Spin This, Love in the Air

We watched the first congressional hearing about January sixth with great interest. I think quite a few people did but I have no way of knowing. Tucker Carlson’s show ran opposite it on Fox and he’s pretty popular I understand. I don’t know if his show ran two hours that night- special show to counter the hearing of an event that Tucker calls unforgettably boring or something clever. They thought it might be safer to run Tucker’s show with no ads so nobody watching Fox News would take a minute to channel surf and maybe latch onto the hearings. They were pretty riveting. They brought back the memory of that day which I feel almost universally horrified everyone. But then the spin machine started up and that’s what I don’t like and don’t understand well so I want to write about it. I didn’t watch any news yesterday, so I don’t know what is happening in reaction to that event. I know Republican party line is to want that day to go away. It was no big deal. Families touring the capital wearing their son’s team’s red baseball hats. Good hearted protesters. Love in the air as Trump put it. You could just feel the love in the air. A remarkable thing. A remarkable thing alright. It didn’t look like love in the air when you watched the video footage. It didn’t look like love int the air when every senator was huddle in fear behind locked doors as a mob roared outside. It looked like a bunch of rowdy and sort of organized people getting worked up to the point where they started to do some serious damage: windows broken, people getting hit with poles, squashed, shoved, punching and kicking and shouting, building breached, chants of “Hang Mike Pence”- oh my!, a woman knocked down whose head hit the steps and who then went unconscious. Luckily she had a thick wool hat on or it might have been curtains for her. As it was she’s been out of work since that day, but showed up at the hearing to testify, as did the documentary film maker who was there on January 6th shooting footage the two gangs, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. They showed up early, those two gangs. They never even went to Trump’s speech that day. They felt they’d been invited for different reasons. That’s pretty interesting. The tweeting Trump did was provocative. Unseemly for a president, and very suggestive. It’s how Trump works. Were there other communications between Trump and them? That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? So there is some stuff going on that the Republicans don’t want revealed. A number of Republicans who were involved asked Trump for pardons right after January 6th. That’s interesting.

So spin. Orwell writes about it. He’s got a character in Animal Farm, is it Napoleon, the pig in charge, who dances about engagingly, wags his tail and who says preposterous things: black is white, white is black. When I was younger and teaching that novel, I thought that was a little overdone. No one really says something that is the total opposite of what happened. That’s not overdone. That stuff is being said right now, and that is what I presume is happening with the Republicans now. They’re out there right now telling us what to think about events that they want us badly to forget and we will forget eventually. Some of us. Most of us? One of the classics of dystopia, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley has giant wall screens where Big Brother can communicate directly to all of the populace. And there’s a drug called Soma. it helped you forget. You could exist in a pleasant way- half asleep, watching the news. Is spin getting people to think the way you want them to? To believe something other than what they might think after seeing something? Manipulating what they think and feel? Are there some who would have you half asleep all the time, just going numbly about our daily lives, offering no resistance to the party line? No discussion. No argument. No thinking. No supposing. No debate. No voting. No public meetings? No freedom to let what’s on your mind out for fear it might be different? Is different bad? Different thought. Different attitudes. Different color? Different hair?

Are we there? Is Fox News that powerful that enough of us will just write off the events leading up to January 6th, and that horrific day itself will just be sloughed off as a few good intentioned patriots exercising their right to protest- no big deal. The election was stolen? Can’t blame them?

A fellow I taught with, Bob Perry, a science teacher, had a bumper sticker on his truck: If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention. I thought that was a little over the top, back then, too.

What will happen with these hearings? I’ll watch more. And many people will. But there will be serious push back. Does Trump have that kind of power? Does this man child who can’t stand to lose and who throws temper tantrums to get his way really control that many people? He seems to have the Republican party by the balls. If there are any balls in the Republican party. And there are. Liz Cheney’s message to her fellow republicans, that Donald Trump will someday be gone, but that your dishonor in defending the indefensible will stay with you was a tremendously powerful statement. There will be some Republicans, who heed that. How will it surface? A different vote here and there? A comment made that changes someone’s mind. A move toward listening a bit more instead of talking over, shouting over your opponent? Jim Jordan loves to shout. I can’t stand it. It strikes me as a strategy. Mo Brooks showed up on the news the other day; he’s the one who was urging people to go “Kick Ass” at the rally before they went and kicked ass. Chris Hayes had asked him if he felt anything watching the mob kick ass after he had urged them to do just that. A chance to say something human? Are we hoping he’d feel some remorse? He’d say, oh gee I didn’t really mean that. I guess we are. He didn’t. He said he was addressing RINO’s. RINOS’s? Where did that come from. This was at a Trump rally. These are die hard Republican Trump supporters. They are not RINO’s. RINO’s was a term invented to denigrate any Republican who dared to think differently from what was becoming “standard issue” Republican thought. Someone who could listen. Someone who could think about what was being said, Someone who could diverge from the plan to consider something else. When did those become bad things? When there is an agenda hatched somewhere that is being forced is where that comes from. Just say this repeatedly. Stick with it. We’ve got this. Liberals are weak: they listen. They think. They change. We’re strong. Just say it. No matter what. United we can pull this off. Stick with it. Don’t waver. Never quit. We’re right. They’re wrong. Don’t listen. Just shout them down. Say they’re being lied to. Shout fake news. Keep it up. People are too stupid to follow a logical argument. Just push. We’ll make it. We’ll get to the promised land: A white male dominated, hypocritically religious, anti gay, anti black, anti Hispanic, anti immigrant, anti education, anti union, anti journalism, antic regulation, anti taxes, anti environment, anti government, anti human rights pro business paradise for us- us being rich Republican males who keep their women and children in check. The world belongs to US!

Nixon made a comment to some of his henchmen after he got caught at a much less grievous offense than what Trump and the Republicans are doing now, back in the Watergate hearings that if they’d had a tv station, they might have gotten away with it. Well let’s see what happens now. They’ve got their tv station.

Remember the Nearings?

We all have heroes. It’s part of the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, or about our children, or about our dreams. We have sports heroes when we’re young. Mickey Mantle. I didn’t even watch baseball that much, or listen, which was a popular way to keep up with our national pastime when I was a kid, although I loved to play. I didn’t care for the sound of the crowd on the radio. My parents would listen in the fall when the world series was on. I remember being outside, working on the house- we were probably tending to the aging shakes on the side of the house with some extra nails and paint on our little house on Indian Hill Road in good old Newington, Connecticut- and my dad had the radio on. Mr. Danforth was probably outside next door working on some project of his- they had a pretty good garden out back and next to us. We would garden sporadically although my dad was quite proud of his roses and gladiolus. The Danforths grew vegetables. And Mr. Danforth worked on cars and built a garage, and put an addition on their house, and added a porch. One day I remember he came over to talk with my mom, which was rare since we kind of kept to ourselves. I was about to get into trouble for having broken a window which I claimed to my mom I hadn’t broken, though I get why she thought I did because I was pretty obsessed with baseball and threw a ball against the house so I could play catch with myself. I used to throw a baseball up onto the roof, too- you had to gauge it just right so it didn’t go over and into the front yard where it could roll down the hill and go out into the street. It would roll back off the roof and you could run in and catch a mini fly ball. Then I would paste a tennis ball against the side of the house and it would rebound pretty nicely in the side yard over on the McMahon’s side where there was a little more room. I guess that’s probably why the siding on the house needed new nails. My mom never said anything although the noise of a ball would have driven many mothers crazy. The noise on the roof, too. There wasn’t much insulation in the attic of that house to cut noise- none in fact, but a sheet of aluminum foil over the ceiling to reflect the heat back down. The good old days. A far cry from the R 49 we need to build in the house we’re contemplating.

Anyway Mr. Danforth came over, limping with his leg. He’d had some grievous accident as a kid which had mangled it pretty badly- I forget what now- was it a merry go round accident? but when I heard that story years later from his son Rick with whom I was friends, I sure felt bad about all the times I’d made fun of him as a kid for limping. He couldn’t play baseball. He’d gone on with life in a truly stalwart fashion, mangled leg and all. He’d worked his way through school and gotten to be an engineer, married his wife Phyllis, had three kids, a station wagon, a camper, a canoe, a job at Pratt and Whitney. He hobbled over to explain to my mom, as she began to berate me, that it was his fault. He’d been working with a pick and a stone had gone off and hit our window; he’d fix it.

Wow. Got me off the hook. He helped with my car one day, too. It was a little infuriating to me how slowly he moved but boy was he methodical and he absolutely found the problem and fixed it. No making fun of that.

So is Mr. Danforth one of my heroes? You know I never thought of that before, but he sure enough is. Do we become what we admire? Is that a giant danger with Trump- there are millions of people who admire him and he’s a thoroughgoing scoundrel. I think it may be.

Which brings us back to the Nearings. Scott and Helen Nearing. Living the Good Life. Subtitled How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World. I’m not sure when it comes out and my copy is packed away in storage from our move still. Amazon has it at 1973 but I’ve just finished Helen’s latest book, somewhat more recent but still old now, Loving and Leaving the Good Life, her biography of Scott, and a bit of autobiography. They are a fascinating couple. I have a new hero.

My life feels confused often. Suzy and I moved away from our life in Storrs where we had a house and barn and pond and out buildings and gardens, and a small orchard and lawn. I felt unable to keep up with things there and I was afraid we’d spread out too far. We owned a piece of land on Cape Cod on which I’d build a little cabin. A great retreat, but we couldn’t get there. We also owned a cottage and four acres of land in Maine. We’d bought the land there in 1987 and had been building a shed and cabin up there in the summers ever since. I didn’t want to lose everything and felt in over my head. I was concerned about our financial fate, too, with Trump in office and what was doing to dismantle our government and society. We had a martgage. We were aging. I was not able to keep up with the demands of two four acre parcels and the Cape was just sitting there tempting us. I was ready to try to sell Maine. Stay where we were and work at the Cape over the next few years. Suzy was very eager for Maine. I defer to Suzy a lot. I try to please her. I try to please others a lot. I am a conciliator- I am not as comfortable with strife as I’d like to be. So we’ve moved to our small cottage in Maine after selling out in Storrs with the plan to build on the Cape. This has proved difficult. First the move after forty years, and then the build. Cape Cod- Massachusetts, has a stringent building code now. We are still waiting for an engineer before we can get started. I believe we are in shape with our architectural/construction drawings. Will the build be difficult? Well first my ankle swells up- from the move? Still? My elbows hurt. The arthritis in my thumbs gets bad. Then my back bunches up. What is all this!!!! I just dug a few holes!

Scott and Helen Nearing finished building a five foot tall, eighteen inch wide, 420 foot long masonry stone wall that had a footing ranging anywhere from three to four feet deep, to surround their garden, when Scott was 87 years old. Helen 21 years his junior. She was a mere slip of a girl at 66. It took fourteen years to do. All by hand. Scott started that stone wall when he was my age now. Oh boy. At the same time, working the garden, heating their house and cooking with wood that he cuts by hand by which I mean with a bow saw. not a chain saw. They work in building a new stone house, and just for hoots an giggles Scott decides to dig a pond. Well I dug a pond in Storrs. Frank Malik came in with a 38 ton D 8 bulldozer and spent a week. Mr. Hipski came in a year later to straighten up the mess a bit with a smaller bulldozer. I did the clearing of wood which took me a winter of spare time and I thought I was a steely eyed missile man. I had a chain saw, and access to a truck. These guys dig their pond with a wheelbarrow a pick and a shovel. And they don’t like to burn any of the brush because it is wasteful. They compost it. They use the muck they remove in their garden to build the soil. Their garden is uphill from the pond. 16,000 wheelbarrows later they have a pond behind a dam and spillway.

And I kind of knew all that because we’d visited their place last year when we moved up here- they’re a couple of hours from here- north- but what is hitting me, what is impressing me, what is inspiring me, is Scott’s age, his ability to still be going with a wheelbarrow at 87 and beyond, but also that he is very active all his life as a writer and a total socialist. He believes, as I believe, that everyone in the world should be given a chance. A chance to contribute in a meaningful way for the world’s work, and a chance for housing, food, clothing. He is wary of machines. They of course live most of their lives before the intrusion of computers and the mess social media now makes of information. He would not be a fan.

He is a vegetarian. I can admire that. He is a vegetarian for health reasons, but also because he does not believe we have the right to just kill animals. They do not use manure in their gardens. Or bone meal. Or blood meal. He is a pacifist. He loses his job as a university professor – he’s at University of Pennsylvania- in the 1920’s because he is speaking out against child labor and some of the higher ups of the university are using child labor in their factories. Out he goes. Because some rich bastard doen’t like what he said. Blackballed. Universities are shut to him. Free speech. He was married with two kids. That marriage falls apart as he struggles as an ex teacher and writer. They separate and eventually divorce. He gives her all the property has at that point- mid forties- I guess he’s somewhat of a conciliator, too. He meets Helen, a 24 year old violinist, who at 17 spend a couple of years studying violin in Europe, becoming a globetrotting devotee and very close friend to Krishnamurti nine years older than Helen and at that time brand new to the world, but who goes on to spiritual fame and fortune. Helen and Scott fall in love and marry and are struggling to write Scott’s books when they decide to move to Vermont thinking it might be better to be poor in a rural setting than it is turning out to be in New York City in the depression. It proves to be quite true.

This would be a great movie. And it is no different than what is going on today. Who does the work? Who reaps the benefit of the work? Income inequality is raging. How do we fix it?

Scott Nearing, in the book his wife writes after he passes away, has really helped me feel a bit better about things. A new hero. I think I’ll stop writing and go work in the garden. We’re planting lettuces today. I wonder if I should start building a stone wall around our garden now?

Being Consoled

We lost Sausi and that was awful. We hurt. We still hurt. Especially Suzy. My life is pretty full. Hers less so. The hole this leaves in Suzy’s life is as large as she can bear. I mean she loves me, but she loved Sausi in a way that just hurts when you remove it. Sausi was more demonstrative. I tell Suzy I love her and give her a little kiss. Sausi runs at you at thirty miles an hour and jumps up and bites your nose. That’s love!

What the people of our little community have done for us is stunning. We got a phone call from Beth before I had the grave dug. Four deer stood by as sentinels while I got ready to take Sausi out of the truck. People texted. People called. I heard from people I hadn’t told and couldn’t tell how they’d found out, some new friends from the dog park. Word got around. We called our friend Marti whose dog Loren knew Sausi. We told her right off and she exclaimed, “No!” Then said “I’m coming up.” And she did. Jennifer and F. J stopped by for a couple of hours. Jaime came over. We had had a dinner date at some Richard and Deena’s house and didn’t feel we could make it, so we stopped by to beg off. Hugs and tears and just making us feel so easy for not being able to make the dinner. Then the next morning the dinner came to us. They sent over dinner and salad and dessert from the party, Beth brought it over in the morning when she came up whith her dog Fenn. Fenn came up to me and asked me to throw a ball for him. It was just right. And David was there with Adora and I got to pet Adora. And chicken soup showed up from the new Kentucky neighbors up for the weekend. They’d met Sausi at the General store. Lauren and Jared showed up that afternoon with flowers and gifts as snow squalls drifted by.

They’d each painted an egg- it was Easter, and presented us with those two eggs in a beautiful box with the paper grass you used to get in Easter baskets. They were gorgeous. They stayed an hour. Jared invited me to go the the Transportation Museum with him to meet the flight director there. Friendship.

Of course every time you talk with someone you revisit the sadness and talk about how awful it is and you start to feel a little better. Everyone removes a little of your grief. They’re all so kind and good and your start to feel as if there were a good reason for living. And we didn’t open the gift from Lauren and Jared that night but the next morning over tea I unwrapped it.

It was stunning. What, did all the angels move to Owls Head? Look at this book.

A book by a cartoonist about four friends, each different, each offering something. Although the fox only says one thing in the whole book- profound of course, he’s there: running, sitting, listening, being with his friends. The drawings and painting are exquisite.

I was blown away. My parents taught us music, and I of course feel if you give someone a book you should inscribe it and Lauren’s inscription is as much a work of art as Mackesy’s drawing. I read the book aloud to Suzy over tea. She cried through half of it, it spoke so directly to what we were feeling.

And no we’re not done yet. Karen came over to visit with daffodils and forsythia and wonderful talk and Jennifer and FJ stopped by again to make sure we were in one piece and Amanda and Vinnie came over with a beautiful lasagna and cooked it for us and ate with us and talked to us the whole while with their dog Quinn working his way into Suzy’s heart.

And Marti wants us over to dinner tonight. And Maya from the General Store offered us hamburgers and pizza so we didn’t have to cook. And people outside the post office, outside the store, at the harbor. Let me not forget Laura who lives down there who saw the accident and was with us while we needed help the most. And we’ll have to stop by the dog park to say hello there, too. It’s nice. In a country that is being torn by propaganda and political machinations it is pretty nice to be a part of a community that is so human. Food, words, cards, flowers, gifts, offers to help, visits. We’ve got offers to borrow dogs!

It makes you feel better.

Be Careful What You Wish For

This may be sad. It is for me. Sausi, our thirteen month old Australian Shepherd was hit by a car today. Run over. She was chasing its tires. She darted across the front. I had been trying to catch her- we leave her leash on to facilitate that and I had clipped hers on when we were still out in the dory. I left the dory with Suzy holding it and Sausi and I headed to get the truck and trailer. I saw a car and a truck coming down the hill to the harbor and I called Sausi. She came, good little girl that she is. Not right to me but close, and she sat off the road and the car and truck went by. Good girl. I thought nothing of it. She has been getting so much better lately. But she still goes berserk over tires. When we get out of our truck, she attacks the tires. I usually keep her on leash and hold her away, but she does every chance she gets after she’s been somewhere in the truck. If I keep here away for half an hour, when I l finally let her off leash she goes for the tires. Unless I stay in the house; then she won’t attack the tires. She thinks she is doing something for me. The car that came down the hill, the red one, Jeep Compass I think, pulled up by the water and Sausi went right over to it instead of coming to me in the truck when I called. I got out a treat to lure her, but she was pretty interested in the car. Red? Like my truck? I started walking away; if I walk toward her she runs. If I go away she follows. So I headed down the Faunce’s driveway with my treats. Sausi came, but not close enough for me to step on the leash. She was in full coyote dog mode. The car began to drive off and Sausi started to chase it. Oh no. I was scared. The woman drove about fifty feet to the Faunce’s driveway and stopped to ask if I were trying to catch the dog. I was surprised by the question and by her age. She seemed so old. I said I was, that Sausi was a puppy. Sausi in the mean time went to the far side of the car. I thought the woman was going to let me catch her, which would take a few minutes. I started for Sausi, but the woman took off. I was startled but did not have the presence of mine to shout “Halt!” but stood there dumbfounded and scared. She took off pretty quickly. Sausi went after the tires. Sausi ran in front of the car. Oh shit. No. The car hit Sausi. She ran her over I think now, but I saw Sausi run back across the road to where the truck was. She was yelping in pain. She’d been hit for sure, but I was hopeful. Laura from the house next door saw the whole thing and was out in a rage, tears starting already. Sausi lay down in the grass. We were both there with her. Laura said her heart was still beating. Sausi was lying there with her mouth open a little, her tongue out. I wanted to get Suzy. Laura wanted me to put my hands on Sauxi to help her. I ran for Suzy. I yelled down to the boat and Suzy started up. I went back to Sausi. Suzy wasn’t coming. I ran back to check- Suzy’d gone a wrong way. I yelled for her and she came the right way. Sausi was fading. Laura said her heart had stopped. She was still. Suzy was sobbing, Laura was crying, I was stupefied. I think we knew she was dead then. It is hard. It happened so fast and she was just a puppy. She was a good puppy and getting better. Now she’s gone. She’s not going to get better any more. She isn’t going to go to the dog park and play any more. She is not going to play frisbee with Suzy any more. She’ll never beat 16 catches at Frisbee for a new world record for 13 month old Australian shepherds. She’d never master the boomerang.

We’d had a great day. Fenn came over in the morning. He and Sausi play frequently in our yard. Today was brief because Beth had to go somewhere at nine. So I played a little Frisbee with the Sauce. She loves it so. “Down!” I say and point. She throws the frisbee down and she lies down in the border collie crouch. She’s quite intense. I make her wait, telling her, “Wait for the word,” and I point where I’m going to throw it. Then I’ll say, “CUPCAKE!” and she doesn’t go. ‘Run!” And she doesn’t go. Then, “Go!” and it’s like you shot her from a canon.

Suzy had been playing with her that afternoon before we went out for the row. I was sewing leathers onto a pair of oars. The sun was shining. Suzy was having fun with Saucy and I was thinking how good this is. Suzy doesn’t know the routine for frisbee as well as Sausi and I do. She’ll say sit and Suzi will sit but she doesn’t relinquish the frisbee. It was the green ringy dingy thingy not the frisbee. I’d tell Suzy to say down and

Suzy would say down and Suasi would throw the green ringy dingy thingy down and go into her crouch. Suzy would pretend to throw it one way, and turn another way and Sausi would watch her. When Suzy threw it it went about six feet and Sausi would bring it back before it left Suzy’s hand it seemed. And Suzy would say down and Sausi would throw it down and again. I was thinking how good this is for both of them. We got the dog kind of for Suzy. I thought it would be good for her and would help me take care of her. Sausi was a lot of work as a puppy and it was hard for me. I questioned the wisdom of getting a dog. A lot. I’ lost my temper with her just that afternoon out on Sheep Island. She wouldn’t stop jumping and barking at me. And it hurts my ears. Her bark was incredibly sharp. I told her to stop. The trainer said to ignore behavior you don’t want. So I ignore it. I look away. I turn. I put my arms across my chest. She stops, I say good girl and pet her. She barks again. She jups up. she bites at my shirt. I lose my temper after a while. I yell at her to stop. I tell her nobody wants that. I don’t want a dog like that.`

Uh oh. Can I take those words back? Do words like that really work? No they don’t or Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin would be gone. The world does not work like that. Why did that woman have to be at the Owls Head boat ramp at that time? Why couldn’t she have been younger, more aware? Why didn’t she wait a minute while I got Sausi? Why didn’t I yell? Why didn’t I ask her to sit there for a minute? Why did I have to put Sausi’s leash on? Could she have danced away from the car if she were free?

Why is she gone?

Sausalito Dreaming

Sausalito is a very comfortable place. It is scenic for sure and driving, walking, riding your bike around is quite a cool thing to do. I have not ridden my bike around, but I have sat at a cafe and watched as others do so. Wow! I was in awe. Flights of cyclists going by at some pretty good speed.

It’s early here now as I sit in Owls Head. We have been back from our California trip for a couple of months. Four months, actually. Time goes by so fast for me how. We arrived back in December, a couple of weeks before Christmas when the days are short and cold and you have the winter ahead of you and contemplating that can be hard. Dark happens early. Light comes late, although I am asleep when the light returns because it turns out I really like the long winter evenings and end up staying up quite late. I enjoy making our dinner. I enjoy sitting with Suzy on the couch. I put off turning on the television for as long as I can. I love to read and I love to talk a little with Suzy as she knits. She doesn’t really knit anymore. I tried pretty hard to get her to do something simple, a scarf, our daughter in law Iris had suggested, might be simple enough. Apparently it is just the same number of stitches all the time and you don’t even have to count because you come to the end of a row. Easier than a hat which she had been working at all the time we drove across the country. It devolved into a completely convoluted mess of colorful yarn that she would pick at, kind of trying to unravel it, but mostly just picking at it. She wouldn’t give up at it, because she didn’t want to waste the yarn. I would guess the yarn was about ten bucks. Fifteen? And she spends hours on it. Finally one day she got out scissors and started to hack it apart. I remember the Gordian knot from sixth grade. Mr. Silver, the first male teacher of my elementary career, told us about it, how the Gordian knot was a tremendously complicated knot. No one could untie it. There may have been a prize? It was definitely a challenge, a big problem to solve, and Alexander the Great came along and hacked it apart with his sword. “There!” I guess he would have said pretty emphatically. And I guess people accepted that. I remember thinking that he’d cheated. He didn’t untie it, he hacked it apart. He decided that he’d solved the problem but he’d just destroyed the rope or whatever the knot was tied in. Who made him the ruler of the free world? Right. Might makes right? And there is Putin invading the Ukraine and bombing buildings that took a long time to build. They only take a few seconds to blow apart. And who is going to prevail in this madness? The history writers. And who writes history? The ones the people in power hire? So we come back to the idea of just what is the truth. Information wars. I know people who love trump. Wow. I don’t. Who’s right? Can we all have our own little opinion about that? Well sure. Can we all have our own opinion about facts? Can you hire scientists to say what you want just like you can hire writers to say what you want? And when people hear things a lot of times do they start to believe it? Repeated information starts to stick.

Thoreau said something I puzzled over most of my life. “A man more right than his neighbor is a majority of one.” I’m getting it now. If you are convinced of something you’re right? Think you can, think you can’t, either way you’re right?- the old Henry Ford quote I used to love so. Can our thoughts shape the world we live in? If we believe something does it become true?

No. Something does not change its trueness by your believing it. But our perception can sure change. We’re all fascinated by optical illusions. Well I was fascinated by optical illusions, and so were students I worked with. The old hag? or the young lady? I’d flash the image on a screen and ask kids what they saw. Some would see the old lady. Some would see the young one. And you’d start to explain what to look for to get the image to switch- “this part is the necklace on the young woman’s throat, but it can also be the old woman’s mouth… and this is her nose, but the other nose is over here… “and you could hear kids get it. They’d see both things. They’d made a different kind of sense of the same data.

So we all need to spend the time examining the data to make the kind of sense of it that works best for us? Yes we do. Is that the truth? Is what makes sense for most people the best truth? Are there certain inalienable truths, unalienable truths in the Declaration of Independence; that all men are created equal and that governments are instituted among men to give us all a shot at life, liberty and happiness? Is this what long winter evenings are for?

So there I was on the couch with my wife in the winter trying to put off turning on the television for as long as possible because I enjoy the freedom from the news, from the advertising that is put on television. I far prefer reading. I far prefer looking things up on the computer where I can control what I look at. I love the quiet as we sit by the fire, Sausi, our pup quiet, too, finally. Food and warmth and comfort while outside is cold and dark and sometimes stormy. Suzy works her yarn as I work my thoughts. Both of us making our particular kind of sense of the world.

Suzy at some point wants to watch the news. “I like to keep up with what is going on in the world,” she says. And I wonder how much any of us knows of what is going on in the world.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.

“The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.” I wondered about that line, too, in Yeat’s poem Second Coming. I watch the news as a bunch of people with passionate intensity explain what is going to happen, what this means, telling us what to think.

Sometimes we watch “Gunsmoke” instead, a great little morality play from our youth where Matt Dillon metes out justice and that is enjoyable. Except for the ads. So I read during the ads, or do the dishes. While Suzy works her yarn.

And all of a sudden spring is here. No more long winter evenings? No more long winter evenings. So do I give up thinking and reading and trying to make sense of life? Does Suzy give up her knitting? Of course not. We keep trudging along. I keep thinking I’ll work on the barn. I keep working on the house design for the Cape, lining up workers, looking at windows and insulation and hoping to use pine boards instead of plywood because pine is cheaper, easier to handle, better? And soon the garden will start calling me. And the water beckons, and the boats want attention before we launch them. And the grass will soon be growing. And the buds are beginning on the trees. And life seems so possible. California dreaming is becoming a reality?


Remember, when you were little, singing “Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.” Home on the range. The great mythic west. The stories we absorbed as kids, that shaped us. I was an English major in college and heard approximately five hundred times, “An English major? What are you going to do with that?” Some people planned their lives. I’m going to be a nuclear physicist, and begin to prepare. I was not ready to prepare for anything. I started college as a phys. ed. major and I remember quite clearly thinking that when others were studying I’d just do my push ups and go to bed. I didn’t think too clearly back then, and it would have been helpful to have someone, an English teacher?, help me out in the thinking department. I wasn’t ready to pick my life. I wasn’t ready to prepare for anything long term. The Vietnam war was raging and on television. I had been trained in elementary school to get under the desk when the nuclear bomb hit. We read articles about strontium 90 in our Weekly Reader. There were riots and protests- women’s rights. Civil rights. Black Panthers. People were burning draft cards and bras. What was the point? It was a confusing time, but I think today is more confusing. I guess times are always confusing and you have to be ready to sort through the mess. I really appreciate that I am in my 70’s now and can think with somewhat more perspective about what is going on. I’ve got a chance to make sense of things.

It is possible in the face of a lot of turmoil, to become discouraged. It was possible in the 1960’s and it is possible now. I have felt at times discouraged this winter. We are trying to build on Cape Cod. Permitting requires building plans, septic plans, and you need to line up a lot of people, make a lot of phone calls, see a lot of people and I’ve been doing that and we are making headway. I am also building a barn up here in Maine. In the winter? We have boats that will need attention soon- paint and maintenance. We have bills to pay, laundry to do, errands to do, meals to cook, a puppy- coming up to a year old this week- that likes to bark and jump and chew, wood to get into the stove to heat the place, pipes that freeze when it gets bitter cold, cars that need oil changes, registrations that need renewing, and our little cottage here is small enough that we cannot really spread out and a lot of our precious junk is still in storage from our move. And the kicker is that my wife, Suzy, our son’s mom, is not quite the staunch partner that she has been all these years- she’s a bit forgetful. Not a big deal, but every now and then I feel discouraged. When things are hard with Suzy, it just makes everything else seem harder. My right ankle got swollen and painful- time for PT, my left knee acted up one day to the point I wondered if it would ever bear weight again, I haven’t been in a karate class in so long I can hardly stand it, I’m not working out terrifically regularly because my gym stuff is out doors and when both your legs don’t work too well it’s tough to walk a lot. Then trump and the Republicans are keeping up their antics- what?!! You are still pretending the election was stolen? Then Putin invades the Ukraine and he appears to be pretty crazy- he’s in his 70’s and I imagine his ankle is swollen and one of his knees may bother him. I know he does judo and plays hockey- or used to. I played hockey and did martial arts. I know how he feels. He has the keys to the nuclear bombs. And then the sun disappears over the horizon in the winter at a scary hour- at its worst up here it is 3:56. Whatt!!!!! Dark before four? Well those days are gone, and the mornings are lighter and daylight savings is coming and the sun will set at 6:30 next week. That’s heartening. And my ankle is better, So is my knee. We skied yesterday for over an hour.

I went again at sunset. We had a friend over for supper. We each drank a couple of Guinesses and Suzy had some wine. Talk, and food does a lot to restore spirits. Joe Biden’s speech the other night was absolutely magnificent. Not magnificent, because I don’t quite mean to convey and feeling of grandeur. Biden comes across as just a very decent, honorable human being trying to do what he believes is best for most of us. It is so refreshing after watching trump. The difference between when Biden introduces a cute little kid who has type one diabetes and whose parents have to pay 9500 bucks a year for his meds and trump when he introduced Rush Limbaugh to give him the medal of freedom is astounding. Then Biden calls the kid buddy and somehow I believe him, in him, in America, in all of us.

We all want to belong somewhere. Our family? Our friends? Our town? Our state? Our country? When you belong somewhere it is harder to be discouraged. You have help when you need it.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has a white supremacist at some rally being held where she’s also going to speak. I see this clip on the news. The white supremacist seems odd- the way he smiles, or smirks, or talks. Is this just the English major examining a character? You bet. One of the benefits of reading a lot is that you start to form opinions based on what a person says or does, or how others react to him or her- a very valid way to make a judgement. I am bothered by this smirking guy. Then he mentions Russia, and Russian had recently begun its invasion of Ukraine. And donald trump, you remember him, the only one who can do anything about our current situation back in 2016? The one who liked chaos? The very stable genius?- comes up with the comment about how smart Putin was in rationalizing his invasion of Ukraine. So this sleazy white supremacist says as he mentions Russia, “Let’s have a round of applause for Russia,” and he starts clapping and the audience does too. He also mentions that they’ve got a secret ingredient, their special sauce- young white men. Others have forgotten about them, but we haven’t he goes on. So the Republicans are offering a place to belong for young white men, who feel displaced, who see no particularly bright life ahead of them. Isn’t that brilliant? Enlist the discouraged; tell them stories that they will believe- they will believe anything: democrats have sex with children and then eat them, funding public works like roads, libraries, schools, is socialism and therefore bad, the election was stolen by Joe Biden- then let them loose. Armed? I suppose. Is that what the January 6th insurrection was? Stirred up by trump and Rudy and their crew. Are there many men and women who are willing swallow what outlandish stories they are peddling? Yes there are. Many.

Is it discouraging? Of course it can be. We need more English majors. We need more people who can read. And think. And discuss. And argue. There is a difference between and argument and a quarrel. We do not need a lot of quarreling children. Noise confuses. Confusion, fog of war, does not lead to the best decisions.

I’m proud of Biden for the way he has pulled so many nations together to stand up to Putin. I’m proud of the way Biden’s administration is behaving. I’m not discouraged. We can handle what is coming out way. We can. After our ski yesterday we stopped at a general store for a couple of sandwiches. Not the Owls Head General store. It was in the town of Hope.

The McCarthy Era

Random photo

I was pretty young then, born in ’49 and Senator Joe McCarthy, first elected in ’46 and casting about in early 1950 for some way to get reelected in ’52 and someone suggested he chase communists who are in our government. He’s electrified and thinks it’s perfect. He was a man who up to now hadn’t been particularly effective at anything except enriching himself by accepting money from lobbyists. He fought pretty hard for sugar interests, soft drink industry and the real estate game- he had a nick name of Waterboy for the Real estate lobby. Now he attacked communists in our government with a vengeance. I was stunned reading about him, how much like Donal J trump he was. He spoke extemporaneously about matters using anything he thought of- no needs for facts. He was great at grandstanding- he’d grab a handful of documents from his briefcase and hold them up and say, to the Ohio county Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling West Virginia, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 – a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nonetheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” Later he tried for awhile to figure out what it was exactly he’d used as a number in that speech because it was his first one, but he just went with different numbers later. And he could never show the documents because it was classified information. He lied, he railed, he got people worked up, he smeared anyone he could. I was reading this essay because I’m reading Arthur Miller. I loved Death of Salesman– I keep hearing bits of that play in my head- “I was right, I was right!” Willy raves to himself- so I got a couple of Arthur Miller plays out of the library: Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. Death of a Salesman we’re doing as a read aloud. The Crucible I started on my own and found this essay The Great Fear, by J. Ronald Oakley, at the back of the play. The Crucible is about witch hunts in Salem MA in the 1600’s and I guess it is something that is still a major part of our national psyche. trump screams about witch hunts every fifteen minutes. It looks pretty bad for Donald now, but then I’ve always thought he’d done an awful lot wrong. He’s a very slippery sort of a guy. I’m amazed at his traction and now it seems a lot of the Republican party is all for this- Biden stole the election? Really? What about those 60 or so attempts to show fraud that were thrown out of courts. Don’t we trust our courts? Uh oh. So the Republicans are doing their best to sow division and distrust. It dawned on me with the trucker strike in Canada, ah, Disrupt the economy, to detract from the fact that things are improving quite nicely under Democratic rule- unemployment descending, a surplus in some part of the federal budget. We can’t let any good news get out. trump mentioned in a campaign speech way back when in the 2016 race that he liked chaos. Get everyone worked up and fighting like made amongst themselves, and you quietly take control of whatever you need to to steer amazing wealth in your direction. The Oligarchs did it in the mess of the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. They’re still sitting on unbelievable piles of money, much of it laundered here in the US. Much of it laundered by Donal J. trump, former president of the United States of America, current head of Donny and the Republicans. Donal J trump. wealthy businessman and conman extraordinaire.

I read an article in the AARP magazine recently about scammers and who is most susceptible to scams. There is no particular economic class, or educational class or age, or race. It is people who react emotionally. One you get into that emotional reaction- you no longer function so well cognitively, and you are putty in the hands of a good con man. Welcome to the communion of your race. Are we being conned?

Joe McCarthy was a master of inflammatory rhetoric that obscured his lack of real information. It made headlines and it stuck in people’s minds. Qhat else could you want. Accuracy? That was in the 1950’s. The McCarthy crew tried to get books banned, too. They were concerned about Robin Hood because he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. Sounds like a communist to me.

In Wisconsin the Madison Capital Times sent out a reporter on July 4th,1951 to ask people on the street to sign a petition which contained quotes from the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Only one person in a hundred would sign it. The others refused on the grounds that the ideas in the petition were communist, un-American or subversive. Several other papers tried the same experiment with the same results. Oh my. An article in the Saturday Review by Claude M Fuess wrote that “we are dominated by a fear so pervasive that it approaches hysteria.” Hysteria does not promote good thinking. The anti communists aligned with Joe McCarthy did more to threaten American freedom than communism ever did. Could you say anything like that now, about the trumpists? Any disruption of foreign policy, or domestic tranquility anybody noticed lately? Are we getting toward hysteria? How does it all end? Do courageous people have to start saying things? Nixon said something to one of his cronies after the Watergate debacle about how they almost made it and had they had a tv station on their side they might have. Well there’s a tv station on their side now. That makes it harder. Will reason prevail? I like to think so. We did eventually get out of the McCarthy era.

I’m watching eagerly to see what comes of the New York State investigation, the Georgia investigation, the January 6th committee.

Getting Things Done

Two things seem to dominate my life lately: Sausi, and Suzy. I often confuse the names much to Suzy’s amusement, and in my defense it’s awfully easy to do- both two syllables, same starting sound, same ending sound, similar middle. I’m not losing my mind am I? No. Sausi is our 11 month old Australian shepherd who has been somewhat of a trial. We got her a year after our dog Hobbes died early and kind of tragically. He got kidney disease and just faded fast. He was not yet eight years old when it happened and he was an awfully good dog and we really took it on the chin when he died. He got listless, and Suzy wanted to call the vet right away. I wanted to wait. She was right. I called after a few days and when we brought him in they kept him for tests. You don’t know how attached to dogs you get until you don’t have them. They kept him overnight for tests and then needed him for another day. When we finally picked him up it was a joyous reunion except they told us he was going to die. Kidney disease. Nothing we could do. It would be weeks, not months. Wow. We were slayed. The last few weeks were not happy ones. He lost weight, lost his balance, needed intravenous fluids. You feel so bad for them. We finally had him put down. He lay around all the time, getting up only to pee and began to fall over when he did that.

That wasn’t what I wanted to write about. We got Sausi after a year of no dog and I was getting pretty used to not having a dog, could have waited longer- we are planning to build a house on the Cape and it might be harder with a dog. Life is easier without a dog, but Suzy was pushing for it and i thought it would be good for her to have a dog, that it would be a good companion and I might get a little more time off. So we got Sausi last May. She lit our lives right up, but you forget how much work there is to a puppy plus we’re older now by a decade and I think that is a big part of it. When you are young and busy throwing another bit of work into the mix is no big deal. We are not at the point where more work is no big deal. Our friend F.J., when we got the pup, said, “Paulsie, the last time you said never again.” I asked him if I’d put it in writing. Aren’t I clever? It wouldn’t have mattered because we had this little bundle of joy and on the whole she is wonderful. Look at her sleeping with her head up, not wanting to miss a thing. In the first photo that’s Sausi with the inside out ear at the dog park.

She had proven to be quite a bit of work. I have offered half joking to give her away a few times, but there have been times when I wasn’t joking. ARRRRGGG. She chews and chases and barks, and jumps and bites. She’s a puppy! We hired a trainer to work with her and that was helpful and we start a class with her in a couple of weeks. She’s not a horrible dog, and we have been complimented on how well trained she is a few times- right. If only they knew.

Suzy and I do read aloud every night. We’ve done it for years, but now that Suzy has trouble reading on her own I’m quite faithful about it bedtime. Who doesn’t love storytime? One of our recent reads was Old Maine Woman by Glenna Johnson Smith. She published this book when she was 90 and has a second one that we’ve started which she published at the age of 94. You feel like you know her after reading a few essays about her childhood- old Maine. She seems so warm and wonderful that you just want to meet her. I was ready to drive up to Presque Isle to see if we could find her- it’s not that far, but I learned that she just recently passed away- over a hundred years of age and I don’t doubt smiling to the very end. She makes you smile a lot when you read but one of her essays about how much she gets done on a snowy day at the age of 85 had both of us laughing out loud and gasping for breath. Totally hilarious. She plans and plans what she will do for the day- little projects she’s meant to get do and now with the snow outside there is no excuse but to get these things done: crossword puzzles she hasn

t finished, photo albums to organize, closets to clean, garbage to take out. And then she’ll wake up from having dozed off, fix a bit to eat, nap again, watch the cat, watch a movie, doze. After she wakes up one time it’s getting dark- already 4:00. Time to start supper so she’ll be comfortably digested by bedtime. Better put those boxes back in the closet so I don’t trip over them. I can organize a few photos after supper. Or maybe there’ll be a Celtics game on. I can get up earlier than usual tomorrow and get a start. You can practically hear her sigh. “I always get a lot done on a storm days.”

Anyway, that’s me. All these plans and the amount I actually get around to is pretty funny. Suzy and I are about to have tea. The sun is shining in the bay window. It’s pretty cozy in here. I’ve got my list. Phone calls about the Cape building. Errands to run. Food to cook. A thank you note to write. Stuff to organize. Doggie training. Get Sausi over to the dog park. Things to do all over the place. Hmmm. Maybe I should just read a little bit of that new novel I started yesterday. I can get an early start tomorrow. I always get so much done in the winter.

Back on the Barn

Yesterday I got outside earlier than usual to start work on the barn. I worry that I am getting lazy a lot. I get up pretty early, Sausi sees to that and sometimes I am pommeled. We are not good about getting to bed early, there’s so much to do. Being in early because it is dark outside and inside is warm and cozy and inviting makes for long wonderful evenings. Making and having dinner is fun, I’ve been reading up a storm, Suzy is trying to knit,

I have been doing a little yoga and pt for my ankle- I blew out my right ankle again a couple of weeks ago- it doesn’t take much. Sausi does yoga with me.

And we have sort of started watching Rachel Maddow again. We didn’t watch news for a long time- the California trip and all. No tv in the van. You get addicted to tv news- they’re very good at getting you hooked so you will watch all those ads. Print news is engaging enough for me now and I do read Heather Cox Richardson daily- she is a great writer, an historian from Harvard specializing in the Civil war- which is brewing again now, and so has a nice historical approach to what is going on today with the Republican party. Here’s a link. You can subscribe for free. Well worth reading. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGmthffpBqBpGmtkvPPjmSMQxNq

Television is a much more emotional approach- is it gossip? and they stretch out what HCR writes about I can read in five minutes, into an hour, and you can get comotose and sink into another hour of it, too. So I’m staying up late to watch news? No. I get in the tub and read while Suzy lets the tv roll over her as she tries to knit. I guess as we get older we like to watch news and weather. Watching the weather channel? I guess. I’m excited about our current storm, but I just like to check the computer. I still feel as if I had one million things to do and I really want to get them done. Before I die? I don’t know. I’m just compelled. My friend Bob Dunlop once said I’d be busy if I were stranded on a desert island. I wasn’t so aware of that when I was younger when he made that comment, but I am now. and it is frustrating that so many things get in my way. We’re getting older. We have a puppy- was puppy on the list? We lose things. I’ll bet we spend an hour a day looking for things. I’m not as fast as I used to be. I like to sleep. Things hurt and that slows you down a bit. Another friend of mine once said as we stood around getting older, “Remember the days when you could lift anything?” And I didn’t until then, but yes, it’s true. We could lift anything a while back. All of a sudden it’s a long while back. Now my elbows hurt when I pick anything up, and my right ankle is complaining. I hire young people to lift things for me.

Well yesterday I got outside earlier than usual. It was a stunning day and Sausi got out to play with Fenn- first when Bill came by with him, and then later Beth came over for a more thorough walk and Sausi and Fenn play a good bit. It get me away from the writing and reading that I love to do in the morning. And the night before I had kind of hoped I’d have the energy to get out and working on the barn by 9:00. Well I wasn’t working yet on the barn, but i was out there at 9:00, and I got onto the barn soon after. Suzy and Sausi were out there, too, so I didn’t feel the usual pressure to be inside tending to things and it was great. I got a ton done. I finished building another saw horse so I could get the second post up near the beam I am working on. You can see the tenon I started just the other day when it was sunny and beautiful. This day had some snow- still beautiful, but it adds an element of aren’t we steely eyed missile men to be out here working. It was that kind of day. Two below zero when I got up. Probably single digits when we started, rising into the teens. But we had the Mr. Buddy heater going in the little shed so I could go in and warm up my fingers. Yes, I leave the door open. It’s uninsulated and heat doesn’t stay in it much anyway and I am back and forth all the time and I guess I like to keep my doors and options open. Fear of missing out?

Suzy went in later and knocked over a stool. I thought I smelled something- checked the table saw- and went back to work. Suzy asked me if I could come over. I was reluctant to, since I was in the middle of something. I said I’d be there in a couple of minutes. She said, “I think something is burning.” Oh, that gets your attention. Something wasn’t yet, but it would have been. I made a cover for this cool wooden stool with some leather when we were young and broke. I drew a little mouse into it with a nail I heated with a torch, and put the words, “Neap, neap” in a cartoon bubble. I was inordinately proud of it. Well it still works, it’s just a little melted looking. Oh well.

So I got the horse built, and another arch for the boat shed built, more pine ripped to make more arches

another one bent into the jig I have for bending up these cool arched trusses I’ll use for the boat shed.

And of course we spent a bunch of time sweeping snow off the deck just before it started to snow again.

But I got the post into position by the beam and I can really see that I can do this. Today I’ll clean up that tenon so I can get the beam into the post, and then start working on the brace. And I need pegs.

It’s exciting to have work to do that I can do- that I feel I can handle. I stood and stared at it when I was done, planning the next moves, getting the first bent up, then the next, then the next, then the last one, and then the second floor. I feel sometimes as if I have bitten off more than I can comfortably chew and when I get back to working at it it feels good. Possible. Are we going to make it? Yes.

Then there’s the two feet of snow that’s coming.

Burning Daylight or How to Build Moral Fiber


I’m obsessed with sunrise and sunset times at this time of year. One of the things that terrified me about moving to Maine was that I’d noticed a sunset time in December of 3:56. What!!!! Five of four and the sun is going down? Nooooo. Yes. This year it was 3:57. That earliest sunset happens about ten days before the solstice, the shortest day, which is right around the 21st. The length of day doesn’t change a lot around the solstice either, I learned this year. I always thought we gained or lost a minute or two a day. Not so. Around the solstice the length of day varies by two seconds. A day further out is six or seven seconds. Three days away is 11 seconds change. So when the days are short they are short for a while. The rate of change picks up as you move away from the solstice. It’s like tides. The water doesn’t move much right at high or low tide. One twelfth of the water moves in that first hour, one sixth- two twelfths- in the second hour, and in the third hour of the six hour tide cycle, one quarter the water moves- three twelfths. The middle two hours move half the water. So of course currents are correspondingly faster and stronger. Mid-tide is not the time to row into the current on the back side of Monroe Island. The day light seems to ebb and flow sort of the same way. Very little change in daylight length at the solstice, and at the equinox, but it starts to pick up the pace as you move away from it. We’re almost a month away now and you can get a little discouraged that the day is only 25 minutes longer, but the rate of change has really started to pick up and that is heartening. In two weeks we will have almost an hour more of daylight, so now we’re gaining almost two minutes a day. Sunrise will be at 6:53 at the end of the month. Mornings are no longer dark. The afternoon is getting tolerable. 4:46 at the end of the month. I love it! Almost ten hours of daylight.

Which brings me to the very important point of moral fiber. I had a talk with my poor sister Ginny a week or so ago and it got me to worrying. She’s in Florida and the temperatures had been in the 80’s. I was shocked. We had had a close to zero night with a good breeze. Our pipes froze. Our front yard is a mass of ice from the last snowstorm that got rained on and so now is lumpy and slick, perilous to walk on. Last night was another cold one- one degree this morning and the wind is blowing a million miles an hour. Our skis blew over, our trash cans are rolling around the yard, the dog is barking at them, a chair blew off our porch, boards I had leaning against the house are scattered, our outside Christmas tree blew over.

Then I get a picture on facebook from Hawaii of our friend Kenny Peterson on a paddle board. Enjoying himself, paddling along with a bathing suit on. In the middle of winter.

Then I check daylight times for these places- Hawaii and Florida. What! When our days are merely nine hours long Florida is getting ten and half hours a days of beautiful sunshine. With warm temperatures! Hawaii is worse. Eleven hours of sunshine, and every day is sunny. Even if it rains, the sun comes out. And the temperature is pathetic. If it hits 60 everyone sits around shivering. Give me a break.

How are they ever going to be miserable? They’ll be walking around smiling. No adversity in their lives. What will happen to their moral fiber? And people worry about Donald Trump.