Thursday, October 20, 2016

Final thoughts on the 2016 presidential election

I did not watch the third and final presidential debate of 2016 (though I did check out some of the comments on Twitter while it was going on). I may be a Metsochist, but I'm not a masochist. Besides, why stay up late and put yourself through 90 minutes of mental torture when you can spend just five reading Alexandra Petri's (way more entertaining) recap or wait for the (again more entertaining) Alec Baldwin-Kate McKinnon version of the debate on SNL this weekend, hombre?

Even before going into the third presidential debate, most people's (everyone's) minds were made up -- and pretty much nothing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would say was going to change that.* Even Donald Trump refusing to say if he would respect the outcome of the election -- despite the horror expressed by every mainstream news organization at that statement. (And no, the suspense is not killing me.)

(Seriously pundits, you really think people who have no problem supporting a questionably rich guy who brags about not paying his taxes and assaulting women are going to suddenly change their minds about Trump because he would not unequivocally state he would respect election results? Which election have you been following?)

So, I am not writing this to change anyone's mind. (See the asterisk, below.) But I did want to share some thoughts, or observations, about this election.

1. Those surprised by the rise of Donald J. Trump either slept through the last 50 years or were not paying attention to politics. Trump is the product, or by-product, of years of political demagoguery -- the bloated, orange, short-fingered, small-minded embodiment of everything bad and hateful about America.

2. Facts don't matter any more. A lot of people don't even know the difference between facts and opinions. As someone whose first job was as a fact checker -- and was taught in school and as a journalist and editor that the truth and facts were paramount, I find that deeply disturbing. (Oh, and for those who say it's hard to ferret out the facts in this election, no it isn't. Just go to PolitiFact or

3. Civil discourse is dead. It's been dying for years, I know, much like fact checking, but this election may have been the final nail in the coffin.

4. If Donald J. Trump receives more votes than Hillary Clinton, then yes, I will believe the election was rigged.

*For anyone interested in the neuroscience behind why and how people make up their minds and why some (most?) people will never change them once made up, even when facts contradict their beliefs, read Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett. It is both entertaining and enlightening. Also see "confirmation bias" and "cognitive dissonance," the two reasons I stopped arguing with people about politics (and religion) long ago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Signs you might be old

At what point does someone become "old"? Is "old" a number? A feeling? Does being a grandparent make you "old"? I remember as a kid thinking 16 was old -- and then that 21 and 25 were old. Ah, those were the days. 

I do not have a definitive answer to the question, When does one become 'old'? but here are 15 signs you may no longer be a spring chicken....

1. You say things like "no longer a spring chicken" and "Kids these days!" and "Can you read the menu?" and "What did you say?" regularly. 

2. The local "Oldies" station plays the music you grew up listening to.

3. You think gray hair looks distinguished.

4. Something (your knees, your back, your hip, your neck) always hurts.

5. Everyone you know has something that hurts.

6. You go out to dinner (or brunch) with friends and everyone is discussing what hurts (or who died).

7. You wonder where that extra flap of skin beneath your chin and/or that nose and ear hair came from.

8. You own at least two pairs of glasses -- and are constantly misplacing at least one pair (along with your keys). 

9. You write sh*t down, so you won't forget, and you still forget it (or you forget your list).

10. You drive a Buick... or a Lincoln... or a Cadillac.

11. You drive a Buick... or a Lincoln... or a Cadillac wearing a golfing cap (or tennis visor). 

12. You have AARP magazine in your bathroom.

13. You eat dinner before 6. 

14. You spend the winter in Florida (or would like to).

15. You eat dinner before 6 in Florida.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pretty... scary

No, I'm not talking about the election, though it is pretty scary. I am talking about the current exhibits at the New York Botanical Garden. It is around 80 degrees in New York City today, and since Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden and Scarecrows & Pumpkins are only on display until the end of the month, I decided to take the morning off and go visit (before the weather turns cold and rainy).

Here are some of my favorite photos from today's outing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump and Pussy Galore

While pretty much everything that spews forth out of Donald Trump's mouth is vile, I just cannot get worked up over his use of the word pussy. Seriously, of all the slang and pejorative terms for a woman's genitalia, aka vagina (rhymes with China), pussy is the one we're having issues with? Seriously?

[Btw, if you didn't see Samantha Bee's "Vagina Monologue" in her segment on the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape last night, you can watch it here. It is must-see TV IMO.]

But getting back to pussies.... You people ever hear of a book, later made into a film by the same name, called Goldfinger, featuring a guy by the name of James Bond? The film, released in 1964, was tremendously popular and some 40-plus years after it was made you can still watch it on TBS and BBC America regularly.

Any of you recall the name of the femme fatale in Goldfinger? Here, let me help you, Pussy Galore. I don't recall it inciting riots, then or now, but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. (FYI, in the book, Galore was a lesbian.)

Donald Trump was likewise dreaming if he thought that women wanted him to grab them -- by their pussy, or anyplace else -- and kiss them. Though, this scene from the film, as described in Wikipedia, sounds frighteningly Trumpian:

"Bond corners Galore in a barn and forcibly holds her down (while she tries hard to fight him off) and kisses her. The film then shows a massive change in personality where she seems to welcome the earlier assault, putting her arms around Bond. She then secretly turns against Goldfinger."

Maybe the problem with Donald Trump is that he thinks he's James Bond.

While we are on the topic of James Bond and women, who could forget this priceless (totally male chauvinistic) exchange from Diamonds Are Forever?

Ivanka is lucky she wasn't named after her father. Otherwise we might now know her as Short-Fingered Vulgarian or Cheeto Jesus or Clown Face.

NOTE: To anyone reading this who thinks I am in any way condoning Trump's behavior, I am not. There is zero excuse for sexual assault. But many people (see "Trump Supporters") seem to be way more worked up about the use of the word pussy than by Trump's actions, which is wrong.

Monday, October 10, 2016

What a sniff show: Takeaway from the Second Presidential Debate of 2016

Maybe the Commission on Presidential Debates should have gotten Afrin to be the sponsor.

Once again, #sniffles was trending big time on Twitter (as were #sniffing and #sniffingTrump) during last night's Second Presidential Debate between Republican nominee Donald J. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Seriously, could no one have provided that man with some nasal spray before the debate? Or maybe, as more than one person I saw wrote, Trump sniffs every time he lies. (Though in that case, he'd be sniffing so much he wouldn't be able to breathe.)

And speaking of lies, I thought NPR did a pretty good job of fact checking last night's debate. (PolitiFact also provided fact checking.)

Of course, facts don't matter to a lot of people any more. *SIGH*

But getting back to the Second Presidential Debate... though there was very little that was presidential about it. What a "sniff" show. I kept begging the spouse to flip over to the Giants-Packers game -- or the baseball. (I have now gotten to the point where I would rather watch the Giants lose than have to watch anything where Donald Trump opens his mouth.)

And while people (some people) are disagreeing this morning as to who won last night's debate, I think there is one thing, sadly, we can all agree upon: America lost.

BONUS VIDEO: When your nose is running for President of the United States

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The real reason Republicans are distancing themselves from Donald Trump

The real reason Republicans in the House and Senate (especially those up for re-election) are distancing themselves from Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump right now? It's not because of that just released, now infamous 2005 audio tape, where he bragged to Billy Bush* that he could get away with sexually assaulting women.

(Plenty of Trump's supporters actually admire Trump for his supposed way with the ladies -- a way that would land most of them in jail or at least fired from their job. While other Trump supporters brush off his crude, lewd, abusive talk as "locker room banter," though Trump is no athlete and was nowhere near a locker room and if a professional athlete was caught on tape saying that shit, you can bet your ass he would be in serious trouble.)

No, the real reason Republican Senators and Congressfolk and others are distancing themselves from the short-fingered vulgarian isn't because he's a vulgar, narcissistic, xenophobic, misogynistic, racist. It's because he's about to be a LOSER (or is now perceived as a loser) -- and they are terrified of being attached to, or going down on the ship with, a LOSER. (Remember, it's always the rats that are the first to leave a sinking ship.)

Remember how a bunch of prominent Republicans had distanced themselves from the Cheeto Cheater during the primaries and even after -- only to announce their support for him (or "the Republican nominee") when his poll numbers were looking up? Guess what happens every time his poll numbers go down? Yup, the rats jump ship.

And I'll tell you this, if for some reason the six-time bankrupt, Tic Tac-popping, serial-cheating, Putin-loving, spray-tanned, wouldn't-know-the-truth-if-it-was-plastered-on-the-side-of-a-skyscraper, tax-evading gas bag, aka the Republican nominee for President of the United States, does, for someone reason, get a bump in the polls between now and November 8th, many of those rats will clamber back aboard the S.S. Trump.

*who I have been unable to watch since he came to TODAY, especially after he defended Ryan Lochte, NBC needs to get him off the air.

Monday, October 3, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Second Presidential Debate format change

Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, has announced he will come out fighting in the second Presidential Debate of 2016, to be held this Sunday, October 9, at Washington University in St. Louis (at 9 p.m. ET).

So in the spirit of this year's presidential campaign, the Commission on Presidential Debates has changed the format of the upcoming debate from a Town Hall to a no-holds-barred boxing-cum-wrestling match between Trump and Democratic candidate for President Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"The American people are itching for a fight, and we plan on giving them one," said Mike McCurry, a co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

As part of the new format, Michael Buffer, the boxing and wrestling announcer, who announced all of the boxing bouts at Donald Trump-owned casinos in the 1980s, will be calling the fight, I mean, debate. Refereeing the match will be ABC's Martha Raddatz, chief global affairs correspondent and co-anchor of "This Week" and CNN anchor (and CIA operative) Anderson Cooper.

So presidential debate fans, are you ready to rumble?