Monday, December 9, 2019

Drawing to a Flush

by Waymon DeStrange

It turns out President Trump is very concerned about water usage in the bathrooms of America. Who knew? He offered his thoughts on the subject while meeting with a group of small business owners with the cameras rolling. Water policy is vital, especially in California, so I rewound my DVR several times to make sure I captured the president word-for-word:

We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms…where you turn the faucets on, in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water where the water rushes out to sea because you can never handle it…and you turn on the faucet  and you don’t get any water…they take showers and the water comes dripping out…very quietly dripping out…people are flushing toilets ten times, fifteen times, as opposed to once…they end up using more water…so EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my direction….

The president continued his remarks, but I was stopped cold by his comment about the number of flushes. It seems he advocates a single flush. One and done. I guess he doesn’t subscribe to the concept of the “mercy flush.” Hopefully, for the first lady’s sake, they have separate bathrooms in the White House.

Let’s be clear: I’m totally against ten or fifteen flushes, except in the most extreme situations. But I think there is room for compromise here. How about two flushes as a standard? We could even promote the idea with baseball caps bearing the legend LAFT (Let America Flush Twice). The president could toss out the caps at his rallies.

The president mentioned the EPA and it's good to know it still exists. I thought the agency closed shop for good during the last government shutdown. I welcome EPA's strong attention to water usage in the bathroom. Let's persuade them to LAFT!


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Today’s Lesson

by Waymon DeStrange

It is amazing what you learn by watching the news. Today’s lesson was delivered by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She taught that she does not hate President Trump, that she has a heart full of love, and furthermore, "I pray for the president all the time.”

That really set me to thinking. I wish I could eavesdrop on Speaker Pelosi’s prayers to hear exactly what she says to God about the president. Of course, that is impossible. But it brought to mind two classic blessings that I am sure could form the foundation for an appropriate prayer.

The first comes from a plaque that hung on the wall of my friend Moira Higgins's home. It was titled, “An Irish Prayer.” I can’t remember word-for-word, so I’ll paraphrase:

God, bless our enemies, and turn their hearts so they no longer hate us. And if you can’t turn their hearts, turn their ankles so we will know them by their limping.

The second is from the classic scene at the beginning of “Fiddler on the Roof,” where the villagers flock around their beloved Rabbi, posing important questions:

Villager: Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Tsar?

Rabbi: [thoughtful pause] God, bless and keep the Tsar…far away from us!

Both blessings are good prompts for developing a suitable prayer. As for the last one, I’m sure you are thinking: Wait a minute…Pelosi is not Jewish…she’s Catholic. You are absolutely right. But in these divisive times, it is good to reach across the aisle.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Editors note: Before we get to the irrepressible Waymon DeStrange, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Stains on the Beltway

by Waymon DeStrange

I was watching cable news recently and heard speculation that President Trump was about to “…throw Rudy Giuliani under the bus.” Suddenly a question popped into my head: Is there a real bus, or is it simply metaphorical?

Remember the Access Hollywood bus? That one was real, and they tried to throw Donald Trump under it. He survived but his companion did not. Whatever happened to Billy Bush?

In the first debate of the Democratic candidates, Kamala Harris threw Joe Biden under the bus with a story about busing. As a child, she was bussed across town in Berkeley to achieve school integration. Once again, a very real bus.

I have a reliable source in Washington D.C., a janitor working on Capitol Hill. To protect his identity, we’ll just refer to him as Morrie the Mop. I decided to ask him about this “bus” that gets mentioned all the time.

DeStrange: Tell me, Morrie, is there really a bus that people get thrown under?

Mop: You’d better believe it, man. The President’s bus is out there, cruising slowly on the Beltway, going round and round. It is always ready if somebody needs to get tossed under.

DeStrange: No s—t?

Mop: Yep. The pavement is stained with the essence of those who have gone under. It’s a scary sight to see. There’s Spicer, Omorosa, Comey, Sessions, Tillerson, Mattis, McCabe, Cohen. The list goes on and on.

DeStrange: But those people are still alive!

Mop: Oh, going under the bus is seldom fatal. In fact, a lot of those people end up writing books that become best sellers in the blue states. But every now and then, it’s off to Bubbling Springs. Remember Jeffery Epstein?

DeStrange: Wow! How can you tell when this is going to happen?

Mop: Well, the dead giveaway is when POTUS says, “…I barely know so-and-so.” Not long after that, it’s out to the Beltway and under the bus.

DeStrange: Jeez, I had no idea.

Mop: Here’s another thing. There is more than one bus out there.

DeStrange: You’re kidding!

Mop: Nope. Rudy has a big one, and he may start tossing folks under it. But an even bigger one belongs to John Bolton. Watch out for Big John.

DeStrange: So, it’s all about who has the biggest?

Mop: Dude, when the elephants rumble the grass gets trampled. Know what I mean?

DeStrange: Thanks for the inside scoop, Morrie.

Mop: De nada, amigo. Now I gotta go clean Mitch McConnell’s private bathroom. See ya later, man.

And there you have it. Which brings me back to the question: Is President Trump about to throw Rudy Giuliani under the bus? If it happens, I think Rudy’s stain on the Beltway should be marked with a plaque, given his status and legacy. Something like this:

[ date ] On this spot, Rudolf W. Giuliani, “America’s Mayor,” was thrown under the bus, pursuant to an Executive Order issued by President Donald J. Trump. The President remarked, “I hardly know the man.”

Take it from Morrie the Mop: it’s a tough world out there. Watch out for those buses.  


Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Marathon, Not A Sprint

by Waymon DeStrange

I envy all the people who get up and head off to work every morning, leaving us retired folks to watch the marathon Impeachment Hearings. I could not turn away, so I found a way to cope. It involved popcorn, apple slices, and fun-size candy bars left over from Halloween. During breaks in the testimony, a sandwich and a bag of chips. Later in the day, a cold beer or two (I recommend BJ’s Jeremiah Red).

After two weeks of hearings, I’ve gained five pounds and my butt fell asleep at least four times. It is bad enough to have arthritic knees; now I have to deal with sleeping glutes as well.

As the gavel came down on Thursday, I was left with some questions. Did you see the small cut over Rep. Jim Jordan’s left eye? Did someone take a poke at the gentleman from Ohio? Perhaps a disgruntled wrestler? I wish a reporter would have asked.

Reporter: Rep. Jordan, what happened to your eyelid?

Jordan: Look, there are four facts that have not changed and will never change. It’s my eyelid, it has always been my eyelid, it always will be my eyelid, and it’s none of your dang business.

Reporter: Just askin’, Sir.

Jordan: Watch it, Fake News! Don’t make me roll up my sleeves.

Just when I thought we were going to get a break, Senator Lindsey Graham announced he is opening an investigation into Burisma and the Bidens. Oy vey! More hearings!

I intend to scour eBay and Craig’s List in search of a used stationary bike. I’ll hook the bike to a small turbine/generator, which in turn will power the TV. If I want to watch Hunter Biden testify, I’ll have to keep peddling. Hey, that’s better than gaining another five pounds.

In the age of Trump, it's all about coping skills.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What’s In A Name?

by Waymon DeStrange

One of the interesting items to come out of the Impeachment Hearings is the fact that the name of the Ukrainian capital has changed. For as long as I can remember, it was known as Kiev (Kee-ev). Now, as a result of the hearings, we have learned to say Kyiv (Keev). Turns out the Ukrainians made this official way back in 1995. Who knew?

This takes me back to the early sixties when I worked for Northwest Airlines at their headquarters in the Twin Cities. Our building was located at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and included not only the business and executive offices, but the international flight kitchen as well. On our long-haul flights, the standard first-class meal was Chicken Kiev, a yummy chicken breast, pounded flat, rolled with butter and herbs, crusted with panko breadcrumbs, and baked to perfection. If memory serves, it came with wild rice harvested by Native Americans in the sky-blue waters of Northern Minnesota. Delicious!

Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified today. Committee members delved into his famous visit to a restaurant in Kyiv where he whipped out his cell phone and called President Trump. I wish the public could have submitted questions to the committee. If so, it might have gone something like this:

Counsel Castor: Ambassador Sondland, our next question comes from a Mr. DeStrange in Orange County, California. Mr. DeStrange wants to know what you ordered for lunch at that restaurant in Kyiv on July 26?

Amb. Sondland: Oh, that’s easy. It was Chicken Kiev.

Castor: You mean Kyiv? Chicken Kyiv?

Sondland: Po-TAY-toe po-TAH-toe, counselor.

Castor: Moving on…how would you describe this traditional dish?

Sondland: Oh my, my, my…tender chicken, rich butter sauce, a nice crust. Add wild rice and a cold bottle of Chablis, it was… what’s the right word?...

Castor: Sir?

Sondland: Outlandish! It was outlandishly good!

Castor: So, you would go back again, for the Chicken Kyiv?

Sondland: Kiev. And you bet I’d go back. They love my ass over there!

Castor: All righty then. And thank you for that question, Mr. DeStrange…

The hearings are not only educational, they can be inspiring. For those of you who are handy in the kitchen, there are many recipes on the Internet for Chicken Kiev. Or Kyiv. Whichever you prefer. It's your chicken.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

House Committee Needs Software Upgrade

by Waymon DeStrange

Late in my career as a project manager/consultant, I worked for AT&T at a very large office complex. It was often necessary to schedule project status meetings utilizing one of the many conference rooms spread throughout the building. We had a very efficient computer application for that purpose, making it easy to book a room and notify all the required participants.

I mention this because it is clear from watching the Impeachment Hearings that the House of Representatives needs to upgrade its scheduling software. This is evident because Rep. Devin Nunes keeps showing up at the wrong venue. While the other representatives assemble to hear testimony regarding the events before, during, and after President Trump’s July 25 call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, Rep. Nunes is there for a discussion of Alexandra Chalupa and her work for the Democratic National Committee. It is obvious: the scheduling system is double-booking the hearing room.

Once Rep. Nunes has been redirected, Chairman Adam Schiff should take steps to enliven the proceedings. The empty seat to Schiff’s immediate left should be assigned to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. On Schiff’s right, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York should be seated. That arrangement would allow Mr. Jordan and Ms. Stefanik to chirp directly into a respective ear without having to yell, “Point of order, Mr. Chairman…” from across the room. A wide-angle shot of the three of them would make for must-see TV. I’m sure ratings would soar. 

Of course, the risk (there is always a downside) is that the gentlewoman from New York might wrest the gavel from Schiff’s hand and whack him upside the head. I know what you are thinking: just give Mr. Schiff a helmet—perhaps from the L.A. Rams, his presumed home team. That could work. 

The devil is in the details, but I’m sure we can work this out. Let’s start by directing Rep. Nunes to the correct hearing room.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Note: Waymon DeStrange is back. We can’t seem to block him, so we’re giving him a byline.

Hearings Spark GoFundMe Effort

by Waymon DeStrange

I watched the Impeachment Hearings yesterday with a group of fifth grade students. They were fascinated with the proceedings and raised many probing questions. They also came away with a concern: it seems Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio doesn’t have a suit jacket or sport coat. The students plan to launch a GoFundMe drive to raise funds to purchase a jacket for Mr. Jordan, perhaps a nice navy-blue blazer. I explained that Mr. Jordan barely has time to roll up his sleeves, let alone shop for a blazer. But the students are sure that a nice blazer can be purchased at WalMart or Target in the D.C. area and delivered to Mr. Jordan’s office via Uber, Lyft, or GrubHub.

One student took her concerns beyond the hearing room, saying, “What if Mr. Jordan and his friends go to a restaurant after a hard day in the hearing room? And what if it’s one of those where you must wear a jacket?” I told her restaurants of that type have a rack full of jackets and will provide one for Mr. Jordan, rather than turn him away. But she wasn’t satisfied, saying, “But he looks so diminutive on TV. What if they don’t have a jacket small enough?” I had no answer for that, other than to compliment her on her use of the word diminutive.

Mr. Jordan became very agitated and upset during the hearings, raising concerns about his health. In particular, the name Hunter Biden seemed to set him off. One student said, “I think he’s gonna pop!” The group decided to reach out to Hunter Biden and encourage him to give one of his beautifully tailored suits to Mr. Jordan. This will cause Mr. Jordan to feel better about Mr. Biden and calm down immediately. And, Mr. Jordan will have a nice suit to wear, in addition to his new blazer.

I’m proud of these students. They witnessed a man in distress and immediately came to his aid. Our future is in good hands.