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Once upon a time, a young French friend, then much younger than I (and still is, I suspect) shook his head and said in response to my question regarding the Mistral winds and murder:  You read too much, Karen. What a thing to say!   Is that even possible? Well, now I’m reading about the 19th Century Jewish salons in Berlin and I want a salon of my own, except I want it now, in the 21st Century, and I want to set it up in Canada.  I live in Minneapolis which, truth be told, might be the perfect spot except this city it too large and my heart hurts from Trump and Trudeau gives me comfort. “But you don’t like people, even Canadians,” Miriam responded (too quickly and too brashly, I thought). She’s right.  But hold on a second.  Somehow I think this might be the answer to many of […]

I just learned that my brother-in-law bought tickets to the inauguration – real cheap.  I don’t know how factual are the other stories about “papering the house”, in other words giving tickets to anyone without a better place to sit down.  But if my brother-in-law could get seats – second row, just behind the section reserved for Trump’s illegitimate children – then I’d say the tales might be true.  Only a small “basket” of people are eager to attend this bizarre affair.  I should mention that my brother-in-law had no intention of attending.  He wanted his non-attendance to be a matter of record. And so does Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  Below is her statement as published in the Guardian.  Please read.  Her message must be heard and passed along. Why my seat at the inauguration is empty Barbara Lee, Congresswoman from California I will not be celebrating the swearing-in of a […]

Will I ever again write on a topic that isn’t Trump related?  I’ve been asking myself this question for weeks now.   Why aren’t I writing about everything else that distresses me or demands attention, as I have in the past, e.g.  racism, ageism, solitary confinement, women’s rights, war?   We, in the U.S., are facing a future that in reality may be worse than any scenario I’ve imagined.  I’ve never developed a plot like the one we’re living, because I don’t write horror stories.  At least I didn’t before Trump rose from the bog.  So, has fear overwhelmed me?  Has my body been drained of blood and my soul drained of purpose? All I can say is:  Hallelujah! Yesterday, I received an answer to my self-query when I heard about Jan Chamberlain and her decision to publicly resign from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rather than sing at the upcoming presidential inauguration.  […]

Pastor John Pavlovitz has taken the time to say what so many of us wish we could say as well. Dear Hillary, I hope this finds you well. I’ve been meaning to write you for a while. I was thinking of you again today and I guess I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you. I appreciate how hard you’ve worked for this country for the past five decades. I appreciate what you accomplished this year. I appreciate your dignity in the face of the most undignified behavior.  I appreciate the seriousness with which you took the prospect of leading our nation. I appreciate the campaign of diversity, equality, and shared strength you ran with such grace. I appreciate you reminding America that it is already great. You did everything you were asked to do this year, everything you were supposed to do: You were prepared and balanced and cool under pressure. You […]

Ahoy!  Lies Ahead! Apropos of my latest attempt at poetry, Miriam sent me this chart.  I like it.  For the most part, and for what it’s worth, I agree with the way these media outlets are slotted.  Give it a look.  If you think it’s trustworthy, pass it along. As Walter Cronkite can no long fact check for us and Ed Murrow is not doing investigative journalism these days, we are left to take care of ourselves.  And that’s okay, I suspect, as we are supposed to be grown-ups, e.g. free, independent, and capable thinkers.  To give some guidance, though, the following three sites are considered the best nonpartisan resources for determining the truth of political information.  Should you come across a statement that sets your radar zinging, you might go to: POLITIFACT, FACTCHECK.ORG, and The Washington Post’s FACT CHECKER. For the next four years, we will have a powerful […]

Tom Lehrer, Will You Set This to Music?   I’m in bed with the Devil. I’m raising the dead. For OUR good, none other, I’m risking my head.   Hair of Walter Cronkite, Nail of Chet Huntley, Blood of Mr. Murrow, Bone of Kid Brinkley, Tooth of Jim Lehrer, Toe of Robbie MacNeil. Toss into the cauldron and Boil ’til real.   No fake truth; No false history; No lies from the jaws Of fox toothed witchery. Before Good night and good luck, Murrow warned us. He said: When news is entertainment, Truth is truly dead.   “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” Edward R. Murrow   This is London.  This is Paris. This is D.C.  This is Rome. This is Jerusalem and Moscow. It’s yours.  It’s mine.  Our only home. It’s here we raise […]

“Seven at one blow!” said the little man with great pride. “Such a brave deed ought to be known all over the town, and it won’t be my fault if folks fail to hear of it.” “I don’t know if Joe Biden would make a good President,” said a friend. “He seems like he might be one of those creepy uncles – never been married; no life of his own. I was reading about him in…” Suddenly, my mind felt a wad of hair slip down and clog my drain/brain. My thoughts ran slowly, gurgling, slightly murky. “But he’s been married twice,” I offered tentatively. “His first wife and baby died in a car accident, I think,” suddenly unsure of my memory. “He’s married now. Her name is Jill.” My friend looked at me, momentarily gob smacked. “Biden’s married. I knew that,” she stammered. “But what… what was I reading???” […]

The rabbi stood before his congregation last Saturday and in his comforting baritone, spoke as rabbis have spoken for centuries: Keep yourself clear of the fighting between the Christians and the Muslims and any combination therein.  We aren’t like them.  We are separate; we are above.  We don’t breathe the same air they breathe.  We don’t eat as they eat.  We don’t drink from the same stream.  We don’t cry as they cry or laugh as they laugh.  We don’t give birth in pain or die alone.  Winter comes for them but not for us.  If they are cold and freeze to death, so be it.  As long as we are warm, all is as it should be. Have I forgotten anything? Yes, Rabbi.  One small thing:  It didn’t work then; it won’t work now. If you are suggesting we adopt isolationism, Rabbi, you must have flunked Jewish History1-001.   And […]

Pull it together, for crying out loud! I can’t settle. I can’t write right. Words fail me. My anger feeds my fear and my fear feeds my feelings of insignificance and impotence and that, in turn, feeds the deadening belief that everything I do from here on must be of great significance. I need to write a warning that’s gripping and funny and pithy, and personally momentous, while, at the same time, historically accurate and, above all, true. But, in fact, I can barely see the screen because I can’t stop crying out loud! Literarily. Literally. Then Miriam sent me Sarah Ruhl’s speech. Every artist deserves a daughter like Miriam. Remarks from playwright Sarah Ruhl on accepting the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Distinguished Playwright of the Year Award at Lincoln Center, New York on Monday, November 14, 2016. Thank you so much. I am so honored, and humbled, […]

Angry? Me? Who am I to be angry? Let’s talk about experts: the people we trust to have delved deeply into a certain topic because it interests them more than it does us. Besides, none of us has the time to learn everything about everything. These experts might also be beyond us on the scale of brains but I often wonder about that. I’m thinking right now about Eugene Volokh, professor of law at UCLA School of Law, espouse to be expert on the 1st and 2nd Amendments (freedom of speech and the right to bear arms). At least other experts say he’s an expert. He was probably a brilliant baby because he graduated from UCLA at age 15. He now teaches while contributing his expertise to the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and more. How could anyone, especially me, doubt that he’s an expert? This guy […]