What a difference a Pomeranian makes…

I gained a new insight into the Trump phenomenon this weekend, in a most unexpected way.

(And before you’re all like “There he goes again with his anti-Trump rantings”, hold on.  This post isn’t anti-Trump.  I am actually coming out right now and saying I am pro-Trump.  Well, I am pro-Trump: the ideal.  Relax, I firmly remain anti-Trump: the man. But this post is not about the man. I’ve had plenty to say about that already, and frankly there’s not much more can be said that hasn’t been said before. No, this post is about the ideal of Trump, which I fully support. And it is about a stuffed Pomeranian, but more on that later.)

Okay, how this all started…

Every year our company has a Halloween party and costume contest.  That’s something of an understatement.  In past years this has been a week long Halloween extravaganza, with multiple costumes, themes, skits, and daily voting, all leading up to one final week long team winner, and usually not a small amount of controversy over the voting process.  In recent years this has been augmented with us then attending the “13 Ugly Men” Halloween Party – one of THE big social charity events of the season in these parts.  This year, due to popular demand, and escalating expenses, we scaled it back to one day of contests, and the big event that night, but… it’s still a big deal.

One of the things I love about where I work is, the people there are, well, the only way to put it is… they are competitive as fuck.  It didn’t matter the prize, they just wanted to win it. And they go all out. Thus the escalating expenses from a week long extravaganza.  But even in it’s one-day scaled back form, it is still a highly competitive event. You’ve gotta bring your “A” game.

When deciding on what costume I would do this year, I looked at the rules, and one of the categories for points was “scariest costume”.  I thought to myself, what is the scariest thing I have ever seen, and my answer came to me immediately.  I would go as Donald Trump.

But it’s not enough just to dress as Trump, there has to be a hook.  Just dressing like a clown is not enough, I expect there would be plenty of Trumps walking around, no, there has to be something unique.  That’s where the Pomeranian comes in.

There’s a old comedy trope about Trumps hair, going back decades, that it’s actually a small, furry, possibly rabid, animal the sleeps on his head by day, and presumably wanders off having it’s own adventures by night.  So there was my hook.  Instead of the usual Trump wig, I would wear a stuffed Pomeranian on my head.

Now, the logistics of strapping a Pomeranian to one’s head is more difficult than one might expect.  (There’s one of those sentences I never thought I’d say.)  First, said stuffed Pomeranian wasn’t quite big enough to cover my giant head, so I ended up assembling something of a Trump-hair-sandwich with safety pins, a Trump wig on the bottom, a poly-fill eviscerated Pomeranian in the middle, and the ubiquitous red hat on top.


Just a quick word about the hat. My red hat says “Make America ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Again”. I wasn’t about to risk any of my money going to Trump’s pocket by accidentally purchasing official campaign merchandise.

This arrangement had the desired effect.  It was a Trump costume, with a hook, a slight tongue-in-cheek nod that the costume was meant to be humorous.  It was meant in good fun, and it was received as such, even amongst the handful of Trump supporters in our office.

Unfortunately all was not well.  While visually it work perfectly, it was somewhat top-heavy, and for reasons I won’t go into, we were outside on a windy day, and as you might expect a Pomeranian to do, it frequently leapt off my head and attempted to scurry away.

This was not a problem for the costume contest during the day, but for the big party that night it would be a big problem.  There would be much dancing, or in my case white people bouncing up and down, and much moving about, and the floor of the venue was not a place I wanted to retrieve something from to then put back on my head, so… Modifications were needed. Reluctantly, after all we had been through, I made the tough call, and decided the Pomeranian must go. Yes, I fired the Pomeranian.

This minor alteration had an unexpected consequence at the big event. Originally I had envisioned my costume as Trump: the Monster.  Maybe with devil horns poking out of that massive hair, or maybe Frankenstein bolts attached to an orange neck, or… well you get the idea.  So many possibilities.  But early on I decided that while it might be funny, out of respect for a small handful of people I know who liked him, but not for all the wrong reasons, demonizing him was not the best way to go.  No, I decided instead to stay closer to the truth, and portray him as Trump: the Buffoon.  Thus the Pomeranian for a hairpiece.  But now, that visual clue was gone.  I was just Trump.  There were no clues that I was Trump: the Buffoon, or Trump: the Monster, although a few who saw me made that interpretation anyway.

But not all. Something weird started happening.  I expected people to see me wearing my Trump costume as one would a Vampire or Frankenstein or Werewolf costume. People instead began seeing me wearing my Trump costume as one would Batman, or Captain America, or the Hulk.  In short, in the absence of visual clues otherwise, they were seeing me as Trump: the Superhero.

I started getting genuinely heart-felt thumbs-up, statements of adoration like “Love it!” and “You’re wonderful!”  There was lots of shaking of hands and taking of pictures, and appreciative smiles.  They genuinely adored this guy, and they instantly liked me, a perfect stranger to them, for this loving homage I had created to their hero.

That’s when it occurred to me… Well a few things, but first it occurred to me that, for the duration of this night at least, I had no political opinion. None. I would be just a guy having fun with a bunch of other humans having fun, and together we would celebrate, well I don’t know what exactly, but we would celebrate.  Tonight I would be a member of everyone’s tribe.

And it worked.  The highlight of the evening was when I ran into the unknown woman in a Hillary mask. I admit, that was a tense encounter at first, but she was a good sport about it, and I was committed to being a good sport about it, and it led to some wonderful photos. (Let it be known, far and wide, to one and all… I grabbed nothing.) Somewhere out there too are some interesting selfies of me with a very convincing Ken Bone.

But the other thing that occurred to me is, this really was hero worship.  This guy, or at least this image of a guy, is the hero they wanted, and after a few hours, I very much wanted them to have that hero. They deserved that hero, even if I knew deep down, having studied this man for literally decades, that this man was nowhere near the hero they held him to be. I wanted it for them.

I’ve talked with some of you before, for some time now, about the fact that I actually LIKE the idea of Trump. I do. An outsider, coming in to shake things up. Someone bold who tells it like it is. A businessman, not a politician. I like that. That really is what we need. That’s what I want too. That is EXACTLY who I want for president.

That ideal was H. Ross Perot in 92, before he went bat-shit crazy and dropped out of the race.  Believe me, up until that point, I was firmly on the Perot train. He was everything people want to believe Trump is today. Only, he was the real thing.

I have studied businessmen all of my adult life. There are several I would love see run for president. I know which ones are brilliant, and which ones are mediocre, and honestly, I would support even the mediocre ones (Carly Fiorina for example). But in that study, I also knew Trump, I knew his successes and failures, I knew how he ran his businesses and the philosophies that guided him. And I knew, even before he announced his run with the Reform Party in 2000, I knew that he was a fraud, albeit at times a successful one, and I knew beyond anything else that he was unequipped to lead a nation.

Others don’t see that, they don’t see Trump: the Very Flawed Angry Little Man, they see only Trump: the Hero.  And no matter what is shown to them, all they will ever see is Trump: the Hero. They just want it SO bad. They are practically willing it to be true. And I don’t blame them for wanting it, like I said, I do too. I wish it were true. I want a Trump. Just not this Trump.

On the other hand, I do blame them, at least a little, for allowing themselves to become so blinded by Trump: the Hero that they cannot see the truth of Trump: the Man. And I have no idea what it will take to shake that belief in Trump: the Hero. If nothing so far has, I don’t know that anything can. What does a hero have to do for you to lose faith in him?

When Trump said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any support, he was right. He knew then that they were following Trump: the Hero. I think he was a surprised as anyone.

Of course, this is the great danger of dictators.  They are all seen at first as the conquering hero.  The champion of the people. The savior and liberator of the common man.

That was the appeal of Stalin and Lenin, they were the outsiders who came in to shake up the status quo. That was the appeal of Mao Tse-Tung, reclaiming China for the people, from the wealthy elite and foreign influence. That was the appeal of Hitler, to put Germans first, to make Germany great again. That was the appeal of Mussolini, to restore the greatness of old Rome. That was the appeal of Julius Caesar, to wrest power from the politically corrupt Senate, and give Rome back to the people.

ALL peacetime dictators begin this way. All of them. It is HOW they come to power. This is the path of Trump: the Dictator.

So what have I learned from all this?  Well, first let me say, there are people out there who support Trump because they believe he supports their racist, bigoted, “alt.right” ideals. And whether Trump does or not, he certainly does nothing to dissuade them, and what matters is that they believe he does. Those are the true “deplorables” Hillary was speaking of.

Not all Trump supporters are bigots, and it troubles me deeply when they take to calling themselves “deplorables” as a badge of honor. To me that signals that maybe they are okay with the racism and bigotry, or at least they are okay with an alliance with the racists and bigots. I assume they are not, but their embrace of the term introduces a troubling doubt.

For the other Trump supporters, many I know to be good people, I think I have a better understanding of them. For a few hours, I was one of them, I was celebrating Trump: the ideal, I was celebrating Trump: the hero, or maybe even Trump: the super-hero.

So, yeah, I get it.  I understand the appeal. Deep down I feel that same appeal, I desire it too. I wish I could join you, the hope and joy you feel seems absolutely blissful.

But, I cannot. It was only a moment, and I must return to the real world. I cannot abandon the rational world, the world of facts. I will stubbornly cling to it with my dying breath. Your world is more appealing, but it’s a false hope, it’s an unfounded joy. It is the bliss born of ignorance. I cannot un-know what I know. I cannot un-see what I’ve seen. And I cannot live in a dream world, no matter how pleasant the dream.

If you chose to remain there, in your dream, in your bliss. I understand. And I sympathize. I share your desire. I believe in your ideals. I yearn for the same champion as you. But I cannot worship your chosen hero. I have seen what you wish him to be, and it is beautiful, but I have also seen him for what he really is.

Hillary’s Locker Room Talk

(Photo by: Matt Rourke)

There’s been a lot said lately about Hillary Clinton viciously attacking her husband’s accusers. I admit, I never really followed that closely the soap opera that was the Clinton marriage. Now that it’s come to the forefront again, I thought, in the interest in fairness (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been kinda harsh on Trump lately), I really ought to take a close look at this. I have to say, what I found was indeed shocking. I was truly surprised at the viciousness of these attacks.  Let’s recap what I found.  Join me, won’t you?

Monica Lewinsky

Might as well start at the top.  The cigar-hiding intern who nearly brought down a presidency.  What Bill (allegedly) did:  He porked an intern. Certainly that raises some ethical questions, but to be fair, there is no indication that any of their, ahem, “interactions” were anything but consensual.  What Hillary (allegedly) did: In a private (let’s say “locker room”) conversation, she called Monica, and I quote, a “narcissistic loony toon”.

Wow!  I know.  Talk about the mouth of a sailor. I’m sorry you had to hear language like that, but I wanted you to get the full impact of it.  Certainly someone who talks like that has no business being president.

Paula Jones

Another big name on the Bill Clinton hit parade.  What Bill (allegedly) did: Exposed himself and propositioned her.  She turned him down.  Perhaps if he’d had a Tic-Tac first, or bought her some furniture, or maybe just grabbed her by the…  Well, we’ll never know.

Anywho, he was governor, she was a state employee, so she sued him for sexual harassment. Case was eventually dismissed before reaching trial. Paula’s legal team appealed. Bill settled, with the usual “no admission of guilt”.  Paula got $850,000, most of which went to her lawyers.

What Hillary (allegedly) did:  While there is no indication from anyone that Hillary did anything to attack Paula directly, according to Paula, Bill and/or Hillary “sent out people to dig up trash on me”.

It’s not clear whether this was before or after she appeared in Penthouse magazine (for the kids out there, that what we had for porn before the Internet), not that I’m judging.  I also have no idea what was eventually “dug up”, but it had to be just awful, vicious stuff about her.

Kathleen Willey

Speaking of Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey was asked to testify in the Paula Jones case.  What Bill (allegedly) did:  He grabbed her by the…. Well, let’s just say, he put a move on her we’ll call the “Trump Handshake”.  What Hillary (allegedly) did:  Nothing.

But, her writer buddy, Sid Blumenthal (the real one, not the one quoted by Russian propagandists), had lunch with Kathleen’s writer buddy, Christopher Hitchens, where Chris mentioned a recent “60 Minutes” piece on the situation, to which Sid replied “Well she may look good today,  she’s not going to look so good by Friday.”  Sounds super menacing, right?

Of course, to the casual observer this sounds like nothing more than an observation on how quickly tides turn in the media.  But we know better, don’t we. That was clearly a threat, straight from Hillary’s mouth. Well, not so much straight as by way of a guy named Sid, which is, of course, the most threatening way to deliver a threat. And we all know how threatening writers can be, what with that whole mighty pen sword fixation they have.

Gennifer Flowers

And the hit parade continues.  What Bill (allegedly) did:  Had a long term affair with her.  By all accounts this was a consensual relationship.  What Hillary (allegedly) did:  Possibly hired a private investigator.  Now that’s just a crazy, wacky, totally unhinged thing for a wife to do when she suspects her husband of cheating.  I mean honestly, who does that?

Also, she called Gennifer a “failed cabaret singer who doesn’t have much of a resume”.  Again, I must apologize for all this “locker room” talk.  I would never use such language, were it not a direct quote, but it’s important you hear her exact words. Certainly we should never accept such crude and offensive language from a candidate for the highest office in the land.

Juanita Broaddrick

I’ve saved the best for last.  This one is special, and for the first time, we see clear unmistakable signs of an actual attack by Hillary against one of Bill’s accusers.  I know, I know, I made you wait, but trust me, it’s worth it.

What Bill (allegedly) did:  He raped her.  Or not.  She did not report the attack to law enforcement, but she did report it to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Skip ahead a few years, and she is called to testify in the Paul Jones case.

Now here’s where it gets weird. In a signed affidavit, under oath, she DENIES that Bill raped her. Later, when Kenneth Starr is investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal, she denies the denial.  So, did he or didn’t he?  At this point, only Juanita knows for sure.

What Hillary (allegedly) did:  Threatened her in an attempt to keep her quiet.  Or not.  In a 1999 interview she was asked if Bill, or anyone near Bill, ever threatened her or intimidated her to keep her quiet.  Her answer?  “no”.

But, and here’s where it gets really interesting, if we rewind to 1978, just after the attack allegedly happened, but before she went to the newspapers, she tells the story of the night Hillary threatened her.

Hillary approached Juanita at a fundraiser and said, and I quote, “I just want you to know how much Bill and I appreciate the things you do for him. Do you understand? Everything you do.”

Woah! Right? Did you hear that? I know that to the casual observer, that sounds like the normal kind of thing a candidate’s wife might say to literally anyone at a fundraising event.  But you and I know, that’s some serious twisted “House of Cards” shit right there. Thanking her? For everything she did?  Damn, that’s cold blooded!

So, not only does Hillary let Juanita know that she knows what’s going on, but she does it in such a way that if she didn’t know what’s going on, this Juanita chick would look like she’s batshit paranoid. Only Juanita’s not batshit paranoid, she would only be paranoid if Hillary didn’t know.  But Hillary clearly knows, I mean why else would Hillary go so far out of the way to look like she didn’t know?  Clever, right?

And, and, in the same move, Hillary doesn’t just let her know she’s on to her, Hillary in the same sentence threatens her with… with… well with… Thanks? Appreciation? Wait. Okay, I’m not sure what she threatened her with, but she threatened her with something.  I mean, that’s clearly a threat. We all know Hillary threatened something, she had to, she’s Hillary after all. I mean, you see it too, right?


Now where have I seen that before…

Tarot cards offer little value in predicting the future. On the other hand, they can be used as a tool to separate fools from their money. However, setting aside the fortune-telling folklore and mythology that surrounds them, they are interesting to consider on their own merit.
Each card tells a story, and those stories have value. Some are stories you may recognize from the Bible, others come from different traditions. Many of these stories are beautifully illustrated on the cards. Some stories you will know instantly, just by seeing the picture. Others are a little more esoteric, the story having become lost over time, so that it is no longer recognized by the viewer. As with any story, what you get out of it will vary from person to person.
I say this only as a way of pointing out there is nothing particularly supernatural, spiritual, or occult, about these stories. They are simply stories, very old ones, and like many old stories, they continue to be told, precisely because they have value.
Many years ago I spent a little time studying these stories, not as a tool for telling the future, but for the same reason anyone reads any ancient story, to gain insight. And they are insightful. Many of the archetypes they depict are still with us today. Occasionally I see someone or something in our modern world that reminds me of one of the stories of the Tarot. If nothing else, it reminds me that this person or behavior I’m seeing is not new, they are, in fact, very, very old.
I say all that, so I can say the following, hopefully without sounding too much like a nut-case…
It occurred to me, the other night, as I was drifting off to sleep, there is a reason Trump Tower is the home of Donald Trump, and the headquarters of his campaign.  And there is a reason it is iconic…
Trump Tower IS the Tower of the Tarot. It is the Tower of Babel. It is the eternal symbol of man’s pride and of man’s folly. It is man’s attempt to achieve greatness, only to fail miserably, buried under the rubble of the tower’s collapse. The Tower is the ultimate symbol of man’s destruction, brought about by his own hands, and the result of his own pride. In this illustration of the Tarot card we see the destruction of the Tower, at the hand of the Divine. The two figures falling to their death, I can only assume must be Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani…

Then I thought, is there a Tarot symbol that might represent Trump? One card came to mind immediately. The deceiver, the enslaver of man, the purveyor of false hopes, and false promises. Trump IS The Devil of the Tarot (not THE actual Devil, mind you, it’s more symbolic, anything that can become a “devil”). And in this Tarot card we see the Orange One himself, seated on his throne, surrounded by a few of his devoted supporters. It is important to note that they have voluntarily chained themselves to him.

Anyhow, that is my great insight for today.  Treat it the same as you would any insight that comes from a pack of playing cards.

Locker Room Talk

Donald Trump’s apologists, many of them women, have launched a three-pronged defense of the latest recorded revelations of his true attitudes towards women.  The defense goes something like this…

1. All guys talk like this in private

2. It’s just locker room talk, it doesn’t mean anything

3. Boys will be boys. / Men will be men.

Okay, let’s examine, shall we?

All guys talk like this in private.

No.  They don’t.  Some do, we’ve all heard them, but no, not all.  Not all men. There are actually guys out there that respect women as people, rather than regard them as objects.  There are actually guys out there who do not talk like this.

Personally, I have never bragged about sexually assaulting a woman, and I know other guys who never have either.  And there’s plenty of us guys out there who don’t think it’s cool to talk about fucking another man’s wife.  Frankly, the idea that we’re all alike, that we all talk like some shit-for-brains hormonal middle-school troglodyte, is offensive.  Some of us who take great pride in how we treat the women in our life.

If you are a woman, and the significant men in your life all talk like this, first, I’m sorry.  Second, I would recommend you try associating yourself with a higher class of man.  Your personal experience notwithstanding, not all men are scumbags.

It’s just locker room talk, it doesn’t mean anything

This is probably the most dangerous element of the apology.  Sure, some of it was “just talk”, the usual locker room vulgarity, and right, who cares, but…  Some of it was talk about actions.  Actions.  Actual things he has done.  Part of it was Trump bragging about how he assaulted women, and how it was okay because he was a “star”.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything, whatever you want.  Grab them by the pussy, you can do anything.”  I wish I were exaggerating, but that is an actual quote.

This isn’t just talk anymore.  This is admitting to sexual assault, and being proud of it.  Let me say that again, so maybe it sinks in a little.  He is proud of having assaulted women.  Proud of it!  At least Monica’s time as a makeshift humidor was consensual.  And at least Bill had just enough common decency left to not be proud of it.

And it is particularly telling, in his apology, while he apologized for what he said, he never once apologized for what he did.  Why would he, in his “good mind” he thinks it’s okay, because he’s the “star”.  He’s only sorry he got caught talking about it.  He has a team of lawyers to take care of the rest.

Again, not all men are like this.  If this is how your man treats you, and other women, get out of that relationship.  Believe it or not, there are men out there who respect women, and treat them as worthy of respect. You deserve better.

Boys will be boys. / Men will be men.

This is the excuse you use when boys get hurt climbing a tree, or men get into a bar fight.  It is not a valid defense for sexual assault.  Remember when Brock Turner, the swimming star for Stanford University, raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster?  Remember how upset everyone was when the judge basically treated that as a “boys will be boys” incident?  Why, because it simply is not a valid excuse for sexual assault, Brock Turner’s or Donald Trump’s.  End of story.

Do you really want your son growing up to think it’s okay to assault girls, because that’s just what boys do?  Stop it!  If you wouldn’t except this behavior from your son, you certainly shouldn’t condone it in a president.