Back To The Future…Again?

I don’t get the hate and fixation on undocumented immigrants.I assume that we must need the room or something because otherwise immigrants, documented or undocumented, don’t bother me, at all. They do the work no one else wants to do. For a wage no one else will take. Working hours no one else will work.
 
I think a large part of the obsession with undocumented immigrants is the neverending American need to have a Nigger of some sort. The Founding Fathers thought they had that covered forever but they never thought that one day folks would consider Blacks actual people OR women were included in the word “men”. Imprecise language opened a door that minorities and the marginalized barged right through.
New Niggers had to be found
The old Niggers were still there but some of them refused to play the part. Replacements had to be found. The Chinese, Irish, Italians, Vietnamese and a few others all spent time in the box. Being abused and laboring under horrible conditions to support the US economy. Each in turn were Niggers. Abused by their employers. Abused by the police. Abused by governmental authorities. Each until they gained enough political power and the goodwill of good people to ascend from Niggerdom and into personhood. Of course, the ur-Niggers remained.
To this day, we remain
 
Central and South Americans are today’s Niggers. Our economy rides on their backs. Abused by their employers. Abused by the police. Abused by governmental authorities. Political power is slowly coming but it won’t get there until the new Niggers are found.
 
My prediction? I’ll give you a hint:
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and a DeLorean.
– Eliot

Conspiracy Theory II

I watched the Trump press conference yesterday. Every second. Like everyone else, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t figure out what made him do that. Today, I’m watching the media focus on the Mad King Donald act from the press conference today. Jabbering on and on and on about something that is so obvious that there really is no need for the media to report on it. It doesn’t require deeper analysis. It is right there. But they are flogging that dead horse nonetheless.
Then it hit me when someone said that he did this against the advice of everyone. Why would he do that?
A picture of the Viktor Leonov flashed across my screen. I commented on it. And, it hit me. What is the most important thing going on in the world today?
The Russians have just violated a nuclear weapons treaty.
Crickets.
The Russians are deploying new nuclear weapons that threaten NATO nations.
Crickets.
Why does Russia think they can blatantly violate a treaty with the US and deploy new nuclear weapons against NATO? Because we are talking about how crazy Trump is while ignoring the moves Russia is making against NATO. This benefits Russia and no one else. It is as if Putin directed Trump to create a diversion big enough to draw attention away from the fact that THE RUSSIANS ARE DEPLOYING ILLEGAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS AGAINST NATO.
Denying that Donald Trump may very well be actively working to the benefit of Russia is no longer an option for patriotic Americans.
Where do you stand? With America or with Russia? There isn’t a third option.
– Eliot

Trump On Parade

The scariest thing President Trump said in his mad spewing yesterday was his off-handed musing about how popular it would be to blow up the Viktor Leonov.
 
Whether he thought that up himself OR whether one of the mentally challenged lunatics he surrounds himself with thought that up doesn’t really matter.
 
The President of the United States, a man obsessed with being popular, believes it would make him popular to start a war with Russia. Don’t get it twisted, while firing on the Viktor Leonov is an Act of War which could be finessed away, blowing it out of the water and killing all hands on board is an act that can’t be ignored AND that will lead to the death of millions.
 
If that doesn’t scare you, you either have no useful activity above your brain stem or…. nah, there is no second choice.
 
– Eliot

Spinning – A Poem

He came and pulled on the thread
she spent her whole life spinning
and spinning and spinning and
it unraveled
Just a bit
Right on the edge
Near the end
Pulling apart. “Harumph”, she said, as she perched her hat
on her head
Two towers of obscene pink
Shouting in the haze her frustration at having to
once again
Spin the thread
The one that holds us together.
But SHE does it because she does
She always does.
– Eliot

Black History – Uncle Logan

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-7-33-13-amThat’s my beloved Uncle Logan opening that door in an article about Black Inventors from the February 1990 issue of Ebony Magazine. He is the patriarch of the Logan family which occupies a place on our family tree that requires an asterisk to show both that it is different AND that it means so very much to us.
(But, as usual, that is a story for another day)
He was the Yin to my father, Morris Ware‘s, Yang. Opposites yet perfectly complimentary. Second to my father, he was THE most influential male figure in my life through my childhood. He taught us lessons through his words and actions that, when added to the lessons learned from my father, told you everything you needed to know about being a man.
Emmanuel Logan, Jr. was a brilliant man. A talented musician and songwriter. And not in that “he had a piano that he could bang out a few tunes on and I need something to say about him” sort of way. In that “he got paid money and Grammy nominated” sort of way. You know, musician and songwriter.
His mind was always working. Looking at things and trying to figure out if they could be done better. Seeing a problem. Devising a solution. Determining whether that solution could be monetized. Move on to next problem.
The total and complete entrepreneur
In all things. Which is not always a good thing that is where he stumbled. When that entrepreneurial spirit hit very real world relationships it crushed them. There always seemed to be a whirlwind around Uncle Logan. Events and happenings just seemed to spring up out of nowhere when he was around. That finally ended up in his divorce from Aunt Doris.
Yin and Yang
I only ever remember my parents getting into one real argument. It was frightening and horrible and scary. I don’t know what it was about and I don’t ever want to know what it was about. All I know was that we each got $5 to spend at the 7-Eleven to buy supplies for the trip. Trip? We were off to Alabama and Dad was staying here.
Comic books and candy bars
That trip never happened. Whatever it was, it was resolved that day and we moved on with life. A life of stability provided by a man that was, like Uncle Logan, brilliant. Mechanically gifted, a natural leader and athletic. And not in that “he played softball in the summer league” sort of way. In that “he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox” sort of way. You know, athletic.
My Dad worked 3 jobs to provide the little that we had. His primary job was as a member of the United States Air Force. He’d bring home patch panels, cords and diagrams. We’d lay the panels out on the floor and put the cords in according to the diagrams. We didn’t know it but we were programming the early computers being used at the Pentagon. He worked behind the counter at a drug store and also worked for IBM on weekends.
Dad enforced discipline at home. Brooked no foolishness and had little to say about the whole Black Power movement. Black Power didn’t feed his family. The US Air Force did that and so he focused. And we flourished. Our life was steadily getting better as he advanced in the Air Force. We had everything we needed.
We seemed to spend every weekend with the Logans. We were cousins now. Family stronger than blood. Crabs and cookouts. Cabarets. Sunday morning feasts of gallons of cold milk and donuts. All kinds of donuts. We would gorge ourselves on the glorious nuggets of fried fat and sugar while the grownups would be somewhere sleeping off the effects of the previous evening.
Watching those two men interact. Seeing the way they loved each other. Morris being so serious. So conservative in word and deed and belief. Logan being so freewheeling. Taking chances and winning or losing. And then taking chances again. Both relying on the other to show their children the side that they themselves just weren’t capable of showing. An almost symbiotic relationship that worked out well for all involved.
A relationship that started because a Black kid from up North came to the South and was set upon by some White kids from down South. And a Black kid from down South came to his aid. From that point on, they somehow recognized that together they were better. And they were. Together they were this kind, happy, serious, musical, athletic, liberal, conservative, stoic, joyous, philosophical, silly, loving man that formed my understanding of perfect masculinity.
My Uncle Logan is gone. I do miss him. When he was in the final days and in the hospital, I didn’t go see him.
I couldn’t.
I hope that he understands.
– Eliot
Welcome to Black History Month at the RiverHouse.

The Lesser of Two Evils?

Last night, my wife pointed out how odd it was that all of you folks that weren’t voting “for Trump” but “against Hillary” are awfully supportive of Trump’s attempts to lie about the Russian involvement in the election. You were disgusted by so much of what he said and did (I know because you said it in explaining your vote for this bigoted asshat) but were forced to vote for him because you just couldn’t bring yourself to vote for Clinton.
Forced
I understand that. Sometimes you really don’t have a choice. Either circumstances or people or whatever keep you from doing what is right. But I’m not quite sure why you support his pick of a White Supremacist for Senior Adviser OR support Russia’s interference in our election OR his continual cyberbullying OR his threats to NATO if you only voted for him as “the lesser of two evils”.
 
Actually, I’m kidding. I know why you voted for him and lied about your motivation. For the same reason that you rail against being called “racist” or “sexist” or “homophobic” or “xenophobic” just because you are. You can’t bring yourself to face the truth you know in your heart. The truth about what type of human being you are. You just can’t admit it and so you lie to yourself and to everyone else. 
Been there, done that
 
It’s wrong when I do it too. The only difference between you and I is that I’ve gotten past the need to lie about it. Isn’t it time that you did too?
 
– Eliot

Trump The Scorpion

A few days ago, my cousin, John Logan, sent me this text message (sic):

oldest story in the book…Turtle gives the scorpion a ride on his back…Donald trump…he ain’t gonna change folks….

Bottom line is that there is no penalty or prohibition on the President having a conflict of interest. No point in complaining or worrying about it. The one thing you can be sure of is that none of this came as a surprise to Donald Trump. He knew that the Presidency is a license to steal if a person who is so inclined gets there. Old Money understands noblesse oblige and acts accordingly. New Money understands getting more money and acts accordingly. So our system was written mostly by Old Money and assumed that Old Money would always rule because they deserve it. No New Money had ever been elected POTUS before with the exception of Jimmy Carter but even his harshest critics must admit that Carter is a moral outlier.

Male? Landowner? White? All designed to make sure that the person was of some means (Money) and in line to inherit additional means (Old Money). And then along comes Trump. Vulgar in his money worship and displays of ostentatious wealth. Gold plated toilets. Trump Force One. The Jet Ranger. A wife who remains suspiciously unattractive while having had all of the surgery we require to meet the American ideal of attractiveness. Loud and proud in his ignorance.

Male? Check

Landowner? Check

White? Check

Trump meets all of the requirements, written and unwritten, that the Founders set for POTUS. Keeping in mind that upward mobility during that time was virtually unknown. The Founders had no idea that someone like Trump – the definition of New Money – would come along.

New Money understands getting more money and acts accordingly

We’ve handed Donald Trump the keys to the greatest money making opportunity the world has ever known – The United States of America. Acting shocked that he will now do those things that his supporters admire (lie, cheat, and swindle) to the United States of America in order to make money is childish. There is, literally, nothing in Trump’s background to even hint that he has, or ever has had, any sense of patriotism or loyalty to the United States. He is New Money.

Trump is Trump. Trump is New Money and The Founders could no more imagine New Money than they could imagine that Blacks were people and not animals, much less Americans.

(now you know why the concept of “Original Intent” makes Black Americans grind our teeth)

And so they left it to Noblesse Oblige. In their opinion, it was an unavoidable condition of having money and, therefore, could be counted on as if it were a natural law. The rich will do what is right. Always.

Until they don’t

Along comes Trump. A rich man who believes in being rich and getting richer. And little else. Trump realizes that The Constitution was written by bigots who could not see reality or the future. They believed that things would not change significantly. The Landed Gentry will always rule and that is the way it will always be.

But then Trump

Here is a man who has no sense of Noblesse Oblige. He doesn’t give significantly to charity. He has no religious or civic affiliations beyond those associated with his business. He doesn’t even pay the taxes that we all pay to help keep our society running. He steals from business partners, business rivals and the government. He is a small man with a large wallet. Following in the tradition of his father, Fred, who was another small man with a large wallet. Trump’s only purpose in life is to make that wallet bigger because he can’t make himself any bigger.

What does that mean for us? We find ourselves without a President who recognizes, nor any law that imposes, ethical limitations on him. Noblesse Oblige? Meh.

It’s like that time you put on Victoria Secret’s lingerie and locked yourself in a cage with a rabid orange-faced, paunchy, sex crazed Chimpanzee with a bad Carol Channing wig who had been smoking bath salts for the last three days straight and handed him a loaded 45 Colt – or am I the only one that has ever done that? – it’s a little late to wonder whether you’ve made some questionable decisions.

Perhaps now folks will start questioning the divine inspiration of those rich slave owning White men that designed this country?

– Eliot

Spouse

Spouse

That is my role at these office gatherings and I’m not very good at it. I think I’m a good husband. Mostly. But I am a horrible spouse. I’m not personable. I’m socially awkward. My narcissism manifests itself in a general disinterest in people that don’t provide some benefit to me. A lifetime of imperfect and missing teeth means I seldom smile.

I am not the ideal party companion. And, yet, in spite of all that, my wife succeeds. Wildly. To the point where I am able to pursue my art and try to get my voice heard while there is still time.

She moves easily among these people

Smiling when needed. Head tilted just right as they discuss some point or office gossip or politics or food or whatever the person she is talking to is interested in. Because, now she’s interested, as well. Truly interested and focused on that person and that subject.

Amazing

– Eliot

American Summer

There was a time when the American dream summer vacation was to load everyone into the family truckster and head out to see America. A dream so pervasive an entire series of comedy movies was created about it. Today that dream is largely dead. Replaced by the ever increasing need to produce. To work. To get ahead.

Driving around the country takes time. Time that could better be spent working. Cruises are popular because they allow you to vacation. To travel from place to place. To relax. All without being very far from “home”. Your bed is a few elevator rides away. You can always get back and check that email. Finish that memo. Tighten up that protocol.

As neighborhoods ceased in America, the new neighborhood became your job. Your coworkers were the people you saw for most waking hours as you put in 10 hour days trying to get ahead. They had the same goals and dreams that you had. They were your true neighbors. The folks that live next door to you? You know them but you never spend time with them. You don’t have the time to spend. You’re just too busy.

At work

Neighborhood parties and barbecues continue but now it is that Office neighborhood that coordinates them. That calls the people together and tells them what part they play in this dance. Cook. Clean. Organize. Schmooze. Gossip. Flirt. Geek. Spouse.

Children run through this virtual neighborhood the same way they did the physical neighborhoods of old. Folks comment on how big or tall or smart they’ve grown since the last physical gathering of the neighborhood. Of course, they’ve seen them growing in the virtualness. Facebook posts, Instagrams, Tweets of their exploits and adventures go around the Office neighborhood all day and night. It never stops because it never closes.

That’s the thing about the Office neighborhood. It never stops. It follows you home. It eats dinner with you. It washes the dishes with you. And it sleeps with you. Sometimes it wakes you up in the middle of the night. It gets up in the morning with you. When it manifests itself in real life, like at a pig roast, it knows you and you know it. Everyone plays their role and the Office neighborhood plays its role.

Cooking of the meal is central to the occasion. It shows that the Office cares. Both as a company and as the people. The time they take to prepare dishes or to get supplies or to obtain an area or any of the other numerous tasks to get the Office neighborhood together in real space. Impressive.

And worthy

These gatherings are needed and necessary. We need personal interaction with other people. We need it to be focused on us and not on our job or church or political party. It needs to be a nurturing of our humanness. The way we do that is the same as it has always been. Gather for a communal meal. Jointly prepared. Sharing in what we have. Together.

So, while you might think this is a simple office picnic, you’d be wrong.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

– Eliot