my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: May, 2017

howdy saudi


howdy saudi

Whew, the trump circus has skipped town, and not a moment too soon. Literally the entire white house staff is going along on this trip, it makes one wonder who’s left in dc to run the ship of state, oh right, pap’s here. Every one of the white house toadies are clinging to our ape in chief like those iron filings that clump around a metal stylus to form a beard on a cartoon man’s face. They are terrified that the moment they are not right next to el presidente one of their colleagues is going to finger them for leaking or lying or even worse telling the truth to some news outlet.

Most experienced politicians who are elected president plan a soft-ball trip as their first foreign state visit, to get to know the territory, protocols, logistics, brush up on the culture, etc.  however, in true trump fashion it’s balls to the wall and screw all that crap. He’s hitting saudi arabia, israel, italy and the vatican (a two fer) and belguim which he once described as a “beautiful city.” If he weren’t coming bearing billions in military contracts, aid or other us largesse I suspect that his reception might be less than cordial considering he has offended most of the people in most of the countries he’s visiting.

On touch down in riyadh the conald was greeted by king salmon himself resplendent in dazzling white (800m thread count egyptian cotton) robes and a head dress held in place by a classic basic black bungee. Trump’s attire for his first foreign state visit did not vary from his go-to navy men’s warehouse suit because why mess with success? Melanoma opted for an all black wide legged onesy, sort of like an abaya but with a bit more panache and a clue to the fact that women do have two legs, and something super special in between too! I suppose black was a respectful nod to the local saudi custom of wrapping their women in dark polyester, but the squint eyed fashionista of fifth avenue couldn’t resist a bit of bling, accessorizing with a foot wide gold lame belt. As much as the conald loves all things gilt, I doubt even he can match the saudis, and frankly it’s really not good manners to try to beat your hosts at their own game. King salmon awarded the conald the gilded collar of abdulaziz al saud, saudi arabia’s highest civilian honor, which dazzled him bigly, probably unaware that there might be a connection between it and the $100B military sales package he inked a few hours later. I did see a video of him and the (male) members of his cabinet awkwardly swaying to a traditional ardha saudi sword dance. Wincing in embarrassment, and perhaps pain at having to keep lifting a pretty heavy sword, he looked like a clumsy adolescent at his first co-ed, but since the intent of the dance is to “re-pledge allegiance to the king” he really should have been partying like it’s 1999.

In his speech to the assembled gingham shrouded heads of state he sounded almost rational, albeit heavily medicated, making just the right noises about how terrorism is a perversion of islam and we all just need to be friends to combat these bad eggs, yada, yada, yada. It was what a cd of trump the campaigner would sound like if it were played backwards. Mind you he does have that muslim ban on hold out in the 9th circuit…wouldn’t it have been a hoot if just as he was speaking, al jazeera interrupted with breaking news that the ban had been re-instituted. AWKWARD.

Stay tuned.


seven days in may…

what a week

MJE has been recently compelled to work triple time, which I resent, to find anything humorous about what the hell is happening in our country at the moment. It wasn’t bad enough that the lily livered, mean spirited repubes folded like cheap suitcases to take health care coverage away from millions of americans. Admittedly under tony soprano worthy muscle from the congressional brute squad led ironically by nerdroid ryan and our scary clown president, who knows about as much about the legislative process as he does about setting the thermostat at mar a lago.

In typical trumpian fashion, our dear leader demanded that this poorly drafted wealthcare bill be jammed through the house minus a CBO score or even having been read by the people who voted for it. Furthermore, this craven bunch was subsequently feted at a celebratory kegger in the rose garden hosted by el presidente, apparently unaware that it takes two to tango when it comes to actually passing legislation. It is perversely comforting that the sniveling scrooges in the house who voted for this bill now cannot even go back to their districts for fear of being jeered off their town hall stages by their constituents.

But it gets so much better, or worse. These guys (literally, almost entirely, white men) walked the proverbial political plank to give a “win” to a president who, before the beer pong table was even cleared, fired the head of the fbi without cause, an act which is virtually unprecedented in american history. He then reverse-engineered the dismissal to justify his action with some sort of fig leaf memorandum drawn up by a.g. assassions (who had pledged to recuse himself from anything regarding russia and trump) and the formerly well respected deputy a.g. ohnosenstein. Trump’s true rationale, in his own words a few days later, was that comey was already a gone pecan because wouldn’t quash the “fake news” probe into russian involvement with his campaign. Inevitably and almost immediately, his inconsistencies and prevarications were promptly outed, resulting in, what else, a series of looney trump tweets, which will henceforth be referred to as twurps, making veiled threats aimed at anyone who might be tempted to leak information contrary to his fictional assertions. Dicey spicey was thanking his lucky stars that he was away from the podium during this debacle fulfilling his national guard obligation. Unsubstantiated, but entirely credible reports are that as soon as he his commitment was concluded he made a beeline to the army recruiting station to re-up for four years on the front line in our new offensive in afganistan. In his absence honey boo boo huckabee was trotted out to spread trump’s gospel of the alternative fact. Lordy girl yur pappy is a preacher, you had better log some hard time in the pew this sunday.

MJE is not a trained fire fighter, except with regard to domestic flare-ups, but even I know that it isn’t wise to throw gasoline on a smoldering fire that you wish to extinguish. Trump however, who in his own mind is a master salesman who can control any narrative, made a boner move in believing that sacking the director of the fbi would somehow divert attention from the mushrooming evidence of russian collusion. But like a lemming racing for the cliff, he just could not put on the brakes, in fact he stomped on the accelerator with his contention in comey’s letter of dismissal, the nonsensical assertion that comey had assured him, on three separate occasions, that he is not under investigation. MJE strongly advises that you give your gawping shovel mouth a rest and quit digging.

Conald, conald conald…this isn’t the sleazy new jersey real estate market you used to game. You have landed yourself unwittingly, in the oval office as the leader of the free world, god help us all. It is arguably the single most powerful position on the planet, but one whose authority, as designed by the framers of the constitution is constrained by two other co-equal branches of government. Too bad they didn’t write that document in a series of tweets, in which case you might be aware of that.

MJE is setting the impeachment clock. Tick tock, tick tock.



field trip the light fantastic!

field trip

In the interest of seeing for myself the state of contemporary culture, MJE decided to emerge from my bubble and personally experience just what the heck the modern world is up to, other than what I read in the failing new york times’ style section. To wit, MJE took the bold and virtually unprecedented (at least since 1973) action of attending a concert off the rez. And I’m not talking about some old fogey classical music thing, no ma’am, this is a band revered by millenials, the ultimate arbiters of what is hip and cool, like those jeans caked with fake mud that sell for $475 at barney’s.

So MJE and an intrepid clutch of other grey beards trekked to the nearest thing that might be described as a population center not too far from “ancient oaks” where the OB&C and I reside among an eclectic community of well heeled, attractive and extremely active seniors. In my estimation, not to rag on the young college grads living in their parents’ basements and playing super mario brothers 24/7, they probably get more done in a day than those millos do in a year. That said, because MJE is so very young at heart and interested in staying au courant, I’ve adopted a millo schedule and do only that which is absolutely necessary to ensure my perpetual contentment. Onerous duties such as paying bills, answering the telephone, getting out of my pajamas or pausing mid-binge watching the first season of fargo, or the latest episodes of better call saul are forestalled as long as possible. So the mere act of getting dressed, being chauffeured (the FOM, or friends of MJE, are well aware of my irrepressible bon vivantness and understand that my ability to competently operate heavy machinery or drive a car after I’ve exhausted myself delivering alcohol fueled witty repostes is not in anyone’s best interest) to a pre concert cocktail party, and walking to the venue involved an herculean effort on my part. However, there is no rest for the weary, because once I arrived at the entrance I had to elude four levels of security measures designed specifically, as far as I could tell, to separate me from my cup of non-house wine. Look, MJE didn’t get where I am by being intimidated by some adhd twenty something in a breezy spring frock and kitten heels, nor by the subsequent older larger, more intimidating uniformed security person who searched my purse, nor the metal detectors followed by yet one final security drone whom I easily ditched in the crowd. Just to be clear, this place paid about fifty security people and rented half a dozen scanners to maximize the sales of three buck cups of crappy wine? Not cost effective, my friend. And a real buzz kill.

Returning to the metal detectors, as I said MJE don’t get out much, but since when does a small town music concert in an old theatre require security worthy of the entry to the tel aviv airport? Perhaps all that screening should have been an early warning sign of what lay ahead, that maybe whatever we were going to experience in the next few hours might evoke passions from the audience so heated that actual violence might ensue. However, because MJE was intensely focused on skirting the authorities and hanging onto my vino I didn’t give it much thought. But next time, assuming there is one, if I see that number of security hurdles I need to vault, I’m just gonna amble over to the nearest bar and catch up later.

Hailing from a different era, when schedules actually meant something, our gang of geezers arrived promptly at 8:00 found our seats and and perched attentively waiting for the music we had paid to hear. Instead, some young person of indeterminate gender who appeared to have just rolled out of bed, came onstage and began what we later realized was a lengthy introduction to the opening act. Words like psychedelic, avant garde, and stream of consciousness were part of the delivery but none of it made any particular sense so we just sat there. Then the phenomenon that we had just heard described, shuffled in from stage left. Man this guy looked like he’d just been dragged from his refrigerator box under the overpass. If this was part of his schtick then he totally nailed the homeless, drugged out, burned out, crazy person character you avoid making eye contact with. A couple of trombone players silently crept onto the very back of the darkened stage. Now I don’t know about you but I bet if you’d bought a ticket to hear what you thought was sort of an R&B band and instead you got a homeless guy and two trombones you’d be weirded out too. Then he began to speak.

And speak and speak…and speak. Meanwhile he slowly made his way to a synthesizer and started to bang away.  Whoever programmed this instrument was either the crazy guy whomping the keys or someone who deserves a grammy for best comedy album because most of the racket it made sounded more like animal noises than musical notes. There was a high pitched terrier, a parrot, maybe a cat or two and then some that I just couldn’t quite put my finger on. All the while the guy continued to ramble on above the din about what I know not, I wasn’t even sure what language he was speaking. My compadres and I sat slack jawed, completely flummoxed. One thing’s for sure, I didn’t want to side eye any of them because I knew that would result in a meltdown of uncontrollable, disrespectful guffawing. But he finally went one terrier over the line sweet jesus and the dam broke…it was all out muffled hysteria from then on. The rest of the audience was dead silent, either in on the joke or pretending to get it to demonstrate their total hipness. MJE however had had enough and made a bee line to the bar, where everyone else in line agreed they too couldn’t stand it anymore and really, really needed a drink. After a minute or so the rest of our pack stumbled out into the lobby looking like dazed hobbits emerging from mirkwood.

When we rallied and re-entered the venue the musical act we had paid to hear, st francis and the fractured femurs, were entering the stage. The fractured femurs featured an impressively eclectic collection of musical instruments not traditionally played ensemble: flute, snare drums, a cannonball thumb piano, balalaika, jews harp, harmonica, accordion, bass, triangle, and most impressively the rarely heard aztec death whistle. A white-hot spotlight trained on the standing mic center stage. Finally out flounced st francis, who looked freakishly like truman capote, wearing a cape that was less liberace and more like the lead thing the dental hygienist lays on you when you get a tooth x ray. He dramatically shed that to reveal a sparkly purple jacket, black pants and blinding golden slippers. The band struck a chord and st francis went to work, howling and growling into the microphone, striding around the stage and working his limited dance moves like his life depended on it. To MJE he came across as a suburban white kid trying to sound like a seasoned black 60’s soul singer while executing lame knock offs of routines little richard and james brown killed fifty years ago. Bless his heart.

That said, a good time was had by all, a night to remember, for sure. MJE needs to get out more.

ptsd 2.0

ptsd 2.0

MJE likes to peruse the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders periodically to determine whether I have acquired any new professionally sanctioned psychiatric conditions. I try to remain abreast of the latest and greatest in this area, but just to fully ensure that I have updated my psychiatric disorder content page in a fair and balanced manner I cross reference webmd for symptoms and meds to alleviate them. MJE feels that multi-sourcing disorders, psychiatric or otherwise is always the most prudent path.

In my latest review MJE found two new disorders with which I am undeniably stricken. The first:

PTSD 2.0 (post travel stress disorder)

Symptoms: anxiety, depression, hypersensitivity to odors, claustrophobia, rashes about the groin area, acrophobia, nut or pretzel allergies, coprastasophobia, diarrhea, numbness in the lower legs, unusual bruising of the elbows and fore arms, shortness of breath, anger management issues, and occasional hair loss, or rarely, an unusual development of freckles over the buttocks, pudenda and or (please respect the transgenders among us) scrota.

PPTSD Pre and Post Travel Stress Disorder (a rare acute form of PTSD 2.0)

Symptoms: serious physical and or mental trauma including but not limited to: broken bones, bruises, contusions, concussion, dental damage, abrasions, loss of dignity, intense fear of large armed men wearing black skirts, blue jeans and sketchy security badges, heightened notoriety and loss of income due to unmet professional commitments. Additionally, you may incur large medical, legal and public relations related expenses.

Not to fear monger, but MJE believes that any person, or giant rabbit, who has had to resort to traveling via a seventy five ton cylinder full of compressed oxygen stuffed cheek by jowl with masses of other nominally humanoid species traveling at 500-600 mph at 30,000 feet above the earth for any period of time probably suffers from ptsd 2.0. However, this syndrome begins to present itself well before boarding the aircraft or even entering the airport terminal, when you try to park your car and are confronted with the exorbitant airport parking lot fees. Once you enter, you are for all intents and purposes, simply a very large lab rat in a dark circular maze which could aptly be described, in the immortal words of matthew arnold in his incredibly depressing opus, dover beach …

” for the world (or parking tower), which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused (car) alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies (of minivans) clash by night. “

From there you have a miles long trek, dragging your luggage, backpacks, electronic gear, offspring and their attendant junk to reach the gleaming, welcoming beacon of light in the far distance: the terminal. Alas no respite there. The doors whoosh open and you are presented with a teeming mass of ill dressed, unruly, rude, pushy, lost, bad tempered people and their detritus through which you must muscle your way to finally reach:  “the kiosk.” If you are able to successfully interact with that bot, you then must slowly shuffle like along like a homeless person with all of your worldly possessions in tow in a disney world worthy line covering the entire square footage of the your airline’s allotted space. At long last you reach a disgruntled airport agent who demands your tickets, identification, first grammar school, mother’s maiden name, best friend from childhood, favorite song, automobile vin number and the date you lost your virginity, with whom and where. In a family feud type gaggle you put your heads together and hope to come up with the correct responses (except for the virginity thing which you and your spouse or partner are permitted to write down separately on small scraps of paper and slip to the agent.)

If by some miracle you clear that hurdle you are released to try to find your way to the security area. Your destination is the tail end of another long snaking line of increasingly fatigued, frustrated and irritated travelers. An hour or so later, your group of already weary companions reach the bored bully of a security officer who demands identification, tickets, high school gpa, primary health care provider and whether you eat pork. If you manage to get past that humorless blue clad clod you then must speed walk as fast as is possible to a stack of plastic bins into which you are required to deposit your shoes, belt, jacket, electronic devices, infants in car seats, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, breast implants and anything else which you might hold dear. As you watch your existence get slowly sucked into the dark lair of the eye of sauron who sees all including that 4.3 oz bottle of volumizing shampoo you forgot to pitch, you start to feel your life force start to seep onto the filthy floor on which you stand in bare feet. Then the final frontier, the full body scanner. You are nearing the end of the beginning. Beeeeep…goes the alarm and you are whisked off to be given a complete physical in full view of everyone by some blue rubber gloved vogon. After you have been relieved of your iud and nipple ring you are released to descend into the fifth circle of hell via an escalator that is so long you literally cannot see the bottom. Then you wait for “the train”, which will transport you to a distant galaxy far far away known as terminal b.

Now you have a completely new alien terrain to navigate: which way to gate 843, where are the bathrooms, do you have time to buy a neck pillow and where’s the cinnabon place. Those are all deeply personal decisions and far be it for MJE to tell you how to make your life choices but just so you know, if you happen to arrive at the gate 61 minutes prior to scheduled (but highly improbable) departure time you will be denied boarding and must go back to square one. If you do manage to get to the gate in time you will need to break up the herd as there are only single seats available in the waiting area because many passengers choose to let their luggage chillax in seats designated for paying passengers. MJE advises to just let that pass, you may win in the short term but the probability that you will be in the middle seat next to this person are calculated to be around 97.3%.

After an interminable wait, during which you are relentlessly subjected to cnn breaking news, the gate agent announces the boarding call. Attractive people, medallion members, people with screaming infants, people in wheelchairs, people who look like they are at the breaking point, and other random passengers are allowed to board first. Then you board by seat section, and under no circumstances should you try to deviate from the boarding order because you will go to the end of the line and probably get bumped from the flight and rendered unconscious. You finally make it to the jetway! Inexplicably, people are at a total and complete standstill like those ranks of ancient terra cotta chinese warriors you see in national geographic. However, once you make it onto the plane it becomes crystal clear. The smug jerks in first class are sipping mimosas but beyond the dividing curtain to steerage it is like black friday at walmart.

People stumble down the aisle thoughtlessly twacking every previously seated passenger with their bulky baggage, which they try to in vain to cram into overheads bins. They then stumble around searching for their seats like they are lost in a sand storm (Heads up: the seat rows are numbered 15-34, each with six seats labeled a to f. You are not the minotaur wandering around in the knossos labyrinth, for god’s sake.) You finally get to your 14” wide seat where there is no storage space left so you have your carry on bag, purse or briefcase or both, computer case, etc. jammed between your legs, only partially under the seat in front of you. When the flight attendant comes by to inspect things before takeoff you press your knees together like a seventh grader trying to ward off a sophomore in the back seat of his dad’s car. If she tweeks to that baggage storage violation of faa rule 8047210563391526.0863, section a. part g, you can kiss your stuff goodbye, it’s going down, even if your life saving meds are in it.

People finally settle in, the cabin doors close and you heave a way too premature sigh of relief…because out come savory containers of braised curried goat and cauliflower, kung pao pidgeon, cabbage florentine with chick peas and whatever other foul smelling delicacy purchased in the food court prior to boarding, followed by the inevitable miasma of intestinal distress.

You are of course seated at the very back of the plane next to the galley. You hear the flight attendants loading up the drinks cart with cold refreshments, ice and peanuts and you look forward to enjoying a coca cola product and a 1.5 oz bag of nibbles. Out of the corner of your eye you see the cart, you are so close you can touch it….but like a mirage, it fades away toward the front of the plane and you realize that you will not see it again until it whisks by when the pilot comes on the intercom to say they are starting the final descent and are suspending cabin service.

By this point you have fully surrendered yourself to the slings and arrows of outrageous air travel misfortune and sit like a zombie, undead but unable to move. You now no longer have any idea where you were headed or why. Yet there is no rest for the weary, the cleaning crew is coming and you have to get to carousel 10f before someone makes off with what’s left of your baggage and your dignity.

MJE will cover in a later post  ptsd 3.0 (president trump stress disorder). It is not only far more serious but potentially fatal.

give me religious liberty or give me death by a thousand duck bites

religious liberty or death

It’s a damned good thing that MJE took her cholesterol meds this am because reading the crawling chyron of trump’s speech in the rose garden prior to signing the “religious liberty” executive order just about blew a hole in my aorta. When trump utters “religious liberty” surely MJE’s readers, who are a pretty sharp bunch, understand that he is speaking exclusively of christians’ liberty, particularly those of an evangelical stripe, to legally discriminate against “the others.” Trump is demonstrably a man devoid of either religious or moral convictions, a person whose behavior in his personal life and business dealings is anathema to the tenets of virtually every faith. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (don’t stiff people who provided honest work for you) thou shalt not steal (hard earned money from innocent people for a worthless real estate certificate), thou shall not commit adultery (marla, marla, marla…) thou shalt honor the sabbath (does 18 holes of golf count?) thou shalt not make or worship idols (tax exempt ten foot high portrait of himself in tennis togs or gilded “trump” spelled out in 50 foot high letters slapped on as much as possible) thou shalt not bear false witness (obama born in africa, popular vote, inauguration numbers, wire tapping etc etc etc). That is some shameful track record for sure and as far as MJE is concerned, clearly demonstrates that donald trump is pretty much the last person on earth you could possibly dig up to deliver a sermon on the sanctity of religion.

Obviously prince albino pence, pap smear, hobby lobbied for and probably penned this load of pandering claptrap. He might have been able to pull off delivering this divisive, mean spirited announcement without irony because of his incredible sense of self-righteous piety, but coming from trump it is about as believable as hitler sitting shabbat with the frank family.

Trump intoned that we are a nation of “believers (unless that is you are a believer in islam.) He went on to add that people of faith (again only e-vangels) may no longer be “silenced” “targeted” or “bullied” by the government. And people should be free to speak from the pulpit (unless it’s in a mosque.) “Free speech does not stop at the steps of the house of worship” presumably referring to those located in pearly gated communities of like-minded christian believers. He droned on unenthusiastically from the teleprompter surrounded by the feverish faithful, declaring that he is taking “historic steps” to protect religious liberty (like banning muslims from coming into the country.) But the nirvana-worthy cherry perched on the top of this steaming pile of hypocritical excrement was his solemn pronouncement that “tolerance is the cornerstone of freedom.”

In the immortal words of janis joplin “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”