Category Archives: Commentary

Clear and Present: Trump is—Are you, Congress?

Let’s finally be clear: it is now the COngress against the President to save the Union.

The President is a traitor. The Senators who support him are traitors. The representatives who support him are traitors.

Supporting insurrection and sedition are treason: Donald committed it, the others support it.

When do the two Democrat Senators from Georgia take their seats? That will change everything. Then the patriots left, the LARGE MAJORITY of the Congress, can do what is needed:

In one day, act to impeach, try and convict DOnald J Trump of HIgh Crimes and Misedmeanors. And when he threatens whatever he can conjure up from his devils mind, — he will and everone knows it even Rich Mitch—use all force necessary to take him, his little right wing thug army and all the traitors who after the insurretion continued with their false challenges without blinking an eyelash of remorse or regret.

This is war, Congressmen and Senators who want the republic to live on and Trump in any role of public view not to. Just shut the hell up about whether this creep in the White House will ever concede. HE is too far into denial and that is not a river in Egypt.

You’d better start thinking of it that way and super fast, because, first, things are going to go from worse to horrible in the next two weeks and second, you are losing.

Still not convinced? Look again at the face. Fat body and animal like bellowiing of ALL of those wannabe SA troopers. This is mass hysteria, these folks are OUTSIDE rational talk, redemption, quiet. And you just let them win: they shut you down for 5 hours.

While you are doing business as usual; in your comfy fog of cowardice and denial, they aer emboldened and planing the next, larger, more destructive attack.

It is clear and present danger. Your response has to be even more clear and present. You are the only defense we have left.

Is self help action now the only option against trump?

The word was that mass murder by withholding vaccines was federal policy to deal with Corona. Policy or not, it is criminal. Remember Crimes Against Humanity for which mostr of the German official in the dock were hanged?

Trump is using the pardon power for pardons it neever envisioned: he is letting his loyal crew of criminals out to do it all over again, but scot free. Misuse of his office and violation of his oaths of office. Betrayal of ones own countrymen and collaboration in that from the all but puppet, empty shells of Republicans in the US Senate. Is that not called treason?Who in his or her right mind thinks that if President Obama did those things he would still be a free man? Or you, or me?

Now if anybody ever doubted that Trump used the Pandemic as a terror tool, you just cannot any more, even if you still are a Trumpionette: he will not sign the vastly overdue, hard fought, just and humane relief bill! What on earth can anyone call that but evil: the unwillingness or inabiloity to have empathy for another and act on it with no thought of return for oneselfl

Read M. Scott Peck, read Hannah Arendt, read the records of te trial in Nürnberg in 1945, the testimonies of extermination camp top officials, the testimony and questioning of Hermann Göring by Justice Robert Jackson.

And the Republicans in tne Senate, does their record show that we can count on their backbone and stand for what is morallly right” Hardly.

This will escalate. Mary Trump says so. Former Trump officials are worried about that. I worry about that. Why not? Inaction is that old, very definition of insanity: expecting different results from the same actions.

You are walking down a street and suddenly a man appears with a knife, held in attack posture. There is blood on the knife balde, on his hands, he has a scratchj of fingernails on his neck and ne looks mean.Your reaction is:

  1. Forget about it. It is probably some act.
  2. Grab someone weaker than you and shove him or her into this guy and try to run by
  3. Start screaming that the liberals have armned thugs here and if you have a gun start shjooting.
  4. Back up slowly towards you car, hoping to get away from this person and not use the pistol under the drivers seat.
  5. Run for the car, get the pistol and start shooting (wildly, frfightened people hit their targets, the ones right in front of them, at most 20% of your shots.
  6. Freeze in panic and fear.

I bet you were not thinking of your common law and Constitutional rights to protect yourself — just about how to act.
Wjhen threatened we fight, freeze or flee. Thinking comes later or has been done beforehand. Legally, last time I took weapons instruction, you must back up and try to avoid shooting, but if you cannot, you have or darned will ought to have the right of self defense and although we cannot kill unless it is unavoidable and proveable in a court, that includes lethal force.

When the threat arises, there is no time to consult your lawyer first. We need to have it all thought through first: legally, morally, etc. We cannot act like Donald and just go charging off. If we want to live civilly and under a rule of law, then we must use our instittutions to defang, declaw, deter and deny any more power to Donald. And as the danger is clear and present, action must also be clear and present.

We must have weighed and distinguished, then chosen right action, explicily resisting the wrong. Having assessed actions and chosen one with full understanding ot consequences., we must be willing to accept and commit to accepting those consequences. And finally we must act visibly and assertively. In short, we must act with and to restore what Donald seeks finally totally to bring down: our personal, civic and national integrity.

The final alarms bells are ringing loud for those who can hear such.

Donald Trump now wants to put us into more economic decline, into more burden of illness, into more chaos. He wants revenge because he believes his deluson that he actually won the election. Listen to him! He is stark raving mad and will act on that.

Any examples of what a lunatic like Donald will do if not stopped: yes. Adolf Hitler. He felt that the Germans had not been good enough to win the war and so they were neither good enough for him nor good enough to survive the war’s end. So he ordered Albert Speer essentially to leave the victors nothing on German soil.

How –be honest–is Trumps action different in principle from HItlers?

Albert Speer did not obey. Hitler caved in and committed suicide with Eva Braun.

Who will stop Trump finally? We have backed up to satisfy the law and morality sufficiently years ago. The Republican Party is essentially no more: even the Senators and some of the House Republicans are now vocal about the mistake called Trump.

General Henning von Treschkow, author of the Valkyrie Plot to kill Hitler, wrote this

The General was a man of integrity: when he learned of the plots failure, rather than let the Gestapo torture him into giving up other conspirators, he wrote a note and took his own lifel.

Is not self help against Trump, Trumpionettes, Trumpthugs etc now a right? Is it now almost a duty, especially in the shadow of the Republican failure to act to protect the nation?

If not, then we will have nothing more to lose, which will lead to action anyway but action that will have no integrity, not bolster the rule of law, embolden the Trumpionettes, anmdtear this country apart.

And that just makes the alarms ring loud.,We have this chance ,with ample supporting evidence, maybe the last such chance, to act before we all will be forced to take up our own arms. We do after all have a RIGHT to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We can use the Amendment to declaw and disarm Donale. I do not want to be part of violence where Congress is afraid to tread..Viiolence does not work well, and it would be much more civil, much more in support of our institutions, to force implementation of the 25th Amendment.

I suspect that if that Amendment is not invoked, some of the rest of us will decide that they have nothing left to lose. Angry men and women with nothing left to lose will trample rights, rationalism, our republuc under their stomping feet. It will almost ceertainly mean bloodshed and chaos — just what Donald wants anyway.

It is time to realize that there is nothing but loss now to get from Donald.

If moral worth and integrity are not the worthiest of causes, what are?

Are we willing to do the work to act with integrity?

Is it finally time to disempower him legally?

If not this, then what, and if not now then, when?

a two step national recovery program from samuel adams

A two step national recovery program based on Samuel Adams.

1  Heed the Wisdom for our Republic from Samuel Adams:

  • “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.” 
  • “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
  • “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” 
  • “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
  • “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

2.  Accept An Invitation from Samuel Adams to his Tories but befitting our Trumpers

  • If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” 

Gotcha O. P.

Drive thru voting in Texas

For centuries our common law has rejected ex post facto laws: we do not invent punishments or restrictions to apply to acts already committed. If we decide that lawn mowing is unacceptable on Sundays and make a law against it, the law is enforceable from that point forward but not retro-actively, against my neighbor whose mower interrupted my nap a week a go.

Two clauses in the United States Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws:

  1. Art 1, § 9
    1. This prohibits Congress from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.
  2. Art. 1 § 10.
    1. This prohibits the states from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.

But the actions contemplated by the Republicans in Texas would require a retroactive judicial decision in their favor. The principle of ex post facto prohibits legislatures from passing laws which retroactively criminalize behavior. That is however just a minimum standard. Wlhile this prohibition does not attach as stvia legislated language to judicial decisions, appellate courts sometimes announce a new rule of law, but will not apply it to the case in front of it, in order to attempt to comply with ex post facto prohibitions.

The norm in the US is and always has been no ex post facto laws or judgments. Period. It is so well known that in cases involving ex post facto, the ruling judges do not even need to cite the paragraphs of the Consitituion and the existing practice of upholding the norm.

That is an inviolable sine aus non of Anglo American common (judgment practice inherited from the past) law.We do not use legal gotchas.

So then how do Republicans reconcile trying to exclude write in votes retrospectively and the rule of law? They have known that write in ballots were in the offing and had been approved by Srares. They should have challenged before voting began not ex post facto, retroactively.

Has our judiciary finally become intrumpKate’s with the key foundation of all authoritarian governments: that the most powerful is always right, that might makes right? Are we as a nation finally throwing in the towel on the difficult debate and dialogue of democracy in favor of the oppressive but simpler toe-the-line deep freeze of autocracy?

Judicial prohibition of those Texas drive in votes means that we no longer have a judiciary of rights, It woujld mean that ours has collapsed into a Judge Freisler (Nazi showtrial judge) system of mock courts. It will mean that anything the autocrat or a loyal Trumpionette does not like about you and me can be made criminal and punished, with no defense, and without due process.

And it will not be just cutting your grasss that will be shut down: it will be anything that Trump and his Trumpionettes do not like about our involvement in this election I. Or about whatever Donnie loudmouths about, changing often from sentence to sentence. You could not even run a garbage pickup service that way, let alone a nation under emergency Pandemic threat.

Has the GOP finally completed the petrification process from Lincoln to Loudmouth, from Grand Old Party to Gotcha Oppression Party? Is the judiciary now a Trumpionette show too? Have we deteriorated into a nation under Trump instead of one under law?We had better hope not.

scroogecare Healthscare USA

Germany, the nation-state, has existed only since 1870.

Healthcare for all was introduced there in 1883 by Kanzler Otto von Bismarck in an effort to take the wind out of the sails of the Social Democrats. It was the first single payer comprehensive healthcare insurance system on this planet. It was  built on the defining principles of solidarity and self-governance, and these principles have remained at the core of its continuous development for 135 years.

Even during the inflation after WW1 and the utter destruction of the nation after WW2. Since 1913 Germans have had the right for insured individuals to freely choose their health-care providers.

After World War two, benefits were actually increased.

Since 1993 competition and a strengthened market orientation have gradually gained importance.

In 2004, self-governance was strengthened through the establishment of the Federal Joint Committee, a major payer–provider structure given the task of defining uniform rules for access to and distribution of health care, benefits coverage, coordination of care across sectors, quality, and efficiency. Under the oversight of the Federal Joint Committee, payer and provider associations have ensured good access to high-quality health care without substantial shortages or waiting times. (The Lancet,

It has turned out to be a lot more valuable than just winning elections against the Social Democrats in the 1880s.

Some years ago I found myself at an exclusive meeting with German managers and a representative of their embassy. I speak their language but when the embassy official asked that his talk be just “unter uns” — restricted to “us” the Germans, I realized I was not supposed to have been there. (I agreed with his analysis, and told him so when I met him in the reception line after his presentation. He welcomed me to his talk.)

He pointed out that Germans and Americans spend about the same amounts and percentages of income on healthcare. So much for the argument that single payer systems cost more.

He pointed out that the difference was first that they have better outcomes and second that their coverage was more evenly distributed and readily available to all citizens .

No need to convince me. I had already had the experience of paying 1 mark for a doctor to come to the apartment in which I was living in the Rheinland, and give me an exam and medications when I fell ill and could not take the bus (I had no car.) So much for the US special interests’ horse-manure about losing the doctor+patient relationship, about better treatment, about “the best care in the word” and so forth and so on.

He pointed out that they have fewer days lost to illness on a comparable %age basis than we do. So much for the delusion that our broken puzzle system creates better competitors.

But it was not just his analysis that made all the points, It was experience,

I have friends, German citizens but long time residents in and ardent fans of this country, who for years had needed extensive reconstructive surgeries for each. The US insurance for which they, as self employed, shelled out an arm and a leg , did not cover it.

So they abandoned their business here, left their daughter here in the US and returned to Germany. They did not want to but they had to.

Without any waiting period or limits for pre-existing conditions, it was all covered in Germany’s 135 year old system. No challenges, no appeals for mercy to employees who don’t give a hoot, none of systemic stinginess. which favors the insurance companies. No limits imposed when they had to get specialists for hidden conditions. No problem when they needed help, financial help, with recoveries, with finding decent housing, etc, and so forth and on and on.

Back at that Germans-only presentation, a the presenter systematically showed, in well documented numerical detail, how our system just could not compete with theirs. The Germans there, all resident aliens in the US for work, were laughing sorrowfully at us, their host country. I was the only American there who spoke German; the person with me could not. No other Americans were there. I was ashamed and embarrassed.

Why should they not have had a sad laugh at our folly? We apparently think Scrooge would do a really bang-up job of medicine. Are there no ERs? Are there no charities? Are there no Pharma cost of medicines assistance programs so that the middle class can afford upper class prices? Does anyone here really give a hoot about anyone else? Let them just get sick and die if they won’t work for their health–decrease the excess population and create herd immunity! Bah, humbug! Healthcare by Scrooge.

Why shouldn’t I or any of us with a conscience be ashamed and embarrassed–in addition to outraged.

Trump has proven the Germans’ scornful assessment of us to be right. Think about who supports Donald.

What sort of a stingy, withered human would not want all to have equal access to world class health care? Maybe a Rich Mitch?

What sort of dried out, tattered soul thinks that healthcare is a commodity and that being unemployed ipso facto means you are not worthy of health? Name us a Repugnikan, almost any Repugnikan in power today..

What sort of a 19th century mentality thinks that our failing/failed system works better than those of the Germans, the English, the French, the Cubans, the Czechs, the Canadians — of just about any other healthcare system on earth? How about the ones like the foggy Fox fools, who think that socialism is still being practiced all over the world?

We have been here since 1883 also, and what the devil have we been doing? What loads of claptrap have we been fed and gleefully swallowed? No more Scroogecare Healthscare! Vote the skinflints out.

Time to learn some german

The United States now has 1/3 of all the corona virus infections on this earth. The United States now has 1/4 of all the deaths from The Virus on earth.

The number of infections and the number of deaths is INCREASING≥. Some perspective: a few days ago,. Germany: 855 new cases ,0 deaths.

And yet Angela Merkel stopped and postponed going to their second phase of relaxing socializing restrictions until mid June due to concern over increases.

While in the USA despite well communicated, increasing infection rates and death rates much higher than any other nation on earth, some states are relaxing restrictions. Ahhh yes: the South’s R-naught will rise again! And some unbelievably carried weapons, Nazi and Confederacy flags into the Michigan state house to protest for restoration of such basic rights as…. getting a hair-do. What an example of ….. self seeking gone lethal.

According to information which came my way some years ago from a source at the German Embassy in D. C., we spend the same amount per person for health care as Germany. We do it out of pocket, they by taxes. They have even coverage, we have hole-y pre-existing exclusions. They had systems and supplies ready to deal with such a contingency. We did also, until Trump and bad boy Jared Kushner actually threw away all the notebooks compiled to help them govern. Then Trump plus Moscow Mitch and his gang of paid off puppets gave the body pandemic the Genickschuss (coup de grace) when they took away funding. We pay as we go if we can, and if the help we need happens to be there. They just go. By and large, whatever they need, is already there.

Who, given reasonably prudent discernment, would not want the German ones: one of the the worlds best death rates, guaranteed top notch and immediate healtlh care, payments to replace Corona-lost income, a Chancellor who works in planful collaboration with her own staff; and with the Minister Presidents of ALL the German states?

Here: Missing Picture of any Federal Trump-er Meeting with Governors to Coordinate Federal and State Efforts

Die Zeit today published an article about why the Germans have been so effective in dealing with the Corona virus.

Der Föderalismus wirkt Federalism Works

Deutschland meistert die Corona-Krise besser als viele Nachbarstaaten. Das zeigt sich nicht nur im Gesundheitswesen. Vor allem der deutsche Föderalismus hat sich bewährt.

Germany is mastering the Corona Crises better than many neighboring states. That is apparent not only in the healtlcare system. Above all German Federalism has stood the test.

A concluding statement his the nail on the head: Der Föderalismus, richtig verstanden und betrieben, wirkt. Er sorgt auch für ein besseres Verständnis von Maßnahmen, die sich an der regionalen Situation orientieren und deshalb nicht als unverhältnismäßig empfunden werden.

Federalism, correctly understood and practiced, works. It ensures a better understanding of measures, which are oriented to regional situations and therefore are not felt to be disproportionate.

that is 100% correct and that is also exactly what is happenig here that is sandbagging any countrry wide effort to get ahead of the epidemic. Each region feels that is has to protect its own regional situation since whatever Trump does or most likelly does not do, is a one size fits all, excelpt of course that it does not. Just ask the people in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and the armed protestors in the Michigan State House.

but Zeit again explains it all better:

In Staaten wo Föderalismus weniger kooperativ interpretiert wird und man stattdessen mehr auf den Wettbewerb setzt, ist das anders. Im amerikanischen Föderalismus werden Informationen getrennt voneinander gesammelt – also Bundes- und einzelstaatliche Behörden erheben eigene Daten und handeln unabhängig voneinander. Die USA gleichen damit mehr der Europäischen Union, die kaum geeint auf die Corona-Krise reagiert und wo vielmehr die Mitgliedstaaten autonom entscheiden. Beide, die EU und die USA, tun sich schwer damit, eine Antwort auf das Virus zu finden.

In states where federalism is interpreted less cooperatively and instead is based on competition, the situation is different [re the good results the Germans have gotten]. In American federalism information is gathered in a divided manner–thus federal and state agencies gather their own datra and act independently of each other. The USA in that regard is like the EU which has reacted to the Corona Crisis scarcely in a united way and where the member states make decisions autonomously. Both, the EU and the USA, are struggling to find an answer to the virus.

The key here is that federalism works by cooperation. 244 years down the road we have yet to learn that. How else explain that 1/3 of the voters laud Trumps vile, and dangerously evil but not too skilled attempt to destroy it? How else explain that these same voters apparently think that more competition, win-lose competing, will carry the day and save the moribund, ragged health care patchwork quilt and the staggering, top heavy economy?

Whether German or other, there are systems in this pandemic which work better than ours. Indeed any of the others is working better sincew ours is working worst, by any measure. Our Federalism not only is not working, it is being used to make the crisis far, far worse than we may even be able to imagine. Trump and his supporters could easily do themselves and then us in.

What to do, how to build a working federalism?

First, isolate the disease spreaders. Let Trumps lethally undiscerning, self seeking supporters all get together, hug, shake hands, work shoulder to shoulder —for a couple of months, then send the survivors to Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina — and any other states who are dropping social distancing and lockdown while the Rnaught continues to rise. Turn back, with all force needed, any one of them trying then to leave those assiduously stupid states, when their R naught erupts volcanically while ours continues to fall at the same slow rate with which it rose. Those people misusing our federal system are endangering our lives every bit as much as if they were pointing loaded guns at us. that is a crime, so why not this?

It is high time that we exacted a penalty upon those who would endanger their own and us just to go to a restaurant or get a haircut. And the penalty should be as onerous as the illness which they pass on to others.

Let them all stew together in their own juice..

In the meantime, the rest of us will need to do a moral inventory. The key to cooperation is our thinking. We need to examine: why do we think that our competitive ways work when in one of the worst surprises Mother Nature could foist upon us it has failed so utterly miserably and dangerously for all of us? And then we will need to rethink how we understand and practice federalism–one might say that our current methods have not exactly been stellar..

Maybe it is time to cast off the erroneous German cultural stereotypes of Hogans Heroes and the WW2 War Department and learn something from our allies, the Germans. Who looks more like Colonel Klink: Angela Merkel or any Trump-er? How about Trump’s Arch Fool, Jared Kushner? Todays Germans would say to us: Wenn dein Pferd stirbt, steig’ ab: when your horse dies, dismount. Looks more than a little like we have been beating a dead horse. Time to dismount and try out some German ways. Nicht wahr? (Wouldn’t you say that’s true?)

Amerika/America, du hast/you had….

We are nowhere near the end of the Trump-thumping we are taking.. We are not at the beginnig of the end, nor the end of the beginning.  We may be at the start of the beginning.  And that makes it all even more sad and urgent.  We have already lost so much; it is such a great shame.

Towards the end of his life, the great German poet, scientist, lawyer, statesman etc;, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) became very enchanted with the energy, robust freedom and lack of a haunting past in the young American Republic.  During those later years he wrote the following poem (here in English translation praising and expressing an important hope about us and  our republic:

(If you want to know more about who Goethe was, read my post “Who is this guy Go-ee’-thee (Goethe)?

Amerika du hast es besser

America, you have it better

Than our old continent.

You have no tumbledown castles

And no basalt deposits.

Your present is not disturbed deep down by

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

Use the present with good fortune!

And if your children write poetry,

May a kindly fate guard them from writing

Stories of knights, rascals, and specters.

 translation by Marilyn Barnett

One of DT’s first targets for negation remains our fragile, wilting ecosystem.  We must get it back under control —and fast—.  Before DT touched nature with his cold, dead hands, an annual reduction of atmospheric hydrocarbons by 2% would have saved us-but we were barely making that. Now after he has negated our environmental protection, the yearly target for a timespan 4 years shorter than in 2016 is 5%.  And we had been barely eking out a scrawny 2%…. If we fail now, there will not be a second chance, the resulting inhospitable, lethal climate will make this planet uninhabitable.

Let us remember the hopes and faith that so many had for us so many years ago.

But we can only get to the end of the beginning by accepting without filtering where we are today. That’s the first step.

To that end, today Goethe’s hopeful poem could only be written something like this:

Amerika, du hattest es besser…

America, you had it better

Than our old continent.

But you failed to save your forests and oceans, 

You permanently poisoned pristine waters.

Shame! your present is blighted by leaders of

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

You misused the present in bad faith!

And your children will never write verse,

Condemned by drudge lackeys and their bumbling boss, to

end with a whimper: 

as nature winds down in reverse..

Where indeed have all the flowers gone, long time passing? How much pain must good men endure, before they throw off this yoke?


Good or bad, thinking makes it so.

A graduate of the southern Michigan high school I attended recently found a copy of the school’s 1926 yearbook in aThrift Shop in South Carolina. When he told the owner of the shop that he wanted to send it to his and my home town’s Historical Society up there, the owner of the Thrift Shop gave it to him for free.

It contains many hand written thoughts from 1926. The Historical Society published a few of them in the newsletter I get every month. Ofthe ones in the newsletter, three spoke to me — (the Society preserved punctuation, spelling and sentence construction):

“Love is great, love is mighty, I only wish your night shirt

Was next to my nighty. Now don’t get excited or be misled,

I mean on the clothes line and not in the bed.”

“A good thing to remember a better thing to do -is to belong

To the construction gang and not to the wrecking crew.”

“Remember the word “American” ends in I can!”

Those are the sorts of thoughts and they innocently clever style that I heard and learned as describing being an American in my formative years, 1941-1951. They re-awaken and refresh me like a cool wind on a hot, muggy, air-polluted day. They are like pretty flowers growing in an opening you had not seen before in a dark forest.

Nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Shakespeare). How might we indeed bring good light into our current,national-cultural bad, narcissistic darkness if we had retained the abilities, values and simple clean morality of that long gone era! Where indeed have all the beautiful flowers of American thinking gone?

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.


Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.