my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Category: Uncategorized

say what?

off with their heads-1

Lordy, MJE is glum. I was feeling sort of okay this morning having worked in the garden yesterday and gotten in touch with nature, or rather they got in touch with me via the chigger community outreach program. Then I foolishly turned on the idiot box and heard the transcript of our dear leader’s interview with two NYT reporters. His answers to the questions were so strange and disturbing that I googled the 25th amendment to figure out what it would take to extract him from the oval office.

In the interview, when quizzed on the matter of jeff sessions, our button eyed attorney general, the conald actually said out loud that if he had known that sessions was going to recuse himself (in other words, follow the rule of law) from all russia/trump campaign related investigations on account of his not mentioning that he’d met with some of them russians, but dadgummitt clean forgot about it when questioned during his confirmation hearing, the conald woulda for damn sure picked some other more compliant doofus. Wow, that was really long run on sentence but I couldn’t figure out where to cut it up. Now I am no fan of sessions, the good ole racist from the great state of alabama, but when I heard that trash talk from the conald he went up about ten points in my estimation. He’s still in the low teens but…

Then our dear leader went on to denigrate virtually every top official in the justice department; rosenstein, the acting attorney general, then mccabe, the guy who took fired comey’s place and of course mueller, the head of the special investigation into russia’s “meddling” in our election. He publicly put them all on notice that they are on the chopping block should they start investigating the conald’s real ties to russia.. I guess the up side to this is that the conald is so unable to control his id that we all know what he’s up to. Conceivably it would be worse if he were savvy enough to contain those thoughts, yet act on them without public knowledge, a la nixon. It’s a sad day for america when you regard your president’s broadcasting his corruption as a good thing.

I just re-read the transcript of the whole interview and it is like james joyce on acid, an incoherent rambling rant about how fabulous he is and how every world leader loves him and president macron just wanted to hold his hand the whole time, and how terrific the military parade in paris was what with all the jets and we ought to get an arc de triomphe, then he threw in some curious nonsense about napoleon having designed paris (and later, probably trump tower) then invaded russia but farted around and froze to death the next day. Napoleon: the untold story!

Without prompting, the conald moved on to the subject of his extemporaneous meeting with pootin after the g20 dinner. After blathering on about the seating arrangements, the length of the table and the fact that mrs abe of japan couldn’t speak a lick of english (pot calling the kettle black, eh) he just toddled over to visit with melanoma who was seated next to pootin. With the help of a japanese translator (wouldn’t be my first choice when speaking with a rooskie but what do I know) they had a great discussion about russian adoptions, which was, in his words very interesting. You know you are in the upside down (see: stranger things on netflix) when rooskie adoptions are code for lifting sanctions against russian oligarchs. Surely even donjo finally figured that out after the hub bub over his meeting with that room full of sketchy slavs. But it is totally understood that he and dear ole dad never, no way, no how discussed that whole nothing burger.

 

 

 

meeting, what meeting

rooskie meeting-1

MJE has serious whiplash from the avalanche of absurdities that tumble out of the trumposhere on a daily or often hourly basis. The newest entry is right smack out of a rocky and bullwinkle cartoon. Just to bring MJE readers up to speed on the inhabitants of that fictional world I include below a short rundown:

 The lead characters and heroes of the series were Rocket “Rocky” J. Squirrel, a flying squirrel, and his best friend Bullwinkle J. Moose, a dim-witted but good-natured moose. The scheming villains in most episodes were the fiendish spies Boris Badenov, a pun on Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale, a pun on femme fatale. Other characters included Fearless Leader, the dictator of the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania and Boris and Natasha’s superiors, Gidney & Cloyd, little green men from the moon who were armed with scrooch guns; Captain Peter “Wrongway” Peachfuzz, the captain of the S.S. Andalusia; various U.S. government bureaucrats and politicians (such as Senator Fussmussen, a recurring character who opposed admitting Alaska and Hawaii to the union on grounds of his own xenophobia).

The latest real life rhubarb is a doozy. It starts with gob gallstone, our boris in this taudry tale. Gallstone is a corpulent music producer who works in russia and who has a history with donjo. He sets up a meeting with an alluring rooskie lawyer, ms putineska (our natasha) to hatch a plot to procure a compliant idiot (that would be our badass bullwinkle) inside the white house to be a submissive partner with pootin (fearless leader). Admittedly the list of potentially pliable quislings is boundless but they ultimately settled on donjo, the morally and intellectually challenged #1son of our dear leader. Boris dangled the offer of some of shrillary’s dirty knickers to entice donjo into meeting with an ever-growing list of sketchy slavs. The revelation of this meeting comes after months of righteous indignation from all conald-related hacks at the widely held suspicion that there was collusion between the conald’s campaign and russia.

MJE would like to put forth an hypothesis: the louder the conald & co.’s outrage over any given fact, the greater the likelihood it is true.

After being outed by the fake news purveyor new york times, donjo admitted that he, his bro-in-law jarred and the conald’s campaign manager pall manafart (a man too sleazy to even warrant a cartoon character) did indeed meet with ms. putineska among others. The rest of the colorful cast of characters crammed into this clown car include a russian pop star, a russian lobbyist and a translator. But there’s more! Turds continue to bob to the surface with every passing hour. The latest of which was interestingly enough, a rooskie real estate magnate with an unsavory history of laundering rubles through, among other things, fake bank accounts in delaware and, wait for it! acquiring properties in manhattan. Which brings us back to dough-re-mi…(with apologies to julie andrews).

The fat lady ain’t sung yet my friends, but MJE is pretty sure that the entire conald-pootin bromance begins and ends with one thing and one thing only: personal enrichment.

 

 

founding fathers

founding fathers-1

Lordy, 4th of July done and gone, this year Independence day felt more like a national day of mourning instead of a day to celebrate our throwing off the yoke of twitter tyranny. Founding fathers, if you’re listening, please send up a flare, because we sure as hell we need some help down here. Of course, you lot only had to break away from an empire, fight a bloody war, establish a new country based on democratic ideals, codify those in a constitution and bill of rights meant to endure through the ages and finally create a unified nation of peoples who were in most cases more different than alike.

It’s quite another thing to combat an endless barrage of electronic lunacy emanating from an increasingly unhinged president delivered in bursts of 140 characters. Talk about mismatched adversaries! It’s like fighting a thousand acre wildfire fire with an iv drip. Founding fathers, I know this doesn’t make any sense to you, well join the club.

Quick recap: last year lots of people in the country were mad at their elected representatives and government, they wanted to have a president who knew as much about the three branches of government and how they work as they do so they voted for a person they had seen on a thing called a tv. With me so far? What they didn’t realize is that person they saw on the tv was just acting like someone who was capable of running our country but who really just wanted lots of people to tell him how terrific they thought he was. He promised everything everyone wanted to everybody and they were so excited that they chanted “make america great again!” I apologize. That must be hurtful to hear, take a moment if you need it.

So we now have a president who knows virtually nothing about governing, is not interested in finding out anything about it and who’s single most driving life force is feeding his fragile ego. But, props to you guys (in hindsight, coulda had a woman in there but that’s a discussion for another day) you set things up in such a way that the president, even one as potentially harmful to the republic as this one, cannot sink the ship of state by himself. He needs help from congress and the supreme court. And this is where we seem to be in a potentially wicked pickle, because both houses of congress and the supreme court are nominally on the same political side as the president.

So what do we do now? MJE believes that things will eventually sort themselves out but a lot of damage can be done in the meantime. People will realize that all those promises they were so desperate to believe were just a trick to get their votes. And others who were so angry about government being overly involved in their lives will start to lose the safety nets it provides like health insurance, help paying for food, medical care for the poor, housing assistance, loans to pay for education, financial protection for the elderly and many more. Well technically, founding fathers, you don’t get full credit for those things but you did create a democratic society that encouraged them to exist. So an assist on that.

Because, after all, you pretty much spelled it out right from the get go:

We the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution of the united states of america. Then frankly you got into the weeds…not to be critical but it is a bit wordy, and sadly people just don’t have the attention spans they used to. Think bullet points.

My guess is that your advice to mje would be something along the lines of don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk girlfriend, Go put on your big girl pantalets and get moving.

Got it.

Hope you don’t mind if I check back every so often, I do feel better. Thanks.

the fawning of america

the fawning of america-1

MJE continues to be flabbergasted at what lengths the conald will go to quench his insatiable desire for adulation. The latest incident involved a cabinet meeting that was presumably meant to be an important discussion of pressing matters of state but was perverted by the conald into a cringe-worthy display of political masturbation.

Generally speaking cabinet meetings are pretty weighty occasions and not thrown open to the press, but as we all know the conald never misses an opportunity to exaggerate his accomplishments or seek affirmation. With that in mind, the meeting opened with the conald blathering at length that he has accomplished more than any other president in us history (he threw a bone to fdr and his handling of the depression, etc) so early in his presidency, despite any actual legislative action. He extoled his many take charge executive orders like rolling back job and people killing regulations. The reduction of government’s obligation to preserve clean air and water is a twofer, it reduces government expense and if people die, hey they are no longer jobless! The art of the deal indeed.

The cabinet members were reduced to fawning toadies. For all intents and purposes it could have been a collection of north korean lackeys addressing their dear leader. One by one they tried to outdo each other in a bizarre limbo land of how low can you go.

VP pap declared that even jesus’s miracles pale in comparison to what the conald has done. Water into wine, meh, what good does that do for teetotalers like el presidente, way more impressive is keeping religious competitors out of our country. Rinse Prebot, chief of staff declared that he had changed his sixteen year old son’s name from madison to donald and is working on a combover in tribute to his incredible boss. Wrecks Dullerson, our reclusive secretary of state, announced that he was divorcing his boring wife of 38 years and was actively wooing young eastern european beauties via tinder. He was happy to report that he has several great prospects lined up and effusively thanked the conald for being such a fantastic role model. Round and round went the revolting group grab ass, each expression of adoration eliciting a nod and smile from our own dear leader.

So this is what america’s top dogs have been reduced to, a bunch of bootlicking flunkeys who have abandoned all self-respect and permanently tainted their reputations in obeisance to a person who deserves absolutely none of it. Yo, what about their obligations to the american citizens whom they are duty bound to serve?

Get off your damned knees, stand up and speak truth to power, you cowards.

let the word games begin

let the games begin-1

So let mje get this straight, the conald is going to get into a pissing contest about who’s more trustworthy, him or saint james comely, recently fired head of the fbi. Hmmmmm….that’s a tough call for sure. On the one hand you have a 6’8” boy scout who has decades of public service experience and an irritating habit of doing what he believes is best for the country and on the other a glorified used car salesman from queens who never says anything that isn’t either self-aggrandizing or deflects attention from his shaky relationship with reality and or the russians.

As anyone with a tv, radio, computer or a brain now knows, director comely testified before the senate intelligence committee last week and recited chapter and verse his every interaction with the conald. After his first meeting with el president elect, director comely, who presumably has seen his fair share of liars and swindlers, immediately recognized that he’d just met with a con man of truly historic proportions. A grifter so skillful that he made enough americans believe that he was going to give them everything they ever wanted no matter how contradictory or impossible and got himself elected president. Jobs for the jobless, cheap (really) great health insurance for the sick, tax breaks for the rich, a balanced budget for the nitpickers, a reduction in the deficit for the frugal, a withdrawal from the paris accord for the climate change deniers, a travel ban on muslims for the racists, a wall for the people who blame undocumented immigrants for their lot in life, nixing nato for the isolationists, increasing defense spending for the pugnacious, slashing federal research grants for the evangelical faith healers, cutting off funding for planned parenthood for the fetus firsters, and a shot at a time share in a trump property for the morbidly moronic.

Comely documented his meetings in excruciating detail in order to ensure, in his words, that the actual truth of their interactions were on the record. When queried as to why he did that his response was something like, because of the setting (trump tower), the topic (loyalty pledge and or something vis a vis russia) and the person with whom he was interacting who would be the chiseler in chief. And just to be crystal clear, because he believed that the conald would lie. Yep used the l word folks. All laid out in the placid unemotional just the facts ma’am demeanor of a consummate g-man.

Well glory be and lordy, someone finally has the balls to declare the obvious: this pompous, embarrassing, bombastic ignoramous of an emperor we are now stuck with ain’t got no clothes on his fat ass. Not a stitch.

During comely’s testimony the conald huddled with his cabal then shoved his personal (the white house counsel and his staff all staged an extended sickout after the first few minutes of the comely testimony) super expensive, super sketchy, ill informed new york defense attorney out before the cameras to refute each and every allegation, in form and substance. Yo! connie, lawyering up is, in the irritating newspeak of today, “bad optics.”

Furthermore, and even better, the conald has now declared that he will gladly testify under oath that every word comely said is untrue, never said it, never happened, no way no how.

Let the word games begin.

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.”