Life is beautiful but people are crazy. It’s just the way we are. Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. And that’s what Louie-duh-too-sane-lawyer was trying to explain to crazy-Ian…

Louie-duh-lawyer isn’t the only one over at the Twin Cigar Shoppe who is absolutely certain that Ian is insane — even for this planet. Which is why we dub him ‘the alien.’

Apparently Ian thinks mostly when he’s squatting on the john, which is no doubt why his thoughts smell mostly shitty.

Among other things he is propounding, of late, is that Zeus is the devil; that a mother-ship has been snatching entire families of hikers out of shady mountain forests; And that the Jews are at fault, about most things, even the Russian invasion of Crimea and the continuing Afghanistan debacle. But that I am the exception… as long as I am willing to bullshit him a good recommendation for something he’s been allergic to in the 7 years I’ve known him – a job.

But then again, I think Louie-duh-lawyer, who is always abstaining to keep his body fat too low, his physique too fit, his blood flow too healthy and his diet too tasteless is absolutely a tad too-too-too rigidly sane.

You know… brittle.

I mean, just the other day a hot young woman tried to pick him up in one of his well-fitting, upscale, lawyer suits outside the courthouse. She said he looked like he belonged in the men’s fashion magazine ‘GQ.’ Even slipped him her phone number.

And naturally, Louie told her, sorry but he had to go work-out.

After all Louie had only been to the gym five days (and nights) that week. Obviously the man has some dumbbell issues.

And then again, I shouldn’t talk. There was that woman with the bawdy laugh I woke up with the other morning. Would you believe she had the abject, ineffable audacity to accuse me of forcing her to drink too many potent cosmopolitans. Then of locking her in my bedroom-without-a-door and having my 11-second-way with her – yet again!

And then she proclaimed that: ‘You’re not crazy enough, D.I!’

Who, moi?!

Hey, I’ve been strapped to a bed in a drooling academy. Then again, even my psychiatrist – finally! — was able to convince my insistent brother-duh-heart doc and his wife-duh-lawyer that I wasn’t really crazy enough to be put away there — forever! But it doesn’t seem to bother them much, now… now that my mother’s will, that my sister-in-law ‘assisted’ in formulating, was finally probated. Including the part that disinherits anybody — no matter how little I’m getting — who attempts to sue.


Actually I don’t get upset if people think I’m crazy. If you go to a mental hospital and someone calls you a name, would you get upset? Of course not. Well, that’s the way I think about the world. They don’t know any better.

In other words: You can’t control all the crazy stuff that happens to you. All you can control is the way you handle it.

And you wonder why I don’t own a gun!

But of course!

We all be crazy… it’s just a matter of degrees. Like many of my fellow cigar puffers in the South Philadelphia Twin Smoke Shoppe.

Like Petey, who is anal about getting his overly groomed, short-short-hair cut every, single week. And the other hazy Petey who is always slapping himself in the crotch. And the in-heavy-debt Little Anthony who perpetually claims he’s going to start saving money, but then goes out and buys yet another car. And all-of-650-pound-Frankie who gobbles up every cheese doddle, pastry and box of chocolates in the shoppe, except for the very last piece. And way-over-Grizzly-bear-size Freddy who after hibernating all winter still moans and groans daily that he’s tired. Or Keith the bartender, who after another overnight of tequila shots swears again he ain’t drinking no more…


But in Ian’s case, I have to admit there ain’t no 6 degrees of separation. In fact he’s the f-king mayor of crazy town. He’s the blind man in a gun fight. And did you ever notice that crazy people don’t sit around wondering if they’re nuts.

And, in truth, I like Ian… most of the time… kind-of. When he isn’t overly animated, proselytizing in a domineering tone that even penetrates my deaf left ear.

Admittedly he can be interesting. Even impressive. He’s got a photographic mind that
can recite long poems by Keats and Byron — verbatim.

After all, I’ve always accepted that craziness and madness are a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. However, you should never, ever forget that ‘crazy’ is a term of art; ‘insane’ is a term of law. Remember that, and you will save yourself a lot of trouble.

I perpetually remind Ian of that… even to the point where I poignantly explain the difference between stupidity and genius:

Genius has its limitations, I tell him again… and again… and again.

But I’m wasting oxygen. Even when I repeat over and over that the object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

But this time Ian even got me rankled. Perhaps because I was too sober. And perhaps Louie-duh-lawyer, who is always too abstemious, continually seems to need to engage, to lead Ian to the light — of an oncoming freight train. And I don’t just suspect – but know! – that Louie would have a better chance of convincing the venal bar association to embrace ANY ethics. Or at least lower their legal fees… down to retail.



During one of our grand, recent, sunny afternoons we were blowing smoke and chawing with a new cigar rep. He was a big-ol’ Texas boy with a ponytail and muscles who waxed easily about spending his impressive years with that notorious oxymoron – Military Intelligence. Or was it Home Security. Or Special-Ops…

Whatever… But I did notice his feet were bathed in handmade Italian cowboy boots. And he was just the right combination of charm and bullshit that made you immediately like him.

But then gangly, tall Ian popped into the shop, booming with his high-pitched interruptions. And I warned the cowboy — in the midst of one of his tales how-the-Russian-KGB-couldn’t-torture-a-confession-outta-him — to hold on because he was in for a bumpy ride. So he grabbed onto his Texas-size belt-buckle and settled in for the stampede of neon-Ian.

And Ian started out giggling impishly about Trump dropping the (MOAB) Mother Of All Bombs. And like Trump, was confused about whether it was detonated in Iraq or Afghanistan. But geography didn’t stop him from another upending peroration.

And then after eyeing the new cigar rep Ian shifted immediately into how he (Ian) is undoubtedly the only guy who understands the cigar business. And lectured the new guy how he is doing everything wrong even if his cigars are already in 40 states… and this is what he should be doing.

And Gary-duh-good-looking-cop-who’s-never-seen-a reflection-of-himself-he-didn’t-adore tried to change the subject to a local missing person story. But Ian lassoed in the Texas rep with long dark tales of the shady mountain forests where entire families have gone completely missing.

Poof! Without a trace.

No shit! Please, take me!

And while Ian continued to ignore my pleas that roared into screams to give the new guy a break: “We want him to come back again!” Louie-duh-lawyer tried to veer the topic off to missile launching North Korea.

Oy-vey! Oh-no! More ammunition. Cock and load! Batten down the hatches.

Ian, of course, insisted he was against any intervention anywhere. He had already forgotten that he started his mad-mad-world of mad moments gleefully about Trump dropping that MOAB somewhere to the mid-east of us.

Ian was even against our intervention over 60 years ago to hold off the crazy communist at the 38th parallel.

At this point, perhaps I should point out that Ian is a product of that Korean war… which, you may remember,wasn’t a war, but a police action that still cost 54,000 American lives. And at least twice that number who got their brains frozen in time.

It seems that Ian’s Italian father met his Korean mother in between combats there. And brought her back to South Philadelphia. And conceived Ian.

And when Louie pointed this out, that our intervention (at least this time) helped formed a prospering country, a loyal ally and brought forth Ian himself, it didn’t seem to register any more or less than an illegal immigrant.

“Isn’t that something,” insisted Louie. “Isn’t that something wonderful?”

Hmm… Lou had me and a lot of others, going there. At least until that last point: That Ian was initiated in a moment of passion.

And look, I have to admit that I am more than a tad reluctant to intervene, and especially shed American blood in another country’s squabbles. However, when their refugee problem becomes our immigration problem I draw more than a line in the sand.

Arm the nuclear warheads.

I mean, there are times when crazy is not so crazy. Or at least, it’s the safest place to be. You know, somewhat like Ian – over the edge. Although you may agree that there is no honest way to explain the edge because the only people who know where it is, again like Ian, have long gone over it.

Louie, however, went almost apoplectic that Ian couldn’t grasp the obvious. And I pointed out to Lou that sometimes that’s the precisely the way I feel when I’m talking to him. That is, Lou. Mister arch-conservative. Wears nothing but Catholic black. And can’t fathom how the world doesn’t operate ‘According to Lou.’ And the Wall Street Journal.

And I am sure, I informed him, that he demonstrates his tolerance when he thinks I proclaim something that’s crazy by merely smiling and saying: ‘That’s nice.’


And don’t we all.

But at this point, thankfully, Ian received a phone call from his mother ship and scurried out the door. And the cowboy cigar rep, made his excuses to escape and go find the nearest shot-and-a-beer bar.

And as everyone departed I leaned back, chuckled, and exhaled a few oversize smoke rings. And while they drifted across the open spaces of the newly renovated Twin Smoke Shoppe, I got to wondering:

Am I, or is it everybody else, that’s crazy?

Hmm… then again, if we weren’t all crazy, we’d just go insane. It’s just the way we are.

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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Plans are wasted; but planning is everything. And in a troubled world where we are paying more but getting less, we are pissed. But the real problem is we are lying hypocrites. We feel entitled. We pray on Sunday morning then rage on the road driving home. And United Airlines and Wells Fargo merely did unto us what we do unto others…

I don’t know how my father learned how to be the boss in starting and running his little chainsaw factory that, at times when contracts were due, employed a hundred men and women in those post-war labor-intensive days.

Perhaps it was because he was on his own, without anyone to lean on just after the Great War, with both his parents dead. Or, due to years of farming his many hundreds of acres and learning that: if you don’t nurture your crops, their bounty won’t yield. That if you abuse the cows, they won’t produce your milk. That if you don’t protect the sheep the wild dogs will kill them. That to get the most out of your farmhands, during their dawn to dusk toils, you had to be both firm and fair – to lead without being bossy.

In other words, don’t beat and smack the hired beast-of-burden… like he did his sons.

Hmm… but that’s a story for another day.

Today I am trying to figure out how my father, with only an engineering degree, managed.

He didn’t have an MBA or other professional pedigrees so mandated in this modern, soulless, business world. He wasn’t possessed with artifice or big on sophistication. His sense of humor was constricted. He couldn’t deliver a joke. And admittedly in his early years he fumbled his way through.

I think his only concern was building a great product, whether it was the budding one-man chainsaw, or the incipient riding lawnmowers.

Indeed, he was a cantankerous, backhand-and-forehand SOB to my brother and me. But in business and with his employees, as well as former fellow farmers down on their luck, I think he was a definition of toughness but goodness…

After all, goodness is about character — integrity, honesty, generosity, moral courage, and the like. But more than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. You know, the fallow Golden Rule that’s ‘misconstrued’ these days on Wall Street, Main Street, the Boardroom, Congress, Big Business, as well as the guy giving you the finger down the highway: To do unto ‘dem’ others before dem others do it unto you.

In basic street terms it’s refined down to: Go f-k yourself.

But apparently my bourbon sippin’, corncob-puffing Pappy was more conflicted. Certainly my brother-duh-heart-doc and I witnessed only his dour side. That is, with us he was implacable. We failed miserably at any attempt to please him. And, to say the least, he was hazardous.

We may have thought he was a truculent, raging high-tempered, pugnacious maniac who punished swiftly, severely and stridently. But with his customers and workers in his manufacturing plant there was a magnanimous uprightness.

And the factory responded. Even though it is said that the only time some people work like a horse is when the boss drives them.


Now I bet you know damn well where contemptuous, cynical me is going with all this.

But of course!

Then again… with folks taking a break from pornography to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft week, you may have missed the ‘naughty-boss’ and ‘corporate-bad-boy’ stories raging in the news these days.

But for those of us who noticed, we are just indignant! Aghast! Even more appalled than at the horrifying Syrian abomination (though Putin claims it is ‘fake news’ from a country absolutely positive there were WMD’s in Iraq) of al-Assad sarin gassing and killing his own fellow men, women and children.

But, of course, I am talkin’ bout those latest of the latest ‘impious,’ corporate ‘sins.’ Those of Wells Fargo Bank and United Airlines screwing its very own customers.

Ouch!… Am I hurting you, babe?

Tsk-tsk! Imagine that. And with Big Business – especially airlines and banks – already ranking just ahead of ‘dead-last’ Congress in the Gallup polls of institutions Americans love to hate.

And, with the ‘Orwellian’ misspeak by the CEOs of Wells Fargo and United fueling the public’s fury, should I also mention here that: Between 1978 and 2015, as the country’s average worker’s pay increased by a mere 10 percent, CEO pay rose by more than 940 percent.


But please, don’t get me wrong here. So tamp down your adjustable-rate of petulant, self-righteous exasperation. Let he who is without sin quit casting bullshit. Afterall your pension plans and 401Ks, mortgages, investments, and lots of utter stuff has lots of skin in this game.

In one way or another we are all complicit here.

Let’s just admit that we share in the blame. So don’t be two-faced and embolden yourself with a holier than thou false impression. Especially in the money mirror. No amount of pancake make-up can disguise that we are all prostitutes and whores, whether to the boardroom, the big stockholders or to the boss who signs our minimum-wage paychecks so that we can pay down our overloaded credit cards.

Hey, those lowly 5,300 ‘fired’ Wells Fargo employees falsely opening up millions of fake bank accounts in trying to meet those unmeetable demands by their big-bonus bosses, well understood what they were doing ‘unto others.’

But it’s just like you pray and beg while rolling the craps dice: ‘Lordy… Lordy… Lordy… Baby-needs-a-new-pair-of-shoes!’

And don’t try to convince me that you were just following orders. Or that you think your boss was absolutely stupid. The fact is you probably wouldn’t have had a job if he was any smarter.


And meanwhile, where were those good Christian-Muslim-Jewish Samaritans on that United flight out of Chicago the other night?

If they really ‘believed!’ that the 69-year old Doctor, shockingly being dragged and pummeled from the seat he paid for, absolutely had to get back to his patients in Kentucky then why didn’t they stand up. And demonstrate some of dear ol’ Pappy’s good old-fashioned leadership and goodness.

You know: make that imperious, belligerent United supervisor a deal the bitch couldn’t refuse – especially on behalf of the unfriendly skies, reaping record profits while literally ‘squeezing’ every indignity out of customers.

If United unquestionably needed 4 seats to transport crewmembers in order to get a United flight out of Louisville, then inform this haughty airline fascist that: In return for the 4 ‘favors’ you pay us each $1,000 and immediately Uber us the 300 miles to Louisville.

Sound good? Then ‘come-on down!’

Look we know we’re bending over to get screwed from Wall Street, to Main Street to the washed out whores down the street. And, for the most part, we’ve long surrendered and are just relieved those O’hare airport security guards in Chicago weren’t knocking out ‘my’ teeth.

Afterall, it’s not as if we haven’t seen this before – last week, last month, last year. United and Wells Fargo are merely the latest distressing twits caught on Twitter, e-mail paper trails and cell phone cameras, documenting the rampant bestiality in our nation of sheep.

All too soon another crooked politician will be reelected just before being sent to jail. It’s no secret we live under the thumb of banks too big to fail and airline monopolies that are given the only routes to get us from here to there.

We are controlled and manipulated by the same corrupt credit rating agencies that fraudulently kept providing triple AAA’s to Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns as their toxic derivatives sent an entire country – not to mention Western civilization — into despair.


Everybody lies. And, for the most part, most of us would too if it comes down to who benefits – them or us. I mean, businessmen will claim that what they do is for the public good, but you know they’re just doing it for their personal greed.

And it’s done, mostly, all over the world in the same manner, way and means – give or take.

When someone falsely chirps: It ain’t duh money, honey, it’s the principle… it’s the money, honey. Your money. Your kids’ college money. Your Mom and Dad’s retirement money. Your insurance money. And, once again, even your pension money invested in their stock portfolios.

The point is that if all you expect from people is disappointment, how can you ever be disappointed? And most of us have got to wonder how it is we cannot be disappointed in ourselves. Which no doubt keeps the booze and drugs flowing.

What really is saddening is that we are such cheap f-ks. And always were. It all comes down to the same 30 pieces of silver — which scholars have determined that in today’s money amounts to somewhere between $90 to $3,000.

Hmm… obviously, ‘cheap’ ain’t just a marshmallow Easter candy.

Or do I mean, Peeps?

Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The truth is we are all greedy in our DNA. We feel a sense of entitlement. And we hate to be inconvenienced – particularly with inconvenient truths. You know: Deny, deny, deny – until you settle out of court, without admitting your guilt.

And if you’re still surprised that we live in a world where our service leaders are worried more about their stock and dividends than they are about service, then you must be swallowing too many corporate slogans. Like at Wells Fargo where they promise the customer ‘comes’ first.

Yeah… but only in porno movies.

But was it good for you, too?


Meanwhile, there is one last point to note. Most of the information about Wells Fargo and United and duh rest of the ‘who’s-sorry-now’ corporate disasters, was brought to us via information — from long investigations by major newspapers, and snapshots by social media.

It is too soon to tell if these incidents of abject malfeasance will give rise to a movement to reform and regulate these de facto monopolies; or, if these episodes were simply the latest shimmering objects to catch the public’s attention.

But the real problem seems to be the uncivilized way we treat each other in general. If we can do this to a random person on a plane, or to a hallowed personal bank account, how far are we from being able to fatally screw each other over nothing?

It makes us appear as if we really are less than human and more like sheep… nonchalantly munching away, ignoring the wolf munching down on the ewe right next to us.

Our political ‘leaders’ do nada, no matter what federal committees they’re on. Only after they read-all-about-it, or hear the news about what they should have been doing, do they come charging down like the cavalry to assault the wounded.

But only, of course, if the TV cameras are rolling.

Think about that next time the Gallup Poll surveys you about who do you trust. And try to remember that a good leader, as well as a good follower, takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.


And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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Old age is like everything else — to make a success of it you’ve got to start young. The real sadness of ‘old’ age isn’t that you change so much, it’s that you change so little… Hmm… It is said that a man is as old as he feels and a woman is as old as she looks. Well, this weekend I’m gonna find out…

I received a summons to North Carolina the other week. It’s for a reunion and state awards ceremony this coming weekend at UNC in Chapel Hill involving some folks I practically started out with in journalism. Back when we were young… and invigorated… and full of self-prophesy.

And it has caused me to be feeling my age – which is way past that tropism that 40 is the old age of youth… and 50 is the youth of old age. Because now that I’m steeped into my 60s I can only swear that I am going to live forever – or die trying.

Hmmm… pretty soon my age will probably catch up to my diminished IQ. Or, as a friend was ribbing me with yesterday: ‘Those enlargement pills must be working. Because now you are twice the dick you were last week.’

In other words, lately I have been not only feeling old… but also crotchety. Especially because recently I was trying to do two counterintuitive things at once: think and walk. And tortuously reinjured my knee slipping down my steep wooden steps.

It’s an old ‘war’ wound from college intramural sports. And then it got more than a tad exacerbated from that bullet badly grazing my knee when I stumbled into a religious war years back in West Africa.

So life progresses. From wounds to scars to heart bypasses to my last ex-wife trying to poison me.


She insanely told the perplexed docs I tried to commit suicide. But of course! And then I made the docs laugh when I jokingly responded: I must be like that convicted felon who is given a choice, by the court, of which way to die – electric chair, gas chamber, hanging… or to be injected with the deadly AIDS virus. And he chooses the injection. And when the guard is taking him away asks why? That is, why would you choose the most heinous, egregious, painful way to die? And the felon smirks: I’m safe. I’ll be wearing a condom.

Hmm… old age really is like a shipwreck… don’t you think? Sinking… eroding… from a young gift of nature to an old work of art. Needless to say that in our youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us. Particularly venal, vapid, vicious ex-wives.

But I’m sure I deserved it. And perhaps that’s one of my many problems – everything is a grand adventure that turns into a joke.

Yet through all that the real sadness of ‘older’ age is not that I’ve changed so much, it’s that I’ve changed so little. Like most of the rest of you.


And now I am limping painfully… with a cane. And my doctor told me the same thing he told me nearly 15 years ago: I need an operation. And I told him again: I ain’t getting transgendered. I actually said something about me being pusillanimous, which I thought was about the same thing.

Hmm… And no matter how youthful we dress and try to act, the fact remains that we all die in pieces. And another piece of me is apparently dying.

Obviously getting old ain’t for sissies! Especially if you’re already pusillanimous.

Even worse was that enticing woman I met the other night in that new beer brewery which recently opened just a few doors down from me in South Philadelphia. And the more beer we consumed the better we looked to one another.

She’s been tooting the clarinet for the Detroit Symphony the last 10 years. And comes to Philadelphia annually to get her woodwind overhauled. Philly, especially with its internationally acclaimed Curtis Music Institute, has long been a global workshop for this.

As she so informed me.

And in our continuing random conversation I also learned that her father, ‘a successful scientist but failed businessman’ had found a young, mail-order Russian bride. And decided that since he didn’t have much going for him here, relocated to Russia with his newlywed arm-candy and her 9-year-old son.

Hmm… Now why does that seem just grand to me?

Anyway, after 40 minutes of dis-and-dat I was about to suggest we continue conducting our symphony back at my place. But just as I stood up from my barstool my damn left knee decided to orchestrate some virtue… and collapsed. And down I went like a wounded duck, quacking and flapping on the cement floor.

And then this woman – I think her name was Shannon – in attempting to assist, ended up patronizing me – almost like I was her damn grandfather.

But of course! Her grandfather! And our ‘mood’ diminished and died like Viagra after 4 hours. So she paid her bar bill and, basically, fled.

And I slowly limped my way home.

And now I am about to limp down to North Carolina to drink, eat, make a wonderful ass of myself and gaze upon all those age-lines of regrets etched into the faces of former cohorts. Indeed, the closing years of life are like a masquerade party when the masks drop away. I just wonder if I’ll look as old to them as they will to me.

Probably not. Simply because I don’t have many regrets.

Hmm… I mean, life is just life… right? The party doesn’t end until the Russian vodka meets political correctness.


I think my only real lament is that I still haven’t quite created a fully-satisfying surfeit of mischief. After all, you can only be young once, but you can immature forever.

So I’m planning to stop off in Richmond, Va., to see an old ex. She’s living with one of my best ex friends from high school whose own wife became an ex after she caught him with my ex. And then there’s another old ex in Chapel Hill, who’s married to my best ex-friend from Carolina. And they have been x-ing me outta their lives the last 35 years.

Hmm… If you’re counting all those X’s without the O’s you’ll understand why my game plan has always had so many illustrious pitfalls — it’s always been poorly designed and a tad offensive. Then again people do get offended so easily. So I ain’t apologizing. Because they obviously can’t take a joke. And a good joke’s gotta offend somebody… eh?

Hey, you’re never too old to be younger. That is if you’ve kept your sense of humor.

So, here I am, packing my bag and mandated dress suit and tie to trek down and confirm something I already know: That once you are over the hill… you pick up speed.

In a way I’m excited, I mean, even politicians, ugly buildings and whores get respectable if they get old enough. And like I already said: Old age is like everything else; to make a success of it you’ve got to start young.

And I did…

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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News Flash: The good wolf and the evil wolf engaged in a mortal battle to the death. Day and night they ripped and tore at each other’s flesh. Hmm… This is not a fake news story. Just like Trump is President and you’re not… Soooo, guess who won?

Maybe it didn’t quite happen that way… But this is just the way I remember it.

During a beer break from the storm of Trump’s denials — of any Russian connections, as well as everybody but Trump’s denial of any Obama wiretaps, and the Congressional denial of Trump’s alternate healthcare plan — this tallish, dark, gaunt guy with long, black, stringy hair and black rim glasses clumped into Grumpy’s corner bar…

And he was scowling.

I don’t think Tommy meant anything by it. He’s just one of those intense human raptors who thinks he’s got life figured out. But just can’t figure out – sometimes — how to pay his rent… not to mention his healthcare premiums.

And Joe, the fellow perched on the stool beside me, who’s overly protective of his big-breasted, songbird girlfriend, regularly warbling during this karaoke night, poked me with one of his fleshy elbows. And then he nodded his way towards the sullen Tommy.

And while I may have momentarily mis-thought that Joe was about to lend some nourishing insight into the furrows of the Tommy’s gloomy character — as well as the forlorn of the ‘popular-voters’ of the country — Joe dispelled that misconception quicker than a Trump Twitter tantrum.

After all, this was Grumpy’s, where most of the intellectual stimulation among the steroid muscles and sagging tattooed breasts, consists of counting along with Big Bird. And definitely not exercising its minimum patriotic duty – that is getting their cellulite butts off their barstools… and voting.

Hmm… Then again, neither did 47 percent of the rest of the country’s eligible electorate.

Anyhow, so Joe, whose mental gerbil has been known to sleep-at-the-wheel, said to me:

“That’s the kind of arm-length tattoo I wanna get.”

But of course! North Korea’s launching missiles, and Joe’s launching another tattoo!

Hmm… Talk about denial. By the way, have you ever noticed that drinking makes such fools of people? And people are such fools to begin with that it’s compounding a felony. Then again when I’m not sober I like all g-d’s creatures… I just like some better when they’re stuffed…

Now to me, tattoos are nothing more than bumper stickers for the body. Admittedly they can make a corpse better looking. Which goes along with my conviction that most folks are merely corpses — having died by age 25, but somehow manage to hang around to 75 to get buried.

That is just after one last afternoon of 3 more football games and 8 bags of Doritos.

Nevertheless, just because I don’t have any vainglorious tattoos adorning my pallid, aging torso doesn’t mean I’m not amazed by them now and then. Like with that German woman in Berlin I told you about a few years back. She had a large “W” tattooed on the inside of each of her luscious thighs. You know, up there close to the putting green. And when you went down for a closer survey of the lay of the land it gloriously spelled: “W-O-W!”

Now there was a tattoo that makes a man putt for dough.


Anyway, I asked Tommy, whom I discovered enjoys nattering about how he’s been spending his life overcoming childhood, to show me his tattoos. They were half-covered by his half-rolled up sleeves. And without a second of preponderance, he whittled himself down to his muscle-man t-shirt – without duh muscles.

Hmm… And these are undoubtedly the guys, like Keith Richards, who are most likely to survive a nuclear holocaust.

In the dim light I couldn’t quite make out the potpourri on his left arm. But on his right, from his shoulder to a few inches from his wrist was a large wondrous wolf baying at the moon.

At that Tommy posed: “You do know the story of the two wolves, don’t you?”

Tommy didn’t pause for an answer… except to wonder if I was buying him another pitcher of beer. Any beer. I don’t think he’s ever found a beer he doesn’t like.


And then his story unfolded about how this elderly Apache chief was telling his youthful grandson about these two great wolves. One represented all the evil, ignominy, sinister, pernicious malevolence in the world. And the other symbolized all the goodness, altruism, mercy and grace.

And one night the two lofty wolves engaged in mortal combat. Their battle raged for days and nights… and more days and nights. Up the Dakotas, and down the Rockies. Fur flew. Blood spilled. Bones were crunched.

Finally the wide-eyed Apache grandson implored his grandfather to tell him who ultimately won.

The grandfather smiled shrewdly, and simply replied: ‘The one you feed.’

Hmm… No shit! Tommy’s dark eyes sort of smiled. And so did mine.

Tommy searched my appreciative face as he repeated: “The one you feed… the one you nourish…” Apparently he didn’t bother to search Joe’s puzzled mug. I swear there’s a ‘For Rent’ sign hanging on his forehead.

Anyway, I smiled in wondrous approbation. I mean, at first I had smugly figured: That’s a pretty complex thought for someone who probably has to write ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the bottom of his shoes. But then, of course, it’s well known that sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of, who do and say the very things no one can imagine.

But of course!

Perhaps I should repeat that – and often. In other words, I know I can be an effete snob. But I have learned that if you hold a person like me underwater long enough, I stop being an asshole.

Which sort of brings me to The Donald… He be duh President even if he didn’t win Mister Popularity. And it’s no secret that in my drain-em, kill-em and definitely don’t let-em propagate mode I definitely voted for The Donald the old-fashion, Philadelphia way – twice.

And this, of course, has made me the butt of some less-than-good-natured ribbing from some of my erstwhile journalist cohorts. They wonder if my brain is still under warranty. And, naturally, I wonder if they, like Dr. Bruce Banner and The Hulk, were exposed to too many gamma rays when their supercilious Hillary experiment imploded.


And a day or two after Tommy and I quickly discovered that the more beer we drank the better we understood one another, some of these very journalists were poking me with: I’d like to know when it was in your life that you came to that fork in the road where reality was to the left… and you took a sharp right…

Hey, I resemble that!

“Soooo… whaddaya think of your emperor, now?” they practically demanded to know.
They sort of sounded like Edward G. Robinson in “The 10 Commandments”, didn’t they?

“I think it’s all going according to plan,” I said. “But like a Shakespearean play I wonder who’s going to be left to tell the story. In other words who’s going to be able to separate the ideology and the facts.”

“We are!” they practically harmonized like a barber shop quartet.

Oh, yeah, I countered. And if I drink enough you’ll start making sense. Sooo, I explained to them that Trump is a work-in-progress. As an outlier and businessman he’ll figure out how to make Washington work for him… and the rest of us.

And if he doesn’t, I continued, the country still wins. Look what’s happening: People are suddenly getting involved; Protests are raging; More women than ever are stepping up, and running for office; And I am certain that most of the 47% who didn’t vote last November will be voting next November.

For him, or against him, Trump has lit a bonfire up our asses. This is how a Republic is supposed to work. And if he does build ‘The Wall’ I hope he builds it out of solar panels. Then we could charge Mexico for the electricity it desperately needs in its hard-scrabbled areas…

“Hey, it’s the 60’s revolution happening 50 years later.” I then also noted: “It’s even working in Russia.”

They didn’t need to remind me that in the Trump-White-House that may have been an unfortunate reference.

“So you’re saying that any good that Trump may be doing is like reverse patriotism,” asserted Erik from USAToday.

Reverse. Upside down. Inside out. What-duh-hell, what-duh heck!

For 50 years the rich have gotten richer; the poor poorer. Our taxes have gone up. Our schools have gone down. More jobs have gone overseas, and less jobs have come home. This isn’t just what the Democrats or Republicans have done to us. This is what we have done to ourselves. We get the government we deserve… by watching too much football — and not voting.

“It’s like the bad wolf and good wolf waging war,” I said to Erik

“Oh, yeah, it all comes down to the one you feed.”

“You know the tale?” I was impressed.

Erik sniffed back: “Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.”

I don’t know what the heck Erik was talking about. It sounded he hadn’t had his after-work four beers, yet. Either that or he was quoting Mark Twain – again!

Sheesh, it just goes to show you, Trump may be on to something. Those ‘other’ journalists may think they know everything but they don’t know nuttin’ about ‘alternate truths.’ And maybe next time their ‘popular majority’ won’t take the once ‘silent (electoral college) majority’ for granted. For we all have needs – no matter what bathroom we use.

And, as an omniscient man who still imbibes like a journalist, I must admit that President Trump’s real troubles aren’t with the media, but with some of the ‘facts.’ And some more that may be soon forthcoming.

But to tell you the truth, that doesn’t really matter much to me. Because, like I said of Tommy: It’s well known that sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of, who do and say the very things no one can imagine.

Which is why I voted for The Donald in the first place.

Hmm… If I have offended your sense and sensibilities… all I can say is: Get over it! And if I haven’t, I’ll keep on trying.

I know Donald will.

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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Sometimes something happens that makes you realize the human race is not as bad as it seems. Then again, drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with that it’s compounding a felony. Hmm… And, as my pastor espoused: ‘We may have a new President, but we’ve still got the same old G-d.’ So ‘drink’ for me – I’ll be the only Trump guy at the family Thanksgiving table…

The advertisement boomed from the radio almost as a brief respite from all the blaring news about the cries-of-duh-unfittest protesting Trump’s election… and petitioning the Electoral College not to cast their votes for him in December.

The radio ad, promoting a university medical study to help you with drug and alcohol problems, asked: ‘Are you drinking more than you want to?’

And I immediately roared: “Hell, no! I ain’t drinking enough!”

And obviously neither are most of these fools.

I figure if I ever do drink sufficiently then hopefully some of these damn jackasses will start making sense – especially those crying a Niagara Falls as if another 911 plane crashed into the new Freedom Tower skyscraper that replaced the World Trade towers.

Besides…! What’s-a-matter with you? Big girls don’t cry. There’s no crying in politics. You’re acting like Reagan just got re-elected after reawakening from one of his many 20-year, afternoon naps. Or, stop duh world I wanna get off, Jimmy Carter finally stopped praying about what to do in Iran. And you really want bad?! Let’s bring that Bush kid back – and his V.P. Dick! — and go invade Bermuda… or Elba… or anybody else that ain’t got no weapons of mass destruction.

Man-o-man, as my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy used to roar just before walloping me practically toothless: ‘You want something to cry about?! I’LL give you sumtin’ to cry about!’

Sheesh! Our dentist got rich.

Hey, the fact is about the only thing I don’t trust about Trump is that he actually DOESN’T drink. I mean that’s the same reason I don’t trust camels, either… or anything else that can go 7 days without kicking back and chugging the elixir of the gods.

Hell, folks, we got ourselves a man who not only don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs… he also don’t care one damn casino chip that some 2 million more of you voted for Hillary. Because he still won. And that’s the system – the same system that allowed him to legally declare bankruptcy, and enabled Hillary to declare she didn’t know nuttin’-honey about no emails. It’s the same system that’s been broken for Hillary’s last 30 years of public service and nobody’s gotten around to fixing it…

Or most anything else.

Hmm… And I wonder why…

And the trouble with all you ‘Never Trump’ folks seems to be that you are definitely three drinks behind me. At least. You gotta quit overdosing on so much coffee. Drink your bourbon straight. You’ll get used to it. It’ll still be the best part of waking up… and remembering that 47 percent of you DID NOT VOTE!

But of course!

Please… all you people on saltpeter bemoaning Trump ought to just go into the bathroom and grab yourself by the crotch… and be thankful that it ain’t Hillary’s. Because, as some famous guy somewhere undoubtedly uttered: Nothing is ever as good as it feels, and tomorrow ain’t gonna be as bad as it seems.

You got that?

Besides, the only thing demonstrated by running a person like Hillary was that the Democrats, this time, were obviously trying to sell us some supertanker of ‘overruns’ of leftovers of bad t-shirts. You know, like the ones at the seashore with an arrow pointing and stipulating: ‘I’m with stupid!’

I mean, can anyone tell me why, out of the million or more honorable, eligible, qualified and electable women in America, why was it that only Bill was able to find a few who were better?


Look, the earth is still spinning. The sun is still shining. The stock market didn’t crash. Your dog didn’t get fried for dinner. And Trump is still sleeping with Melania… in duh Big House.

Meanwhile, what I don’t understand – and never will – is all those folks who are absolutely certain they are smarter than the rest of us supposedly deceived fools. And they just can’t believe that life didn’t go as they planned for us. In other words no manifest destiny.

Well, all I can say is: life is life. Truman beat Dewey. Daly stole Chicago for JFK. And Trump was proven correct when he said the system is rigged.

Hey, I don’t wanna gloat, or even remind you, that even though I voted for Obama before, this time I definitely put my chips on red. After all, America wasn’t created by a bunch of pusillanimous poseurs of parsimonious patriotism. We’ve killed, battled and dueled for what we are – a flawed country, indeed, but the only one where little men can still attain big dreams.

Hell, socialism is where we are all miserable together. We never were supposed to be Europe or anybody else trying to historically preserve its tattered past. In America change, itself, is the value we hold dearest.

In fact, change may be our most important value. Things in America are definitely supposed to be bigger, better, cheaper, different, phenomenal, magnificent, powerful…and yes, even ‘Yuge!’

If we think we can… then we CAN. There is nothing so big an American shouldn’t be able to visualize. And attain. Everything and anything should always be possible here where idealism is almost inherent in our psyche.

Lincoln proved that and kept the country together. JFK proved that and broke the Catholic barrier. Obama proved that and bridged the racial divide. And now Trump proved that a political outlier, a man who did things his way, who grabbed life by more than just its balls, may be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together… again.

Indeed, it is worth giving him a shot. After all how much worse can things be for a guy who everyday always has a bad hair day?

Hmm… Meanwhile…

This Thanksgiving holiday I’ll be visiting my brother-duh-heart-doc and his wife-duh-family-lawyer, their children and grandchildren, as well as other relatives all gathered together in San Francisco to break bread and pretend we like each other.


Also, I will be the only Jewish drop-out there. A Jewish drop-out is a guy who didn’t get his Ph.D. Which seems apropos since I will also be the only person there to have voted for Trump.

Of course, I will patiently indulge them and their fashionably liberal palaver – even though they readily recoil in horror whenever I tell them that you can never be too crazy, but you can be too sane. It’s what makes America great! Yet, they look at me aghast like I am some Moby Dick about to splash through their flawless California wine cellars and ship their children off to a kibbutz… where actual manual labor is required.


By the end of my stay and imbibing, we will have once again agreed that change is the only constant in life… as long as it’s change they don’t abjure. And that the two things people hate most in life are: the way things are… and change.

Yet, they also will again assess me rather dourly when they try to reckon why even a not-so-nice-Jewish boy like me has been praying with 4,200 congregants, at an all but me and one other white guy, black Baptist Church the last 10 years.

Like, what duh hell?

And so I’ll have to tell them what the pastor ended his sermon with the other Sunday: ‘We may have a new President, but we’ve still got the same old G-d.’


And that seems to be another good reason to drink heavily… even if the Baptist aren’t supposed to recognize each other at the liquor store.


And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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We usually don’t get what we want, but what comes. And what’s-a-coming in a few days is troubling. Then again, like my venerable Louisiana cousin recently informed me: ‘Trouble is the nature of all things. We can’t help ourselves. Hell, even a fish wouldn’t get into trouble if it kept its mouth shut.’ Sooo… let’s make trouble… and vote like me… and Jerry.

There was a scream. It shattered the still, midnight air. And pierced the emptiness everywhere. The shriek boiled over like the howling of an urgent train whistle. But no police sirens followed. No neighbors flipped on their lights, or gathered about.

For they had heard and seen it before. So they recognized it. Like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” the second most recognizable painting after da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” They knew what they damn well knew: That more often than not we don’t get what we want, but merely what comes.

And with what’s coming in a few days we don’t know whether to scream or whisper. Because one has become politically incorrect. And the other falls on deaf ears, like in a cemetery, where both whispers and screams often get buried.

Hmm… and such is as it was the other weekend at a family reunion. Just a few days before the damn — but clear-to-me — choice between Hillary and The Donald. And I was facing yet another dilemma of a potential breach of etiquette: I didn’t know whether to bitch-slap the ‘harlot’ or spank her ‘partner.’

Indeed, the pernicious choices we face. And it was all in the family, too.

Go figure. And all this time I have candidly believed that family, like friendship, is non-negotiable. You know, just be a decent person and accept the flaws and ‘idiot-syncracies’ in others. Even the one… or two… thousand roiling in moi. At least according to my exes.


We had congregated at cousin Mike’s home in the stone house suburb just across the city line where the democrats from Philadelphia have been creeping into.

We gathered to host three relatives on my Father’s side who I had never met until a couple of days before. They were from Louisiana, but since Katrina drowned their homes a dozen or so years ago now hale from Dallas. That’s in Texas for those of you mis-educated in our flailing public schools. It’s also where many of my Louisiana clan have relocated over the years. That and Houston.

There were about 20 or so of us. And although some of the gathering cousins I vaguely recognized from my sober childhood days, there was one woman, with a constant look of surprise on her puzzled face. And I felt the need to introduce myself. You know, perhaps she was sick or abroad during my heydays of print journalism.

But of course!

I think she said her name was Eileen. And then she immediately informed me she was Barbara’s – a cousin I hadn’t seen since we were prepubescent kids 50 years ago – ‘partner.’

“That’s nice,” I offered. Like, okay, that settles that.

But at that she insisted on inquiring if I understood what ‘partner’ meant. Like she was about to reveal some fundamental fact that hasn’t been already scrawled on the walls of public toilets.

So, I bit my wise-ass tongue and decided not to say something on the order — which I swear I didn’t say but merely thought – during one of Mike’s previous little galas of his erstwhile TV news friends who invited me, no doubt, to examine how a real, non-vegan, print journalist can hold so much liquor. And a shit storm ensued when a screaming and obviously mind-reading associate producer had imbibed one more potent cosmopolitan than she could hold. And she actually tried to tackle me.

Now that was a party.

But I promised Mike I’d be ‘reserved’ and muzzle my affliction of wit.

Sooo… this time to Eileen’s query I only replied: “Yeah, it means you play for the other team.”

Eileen’s big ol’ cow eyes blinked once or twice while the rose in her cheeks burned to rosy ashes. And then she spun and made her way a tad quickly to the other side of the room.

Gee… and here I was being so non-contrarian. I even poured myself another drink and plopped down next to Jerry. He’s the 88-year-old Louisiana-now-Dallas cousin who Mike and I gave a tour of Philadelphia with his middle-aged daughter and son-in-law two days before. He is also a first-cousin of ‘partner’ Barbara’s mother who turned 93 the day of the family reunion.

And, by the way, Jerry is a real, deep-South good ol’ boy who I was charmed by the moment we exchanged ‘howdy’.

He is a Trump fan. And so am I by way of default. Indeed, Trump may be an asshole, but Hillary is the stuff you flush. I mean, didn’t she and Bill supposedly steal the silverware when they departed the White House last time?

Anyway Jerry and I got to discussing Trump. And in desultory fashion we both got to pointing out that the Democratic Party has long taken Black Americans for granted. And that de facto segregation of most minorities is still rampant. And that I had switched my party registration back before the primaries in order to vote for Trump. Partly because I am sick of the castrating political correctness. And, also because we are really missing an opportunity here to hold forth and have a real and honest discussion on the failures of so-called progressivism and the overall leadership of the country.

And even though I had voted for Obama, we both strongly felt there needed to be real change, a real shake-up in Washington. And that would require a guy who is beholding to nobody. And here is never-can-be-too-crazy Trump who has been a Democrat and a Republican. And now they both hate him. So he must be doing something right.

And just then Barbara walked by, and was about to sit with us. But instead she yelped something on the order of: ‘You guys are voting for Trump! I’m not talking to you!’

And she, like her partner Eileen had before, skirted away. But not before I smiled and laughed: “Well I guess we’ll talk again in another 50 years.”

Hmm… Family… I am told it’s still illegal to shoot em… or leave them hanging from a tree. Sooo… you just have to smother them (to death) with love.

Yet, it was as if some fundamental fact about Barbara – and perhaps some aberrant family DNA — had been exposed. Even aging Jerry didn’t seem able to lasso the possibility that Barbara may have been a tad shortchanged with the cerebral dexterity to see the humor in all this. Because it really is farcical. All the shouting and shooting about ‘Crooked’ Hillary and ‘Misogynist’ Trump. And these, laughably, being the ‘best’ two candidates we could conjure up to lead the free world.


They’re both troubling. They both lie when their lips move. “But what do you expect,” teased Jerry thru a coursing drawl, “it’s the nature of all things. Hell, even a fish wouldn’t get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.”

You know, I never quite thought of it that way.

The point is Jerry and I were merely having a discussion that anyone could join from any point of view. But like the trouble in Washington and with our prevailing two party system it seems that politics has turned poisonous, into a real blood sport that pervades our neighborhoods and, obviously, even our families.

It’s all about winning and not about country. Obviously we have quickly forsaken what JFK exhorted us to ask with what we can do for our country. And not the other way around.

At that Jerry and I looked at one another and tried to figure out why do the haters always scream loudest? And Jerry then noted that “it is the people who scream the loudest about America and Freedom who seem to be the most intolerant for a differing point of view.”

Well… that narrows it down… to most of us.

But since Jerry was easy to make laugh I suggested that perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wavelength of ours all they’ll hear is a continuous scream.

“And that’s because we’re all drowning,” I told him. “And unless we do something drastic – like elect an outlier like Trump – there isn’t a lifeboat big enough to rescue us. So most of us are screaming in the wind. Because when you’re drowning you don’t say: ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me.’ You just scream!”

Jerry sort of eyed me wisely, like I was giving him paralysis by over analysis. And then he wondered with a sly smile creasing his cheeks: “You’re not talking about sex now, are you, son? Because I only scream during sex.”

I don’t know,” I replied with a chuckle. “Sometimes I get them confused.”

At this juncture Jerry felt he needed to wipe the smile off his aging face. And puncture me with a thought or three.

He pointed out that the country’s woes have been galloping in for the last 30 years. And that both parties are more than a little bit pregnant with blame.

“So you have to ask,” he said, lightly smacking his right hand into his still calloused left palm. “That after 25 to 30 years of Hillary and the rest of them: Are you better off? Are we better off? Is the country better off? Is anyone but Hillary and those other politicians and bankers better off? Really?

“Because if we are, then you have to really wonder why is she, with just a few days to go, still in a neck-to-neck, photo-finish, horse race with a bombastic, insecure pussy snatching, political dilettante, scoundrel, billionaire businessman whose had even more bankruptcies than wives and Bill’s infidelities?”

And leaning towards me he beckoned to know: “You following me down this bending river?”

Wow! No shit…

“Can you repeat all that,” I laughed. “I mean that was way above my pay grade.”

“Seriously,” he said. “You don’t think folks are really fed up?”

Half-heartedly I admonished: “Jerry, we get the government we deserve. And as long as folks keep masturbating to football games you ought to be damn happy that you’ve got more yesterdays than tomorrows. Because nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Which is why Viagra is so popular, isn’t it? It keeps us going when we’re long past lasting — and without having to work for it.”

I’m not sure even I understood the point I was making. But Jerry seemed to. And he went off on a tangent about everybody feeling entitled without having to really work for it. But our conversation soon ended as we all gathered around Jerry’s first cousin, and Barbara’s mother, Ruth, to sing happy 93rd birthday.

Hmm… I know there must be a metaphor in there somewhere about why some people grow older than the rest of us ‘without really working for it.’ Then again, is this an entitlement… or just an extension of our life sentence?

Anyway, a couple of days later Mike phoned and sarcastically wondered what I could have possibly said to Barbara and Eileen to roil them so much. But at the same time he admitted he honestly really didn’t want to know.

I simply told him I had no idea. But I may have suggested that if they play their cards right, they could probably also ‘partner’ up with Hillary. And Mike, who is a pusillanimous Hillary supporter, exhaled: “Gee. And you wonder why some people just fail to appreciate your humor.”

I said I honestly had no idea. Because at the same time the Louisiana-now-Dallas clan emailed me. They said I ‘really’ made their trip fun. And that they ‘really’ enjoyed meeting me.

And I simply replied: ‘I know.’


Isn’t that just a scream?!

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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A rich friend won’t report his wife’s stolen credit cards because the thief spends less than she does… I don’t worry about someone stealing my identity because no one wants to be me… Prometheus’ stealing fire is viewed as the foundation of all of man’s technologies. And then there was this marijuana cartel who wanted me to fly for them… for a steal!

I have trouble with stealing. Even though in yesterday’s, today’s and no doubt tomorrow’s world lying, stealing and cheating are pretty much common place. And I don’t wanna talk about my last ex-wife. Sheesh. She even stole my bad ideas, as well as ‘my’ identity.

Hmm… identity theft. Why in hell would anyone wanna be me? It’s like stealing a shopping cart. Another bad idea. And I’m sure all my adamant bill collectors have explained that to her.

Anyway, a handful of local restaurant, bar and other business proprietors were huffing and puffing at the Twin Smoke Shoppe in South Philadelphia the other day. They were nattering and chattering. About most everything from football to about a couple of their employees who seem to misplace some twenties from time to time: Instead of going into the cash register they went into his pocket or her pocketbook.

And when called out on it, the employees inevitably go: Whoops. I must have done that by mistake.

But of course! No doubt what my ex is telling all those bill collectors

To me petty theft is just petty. I’d rather steal $10 million dollars. And when I get out of jail, at least I’d be able to afford my life in South America.

Of course this discussion was merely a spill-over from The Donald and Hillary debates. Each accusing the other of lying, cheating and stealing. And no doubt doing to their spouses and other ‘great pieces of ass’ what they will inevitably do to the country.

Which brought to mind one of my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy’s snorts between one of his omniscient puffs on his omnipotent corn cob pipe: ‘If you learn how to give when you’re young, it is already second nature when you get older. Just like stealing. Start young and you keep on stealing forever. Look at our politicians.’


At this point I wasn’t about to get too philosophical with my fellow cigar chompers. I mean these guys are grand, but a tad short-circuited when it extends beyond the football sidelines. After all they were still utterly flabbergasted at how the referees absolutely stole victory from our Philadelphia Eagles the day before, causing the team to lose its first game this season.

Apparently the refs called a whopping 14 penalties on the Eagles while only 2 on the opponents.

Hmm… My-my. And in plain daylight, too.

And I had forgotten to watch it. Apparently TV viewership of NFL football, which is down 10 percent, is being stolen by other stuff. For me, that’s any stuff that’s not on TV.

Soooo… I thought about mentioning that it was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the 19th century French philosopher, who stipulated that everything is stolen, that all property is theft. It’s all stolen from somebody until it goes back and back to where nobody owned it. And that included stealing goods and services from the working man, artisan, craftsman, farmer, and all, whose toil, like his father’s, was robbed, raped, pillaged…

But I could just imagine the blank stares of incomprehension on their dour pusses through the cigar smoke. I might as well as be speaking French.

So instead of relating Proudhon, that libertarian socialist and journalist whose doctrines became the basis for later radical and anarchist theory, I enraptured their simple mental synapses on the order of drugs, sex and rock and roll.

And related my experience of more than a few years ago when one of the biggest marijuana distributors on the East Coast suggested I might want to fly an airplane for them.


I’m a pilot. And my grandest weakness is jumping into the fires of adventures. After all, it was just marijuana, which 25 years later is finally becoming legal in America. And never should have been outlawed. Hey, the only ‘victim’ here is the theft of weed from Mother Nature.

Besides, if the price is right, how could I go wrong?

Then again…

So I flew Tom, my artist friend, some of whose works were being purchased by the marijuana guys, to upstate New York to meet and greet. We were met at the airport by a big Columbian named Julio. He had high cheek bones and looked like one of their indigenous Indians who could survive easily in the jungle. And then eat you if food got scarce.

The estate was lost inside a heavily wooded forest. And it seemed like a Playboy mansion with sex, drugs and rock and roll everywhere. In the pool. On a pool table. Up against the trees…

Whoooeeee! Indeed, crime does have its momentary glorious heydays.

Anyway, the chief guy I was to meet was a fellow about my size and age playing eight-ball on one of the pool tables that wasn’t already ‘occupied.’ And he was cheating. That is, he was making up new rules so that he could win. And everyone was afraid to really challenge him. And he was a whiny wimp. Precisely the type of guy I never could enjoy. Then again, he was one of the three bosses.

And after a bit he cleared the room, including the couple coupling on another pool table.

And with just a couple of us – including Tom – remaining he laid it out for me. His cachè of former Vietnam pilots were organizing into a sort of union and getting too expensive for him.

And what he wanted me to do was fly something jumbo size, like a DC3, into some backwoods of Columbia. Wait while they loaded the plane with tons of ‘grass.’ Then fly back, at night, at a mere 100 feet above sea level, under the radar for at least 6 or 7 hours. Then by almost blind reckoning, find my way to this farmer’s field up in Georgia’s outback, where they would have a large bonfire lit to ‘guide’ me in. And then I was supposed to crash land the airplane. Hop on one of the several trucks loaded with the ‘cargo.’ And they would drop me back at civilization.


What duh hell?! What duh heck?! Might as well hang myself up by duh neck…

And for this, he said, they would pay me $100,000… in cash.

But of course.

And in the course of the conversation when I wondered how they nailed down the farmer and his field, he simply explained: ‘Oh, we pay him.’

How much?



Was it just me, or was I the only one in the room having a risk-reward dilemma. Did this guy truly understand the concept of theft of services? And, quietly, my little addled brain was screaming: No wonder the bloody Vietnam pilots were organizing!

Who did this fool think we were flying for: FedEx or UPS! He wanted us pilots for a steal!

Look, I understand that big business has a lot of big expenses. Even Hillary has to pay for all those designer clothes. And The Donald has to find someone to pay for that Wall. But little ol’ me is the one who will actually have to pay time – if caught… in jail… with guys with mean tattoos and steroid muscles.

Wisdom, having been defined in many ways, is also understanding the consequences.

And furthermore, the irony – at least to me – was that I was the only one there who wasn’t actually stealing anything. Or taking anything. From anybody. Wrong or not, that is what I was thinking. I mean, I would have liked to take one of those women in the pool. But that was it.

So I stood up and politely thanked him for the conversation. I didn’t want his man, Julio, packing me off in a car trunk. So far, everything had been on me. My time. My plane. My coming here. And I simply said I’d think about it. Even Tom was shocked by how surprisingly polite and cordial I had actually been. Especially in the face of the southbound end of northbound jackass.


In the still of the night, flying back to Philadelphia, down the Hudson River, over New York’s sea of lights that sparkled like diamonds (this was long before 911) Tom’s voice, from the co-pilots seat, asked if I was seriously considering it.

I laughed to myself before responding: “Did I ever tell you about that 19th century French radical philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon…”

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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