I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Herself a Letter

Dear Melania,

I insist that you stop corresponding with my husband, like, IMMEDIATELY.

This week marked the second time that I’ve caught him opening a letter from you, you Slovenian hussy. (Or, as the nuns in my high school used to say, “you bold, brazen article.”)

What galls me is that you don’t even have the decency to disguise your communications, with your name boldly printed on the return label but NO RETURN ADDRESS, as if, OF COURSE he knows where to find you, you’re MELANIA.

I get it, you’re trapped in a loveless, mindless, please-God-sexless separate-bedrooms marriage, so you try to grab some attention from my man just because, at some dark period in his life, his name was on some politically-affiliated list. (FYI, Mel, he’s registered Independent now – I don’t think they even HAVE lists.)

Funny thing is, even though you’re reaching out to MY hubby, you keep talking about YOUR hubby. How gauche! You even brag about him, starting with this gem: “Decisions made by the President of the United States impact countless lives across our nation, and throughout the world.”

You got THAT right, sister.

You also sound a lot like your hubby in your letters, for example “…the Democrats, the mainstream media, and the Left-leaning special interest groups are doing everything they possibly can to discredit him by pursuing their relentless attacks – spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.”


After thoroughly reviewing your letters, I’ve also noticed that you’re a repeater. You ask for a contribution for your husband’s reelection fund of “$25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or even $5,000” (way to spell it out for us, girl) not once, not twice, but three times. Sheesh, we all get your point already, no need for a trifecta.

The kicker is that I don’t even think you pay for the delivery of your letter, because the stamp on the envelope doesn’t look like the stamps that I buy at the Post Office. Yours have “nonprofit org” on them. Since when are your hubby’s shenanigans considered nonprofit? I know there are rumblings that he once lost money than any other individual in America, but I don’t think that qualifies him as a nonprofit. If it does, there are a few years when I shoulda been getting free postage, believe you me.

It also annoys me that the heading on your letter doesn’t have a proper date, just a random “Wednesday Morning.” That kind of informal breeziness will lead to the downfall of American civilization. It’s as maddening as the notation at the bottom of the first page of your letter. It says “Next page, please.” Do you think my husband is so clueless that he wouldn’t know to turn to the second page of a two-page letter? Just because your spouse needs directions to function at the most basic level, don’t assume that everyone’s does.

So enough already with the written messages to my man, Melania.

I know he might get some correspondence from Jill or Chasten or Bruce one of these days, but your former-international-model, hair-blowing-in-the-wind persistence still irks ordinary-looking me. It might also be the vertical, come-hither flourish of your signature that makes me suspicious of your true motives.

My advice is that when you get the urge to write to my husband, you drop a line to your husband.

But keep it short – I heard your guy is not a big reader … at least that’s what those fake news folks have been saying.

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So, yes, I DID go to the historic Eagles Super Bowl Championship Parade in Philly on Thursday.

Initially, I couldn’t attend because I was scheduled to work so, whew, I could save face, not to mention remain warm and relatively sane.

Then work was cancelled due to the parade and the next thing I knew, hubby, two friends and I took a bus from our house in the Northwest section of Philadelphia to the Art Museum area, where the parade was going to culminate. Of course, we didn’t dream of driving there – the crowds were expected to be massive and it would be madness to take a car! Public transit was the sensible solution and, as Eagles fans go, we were definitely the sensible type.

That morning, it was all fun and games, with almost everyone on the bus swathed in Eagles gear, spontaneous E-A-G-L-E-S! cheers erupting and a “I can’t believe we’re going to a parade in the middle of a work week!” mindset throughout.

When we hopped off the bus and walked a bit to the parade area, it was packed, but people were generally well-behaved (tree-climbers included). We brought hoagies with us (hey, Philly is as Philly does) and split a bottle of water among the four of us (we read that port-o-potties would be scarce and with age comes wisdom). We tried to worm our way closer to the Art Museum, but it had rained the day before, and soon our feet were squishing into mud a la Woodstock. The five layers of clothes that we wore to battle the cold were also starting to feel heavy as the spaces where we ventured grew tighter and tighter.

Feeling hemmed-in, we decided to move to a less-crowded section on the side of the Art Museum, near a glistening gold statue of Joan of Arc. What Joan of Arc has to do with the city of Philadelphia, I have NO idea, but the sculpture was magnificent and it was an honor to hang with her.IMG_0622 (1)

Finally, the flatbed trucks carrying the Eagles players and coaches drove by and we waved deliriously at them in the distance. Yee ha, I said to my posse, we came, we saw, let’s get outta Dodge.  (Again, that age/wisdom stuff.)

It was around 1 pm when we headed back from whence we came, as did hundreds of others who had driven to the area surrounding the Art Museum. We got to our appointed bus stop and waited for our carriage to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

A line of cars snaked by S-L-O-W-L-Y, but no buses.

Finally, our palpitation-prone hearts swelling with joy, we spotted a bus in the distance. As it made its way toward us, we stepped into the street to hop aboard and embark on our journey home.

Until the !*%! bus drove right past.

No room at the inn for us because, apparently, the vehicle was full.

No worries, you know the old saying, buses are like men, if you miss one, another one will come along soon (or vice versa).

But no more buses came, except a few marked “SPECIAL” which basically meant they were not for mere mortals like ourselves. After waiting for about an hour, several more buses came – yeaaaaa!!!! – but passed us by.

Can I describe the torment, the frustration, the horror of that moment when public transportation destroys your soul?

I cannot.

So we started walking through North Philly toward home. Why? We thought it would keep us warmer, we were dehydrated and we assumed it couldn’t get any worse.

An hour and a half later, we were still walking. We argued if it was feasible for us to make it home on foot, if anyone in the homes we passed would let us use their bathrooms, and if any Eagles fans ever died of sheer exhaustion after celebrating a championship season.

Carloads of Eagles fans (you know, the non-sensible ones who decided to drive to the festivities) passed us by. We prayed that someone would have mercy and offer us a ride, but would YOU pick up four weary looking strangers in 2018, even on the most euphoric of days?

As we reached yet another bus stop, a guy who was standing there announced that he had been waiting 90 minutes for a bus.

Uh, oh. Matters were looking increasingly grim. Eaglemania was just a memory and the sun was starting to fade. Buses came and passed. Cabs were non-existent. Uber was a 50-minute wait. It had been hours since we left the Art Museum.

Finally, we called a friend who jumped into her hatchback to rescue us. When she arrived, we dove into her tiny car like it was a spaceship delivering us to Mother Earth.

To wrap-up this “you can’t go home again” saga, yes, I DID make it to the Eagles celebration.

Returning, however, was another matter altogether.

It’s been said in Philadelphia this week that hungry dogs run faster, but our pack was definitely dragging.

So if the Iggles win the Super Bowl again, God Bless, but don’t even ask me if I’m going because this fan is gonna watch all the hoopla in the comfort of her own little home sweet home.  elderly14








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So I’ve been screaming a lot in the shower lately.

No, not because there is a large mirror next to the bathtub, but because I have a radio in the bathroom.

I picked-up the habit of starting my day with the all-news, all the time station from my parents, who used it as their wake-up call. I considered it a downright inhumane practice. So of course, like all repulsed offspring, I ended up embracing the same bizarre habits as Ma and Pa, thus the tendency to listen to gut-wrenching news first thing in the AM.

This year, the top stories have been particularly grueling, causing me to scream in the shower like a Psycho wannabe. 

The neighbors must think that I’m being tortured and, come to think of it, I AM.

Who hasn’t? There’s the putrid thousand-mile wall to keep out the tired, the poor and the huddled masses; the countries that are literally cursed because they aren’t nearly as white as the president thinks they should be; the embarrassingly juvenile nicknames unbecoming of an inebriated frat boy; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So every day, the news blares and I scream.

And that’s why I went to the Philadelphia Women’s March on Saturday again this year.

In the past, I’ve always wondered why people marched and how they found the time to do it. Once, when I was lucky enough to buy preview tickets for a Broadway production, I almost missed the show because protesters were blocking a street near the theater. I wanted to wallop a few of the dissidents that day, no matter how noble their cause. I feel your pain, but don’t come between me and my musicals…

But now I get it.

As I listen to the radio every morning, I understand WHY a person wants to march.(Although, let’s be honest, for some of us who are in our sixties, it’s DEFINITELY more of a stroll than an actual march).

And I realize how a good old-fashioned protest can be inspirational. After last year’s march, my sister Re started to volunteer at a center for struggling migrant workers and is still donating her time there every week.

This year, me, a friend, my sister, two of her daughters and her seven-week-old grandson all stood together at the Women’s March. Well, the baby just sort of napped, but it was still three generations worth of patriotism and chutzpah, which I shall never forget

Did we hold our signs up high? We did. (Mine: An illustration of the back end of a horse along with the caption “Stable genius? Or horse’s ass?”) Did we have a few laughs during the day? Indeed. Did we grab some lunch after the speeches were delivered? Girls gotta eat. Were we exhausted as we rode the bus home at the end of the day? You betcha.

But we were glad that we had the right and that we took the time to stand-up for equality for all, malice toward none.

Honestly, it felt marvelous to chant against the vicious tone that has been set in the United States this past year.

Pocahontas? Dicky? Rocket Man? Grow the hell up, that’s MY message.

The presidential tweets alone are enough to make a sane person (not to mention an editor) scream.

And so screamed we did on Saturday.

And it’s what we’ll do in every damn election.

Just listen, America – can ya hear us roar?


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Thems is Fightin’ Words

There was some unedited footage online from a Charlottesville TV station that showed a big, gruff white supremacy dude hitting a counter-protester in the face because she dared to verbally confront him.

This was just one brief moment of depravity that ended in death and absolutely devastated America.

Yet at his “press conference” in front of Trump Tower in NYC a few days afterward, Donald Trump seemed astonished that reporters dared to ask him questions other than his intended topic: infrastructure.

After all, why confront the country’s deep, dark moral divide when you can hold court about highways and byways?

Trump even had all his infrastructure data outlined in a colorful chart so that those of us who didn’t go to the Wharton School could grasp the crucial information he was about to share.

But no one wanted to look at his !*&#! chart.

The press – or the “fake news” as referred to them during his talk, har-dee-har-har, boy, that sure is a funny phrase  – wanted to know what he thought about the Charlottesville protest fiasco and the murder of a counter-protester.

Of course, in his “I am NEVAH wrong” stance, Trump explained that he didn’t immediately denounce the Nazis and the KKK participants because he didn’t want to react too quickly.

“I wanted to know the facts,” the prez said, adding, “When I make a statement, I like to be correct…” and “I don’t want to rush into a statement.”‘

Ha ha ha, good one, Donald. I once thought that you didn’t have a sense of humor, BUT I WAS WRONG! First that “fake news” bit and now THIS, you’re KILLING it, pal, KILLING IT.

Anyway, when reporters pressed him with questions about race relations, he ignored the subject and instead continued with some blather about how good-paying jobs will solve EVERYTHING.


Trump reminded me of my dear hubby in that moment. He also tries the old “switch to another subject and she’ll NEVER NOTICE” tactic.

Me: Honey, you left the shower curtain bunched up again – it makes it all mildew-y, please close it after you’re done.”

Himself: How ’bout them Phillies?

The Switcherooney is a great tactic if the person with whom you are communicating is really, really polite or a certified moron; otherwise, it’s boorish and aggravating as hell.

But switching subjects will not erase Trump’s “there is blame on both sides” theory about the Charlottesville protest.

A white supremacist grabs a counter protesters' sign during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

A white supremacist grabs a counter protesters’ sign during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

There’s rage simmering in our country because, you know, people get kinda upset when Nazi symbols start popping up on clothing like Calvin Klein labels.

But the Prez seems downright oblivious to it all.

I read that Trump once said he could bring people together, but all he has done with his bull-headed, awkward, self-centered, paranoid and ill-constructed tweets is rip America apart.

Trump frequently uses the phrase “believe me,” and he said it again while holding court at Trump Tower.

Believe him? You mean the guy who ended the press conference by inappropriately boasting that he owned a winery in Charlottesville and incorrectly describing it as “one of the largest in the United States.”wine-headache-reasons1

Oh, dear God, if only we could.


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The way Donald Trump has behaved since his victory reminds me a bit of Michael Jackson.

It bugged me when people glossed over Jackson’s utter strangeness – marrying his plastic surgeon’s employee as his broodmare, hanging out with underage male actors, being best buds with a monkey, evolving from an adorable boy into a whispering, pinch-nosed, middle-aged wax figurine, to name just a few – and simply focused on his talents as the King of Pop.

And I’m sensing some of that same “let’s pretend he didn’t say/do/tweet that” happening with Trump.

Ever since the election – yes, the one I was dead wrong about – it’s been one “HUH?” Trump headline after another.

There are soooooo many to choose from, but one of my favs was the photo op with Trump and Kanye West.

Kanye, who had been acting erratic at his concerts and hospitalized for “severe exhaustion”(showbiz speak for psychiatric problems), met with Trump to discuss “multicultural issues” shortly after being released from the hospital.

Pardon me, is that what one does after being treated for an emotional breakdown, trot off to have your photo taken with the President-elect, whose calendar, by the way, should be crammed full with interviews for actual government positions? Kanye, please, skip the Trump Tower tete-a-tete and go see your shrink, it’ll be much more beneficial.

And how about Carl Paladino, who is “in contact with the Trump transition team” and is a close personal friend of the president-elect. Carl said he “hopes Obama catches mad cow disease” and that he hoped to see Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Sure, the Trump transition team condemned his remarks – DUH – but wouldyou hang out a guy who said those vile comments?

No thank you.

And did you hear that Trump wants the Energy Department to provide the names of employees who have been involved in climate talks or who helped advance Obama administration climate policies?

Hello, we have lists now?

And don’t forget that for his Vice President he selected a man who believes that being gay is a personal choice and thinks that preventing gays from marrying is an enforcement of “God’s idea.”

Good to know he’s on speaking terms with the Lord. Please tell him that I said hello.

Of course, you heard his latest tweet to Meryl Streep, the acclaimed star who had the audacity to call him out for his record of cruel, bullying rants. He called her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

You can almost HEAR the “nah nah nah nah nah nah” in his childish, braggadocios tone.

Doesn’t Trump get it that Americans can speak out against their elected officials? This ain’t Russia (yet) and he ain’t Putin, so Meryl and the rest of us have the freedom to say what we like without being ostracized to Siberia (yet).

And speaking of shirtless old guys who think they look like Fabio sitting atop a horse, in a recent interview, Vladimir Putin told American Democrats that “you have to know how to lose with dignity.”

Well, I’ll tell ya what, Vlad, when I see some dignity in one of your pal Trump’s infamous, “mean girl” tweets, I’ll try to lose with it.

So while I might be a lousy soothsayer – again, I was wrong, wrong, wrong about the election, even though three mill more Americans voted for Hills than for Trump – I’m sticking with my gut fear and repeating a line that my Mother used whenever someone gave her the heebie jeebies:

The man is s-t-r-a-n-g-e.

You can rationalize and politicize his actions from now until inauguration day, but he’s still a scary-strange dude.

If I’m wrong again, I’ll take it like a woman.

But until then, God Help America.


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And the Winner Is…

When I was a kid, I remember asking my Dad to divulge who he voted for in the presidential election, but he’d never told me.

I’d plead with him to fess-up, but he wouldn’t, even though I could be what a child psychologist might define as “acutely persistent.”

I’m not sure why Daddy Bones never disclosed which lever he pulled, but I’m guessing that he believed it was none of my beeswax.

Part of his secrecy may be due to the fact that my parents were registered with one party because it was prudent to do so in our suburban town, but they may not have always voted along party lines. My Dad knew that if I learned his candidate of choice, I’d tell everyone in the neighborhood. “Good morning, Mrs.Kelly. Your garden looks quite vibrant and did you know that my Dad voted for Barry Goldwater?” My Mom was fond of beginning a lot of her conversations with me with the phrase “Don’t tell anybody” and I guess my Dad took heed.

I think of my Father’s dignified reserve as we mercifully trudge toward Election Day 2016. I remember last summer, when the first political television ads ran, all I could think was: Sixteen more months of this? (That’s not true, I also thought: “Gee, no matter which party sponsors an ad, they all seem to use the same voice-over lady.”)

But those 16 months have finally lapsed and, regretfully, so has much of our dignity.

You’ve heard all the stories – couples breaking up over this election; families not speaking to each other after screaming about which candidate is the lesser of two evils; and Saturday Night Live producers praying that the next presidential election is half as juicy as this one.

Who am I voting for? Well, as a humor lover, I gotta go with the one who was funnier at an annual roast-style Catholic Charities fundraising event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan that – for some reason or another – typically attracts both presidential candidates during election years.

Only 24 hours after battling in a televised debate like King Kong and Godzilla, Clinton and Trump were perched at seats between the Archbishop of New York. Who says politics are boring?

Its called the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner, but it was more like an Alfred E. Neuman event.

Both candidates did a little stand-up routine – what’s next, tap dancing? – and neither one has the chops to become America’s next late night television host. And granted, asking an amateur to perform a stand-up monologue at a society event with – this year, anyway – the whole world watching is like making them perform Madame Butterfly at the Met.

But one President-to-be was definitely more at ease with the role.

Of course, having a sense of humor does not a great president make. But having absolutely no sense of humor certainly doesn’t help matters when you’re residing in the White House. (See: Richard M. Nixon.)

When I became an adult and my Dad assumed that I had matured ever so slightly, he finally let it leak that in 1960, he voted for John F. Kennedy. Not only that, he said that he stayed up all night with a bottle of whiskey (Irish Catholic president, Irish Catholic voter, whaddayaexpect?) until, near sunrise the next day, it was confirmed that JFK won.

So in homage to Tom Bones’ overall privacy policy regarding his ballot, I’m not going to say who I’m voting for.

I’m only going to predict that it will be a landslide.

And, in true big-mouth form, I’m going respond to all your “my vote doesn’t count” or “I hate both of them” by urging you to shut your traps and GET TO THE POLLS.

Why? Because, despite all evidence to the contrary lately, this is America and that’s just what we do.





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Cursing That Little Red-Headed Girl…

Every time I spot a piece of litter on the ground, I blame it on the little red-headed girl who bullied her way into the neighborhood.

And let me tell ya, I see a LOT of litter.

Like, every…single… day.

And many a time, the trash has a picture of that little girl on it…

It was several years ago when the corporate meanies razed a beautiful Victorian home around the corner and replaced it with a Wendy’s fast food franchise.

We neighbors ranted and raved at civic meetings, swearing that the demolition of the historic structure was an abomination and that we’d eat raw beef before we’d let that smiling red-headed corporate symbol plant roots in our little corner of the world.

But, alas, despite our wringing of hands, the Wendy’s people – and their very well-dressed layers – won.

And before you knew it, where a glorious home stood for a hundred years sprung a boxy, single-story building that was shiny but utterly putrid.

I felt powerless to stop Wendy’s arrival, but vowed to do my part by never stepping foot into the place.

But have no fear, America, business is BOOMING.

Seems like every time I pass by the place, there is a snakelike line of vehicles at the take-out window. The customers love to sit in their cars, yell their burger preference into a speaker and wheel on over to pick up their Wendy booty. (It’s estimated that the majority of customers – 57 percent – at hamburger fast food joints can’t bear the thoughts of actually walking in to grab a bite to eat and instead use the drive-thru window.)

Then – or so it seems – the whole gang throws their Wendy’s wrappers out their car window and onto the ground.

I see it every morning when I go for a walk. A wrapper here, a cup there, a napkin everywhere.

Of course, it’s not only Wendy’s litter I see.

Yeah, even though the nearest Mickey D’s is miles away, news and garbage travel fast.

So I’m sorry, little Wendy, for picking on you.

It’s just that I knew you’d have a real impact on my surroundings, and not in a good way. I have no bias against your famous Frosty or your Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, but I do have a problem with picking up the remnants that your customers love to toss away like confetti.

In the ultimate NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) mentality, I would have preferred it if you opened up elsewhere, like next to your franchise owner’s suburban five-bedroom, three bath colonial.

Today, pardon me for saying so, was the last straw.

Curses to you, little red-headed girl, and all the calories, crassness and rubbish that you represent.


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And They Called It Puppy Love…

We lost our beloved mutt Sammy over a year ago, still missed her and weren’t actively looking for a replacement

But, like many love stories, this. one happened unexpectedly.

It all started in February.

I  was with a friend whose son texted her a photo of three puppies.

Now pay attention, because this puppy tale takes a long and winding road.

My friend’s son’s girlfriend’s family was on vacation when a small, furry dog suddenly approached them while they were relaxing on a beach in Puerto Rico.

The pooch appeared to be hungry and alone, and when they tried to locate her owner, a local resident told them that they’d have no luck. Turns out that the area where they found her was known as Dead Dog Beach, a well-known spot in Puerto Rico where people abandon pets they no longer want.

It was apparent that Wookie, as the family named her, was a throw-away animal and even though they were “cat people,” they decided to bring the little mutt home to the States. They called the airline to add her to their entourage, bought a small dog carrier and successfully whisked her past the scrutinizing eyes of Customs’ agents.

One of the family’s daughters took Wookie back to college with her in Washington D.C. When this college kid brought the pooch to a vet for a checkup, she found out that the dog was pregnant, and soon Wookie gave birth to three puppies, two boys and a girl, at midnight in her new owner’s dorm room.

All three needed a good home, so my friend – the one whose son’s girlfriend’s family had rescued Wookie – asked me if I was interested.

I was on board, so I texted Dave about his thoughts on adopting a puppy and he responded with the dreaded phrase “It’s up to you.”

Everyone knows that those four little words can be used against you in a court of law – or at least in an argument – so I sent him the puppy photo. It was worth a million words and he responded with just two: “Get her.”

I gave Dave naming rights and he dubbed her “Emily,” which sounded more like a Bronte character than a Latino sweetheart, but a promise is a promise.

College officials frown upon a litter of puppies residing in their dormitories, so after the babies were born and until they were weaned, Wookie and her puppies were cared for by the mother of the family who had first found the stray on Dead Dog Beach. She fed, cleaned and loved all four of the dogs, unexpectedly turning her home into a doggy day care for two entire months.

When Dave and I picked up eight-week-old Emily, she wasn’t quite four pounds, but had the feistiness of a rottweiler and the big brown eyes of a Kewpie Doll.

Today, she is far from her roots in Puerto Rico, but seems happy hanging with me in my home office in Philly.

Dave and I are smitten and busy cleaning-up after Little Miss until we get this whole housebreaking deal down pat.

We’re so grateful for all of the caring folks who helped orchestrate Emily’s unlikely pilgrimage, especially the selfless family who discovered – and fell in love with – her homeless Mom.

People ask us, “What breed is she?” but we don’t have a clue.

All we know is that we weren’t looking for a dog, but it seems that a dog found us.

Thanks, serendipity. Can’t wait to see how this love story unfolds.

Visit The Sato Project (thesatoproject.org) to learn about an organization that rescues canines from Dead Dog Beach, where Emily’s Mom Wookie was abandoned. 

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What to My All-American Eyes Should Appear

Do politicians ever cause you to murmur “Whatthebloodyhell?”

For instance: When Pennsylvania’s Attorney General announced that the Altoona diocese covered-up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by priests, she did it in front of a distractingly ginormous screen that read “Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane.”

“Today is their day,” Kane said of the victims.

But you wouldn’t know it, because the oversized, overpowering screen behind Kane seemed to infer that “Today is my day and in case you chumps forgot, I’m Kathleen Kane, attorney general.”

She may have needed to remind us of that fact: In September, her law license was suspended by the PA Supreme Court because she is facing perjury and other charges for lying about a grand jury leak and her job as Top Lawyer in the Land is in jeopardy.

In addition to the mammoth sign, the other weird aspect of the announcement was that Kane also read, in excruciatingly slow detail, grotesque specifics about individual cases of the clergy’s abuse. I’m not against exposing the priests’ perversions, but I felt sorry for the victims who had to hear Kane’s deliberate, public recitations. It was like listening to your strict teacher read a sex manual aloud – information that should be shared, but not in such an uncomfortable manner by someone you don’t particularly admire.

Another strange political undertaking arrived in my mail a few weeks ago. It was a large, glossy four-color brochure from my local member of Congress, Chaka Fattah.

It sure was purty, full of color photos of the smiling politician and a list of all he has accomplished over the past year.

But there was one point he omitted in the gleaming pamphlet: Fattah was indicted in July of racketeering charges for public corruption schemes and misappropriation of federal funds.

Whoops, guess that takes some of the sparkle away from the grand pronouncements in the mailing, like this one:”This year, I reintroduced the REDEEM Act, legislation that will help transform our country’s broken criminal justice system.”

Oh, irony, thy name is politics.

Here’s an idea: Why not skip the grand PR mailer, telling all us little people how wonderful you are, until your own legal troubles have been tidied-up?

Last, but absafreakinglutely not least, was the story about Sen. Ted Cruz and his family celebrating his Texas primary win at the Redneck Country Club in Stafford, TX.

Holy moonshine, are you telling me that they actually named a country club after a clan of hillbillies? And that a presidential hopeful would actually patronize it?

Turns out that the “country club” is actually an unapologetic good-ol’ boy venue offering food, drink and live music, and was founded by a controversial conservative radio talk show host (is there any other kind?).

Whew, was I relieved it wasn’t an actual country club, because that might start a weird naming trend,like Prosperous Money Launderers Country Club or For Really, Really White People Only Country Club.

But, hey, these days, the Redneck Country Club is the least of our surreal political head-scratchers.

Know what I’m sayin’ Donnie?


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Divan to Our Chairs…

It all began with a simple trashpick.
If you’re a normal person, you pass some rubbish that’s sitting on the curb and go on your merry way.
But if you’re a trashpicker, you slow down, survey the “merchandise” and calculate if:
a) You can fit the bounty in your super-compact auto; and
b) You really need another faux wood end table from Big Lots.
But we were at the shore, where my trashpickin’ standards are set relatively low.
And there were two nondescript yet perfectly good white plastic beach chairs among my neighbor’s trash that had my name on them.
Since our house is situated a block from the bay, I thought it would be a swell idea to transfer them to our beach permanently. No one would mind because it’s what is diplomatically called a “rustic” beach, unlike pristine oceanfronts with the “no dogs, no alcohol, no running, no loud music, no fun” rules posted everywhere.
My plan worked great and people throughout the land were ecstatic with the arrangement. Folks used the chairs to watch the sunset, fish, and play with their kids.
Winters came and went, and still our Little Chairs That Could remained in their appointed spot.
But then, one winter, the chairs disappeared, swept away either by the bay’s unpredictable moods or thieves.
 No need to fret, they were replaced the next season by other (trashpicked, natch, by sharp-eyed friends/scouts) plastic doppelgangers.
One evening, as a group of neighbors sat on the chairs around a small bonfire on the beach, someone suggested that we pitch in and buy some snazzier versions, maybe a florescent Adirondack chair or two. But that idea was squashed because it missed the point of using only “recycled” beach furniture as communal property.
 Then, one recent fall weekend, our chairs vanished, too early for the bay to sweep them away.
 Soon after, during a walk on the beach, my hubby Dave spotted them.
 “How do you know they are our chairs,” I asked.
 “I just know,” he replied, lugging them behind him. “And I left the people who stole them a note in the sand to keep their hands offa the chairs.”
 Apparently, the thieves may not have been pleased with his message. They sent one to us, presumably, via a bag of doggie-doo left on one of our repositioned chairs.
Thems is fighting words, I thought.
But then I recalled the purpose of the chairs: share with others and embrace a Zen “if you love them, let them go” mindset.
Today, though some chairs have disappeared, a collection of six salvaged seats remain on the beach.
Will they be there when next we visit?
Who knows.
For now, if you happen to pass by our little North Cape May oasis, sit a spell and give thanks to faded throwaway items that – eventually – find their day in the sun.
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