2100 tweets Trump has posted since declaring his intention to run for president. I will let you decide if he picks his battles wisely.

(1) If you can’t catch him, then at least try to scare him on Twitter. Trump v. El Chapo

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-Fortunately your plan to build a big wall will certainly prevent El Chapo or any of his pals from entering the U.S.

(2) Trump v. Alec Baldwin – SNL is a longstanding satirical show with a heavy bend towards political satire. Trump actually has hosted the show twice and claim to have loved it both times. He along with hundreds of other candidates has been parodied. But clearly the love is lost once you become president-elect.

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Trump hosting SNL in November 2015…

One year later…

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(3) Donald Trump vs. Mark Cuban – My billions are bigger than yours.

If Trump should like anyone this world it is Mark Cuban. They have Texan sized egos, a fearless approach to business, and love bringing their egos/unique brand of entrepreneurial opportunism to the big screen. But somehow, and go figure that there would be some software glitches this election season, they ended up on opposite teams. Frankly, I wish Mark Cuban had run on the Democratic ticket. Here’s a little Trump snippet from earlier this fall,

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Note to Donald.  This was one of your lamer tweets. I doubt”failing” at Benefactor keeps Mr. Cuban up at night.

(4) Today’s Twittantrum – Trump vs. Civil Rights leader and longstanding congressman John Lewis. Amazingly Trump and Lewis are about the same age (Lewis is 76). And I give Trump credit for aging and choosing wives well. But Lewis has fifty years of experience in public service, which includes being re-elected over twenty times and taking many blows to the face while leading Civil Rights marches in the 60’s.

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I would add more but I have two fears. One, I might begin seeing these tweets as so absurdly entertaining that I follow Trump on Twitter. Two, I might think there is a method to his madness and begin tweeting more myself. So before I drift into the oceans of hypocrisy, I will offer Mr. Trump some free, Freudian styled advice. After all, he seems to be very receptive to what others say about him.

(1) Get help. As one who has spent time in 12 step groups, I know that compulsions don’t have to dominate our lives, with the exception of eating cheese or cheese popcorn. Seek a Tweeters Anonymous group near you or simply ask your newfound higher power for guidance as to best presidential practice. My guess is over-tweeting is a gateway drug and not so presidential.

(2) Give your tweets the old 24 hour rule. This of course will involve something slightly neurotic like leaving a draft of your desired tweet in your phone “notes” or sending a text message for yourself but if there is something so urgent that you must share with the world, perhaps something that pierced your skin, sit on it for a day.

(3) If you can’t sleep at night or wake up really early, grab a book. Just read, one it will tire your eyes out at night and two, you might find reading to be a nice diversion from the pressure of reducing profound thoughts into 140 characters.

(4) Tweet, but tweet with a slant – This is an allusion to an Emily Dickinson poem about truth. If you are tempted to fire back at Alec Baldwin, try a different approach like “hey Alec, if you are ever in DC, I could use a stunt double so I can get some golf in. Come on by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave when you’re in town. And bring your wig.#MSNLGA”

(5) Get some thicker skin over the next six days. Most presidents get criticized, ridiculed or even lampooned quite frequently. Get used it. Millions of people won’t like you here in the U.S. and billions worldwide. It’s part of the job of being the boss.

(6) If you really like social media that much, maybe appoint yourself White House Social Media strategist or even better, become your archenemy – a journalist.

(7) If you really want to engaged in playful verbal combat, follow me @anamebyanyother. I’m up for the challenge and let the truth be told,  could really use some more followers.

You can even tell me to…. “tweet off dude”. I won’t take it personally.

Tweet off dude

What do Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Nicolas Maduro and Donald Trump have in common?

If you feel a little loopy just trying to answer the question, I understand.

Given my teacherly disposition, I will make it multiple choice:

(a) Five people I nor you will likely ever have dinner with nor care to

(b) Five people whom nearly all of us wish their 15 minutes of fame were over

(c) Five people who regularly tweet, as in more times a day than they likely poop or sneeze

(d) all of the above

All are worth answers, but the full credit response is…… Drum roll please, unfortunately (d). Yes D for Donald Trump or D for dimwits who really think the world wants to know what is on their mind more often than they eat. Five modern day sophists who have added to the historical progression of thought by kindly donating several daily 140 character brainfarts to the written record. Five of our more enlightened and of course, well-intentioned souls who have exhausted every other possible means of communicating with their fan base before opting to tweet.

Here’s a sampling of the President-elect’s tweets from Friday.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-9-07-18-pm

Sorry in advance if my sarcasm is unappreciated. Perhaps I am underestimating the viral power of the social media version of having electrodes perpetually hooked up to our brains. Perhaps I am also underestimating the power of compact philosophies, tweet-sized aphorisms like “I think therefore I am” or “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.  After all, Yogi Berra made an indelible name for himself with his famous Yogi-isms like “If there is a fork in the road, take it”.

But this isn’t about the pun-ish, self-deprecating wit and wisdom of one of the Yankees greats. Nor is it about the enduring power of proverbial comments. This isn’t even about the role of Twitter, which gives millions of us starstruck or at least slightly overcurious and  under attentive souls including myself the chance to follow our favorite icons or catch up on what is trending such as #donuts or #Christmasjingles.

This is about a man who is six days away from becoming the most powerful person in the world and has a seemingly untreated addiction to tweets. And it’s not as if he is sharing mundane details such as ” I had Boston cream pie for my lunch dessert and it was off the chain” or “Go Tom Brady. You’re the only guy with a better life than I have” or even “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”.  Those would actually be catchy glimpses into his unique thought process.

No. Our president-elect prefers to use Twitter to make bold policy proclamations, play verbal games of uncle with unsupportive celebrities and most likely, deal with his insomnia in the way most 70 grandfathers of five do, by settling discomforting grudge matches with anyone who deigns to try to get under his skin. The man who famously had someone ghostwrite the “Art of the Deal” now wants to do the writing himself in the wonderful high art platform of social media.

Mr. Trump, once accused of being callous, narcissistic, manipulative and you name the other pathologies, must show his 5 million followers that he is also, well, a little sensitive. Where is Oprah when we need her most. Or Freud.

To provide tangible evidence of the sources of my bewilderment, I am going to post a few of Trump’s more prominent twitter exchanges, or as I would like to call it, Twittantrums. As a burgeoning journalist, I should probably be grateful for Trump’s candor and compulsions.

But as a relatively well-informed citizen and regular voter, I am perplexed. So much for old adage of sticks and stones….. More on that later. For now, I will select four exchanges out the 2100 tweets Trump has posted since declaring his intention to run for president. I will let you decide if he picks his battles wisely.

(1) If you can’t catch him, then at least try to scare him on Twitter. Trump v. El Chapo

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-Fortunately your plan to build a big wall will certainly prevent El Chapo or any of his pals from entering the U.S.

(2) Trump v. Alec Baldwin – SNL is a longstanding satirical show with a heavy bend towards political satire. Trump actually has hosted the show twice and claim to have loved it both times. He along with hundreds of other candidates has been parodied. But clearly the love is lost once you become president-elect.

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Trump hosting SNL in November 2015…

One year later…

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(3) Donald Trump vs. Mark Cuban – My billions are bigger than yours.

If Trump should like anyone this world it is Mark Cuban. They have Texan sized egos, a fearless approach to business, and love bringing their egos/unique brand of entrepreneurial opportunism to the big screen. But somehow, and go figure that there would be some software glitches this election season, they ended up on opposite teams. Frankly, I wish Mark Cuban had run on the Democratic ticket. Here’s a little Trump snippet from earlier this fall,

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Note to Donald.  This was one of your lamer tweets. I doubt”failing” at Benefactor keeps Mr. Cuban up at night.

(4) Today’s Twittantrum – Trump vs. Civil Rights leader and longstanding congressman John Lewis. Amazingly Trump and Lewis are about the same age (Lewis is 76). And I give Trump credit for aging and choosing wives well. But Lewis has fifty years of experience in public service, which includes being re-elected over twenty times and taking many blows to the face while leading Civil Rights marches in the 60’s.

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I would add more but I have two fears. One, I might begin seeing these tweets as so absurdly entertaining that I follow Trump on Twitter. Two, I might think there is a method to his madness and begin tweeting more myself. So before I drift into the oceans of hypocrisy, I will offer Mr. Trump some free, Freudian styled advice. After all, he seems to be very receptive to what others say about him.

(1) Get help. As one who has spent time in 12 step groups, I know that compulsions don’t have to dominate our lives, with the exception of eating cheese or cheese popcorn. Seek a Tweeters Anonymous group near you or simply ask your newfound higher power for guidance as to best presidential practice. My guess is over-tweeting is a gateway drug and not so presidential.

(2) Give your tweets the old 24 hour rule. This of course will involve something slightly neurotic like leaving a draft of your desired tweet in your phone “notes” or sending a text message for yourself but if there is something so urgent that you must share with the world, perhaps something that pierced your skin, sit on it for a day.

(3) If you can’t sleep at night or wake up really early, grab a book. Just read, one it will tire your eyes out at night and two, you might find reading to be a nice diversion from the pressure of reducing profound thoughts into 140 characters.

(4) Tweet, but tweet with a slant – This is an allusion to an Emily Dickinson poem about truth. If you are tempted to fire back at Alec Baldwin, try a different approach like “hey Alec, if you are ever in DC, I could use a stunt double so I can get some golf in. Come on by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave when you’re in town. And bring your wig.#MSNLGA”

(5) Get some thicker skin over the next six days. Most presidents get criticized, ridiculed or even lampooned quite frequently. Get used it. Millions of people won’t like you here in the U.S. and billions worldwide. It’s part of the job of being the boss.

(6) If you really like social media that much, maybe appoint yourself White House Social Media strategist or even better, become your archenemy – a journalist.

(7) If you really want to engaged in playful verbal combat, follow me @anamebyanyother. I’m up for the challenge and let the truth be told,  could really use some more followers.

You can even tell me to…. “tweet off dude”. I won’t take it personally.

I hereby resolve for you to….

It’s that time of year again, or should I say that time of new year, a time when we get all warm and fuzzy towards family members we could hardly remember still exist and casual acquaintances from whom we borrowed packing tape in February.

And this is before the first drink.

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Then after that first glass of wine, when we turn on CNN to watch the last two of its 17 hours of continuous Oprah-show like countdown to the dropping of the crystal ball, the euphoria kicks into high gear as we send Gettysburg Address-sized heartfelt wishes to our gardener, home insurance representative, AC repairmen and most vile Trump supporting acquaintances.

Yes, this is New Years, a time when we used to spend the last 10 second countdown with complete strangers wearing white hats and blowing into kazoos in some downtown hotel ballroom, where two glasses of $26 champagne erased the remorse from just having spent $175 on a pear salad, rabbit carpaccio and a bowl of lobster bisque.

But if now you are either normal or a  renewal believing, neurotic, pseudo-mature soul like myself, you spend the waning hours of the year closely surrounded by loved ones, and pile of long-neglected clothes you are now folding to take to Goodwill.

You are also starting to conceptualize your new year’s resolutions, a few of which you have absolutely no intention of keeping such as running a half-marathon, checking your phone apps less and cutting down on your intake of caffeinated beverages.

The plan also includes a handful you must keep in order to stave off immediate and perhaps permanent peril. These include but are not limited to: not buying any more houses, finding a full-time job, removing the four year old Pangea-sized mold stains from the kitchen ceiling and not engaging in  red-light political discussions with pick-up truck drivers who don “Don’t Tailgate or I’ll fully exercise my second amendment rights” bumper stickers.

One of the beauties of the new year is that for at least the first 16 hours, including the ten you spend sleeping, you genuinely feel transformed, so chock full of resolve that you read Psalm 31 twice, put your MasterCard on autopay, and pick up your dog’s poop from the neighbors rock garden.

Speaking of which, I’m still getting used to the whole dog poop scooping and dispensing habit. It feels phony. As if I really feel bad that a biodegradable fertilizing Twix bar-sized turd has been donated to a small parcel of turf my neighbors never step foot on.

Nonetheless, along with Layla’s poop, here’s what I hope gets left behind in the sound, fury and absolute cosmic surreality of 2016 and what we can hopefully bring more into the limelight in 2017.

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(10)  Out – Tipping. Enough is enough. I now devote a good chunk of my daily thought process and my innately strong math skills to deciding when and how much to tip. Everyone’s wants and thinks he/she deserves a tip nowadays including the volunteer Santa Claus and grocery store clerks for simply doing what we are paying for in the first place. Just the other day, my dentist added a 15% service charge and my pool cleaner refused to add chlorine tablets until I filled his tip jar.  I mean I am a chronic over-tipper, one who in the aggregate has tipped enough to pay for half of Somalia’s graduating high school class to attend FSU, but even my ridiculous conscience can’t take it any more.

In – A one-time tip fee added to my real estate taxes. Say $1200. And distribute it as the powers-that-be see fit.

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(9) Out – Selfies. I get it. Really I do. Taking pictures is fun and sharing them about lets say, falling into a garbage strewn canal is even more fun, but not enough to justify all the commotion your need to take a selfie. Just look in the mirror and share the juicy details about your life in some other mode. Besides, I want to enjoy my leisurely walk without having to stop for you to finish your selfie. Chances are you want a passerby to take the picture anyway so the narcissism really does intrude on others.

In – Polaroids. It’s time to bring them back. The minute of anticipation is quite the hoot and the instant gratification factor is higher too.

(8) Out – The cost of a scoop of ice cream. I have been in denial about this for decades. Paying $5 for a scoop of ice cream is akin to paying $350 an hour for legal services. (Joke alert). But really I should be able to get at least 150 scoops of ice cream for the cost of that”highly” efficient lawyer. The cost of ice cream, Lincoln Road rent costs notwithstanding are unacceptable and given all of the major initiatives Obama passed in 2016 (another joke alert), the least he could do is pressure these sacred ice cream shops to exercise some price ceilings. I am going to boycott ice creams shops for at least three days to galvanize the cost cutting movement.

In – Waiting to get home to eat ice cream.

 

(7) Out – National Anthem protests. With apologies to Colin Kapernick who has become pseudo-enlightened, life here in the good ole US of A is pretty good; in fact someone who shall not be named at this time, plans to make it “great”. So if you really have a legitimate reason to feel disenfranchised, go ahead and take a kneel. If not, you are diverting too much attention to yourself.  However…….

In – redoing the lyrics to the national anthem. Maybe I am running dry on poetic sensibility, but some of the lyrics as such are way too arcane for the 21st century. I think we can do better than “O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming”. Frankly this probably means absolutely nothing to a good chunk of the American population.

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(Graphic courtesy of Donald J. Trump, former celebrity)

(6) Out – Texting. How blasphemous for me to say considering I expend a good chunk of the expertise which came with getting a masters degree in English on how to phrase and punctuate my texts. But all this texting, aside from its likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis, is such a bizarre way to communicate. Instead we should revert to..

In – Communicating as the phone was intended. By actually making phone calls. We speak on the phone so rarely that it’s actually becoming awkward even for the most savvy of communicators to “talk” on the phone.

(5) Out – New England Patriots. I know they will likely win the Super Bowl and I spent most of my childhood in New England, but enough is enough.  The Pats are the NFL’s version of auto-renew. Enough winning, enough Brady, enough winning with just the practice squad, enough is enough.

In – And no I did not just return from a “ski” trip to Colorado, but yes, the Miami Dolphins. They apparently drank Trump’s new Kool-Aid the last few months.

(4) Out – Vladimir Putin. Listen one Napoleon was enough. As was one Cold War. We get it. You like power and miss the USSR. But isn’t winning your own election enough of a power play. If we really wanted a Russian to infiltrate our corridors of power, we would make Anna Kournikova the Interior Minister, or Head of Something powerful.

In – TBD. But definitely not the Filipino President nor anyone Putin has a bromance with.

(3) Out – Fox and CNN. You made oodles of profit off the election. But you both wield too much power and not enough objectivity. Trump would still be the host of Celebrity Apprentice if it wasn’t for you.

In – Books and Newspapers, except for ones that do continual election polling.

 

(2) Disclaimer – I am no Scrooge but I can play one in my blog.

Out – Christmas Jingles, especially in Miami.

If I die of premature brain cancer, it’s not going to be because of all that Mountain Dew I downed in my twenties. It’s because of two songs which I will only allude to; one is that Mariah Carey “All I want for Christmas” nonsense and the other is “Last Christmas I gave you my heart”. Maybe I will believe in Trump’s promise to make America great again as long as he permanently banishes both of those jingles, along with a few others from the airwaves.

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I mean for God’s sakes, the average temperature in Miami this month has been 82 degrees. Christmas is inherently a beautiful holiday but here it’s merely an excuse to play naked mini golf or go jet skiing all day.

Give the Christmas jingles here four days of retail and radio time. Maximum. I am not trying to Scrooge this but I simply can’t connect with slight bells a sleighing when I am applying SPF 70 to most of my body.

In – Playing the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet during the holidays. Or music from The Nutcracker

(1) Out – worrying. Really. Even though pretty much everything that happened in 2016 was cause for worry, and I inherited a bit of the worrier gene, I say lets apply some reverse psychology and a little Bob Marley to all the chaos and just take it all in stride.

In:  Becoming more yogi, or Yoda, or Yogi Berra or even Yogi Bear-like.

So there you have it. My collective resolutions which will naturally be more of a case of do as I say rather than do. But given the last resolution, I’m going to stay optimistic. I am going to click “no tip” at the bagel shop, not text anyone including the AC repairman for at least two hours today and maybe even start reading a new book.

Besides you know what they say about resolutions. Actually I don’t know what they say so I am going to make up my own quote:

“They are fun to make and even more fun to break.”

Happy 2017!