And now for something different –>>>> It’s a Trump Trump Trump Trumpy World. Source: Monty Python’s John Cleese lights up Twitter with devastating joke about Trump voters
~ Always a little wine.
~ Do you think I could get a title like that?
~ “Your Holiness”.
~ I have my doubts.
~ I could really go for that – believe me.
~ You’d have to change your faith, my Son.
~ That could work.
~ It’s not as easy as you might think.
~ Gotta go into the mumbo jumbo, would I?
~ There are things to learn – yes.
~ And my Latin probably sucks.
~ You could avoid that.
~ E Pluribus Unum
~ Well, that’s a start.
~ I got lots of them, believe me.
~ It’s more than just money, my Son.
~ I’ve got billions of them.
~ So I’ve heard.
~ Billions and billionser. Feels good.
~It’s easier, my Son, for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
~ Could choke a camel with them. Wad them down its throat.
~ “In God We Trust” – that’s what it means.
~ E Pluribus Unum. It means “In God We Trust”. Religious as hell.
Near one of the junctures of the roads, pulled right over to the side, and as close to being in a ditch as it could be, a car of higher-end wealth was parked. This was not particularly odd within itself, but, glancing around the rows and rows of graves, there was no one to be seen. An empty car in a graveyard. I thought it best to take a look.
Although I assumed the car was empty, I also had thought it possible it was not. And when I got close enough to look into the windows, I understood why I had seen nobody. A thin, elderly man, his white hair mussed, was slumped to one side in the driver’s seat. He had not fallen completely over because he was held by his shoulder strap. I was peering through the passenger side window, and could not tell if he was breathing.
I tapped, louder and louder, on the door window, but nothing happened. Not a twitch or shrug by the man. I still thought he was probably alive, but wondered if he might have had a heart attack or a stroke. Or, he could be deaf. Regardless, my tapping did nothing to him. So I decided to go around to the driver’s side.
As the car was so close to the ditch, I had to stand in it. The ground was wet, though there was no running water. I reached up and started knocking on the driver’s window – no tapping this time. There was still no response, and since I had been at this about three minutes, I did start thinking he was at least unconscious. I kept rapping on the window, planning next to open the door and wondering what to do it it was locked.
The man finally moved enough that I knew he was alive. But I kept knocking on the window until he opened his eyes. He looked befuddled and didn’t move his head. I knocked again and finally he looked in my direction. He seemed dazed but not surprised. He didn’t sit straight but he did reach and open the window.
“Are you all right?”
“I want to make sure you are all right. You haven’t been moving.”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
“OK. I wanted to make certain.”
I started to move out of the ditch, but he called to me.
“Thank you for taking the time.”
Exercpt from: China Lily
Matzerath’s mother rarely shared her thoughts with anyone. She is as elusive now as when he was a small boy being raised within the shadow of the religious buildings where she still works as a cook. Bishops and abbots come and go, and red-robed Princes of the Church make their visits, for which she must dress appropriately – but she remains. At least Matzerath assumes she is still there, though he has not been back for five years.
Matzerath is small in stature and taken to be younger than he is. At thirteen he is treated as seven. He allows this because he finds there are more advantages then penalties. He knows far more than is expected of him, and avoids many pitfalls through the guile no one expects he has. He also achieves more than is expected from him, and is given much leeway for a child. Had his real age been obvious, he would be perceived as dim-witted. Because he is thought of as a child, he is considered gifted.
Matzerath’s mother is aware of how her son is tolerated – she even encourages his guile. He is treated better than most children, whose father is absent months at a time sailing the North Sea.
Matzerath is also getting an education of sorts, which is generally restricted to the children of nobles and the wealthy. He has learned how to read and write, along with the rudiments of mathematics and geography. He also pokes his nose into the stables, and the smithy, and the carpenters, picking up their basic skills.
He follows his own mother with interest, and can chose, prepare and present many of the dishes she serves at the Monastery. For the notables at the cathedral, and other clergy, she is expected to produce more sophisticated fare. Matzerath has even acquired some of these skills, but a puny child is forbidden to appear near the high table. He does get to nibble the leavings but notes – as he also does at the Monastery – that very little is ever left.
Matzerath would have been content to stay in this arduous life seasoned with episodes of interest and learning, but his elusive nature is discovered by a visiting bishop.
The Bishop is a militant with evangelical frenzy. He is intent upon forming a Children’s Crusade to march to the Holy Land. Matzerath is not sure what this means, though he gathers it will offer an opportunity to leave the confines of the town and local villages where he has spent his life. His mother is better informed.
Even though the last Children’s Crusade happened generations ago, and the Church proclaims it was a wondrous act for the Glory of God, she is fully aware that most of the children never came back. And that the Holy Land is still lost to the grip of heathens. The murmurs from the Monastery and the high table reveal this bishop to be a renegade and unsound in judgment. His ‘new’ crusade is predicted to be a disaster. His abilities to lead it are a joke. However, he does have the ear of the Pope, and his family has much wealth to give to the Church.
Matzerath does not possess an abundant affection for his mother – not for anyone – but he realizes that regardless of the amount of work she extracts from him, she generally does what is best for him. He pays attention to her instructions and her observations and her warnings. She also encourages him to tell her what he sees and hears. As he becomes older, she also wants to know what he thinks about the things he sees. Matzerath realizes she is using him as a spy, but he does not mind. He knows his mother sometimes manipulates the information he brings for her own well-being, but these rewards also come to him.
Matzerath heeds the warnings his mother gives about some of the priests and monks and their interest in boys. He discovers this himself upon a couple of occasions, and even satisfies one priest just to see what it is like. He shares this with his mother because he knows she sometimes does the same.
~ President Tricky.
~ You’re trying to replace me.
~ In the affections of the American people.
~ Have you been drinking?
~ Fucking A about that. You are ruining my reputation.
~ I don’t even think about your reputation – believe me.
~ But you’re pulling a Nixon.
~ Not even close, Dick. May I call you Dick?
~ Sure, Donny. Is it true you don’t drink?
~ Not a drop.
~ Jesus – you do this stuff sober?
~ I’ve got the Will of the People and the Blessing of God.
~ God doesn’t give a shit.
~ I know that. And neither do the People.
~ They’ll take you down, Donny.
~ That was a big part of your problem, Dick.
~ You cared what people thought of you.
~ They brought me down – the bastards.
~ Yeh – but you lived out your life OK.
~ Heh! I became an Elder Statesman.
~ And kept out of prison.
~ If I had sung, I would have brought down the whole corrupt Elite with me.
~ If I drank, I’d drink to that, Dick.
~ So, Donny, do you plan sticking around?
~ While I’m having fun – yeh.
An excerpt from: The Bonner Prediction
05:14:31 ZULU Time
“I’ll sweep the house.” Bonner puts the keys on the dining room table.
“That’s fastidious.” Bess looks at her watch. “It’s a quarter past one in the morning. Who’s going to visit?”
Bonner gives her a closer than usual look to make sure she is kidding. She winks and sets out to find dishes. He stops her with a hand on her arm.
“Are you familiar with NATO safe houses?”
“Nope – never been in one.”
“Don’t try to use the back door.” Bonner points through the kitchen. “It’s wired with explosives.”
“You call this a ‘safe’ house?’
“Makes it safer for us.” He removes his hand. “It will explode if someone aggressively attempts to break it down.” He smiles. “We can also detonate if from here, if necessary,”
“But this wasn’t your idea?”
“No – alas.” He starts away with his handheld. “But I approve.”
The house is conventional in its layout, ready for a family. She wonders if there are families any more. If these buildings have been relegated as guest accommodations, she doubts either diplomats or military travel with a family.
She removes the food from the containers and places it on dishes. As she puts them in the microwave Bonner passes with his electronic handheld. She thought he might give only a cursory search (no one can possibly know they are staying here) but – no. The walls, the light fixtures, the electrical outlets, the appliances, the taps, the windows, the doors are all given a sweep for tell tale signs of transmission. The doors are closed and their locks are tested. As with any place of sanctuary, every room can become a ‘safe’ room. If this dwelling is like others she has experienced, the windows can even withstand an RPG.
When Bonner is finished, he goes to the cupboards and removes napkins. On his way past the fridge he takes out a bottle of wine. He shakes his head disapprovingly.
“Screw top.” Bonner carries the wine and napkins to the table. “Not the usual standards of NATO.”
“I was planning on Sprite.” She looks toward the kitchen as the microwave beeps. “NATO lives it up while we Swiss live in parsimony.”
“If NATO inclined towards having us live it up, they would have put us in more graceful accommodations.” Bonner twists off the cap. “At least it’s white.”
“Where’s the dog food?”
“They’re a tidy group. I bet food will be in the kitchen.”
As Bess takes the food from the microwave and hunts for plates, Bonner searches for dog food. Not only does he find a bag in the corner, together with a foil pack of dog treats, but there are two shiny, new, metal dog bowls – one for food, one for water. Bonner guesses that a member of the supply personnel is a dog lover and raided the stores of the guard dogs.
“Two scoops.” Bess is putting the salad into a bowl.
“What about treats?”
“After.” She looks at him. “I bet you don’t have kids, either.”
“Nope.” Bonner puts two generous handfuls of food into the dish. “I’d make a lousy father.” He runs water from the tap then fills the other bowl. “There’s time.”
“Not that much time.” Bess takes their food to the dining table.
“Ouch.” Bonner has little interest pursuing this thread. He opens a cupboard and takes out two wine glasses. “Louie is fed and watered.” He carries the glasses to the table. “And now, soon to be us.”
Bess looks over to Louie. He is attentive to her, but also has side glances to the kitchen. She waits until he is only looking at her, and then makes a hand gesture.
Louie is out of the room before Bonner can pick up the wine bottle. His claws clatter across the kitchen floor, quickly followed by crunching and the scrape of the dog bowl on wood.
“He’s not going to savour, is he?”
“Nope.” Bess takes her wine glass. She is about to take a drink but stops. She extends the glass toward Bonner. “It’s been a night.”
“But our wee family is safe to home.” Bonner clinks her glass. “Though Louie’s table manners could be more refined.”
There are ghosts behind the ghosts.
There are legions of the dead,
Lined up to peer
Over my shoulder.
They breathe with satisfaction,
Upon the hand
That writes the word
The millions of departed,
Disturb the air enough,
To stir the hair,
On my moving wrist.
They keep a place in line,
For me to join them.
There will be scampi on a plate with breakfast.
Quarts of wild strawberries will float in flagons of cold Rhinish wine.
Blueberries will be hidden by thick cream, and golden honey shall trickle from plates of buttered toast.
Braces of quail and brown roasted turkey will be surrounded by steaming heaps of new potatoes and tender ears of corn.
Joints of beef and lightly curried lamb will stand between bottles of red Anjou wine and jugs of red Italian fire.
A smoking, suckling pig will have bowls of dry, yellow squash at its feet and stacks of cheeses at its head.
Pastry and pies and a foot high chocolate cake will stand among jars of brandied fruit.
A cask of aged port will remain, to do justice at the end.
Then I shall settle back to patiently await my dinner.