All the President’s Shower Heads
I’m not sure which brand(s) of shower heads Donald Trump has experienced at the White House or his properties, but to hear him tell it, the shower heads at these venues defeat him. Whatever they are, they don’t get him wet enough fast enough.
In most cases you want me disarmed of any tool used in an attempt to commit an act of plumbing, but in the past few years I have successfully purchased and installed several moderately-priced handheld shower heads of the 2.5 gallon-per-minute design the president finds insufficient for his bathing and hair washing needs. In all cases, the shower heads adjusted from a gentle shower to a concentrated jet so strong that it could be recommended for use to put out small household fires. These shower heads have managed to perform admirably, even in a house in a neighborhood that plumbers and water company workers agree has historically suffered from woefully insufficient water pressure.
In spite of my limited level of expertise, I do have a few suggestions for the president to make his showering and hair washing experiences more satisfactory:
Although I have no way of knowing the age and state of repair of the water systems or plumbing at the properties where the president showers, my unwavering faith in good old American ingenuity leads me to believe that, even if they have not already done so, the fluid mechanics experts of America can quickly design fixtures that satisfy not only water conservation and energy efficiency standards, but even this president’s peculiar standards.
In appreciation of Dan Ingram
Former WABC drive time disk jockey Dan Ingram passed away a few days ago. Dan was the epitome of Top 40 jocks. He and his engineer ran a mercilessly tight board and Dan's talk ups were blisteringly funny. When I was listening as a kid I really didn't appreciate how funny he was, but after WABC changed formats and Dan went to WCBS-FM when I was an adult it was dangerous for me to listen in the car, because his talk ups would leave me in stitches. You can hear airchecks of him on the Musicradio 77 WABC tribute site.
This poem that first appeared in Mas Tequila Review is about what happened on the way home from a class trip. I dedicate it to Dan would have been on the air when we sang in unison:
Joy to the World
Dear Mr. Bus Driver,
I am so sorry it has taken more than forty years
To apologize on behalf of the 60-something
Sixth graders, teachers and chaperones
Who surely shaved years off your life
While you drove us to and from someplace
I've long ago forgotten
For a field trip memorable only
For the following moments
Shared on your bus
In the spring of ’71.
We had transistor radios enough
To fill your bus with the sounds
Of WABC, the biggest, brashest
Top Forty Station
In the biggest, brashest city
In the nation
Which would play its number one song,
At least once very half hour,
Sometimes more if the song was huge,
Which this one was–
In the midst of
Seven whopping weeks atop
Music Power survey,
Another two weeks
At number two!
So every twenty-some minutes
Between Ike and Tina, the Temptations
And the Partridge Family
Those organ chords,
Wrenched the attention
Of every sixth grader, teacher and chaperone
From whatever we were doing
To on cue
JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG!
It makes me cringe when people greet me with a "Happy Memorial Day." Happy? It's a holiday to remember those who gave their lives for our country. It's also a sad reminder of our continued failure to, as a world, live in peace as God intends.
Watch a military appropriations committee hearing on C-Span and it becomes evident that even as the U.S. military has been engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade-and-a-half, that funding for the military is based less on the needs of the soldiers sent in harm's way than as economic stimulus to the military contractors who write the largest checks to the congressional committee leaders' campaigns.
In 2011 I watched then General Petraeus and Secretary Gates advocate for body armor for the soldiers serving in Afghanistan. They did not want to add a penny to the budget. They wanted to shift some spending priorities from large ticket items destined to be mothballed to body armor asked for by the troops on the ground. Let's just say that congress was not about to shift its priorities to help the troops in harm's way.
Learning Ally volunteer John Hopkinson was recording Steven Pinker's recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature. After recording a section he came out and read some of Mr. Pinker's thoughts about how much less violent the modern world is compared to the past. This poem was my reaction. It was published in Richard Vargas' fine journal Mas Tequila Review in 2014.
Statistically Insignificant (A thought on Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.)
Celebrating our evolved civility,
the author wields detailed diagrams
that present the percentage
of the American population
killed in wars in 2005 to be
what he calls,
“paint thin and
And I know a number
cruncher who will
tell you that
when you divide
945 dead by almost
300 million living
the result is
of the insignificant
100 percent of your son or daughter
or husband or wife
or brother or sister
or mother or father
or anyone you love
and that equals
My recent letter to the editor
This letter about my town's use, or lack of, social media to communicate with its citizens during emergency or disaster situations like the recent hurricane that hit New Jersey: http://em.gmnews.com/current/Letters
For Trayvon Martin
This is an older poem, but the third section in particular is relevant.
My former girlfriend’s family joked
that her baby brother
with his Catalan complexion
and dark crown of curls
resembled every terror suspect
whose mug made
the evening news.
Ever since September Eleventh
of suspicious skin
assures his security
by wrapping his establishment
in Old Glory
and neon declarations
of God Bless America.
When I reported black ice
scrambled building security
to protect against
in the parking lot.”
There’s a great thing about Madonna’s latest media onslaught, it means I can drag out an oldie but moldy poem that rocked the house back in the day, but almost no one understood:
SHE'S STALKING ME...
...Madonna that is...she wants me...she can't have me, but she keeps showing up...in her black leather halter and fishnets, buttcheeks peeking out at me from her black leather panties, seductively whispering, "RESERVED FOR TONY"...but there's no way I'm pulling into that parking space...Uh uh...but no matter where I am, she still shows up, embarrassing me...flaunting herself in her vintage undies, writhing in anticipatory ecstasy in her wet leopardskin bathing suit...And whenever I pick up the paper and see her with Jose Canseco or Britney Spears or somebody like that, I say, "Hey great, she's found someone else to fulfill her fantasies,"...
BUT NO, I turn around and there she is again, intimidating all the other women who might want to be with me into thinking, "I can't have him, he's Madonna's Boy Toy...he just ignores her in public the way Johnny Depp did to Kate Moss and boy, DOES THAT EVER MAKE ME HOT!" But I never get to experience their heat because Madonna has them all intimidated into believing that they'll be vanquished into some sort of sleazoid S and M hell if they ever even approach me. She doesn't really have that power, you know...or at least I've never seen her use it...although I have seen her use that bullet bra to gore any woman who's gotten within an arm's reach of me...and I keep telling her, "NO, LEAVE ME ALONE. GET OUT OF HERE. YOU'RE RUINING MY SEX LIFE." But she won't listen...she's obsessed, she's determined, and boy if she ever catches me at a weak or a drunken moment, I hope I don't disappoint her and her overblown expectations of me...I mean, I'm good, but NOBODY...I mean NOBODY'S as good as she thinks I am...and I haven't seen her here tonight, but I know she's here, in some bathroom stall changing into something embarassing...
So when you see her, DON'T be intimidated, she CAN'T hurt you...just watch out for her bullet bra.
Election fun for Obama
Obama should have some mischievous fun this year. All he has to do is say that he likes one of the Republican candidate’s spouses and that candidate will be pressured to divorce that spouse. Of course, Santorum would have to have his marriage annulled.
Thoughts, large and small, from poet Tony Gruenewald.