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Dad Jokes

Daddy Jim could play the spoons. We’d be standing in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner, and he’d break out in a big smile while jockeying spoons like a pro! I’m not sure if anyone does that anymore, but most dads have some entertaining trick up their sleeve. Bob can pick up a guitar, start playing Puff the Magic Dragon, and even today the Bride will tear up.

But today’s dad has to compete with screens for a child’s attention. I always knew the Groom had a wicked sense of humor, I didn’t know it could be inherited. So far, he and the L’il Pumpkin like this one:

“What does the janitor say when he jumps out of the closet?”

“SUPPLIES!”

Along with helping to steer Vandy’s Covid ICU response this past year, the Groom also commandeered his whole family outside to ride bikes, he makes up silly songs with the kiddos and plays them on the piano or his guitar, and he is solely responsible for the newest member of their family of pets, a small lizard named Fred has joined forces with three canines!

In fact, the Groom is an expert fly catcher, almost Obama level, when it comes to delivering fresh food to Fred.

But what makes a dad star quality?

Time: Taking the time to listen to a child, to play, to just talk without criticism or distractions.

Creativity: Helping a child develop their artistic sense – gardening/cooking/building and painting together.

Humor: Buffering life’s ups and downs with a positively funny outlook – sometimes known as

THE DAD JOKE!

But if there’s one feature that can immediately categorize a joke as a “dad joke,” it’s wordplay, especially of the unsophisticated variety. Examples: “Hey, do you know what time my dentist appointment is? Tooth-hurty.” “You know why they always build fences around cemeteries? Because people are dying to get in.” The purposeful confusion of “smart feller” and “fart smeller.” This famous exchange: “I’m hungry.” “Hi, Hungry. I’m Dad.” 

“Most jokes rely on some semantic ambiguity or grammatical ambiguity,” Dubinsky says. “The things people call ‘dad jokes’ are the ones where the ambiguity is crushingly obvious.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/09/deconstructing-the-dad-joke/571174/

I mean, we all manage to embarrass our children, but who doesn’t love getting an eye-roll from a pre-teen. Dads like to remind their children that in fact they were once young too, and suffered from “… a combination of exhaustion and your kids laughing at anything when they’re very young, which creates a perverse incentive system and endows you with false confidence….Then you spend the rest of your life doubling down on dad jokes.”

So in effect, dads pass down their particular sense of humor in a funny, feedback-loop. Their children learn resilience, it’s hard to worry about things when your dad says, “Someday we’ll laugh at this…”

Like when the Love Bug told me her stuffed manatee’s name is “Hugh.” Get it?!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

 

Souvenir

The important part about buying a souvenir when you’re traveling is, will it fit in your luggage? Summer is here and Americans are back on the road, in trains and planes, searching for just the right trinket for a special someone…

… but buying a gift for someone you love is an art.

I’m not talking about a teeshirt from Key West. In the past, I’ve returned from Provence with pillow covers and napkins. I’ve been known to stuff a beautiful woven bread basket in the overhead returning from Charleston. But mostly, I was always on the lookout for anything with a bluebird – tea towels, tiny blown glass tchotchkes, silk scarves in an aviary print.

Today, we rarely have the opportunity to express our individual gift-giving skills; to think about the recipient and their quirks and desires. Whimsy has been subverted by The Gift Registry, just check something off an online list and poof, you’re done! It’s the opposite of thoughtfulness, it’s commerce. And sure, a wedding registry may be as unavoidable as ants at a picnic, but at least with a first marriage I can understand the need for it.

We all need to outfit a kitchen, whether we plan to cook or not. Still, I loved strolling through a foreign farmer’s market to find just the right present for Great Grandma Ada. She always returned from her travels with a small treasure for me. Maybe it was handmade beads from Russia, or a piece of pottery from Japan.

On one of our last nights at the beach, we went in search of the perfect ice cream cone. Thank God the Blue Mountain Creamery was still open because all the tourist shops had closed at 5! I strolled along some still open, open-air artist shacks, looking at the stained glass, the paintings of surf and sand, the tiny clay sea turtles. And without warning, a frog jumped into my throat; I no longer needed to find a bluebird for Adala.

June is her birthday month. She would have been so happy to see the world coming back to life. To see Joe and Jill meet the Queen. She would have smiled when she learned I was feeding the birds like she did. She would tell me it’s OK to light a candle on her birthday, and not on her death day.

And she would laugh to learn I was featured in a music video, pink hair and all! Here is the Love Bug and her buddy post-ice cream, did I mention she made a Clip with the L’il Pumpkin about the trash they found on the beach? Ada would be so proud of their nascent climate activism.

Beach Babies

We are on our annual pilgrimage to the beach. To recharge, refresh and hopefully not get sunburned. But a “coup de soleil” on the nose is unavoidable.

We head to the emerald water in the early morning before the crowds. I notice there are no shells to speak of and the L’il Pumpkin noticed there was garbage in the dunes.

He also noticed a large turtle crossing the main road in our golf cart. We stopped and a guy in a truck got out and helped the turtle across and placed him gently in the pine needles.

We always take naps at the beach. The sun and sand take a lot out of you. The Love Bug is rapidly turning into a preteen. No one is ready for that, but she can’t wait for a cell phone!

Today we had fish for lunch and fish is on the menu for dinner. The dining table is covered with a jigsaw puzzle of baby animals. So we’ll eat on the couch and maybe watch a movie.

I love our time here. No news, just lazy days. June has crept in on puppy dog paws.

We met the Bride et al for lunch, and a trip to our favorite bookstore, Parnassus. Ann Patchett walked in as we were checking out. Then I decided to check out this sneaker/running store in the same shopping center, they scan your feet and really know their stuff. I knew I had a high arch and instep, and this proved it! Instead of my usual Asics, a brand I’d been wearing for 20 years, I bought a pair of Finnish sneakers – Karhu. Maybe my feet will thank me, we’ll see.

As Bob and I were leaving, a woman about my age asked me how long we’d been married. I smiled and said “42 years today! It’s our anniversary!”

Then she proceeded to tell me how special and rare that is, that she could tell by the way we touch each other. She must have been watching us interact with the salesperson for awhile. We talked about building houses, and then she said her marriage ended in divorce.

I didn’t tell her it was all a bed of roses. I didn’t say we’d had our tough times, but we slogged through. I forgot to mention that the way he drives, drives me crazy, or that he likes to eat his food separately, and hates being told what to do. Especially if he was just about to do a thing, like take out the garbage.

I didn’t tell her that it was his smell I first fell in love with, back in high school, like freshly washed clothes hung out to dry on a line in the sun. I forgot to say he was my music man, my Nathan Detroit. That we have totally different tastes in almost everything: films; books; furniture. He has no use for style – he is the consummate scientist and I’m the artist. But we agree on most of the important things.

Like parenting and grandparenting and politics.

Religion or lack thereof.

Our mostly positive outlook on life.

Netflix this past year was hit or miss. But it’s rare to find him sitting down for a long period of time anyway. I’m currently watching The Kaminsky Method, and he sits in every now and then.

As we drove home today with my new sneakers, I thought about how lucky I am. Bob tends to the garden, he still loves to fly, he’s taking his (every 10 year) emergency medicine boards re-certification test online even though he’s retired, and he’s taken to doing the dishes which is only fair since I do the cooking. Although he has become the pasta chef extraordinaire! So maybe that’s a part of it, we still find each other interesting. We actually talk to each other.

And he will hold me when I can’t sleep.

Tonight we’ll celebrate at a swanky local restaurant, and tomorrow I have to be on set at 8 AM!! Believe it or not, I’m going to be a “hip nana” in a music video. Maybe this will be my second or third act?

When Clay Hudson Favell, aka Great Grandpa Hudson, married my Mother-in-Law Ada 40 years ago, we were all at the wedding! And for once, Hudson wasn’t the officiant. Long before anybody could become certified to marry people via the internet, he was the go-to officiant for half of our friends and family. Our tiny Bride was the flower girl at Ada and Hudson’s parking lot wedding, who would grow up to marry her Groom in an apple orchard with Hudson under the chuppah; blessing the new couple with his grand daughter Violet spreading flowers at their feet.

How did a lapsed Southern Baptist pastor, a widower who had built hospitals in Ghana during his missionary days and fought in the South Pacific during WWII, end up marrying a divorced Brooklyn Jewish marriage and family counselor in NJ?

Easy! He was smitten from the moment he saw her. Hudson was the moon to Ada’s sun. He was kind, steadfast, thoughtful, and he adored her. We called him the Poughkeepsie Gypsy since he would drive from NY every week just to see her. Ada told me he doesn’t get flustered, and he keeps his promises. He always loved it when their children and grandchildren would descend on their home for Jewish holidays or just for a swim in the pool.

When Hudson lost his first born daughter, Louanna, in a car accident, Ada was there to help. And later when Ada lost her second born son, Richard, they joined that horrific club together – the one where parents have lost a child. By that time they had created a counseling business of their own, one where pastoral counseling and family therapy could blend seamlessly.

As Hudson began to retire his therapy practice, he started carving totem poles. This is how his son Charles described it –

“Hudson was an incredibly talented artist. His specialty was woodworking. He made one of a kind pieces of wood art on his lathe. Ranging from wooden tables and table legs to toys, including figurines of people that would be incorporated in family therapy sessions. Hudson was immensely talented with a chisel as well, creating countless works of art by hand. After a trip to Alaska with Ada, inspired by the totem poles he saw and learned about, Hudson taught himself how to carve story poles. He created numerous story poles that artistically described the stories of his life, and life with Ada.” 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fort-smith-ar/hudson-favell-10209776

Ada and Hudson surrounded themselves with his totem poles, and soon he was getting commissions. Every Christmas we’d wonder what type of creative carving he would deliver. A mobile of a seagull one year, a bagel cutting block another. I’m not even sure how many oatmeal ladles I have that were hand-carved. Of course our cardinal totem pole, with Jewish and Irish symbols, is our favorite.

He was the only grandfather my children have ever known. I like to think he taught them the art of patience, he brought a southern sensibility to his northern family. A friend on Facebook said he was “…a quiet force of nature and wisdom.” The Rocker describes his grandfather like this:

“hudson was an archetype of post-war tough, a navy veteran with an impeccable work ethic, a gravelly southern drawl and minimalism of words. the quiet contemplative yin to my grandma’s firecracker yang. but he also subverted a lot of the expectations of the archetype. he was deeply emotionally intelligent, a professional therapist; he was an artist and a master woodcarver, his home was covered in gigantic totem poles (wink wink) that he carved by hand from wood he cut himself, and art he made or collected through the years he spent traveling the world with ada.”

And the Bride had this to say about Hudson:

When I remember my grandparents, I still see them in their house in Dover, my grandma squealing with delight at our arrival, squeezing us tightly. And behind her, quietly rocking in his chair in front of the wood stove, my grandfather sits. Adding newspaper and wood to the fire, slowly, consistently, a big smile on his face to see us. The yin to her yang. The quiet, kind, consistent rock to her insatiable joy.

Grandpa Hudson officiating at our Cville wedding 2010 with his son Charles

The President signed a Covid 19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday to address the rise of violence against Asian Americans. And before the ink could dry, we are hearing about more and more Anti-Semitic incidents from coast to coast. Biden Tweeted this morning:

The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad — it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.

@POTUS Twitter

Hate is a nasty word. It tends to turn itself around and destroy a person from within. It’s the opposite of love and compassion; but it can be just as compelling. The Flapper could certainly hold a grudge, and so did Grandma Ada. Both were positive, optimistic women but once aggrieved they would never forget. I am still a work in progress, still trying to let go of old wounds.

Both of my children witnessed a Nazi swastika drawn for their amusement – once in school and once on a school bus. That kind of hate I’d never experienced, although Bob was familiar with such tropes. The Bride was too young to know what it meant, and the Rocker knew enough to be angry. And that’s how it starts, the slow, insidious, incremental introduction of hate. This person is different, this person is less than, this person deserves to be mocked.

And when I hear Republican Marjorie Greene compare the Speaker’s admonition to wear a mask on the House floor, to Hitler’s use of Jewish stars during the Holocaust, well it’s easy to dismiss her as a lunatic sitting out on the fringe. But she has about one third of the country listening to her every word, sitting out there with her on the extreme right fringe. People who believe January 6 was a normal tour day on the Hill, that there are good and bad people on both sides of Charlottesville – you know at Lee Park, where white supremacists were shouting,

“Jews will not replace us.”

When we visited an elderly aunt in County Mayo, Ireland years ago, I could tell the Troubles were not completely forgotten. She told me about a visit to a shoe store up north, and how poorly she was treated. I’m wondering now if things may percolate after Brexit. Will the simmering subplot of Catholic Ireland vs Protestant UK start to unravel? Certain foods must now go through checkpoints creating paperwork and confusion.

Despite a government promise that there would be no impediments to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (GB) after Brexit, new checks have been causing disruption to supplies of food, plants and online deliveries.

https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53724381

Fear and hatred of a race of people or a religion has created conflict from the beginning of time. Parents teach their children to “hate” people because three generations before the Turks murdered Armenians…. or just add any and all different wars to that equation. One would never wear orange on St Patrick’s Day. Ada would never buy a German car. Who would dare to fly a Confederate flag in the People’s House?

If I were Christian, I might say I was called to love Marjorie Greene. That I should turn my cheek to my enemy, I should pray for her. But my adopted religion tells me to never forget, that my children would have been stolen from me in Nazi Germany. And that silence and indifference will not quench hate speech, it will inflame the rhetoric. I can’t exactly say that I hate Greene, and Republicans like her, but I do have a severe case of contempt.

Here we are with our Left Coast cousins, can you tell the Jews from the Christians?

331 Guns

Call me crazy, but ever since moving to the South I’ve become more aware of gun violence. And since the Supreme Court will be taking up a case this year about whether or not civilians have the right to carry a gun outside of their home, I’ve been hoping that Democratic legislators will become more proactive. The piecemeal rules and regulations for gun ownership, depending on your state, are not a sustainable solution to our country’s obsession with guns.

Last year in Nashville, an ICU nurse was shot to death on her way to work at St Thomas Hospital. Caitlyn Kaufmann was only 26 years old and had moved here from Pennsylvania. In the middle of the pandemic two men were arrested and told police they were mad because she cut them off in traffic! Road Rage. https://www.wkrn.com/news/crime-tracker/witness-suspect-confessed-to-shooting-nurse-on-i-440-claims-road-rage/

Just this year, there have been FOUR arrests for various road rage incidents in our city.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says about 66 percent of deadly crashes are caused by aggressive driving behaviors. We’re seeing more shootings on Tennessee roads because of road rage. So far, there have been four road rage shootings in the Metro area since December.

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/local-news/more-road-rage-shootings-occurring-across-tennessee

Since Bob continues to drive like, well like he’s still living in New Jersey, I am usually the one driving around town. At first it was a struggle. There’s construction everywhere, and distracted pedestrians on their cell phones. But I’m used to city driving now; I know the short-cuts and ways to avoid pedal taverns and drunk bachelorettes on scooters. And anyway, we haven’t been driving as much during this past year. And maybe that’s why we’re seeing an increase in road rage incidents.

We’ve all been through a collective malaise. Some of us have suffered more than others, and lets not forget the opening salvo – a tornado thank you very much. Now the weather has broken, mask mandates have lifted, but the anger and tension remain for far too many. Our Governor is about to stop Covid related unemployment benefits this summer. And if you happen to keep a handgun in your glove compartment, and you’re having a bad day, who’s to keep you from brandishing it about?

Guns kill people, no doubt about it. In Denver last year a woman was walking her dog through an alley by an open window. Apparently the man inside didn’t want the dog doing his business there, so he took out his AK47 and shot her to death. The woman, Isabella Thallas, had just turned 21 – her killer fired 24 shots. And it turned out the assault rifle belonged to the shooter’s friend, a policeman.

Do you know how many guns have been stolen in Nashville so far this year? 331

In fact, we have a bail bonds business a few doors down. One night the owner asked us if we’d seen anything suspicious because his gun had been stolen from his car!

SCOTUS hasn’t taken up a gun case in over a decade. However, the Court this session will take up “…. in NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett, a New York law, upheld by the lower courts, that requires individuals to get a license to carry a concealed gun outside the home. The case will likely be argued in the fall.

The court’s decision follows mass shootings in recent weeks in Indiana, Georgia, Colorado and California, and a surge in firearms sales, particularly to first-time gun buyers.”

In TN of course there are NO restrictions for someone who wants to carry a gun outside the home. Only New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have any significant restrictions.

Democracy doesn’t always die in darkness, in can die slowly and in plain sight.

My Sundays always start out with a Zoom call to my two siblings. We check in on each other, we hear about our plans for the future, sometimes there’s a medical consult with Bob, and we reminisce. But yesterday just kept getting better and better. Bob wanted to take me out for lunch, and we decided to try something new in East Nashville.

So there we were, sitting on the patio of the Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck’s actual restaurant, enjoying a TN bacon and bourbon melted cheese confection, when in strolls not one, but TWO Welsh Corgis! Naturally we had to visit and things felt ‘almost normal’ talking mask-less to a perfect stranger – who happened to be a Veterinarian. She told me that so called “Cowboy Corgis,” the name of a breeder here in TN, are really a hybrid mix of Corgi with Blue Heelers, which they’d be happy to sell for $3,000!

Is it just me, or are these boutique blended breeds just a flash in the pan? Most mixed-breed dogs are blended with a Retriever or a Poodle – like the Goldendoodle. Although I looove the Cavachon – a mix of Cavalier King Charles with a Bichon. They look like tiny Ewoks!

With Ms Bean turning 13, we’ve been talking about another dog, but I’m on the fence. Dogs don’t just supply endless, unconditional love, they also make you get up off the couch to walk them. Affordable exercise and lubrication for your rusty joints! The big problem is that chunk they take out of our hearts when they die. And when we start traveling again, it may not be fair to leave a puppy at home. Anyway, for now I get to enjoy the Bride’s Frenchie pup!

Soon we were on our way to meet the Bride and Groom’s family at Cheekwood, our local botanical garden and museum. If you love animals and happen to have kids who love Legos, you cannot miss this exhibit, “Sean Kenney’s Nature POP!”

From acclaimed artist Sean Kenney and produced by Imagine Exhibitions, this exhibition features 38 sculptures made from more than 800,000 LEGO® Bricks. Inspired by the Pop art movement, Kenney’s work blurs the boundaries between austere and the everyday, drawing from a belief that everything is interconnected. Sean Kenney’s Nature POP! Made with LEGO® Bricks explores the beauty of nature through highly stylized, colorful displays….

https://cheekwood.org/calendar/nature-pop/

The exhibit will run through September 5th, but yesterday the weather was ideal for animal-sculpture-spotting; overcast and high 70s with a hint of the humidity to come. Walking through the beautiful gardens, passing other mask-less families, and suddenly seeing a Pileated Woodpecker made up of thousands of neon colored Legos; or rounding a corner of hostas to see a bright blue Polar Bear with her cubs was breathtaking. The L’il Pumpkin wanted to know just how they were designed to make overlapping feathers, and the Love Bug immediately put together a small black dog with Legos when we returned to their house.

Sunday dinner was delivered by a yummy local eatery. My daughter showed us her latest painting (yes she is a spectacular multi-media artist in her spare time) and we laughed and tried to decide where we might put a tiny house if we were to make a bid in the auction to benefit Cheekwood.

Those tony tiny houses are cute, but I’d be feeling a tad cramped after awhile. You?

Seeing all those faces, smiling and talking, in the open air felt surreal and just a little frightening. Bob said we’re basically at herd immunity in this country, if you count all the people who were infected with everyone who’s been vaccinated. But what about India and all those variants around the world? What about the Bug and the Pumpkin, when will they be vaccinated?

We promised the Grands a trip to Harry Potter World in California, so a visit to the Rocker and Aunt KiKi to celebrate their very first new home is in order this summer. I’m so delighted for my Left Coast family… as Great Grandma Ada would say, “Pooh, Pooh, Pooh!” She would have loved to see our collective unmasking.

Trending

The night before last we went out to a fairly new neighborhood restaurant with another couple for an early dinner. Of course, we sat on the patio which was wedged between an apartment building – good news now because the cold spring wind was kept at bay, bad news for the summer, since this trendy patio will eventually become a sauna. We got there early, and our meals were divine though just a bit pricey. Fish was on the menu. We toasted ourselves for getting through the past year, for getting dressed and getting out!

I actually thought for two seconds I might put on heels, but we were walking a few blocks towards the river so my better angel prevailed and I slipped on sandals.

We slipped on our masks in order to leave, and walked through a previously empty bar area. Surprise, surprise it was like 2019. Tons of mask-less young people standing, chatting and sitting jam packed, whooping it up. I don’t mind feeling old, but I hate feeling judgemental. The new CDC guidance on masks – that vaccinated people could chuck their masks indoors and out – had yet to be issued. This morning I’m wondering, were all those young people vaccinated?

In the past, we could all tell who the anti-vaxers were. They would stroll down the middle of the sidewalk, and expect you to give way. They’d tell you they are “sensitive” to vaccines, or they don’t trust them, so they’re going to wait it out. The anti-vaxers are the new smokers, morphing easily from “I can’t wear a mask” to “you can’t tell me what to do.” And in pure irony, they espouse their “Right” to their own bodies. They revel in their rebelliousness.

And NOW we won’t be able to know who’s been vaccinated and who’s passing-posing as vaccinated! I was just telling Bob and my siblings that I’ve finally figured it out – most Republicans were just never told that it’s NOT all about them.

My psychologist brother, Dr Jim, agreed. They may look like 30 something adults, but their emotional development ended at middle school. We were discussing the latest trend in mental health – Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); and since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to dig deeper. I mean, can a leopard really change its spots?

In DBT, a patient and therapist work to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to bring about positive changes in the individual in treatment. Part of this process involves offering validation, which helps people become more likely to cooperate and less likely to experience distress at the idea of change.

In practice, the therapist validates that an individual’s actions “make sense” within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that they are the best approach to solving a problem.

https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402

Validating language seeks to understand emotions; it means really listening, asking how do you feel? Asking “What was that like for you?” instead of telling a person how they should be feeling. Sharing emotions with our children, instead of telling them NOT to feel a certain way. Although I agree this may be a good approach to help people cope with strong emotions, I think that actually being vulnerable is part and parcel of being human.

After all, we don’t want to be entirely disconnected from our emotions. Dysphoria or a Mr Spock persona may be the end result.

For instance, if your child is complaining of a stomach ache before school every day, talking and listening to her fears is good, but may not be enough. Is she being bullied? Is the school about to spend a week on standardized tests? The goal is not just to understand why, it’s not to simply take a deep breath and get on with it, unless you’re British. The goal is to learn that strong emotions can signal needed change and we can help them work it out.

We’ve just turned a corner. Some of us may still wear masks in crowded places; some of us may not dine indoors this spring and summer. But the worst of this pandemic is behind us, and yes we may need booster shots, but that’s an acceptable antidote to living with fear. I’m an optimist at heart.

Whenever I tried to explain my husband to other journalists around a water cooler, I’d tell people he’s a doctor who hates golf and prefers to hang out in his hangar. Yes, he’s a private pilot who used to own a Piper Arrow 4 seater, until he sold it after his stroke. In the past, I’d laugh about my analogy – it would paint an accurate picture of an iconoclastic renegade. A doctor who doesn’t golf is like a newspaper reporter who doesn’t like gossip!

Lately, airplane hangars have been taking a lot of grief. First, it was Caitlyn Jenner talking about her buddies who are packing up their private jets and leaving California. That’s the talk around small, municipal airports she said. That seems like a good reason to run for Governor.

But today I learned that the fomenting of the BIG LIE around the 2020 election actually started a few years earlier in an airplane hangar in Texas!

When I would hang around Bob’s airplane hangar, I’d be impressed into duty; checking, cleaning, and generally tidying things up. If the kids were there, we might even wash the plane. If one of his buddies stopped by, they’d talk about the flying conditions, some idiot who clipped his wing on another hangar, and the next trip. And there was a lot of talk about why JFK Jr went down on his way to the Vineyard. I mean that was all single-engine plane owners could talk about back then. But we were in the minor leagues.

With money to burn, and pilots to hire, these BIG business people buy or charter super light jets like a Gulfstream. They come with showers, board rooms and can sit up to 11 people. The hangars are also luxurious. This is an extremely select group of movers and shakers, men like Bill Gates and a random Republican Texas billionaire salesman named Russell J Ramsland Jr… what a Dickensian name. Once he dabbled in “wellness technology,” but selling his skepticism proved more lucrative.

Among other claims, Ramsland was repeating the ominous idea that election software used in the United States originated in Venezuela and saying nefarious actors could surreptitiously manipulate votes on a massive scale. As the 2020 election approached, he privately briefed GOP lawmakers in Washington and met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, documents and interviews show.

ASOG’s (Allied Security Operations Group, a GOP pac that began a quixotic attempt to find evidence of widespread fraud where none existed) examination by last summer had already cost more than $1 million, according to a document the company gave government officials that was obtained by The Post. Ramsland had sought funding from Republican donors whose fortunes were made in the oil, gas and fracking industries.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/trump-election-fraud-texas-businessman-ramsland-asog/?itid=hp-top-table-main-0430b

This may help explain why an Arizona audit is looking for bamboo fibers. Ramsland actually converted his hangar into his office. The man who once opened up lots of Tex Mex eateries was now looking for funding to spread widespread voter fraud conspiracies. Usually it’s difficult to find out where a fire started, but it was good investigative reporting that uncovered the spark for the biggest threat to our democracy – disavowing a free and fair election.

I mean remember the hanging chad in Florida? I hated the outcome of that election, I cried about the SCOTUS decision. But I didn’t plan a riotous coup in the Capital.

Since most of us are working from home, and I haven’t been in a news room for quite some time, the typical water cooler gossip has gone virtual. Today, Covid numbers are trending down – in fact Davidson County’s new cases just dipped under 10 per 100,000. But even if we all start traveling and eating indoors again, remember the GOP is still spreading the BIG LIE and stealthily planning a comeback. Their golden orange idol has actually started his own blog. Now Mr T can spread his lies the old school way, complete with misspellings.

I told Bob I wasn’t flying with him unless he learns how to pilot a Cirrus, a plane that has its very own parachute. Nashville has a flying club and it owns one of these pretty planes. You can never be too careful.

Flying to Tune to see the pregnant Bride 6 years ago

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