;Dick Gregory

I heard of Dick Gregory’s passing the night it happened, Friday August 19, a week after Charlottesville. I then spent the next hour writing a “haiku”:
chord of here and now
summer wind by ghetto rooms
Dick Gregory’s voice

I have learned that, to make sense, a work – be it in language or pigments, a song or a meal – has to convey feelings. Like the Duke said, it has to swing. So maybe that isn’t haiku, and doesn’t swing. It’s my immediate tribute to an important man who passed. His voice made a considerable difference.

He was the first stand-up philosopher I could recognize. Perhaps there were others before him. If you know any, please note them, here if you can. After him came George Carlin and Chris Rock. Probably, there are others, too. I’m not too good with names.

Here’s a few Dick Gregory-isms.
– There’s a god force inside of you that gives you a will to live.
– In America, with all of its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don’t know yet whether that sun is rising or setting for our country.
– I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr stamp – just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man.
– Love is very dangerous if you just have love and don’t have the ability to be lovable.
– I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.
– There is a limit on how much information you can keep bottled up.
– Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.
– If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine off the market for six days, they’d have to bring out the tanks to control you.
– Once I realised the value of making people laugh, I got very good at it. Fast.
– I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark. D
– Just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.
– Let me tell you, never before in the history of this planet has anybody made the progress that African-Americans have made in a 30-year period, in spite of many black folks and white folks lying to one another.
– I waited at the counter of a white restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.
– We thought I was going to be a great athlete, and we were wrong, and I thought I was going to be a great entertainer, and that wasn’t it either. I’m going to be an American Citizen. First class.
– We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn’t think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.
– Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.
These and more come from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dickgregor377993.html


The Runt vs T. Rump

I have never promised to give our current alleged president any credit for any action he may ever take. Mainly, this was because I could never envision his being effective in any positive manner, despite (or because of) his relentlessly positive posture. Someone who never questions his own perspective is bound to drive off cliffs, pedal floored and banners flying, practically all the time.

Well, damned if he didn’t get one right. l won’t deny it, won’t even nitpick about Marquis of Queensbury  or Hoyle even the Geneva Convention, if it ends here. Beijing bitch-slapping their yapping punk was the desired result.

Appropriate world perspective was preserved.

I can only hope that penetrates T.Rump’s hopelessly self-centered myopism. People are genuinely glad that what he said [reflected] the world’s policies while endorsing America’s presence on Guam. If it results in a de-escalation of hostilities, as it appears, then it may actually further humanitiy’s promise.

This was the scenario T.Rump has been playing out in his head since – well, since his election, at least. Us vs Them, on a level field under clear skies. It helped that They are <.01 Us, potentially harmful and obnoxious to boot. I don’t know about you, but I’m perfectly cool with taking a bullying posture with the brat that’s terrorizing the granny-lady. Threatening a perfectly plausible devastating retaliation should it continue satisfies my sense of justice. Communication must be received and understood to be effective.

I have had cats through much of my life. Unlike dogs, who don’t think much and look to their companions repeatedly for advice and direction, cats think for themselves, and don’t really care what you think.

They think it’s perfectly natural, for instance, to share in whatever food is reachable. I have found empirically that cats will generally not take my unwillingness to share my meals with them as sincere unless it is accompanied by a heartfelt threat to their lives.

Not that I would actually do it, probably. The distinction between threat and execution is thus defined as the birthplace of civilization.


Scaramucci’s Fandango

When I was a kid, and some noteworthy made a jackass of himself in public, I’d make up some drivel about him calling me in the middle of the night, drunk, whining obscenely about whatever treatment he’d received in the course of his moronic behavior.

There were those who, reading these scurrilous diatribes, took them as reportage. I would take a demure bow and retire, allowing my public its profane fantasy. But anyone connected to reality however vaguely would notice the fraudulence in its composition. Confusingly, I received far more demands for retraction of my comments than praise for my witty insight. I suppose my recognition will come in retrospect.

Meanwhile, Friday, my “New Yorker” subscription brought me an article by
their Washington editor, Ryan Lizza, “Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannion”. Lizza had tweeted an item about Scaramucci dining at the White House with the Trumps, Sean Hannity, and Bill Shine, recently a Fox News executive.

In the tweet, Lizza speculated on T. Rump’s relationship with Hannity, and whether he was thinking of hiring Shine.

“‘Who leaked that to you?” Scaramucci said. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over.'”

Scaramucci said, “‘You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.'” [Lizza said he could not.]

“He eventually convinced himself that [White House chief of staff Reince]Priebus was my source,” Lizza said.

“The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. ‘Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,’ Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: ‘”Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)”

Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman credited elsewhere with “turning around” the Republican Party six years ago, was forced to resign the day after the dinner party.

“‘The swamp will not defeat him,’ [Scaramucci]said, breaking into the third person. ‘They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.’

“Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. ‘I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,’ he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. ‘I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.’ (Bannon declined to comment.)”

It all sounded legit to me. I remember when parody and life, even politics, were separate endeavors. That’s what They must mean when They talk about the Good Old Days When Things Were Simpler. I preferred it. So I’m getting older.


T. Rump and the Boy Scouts

I read the first two hundred or so words of the speech, I suppose out of due diligence. It was the same speech he always gives. Nothing but braggadocio, and disrespect for anything that isn’t him.

I was a Boy Scout. I went to a National Jamboree. We were addressed by somebody. I don’t remember being profoudly bored at the Jamboree, so I probably didn’t go to be addressed.

Of course I believed America was the best place to be. Foreign Scouts came to our Jamborees. I ate at foreigner’s fires, they ate at ours. We traded
patches. Theirs were flimsy, ours weren’t. They really prised ours.

But enough about me. And the Boy Scouts. And T. Rump, for that matter. While this ballyhoo’s been going on, what’s Paul Ryan been doing?


Ruminations on Terrorists and Invasion

In WWII, even in Korea, we had news photos of GI’s giving candy and food to local kids and adults. This practise disintegrated in Vietnam, where babes in arms could just as easily be rigged to explode. Partly this was the result of a global ideological conflict. Partly, though, perhaps the greater part, was that American soldiers were not helping the people of the nation they’d invaded. Whatever agenda they had – save Australia from Communism, establish a drug business, pump oil out of the China Sea, rip off the Defense budget or the PX – it had nothing to do with Freedom, Liberty, or the Vietnamese people.

Invading Iraq was an excuse for Halliburton to bill Congress; invading Afghanistan … well, frankly I don’t know. I think it may have had to do with oil. Hunting Isis, the Taliban, bin Laden, all noble pursuits. But the only success among them was the surgical erasure of bin Laden. In the current era of frontless war, invasion-sized offenses have generally failed.

Rest assured, I have no qualms about killing terrorists. I’m no Buddhist. Probably that’s linked with the ease with which I justify squishing mosquitoes and suffocating ticks. I figure, even if they are my ancestors, they’re pests now and squishing and drowning is part of a bug’s karma.

American military behavior, while never as valorous as we’d like to believe, still was admirable compared with The Other Guys. I’m not so sure any more. Sweeping troops through residential neighborhoods, through actual residences, will not make many friends among the residents. Drone attacks, unless regularly extremely accurate, would tend to scare the living shit out of the civilian population. While calling America “terrorist” is not correct, calling its motives corrupt and its overall approach murderous may be thoroughly accurate.