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Posts Tagged ‘Prague’

Last night the Trump train went off the rails.

I’d rather use a transportation metaphor than a sporting event for “the greatest show of all time debate,” because any sport involves two usually, equally prepared teams – two opponents with a job to do, and that just didn’t happen. Because one candidate has an A game and the other doesn’t know the rules of any game except maybe the Con Game.

Halfway through their 90 minute exchange, Hillary Clinton told the Donald that indeed she had been preparing for the debate and not campaigning over the weekend; she said she had been “Preparing to be President.” <wink>

And at that moment the cloudy sky parted and a ray of sunshine hit Clinton on her perfectly highlighted head!

But most of the time, I felt as if I needed a body language translator, like the one who pointed out that if Clinton shrugs her shoulders while talking she is discounting what she just said. Or if Trump looks down and left he is lying. Because I just couldn’t stop watching last night’s train wreck: Trump’s inane sniffling which I chalked up to allergies, but some on Twitter thought might be a problem with “blow;” his exaggerated swaggering and swaying along with smug lip posturing; plus his inability to complete a simple sentence left me dumbfounded.

It was as if she was on the train to Pennsylvania Avenue and the conductor had already punched her ticket.

And he got on the wrong train, to some Monopoly board street, and forgot to buy the damn ticket…and anyway why would he need a ticket? He’s so big and important and we (the American people) should just forgive all those nasty things he may have said in the past, because for all we know maybe climate change is a Chinese hoax and President Obama is an imposter, and not paying taxes IS the American way…and just because a silly Tweet might enrage him, we should still trust him with our nukes. Right?

Trump points his tiny chin in the air and says, “That’s called business, by the way.” Declaring bankruptcy not four but six times! http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/21/hillary-clinton/yep-donald-trumps-companies-have-declared-bankrupt/  Stepping all over his vendors and not paying others, making more money while millions of Americans see their life savings dwindle down to nothing after the great/recession/depression of ’08, these are Trump tactics after all. The rest of the world must think we are collectively losing our minds.

When we left our tour group in Prague, and hopped on a tram to see the city we didn’t see a conductor or an engineer. The tram moved along of its own accord, like a drone, stopping every few blocks. We wondered how we should pay for our ticket, but noticed everyone else was just getting onboard and sitting down. Later, we found out you need to buy your tram ticket elsewhere, at a convenience store, and just keep it in your pocket. It’s all on the honor system. Once in a blue moon, an official may come aboard a tram and check tickets. If you are a freeloader, you will get a hefty fine.

I hope that the undecided among us, the Millennials thinking about voting for a third party, the Republicans who know a con game when they see one, will consider casting their vote for Hillary Clinton in November. Because Mr Trump doesn’t believe in an honor system, in our Allies, or in fair trade. He postulates about 400 pound shut-ins hacking the DNC and tells Fox he was self-righteous for not mentioning how Bill treated women.

Trump lives in an alternate reality, where private jets await and gold escalators move him around his tower. He invites people to touch his hair, like Rapunzel, so he can prove to himself and others that he is real. And maybe by telling us he’s renovating the post office on Pennsylvania Avenue, he’s purchased his Hotel in DC, because he fully expects to have his name emblazoned across the Front Lawn, win or lose.

It’s not like Trump is on a different track to the Presidency…he doesn’t need a train ticket because he thinks he owns all the Monopoly railroads. His Wild Card is Putin and whatever else jumps into his head and spills off his tongue. And after all, he had six Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Here is my man on a tram, with Google Maps. Priceless.img_4677

 

 

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It’s ironic isn’t it, that my last post was titled “No News?” When we came through customs at Kennedy Airport, we re-emerged in our country, so happy to be home. To sleep in our own bed, to talk with the kids, to pet the pup! Our mountains compare well with the foothills of the Alps after all. Now don’t get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed the Viking cruise from Budapest to Passau on the Danube. And surprisingly, my country/farm/boy, who usually hates big cities, loved Prague.

But I couldn’t believe my eyes after we found the departure gate to Dulles. Our journey home started at 3am Czech time. Viking had to reroute us through Amsterdam instead of Paris because of the Air France strike. We flew KLM from Prague to Amsterdam to NYC finally…only a three hour stopover until our connection to DC. Then a two hour drive to central VA. So I thought it was jet lag when I looked up at a TV monitor in Kennedy, the CNN screen had pictures of a Voice contestant that I loved, Christina Grimme, a hometown girl from Southern Jersey. And the scroll said she’d been murdered in Orlando.

She was so young and talented, signing autographs. My heart broke for her family and friends. And then the next day, we awoke to another horrific attack in Orlando, a mass murder at a gay nightclub, Pulse. After ten days in Europe, our return seemed surreal. Was this a trick? The wonderful, magical world of Disney that I knew and loved as a child, with Tinkerbell sprinkling magic dust on our black and white TV screens, must have been a century ago.

I’m so sick of the media deluge, asking victims how they feel, asking Hillary to say “Islamic Terrorism.” When will our country wake up?

Not after a madman shoots up a college or an elementary school, certainly not. Does it really matter if it’s a white, neo-Nazi in Charleston targeting a Black church, or an Arab  Muslim born and bred here targeting a gay nightclub in FL? Terror is terror. Our legislators hands are dripping with the blood of 33,000 gun violence victims every year. Most of them, 64% are suicides; people who may have been saved if a gun wasn’t within reach at a certain point in time.

On an average day, 91 Americans are killed with guns. And our murder rate is more than 25 times the average of other developed countries. https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/

Twenty-five times. Because in Eastern Europe, where terror reigned supreme during the first half of the last century, it’s not so easy to buy a gun. First of all, there are no hand guns or assault weapons for private citizens, none. Why do we need these? That officer was a “good guy with a gun” inside Pulse, but he couldn’t stop that bad guy with an AR-15 and a pistol.

In Europe, if you want to hunt you must apply for a license to own a hunting rifle, twice! Two separate applications and then have a note from your physician, and THEN actually meet with a psychiatrist! 

Please don’t tell me it’s our mental health system, because I agree it needs some work. And please don’t tell me that if everybody had a gun we’d all be safer because that’s ridiculous nonsense. I won’t bother to read Trump’s narcissistic inane Tweets either, this is not a partisan fight. And my interpretation of the 2nd amendment is the National Guard, not the NRA. If a guy who had a record of abusing his ex-wife, and was interrogated by the FBI TWICE, could legally purchase an assault rifle and a handgun on the same day, any sane person should be asking themselves why?

Bob Iger, Disney CEO released a statement on the shooting: “We are all heartbroken by the tragic and horrific events in Orlando, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to everyone in our community affected by this senseless act.” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-seaworld-respond-orlando-shooting-901897

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Voting for Hillary might just help, and calling your legislators, to let them know the tide is turning. Let’s start with banning assault weapons, again, and how about a background check, and go from there; it’s time for our legislators to wash their hands or vote them out of office. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/ban-ar-15-civilian-ownership

And let’s all go to Disney World! Can you see the skeleton nodding his head in agreement on Prague’s astronomical clock?IMG_4639

 

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I’ve been thinking about my foster mother lately, Nelly Bly. She was born in Scranton, PA, the only girl out of 18 boys! Yes youngsters, before the Duggers, poor women had large families simply because birth control was unheard of, and/or you happened to be Catholic. Nell’s parents had immigrated from Czechoslovakia, and I distinctly remember her crying when we watched Russian tanks roll into her ancestral home in 1968.

The Warsaw Pact invasion of August 20–21 caught Czechoslovakia and much of the Western world by surprise. In anticipation of the invasion, the Soviet Union had moved troops from the Soviet Union, along with limited numbers of troops from Hungary, Poland, East Germany and Bulgaria into place by announcing Warsaw Pact military exercises. When these forces did invade, they swiftly took control of Prague, other major cities, and communication and transportation links. Given the escalating U.S. involvement in the conflict in Vietnam as well as past U.S. pronouncements on non-intervention in the East Bloc, the Soviets guessed correctly that the United States would condemn the invasion but refrain from intervening.                                            https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/soviet-invasion-czechoslavkia

Like the Ukraine today, the Czech and Slovak people were leaning toward the West, instituting reform and banning censorship. Communist Russia put her big bear fist down and that was that. I wonder what Nell would have thought of the Velvet Revolution, when Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two states for purely political motives on Jan 1, 1993? She died when I was pregnant with the Bride, and we still thought a poet might be elected President.

Nell was a proud Slovak, but she didn’t like to cook. For special occasions however, she would prepare Halupkis ( pronounced ha-LOOP-keys). This is a mouth watering stuffed cabbage, simmered for hours on a big bed of sauerkraut. Nell’s father used to make his own sauerkraut in the basement in barrels, but she was happy to buy it pre-packaged. I like to imagine her as a child, picking a cabbage out of their garden, helping her mother grind the meat in the kitchen, and tenderly folding the leaves around the rice and meat mixture.

Maybe because she had so much responsibility in the kitchen, as the only girl in her family full of brothers, she loved modern day conveniences – or should I say “mid-century modern?” One of my favorite dinner nights was “Chinese.” I think it was La Choy, but in the ’50s you could find a box in the grocery store with everything you would need to make dinner. The original Hamburger Helper, only you didn’t need to cook anything, just warm it up!

I translated that to “Taco Night” in our house. I’d add the packet of Mexican seasonings to ground turkey, stand up the hard Old El Paso tacos and let the kids pile whatever they wanted on top, which usually meant lots of cheese. It’s almost wistfully tender to think back about the days when we didn’t need to know where our food came from, so long as it showed up on our table.

And today I admit, I will occasionally cave and whip up an organic Annie’s Mac and Cheese for the Love Bug. Am I willing to order one of those Blue Apron type dinners that would be delivered to me in the mail, with instructions on how to prepare all the fresh ingredients? NO.

Because grocery shopping is my God-given right. I want to smell and feel the fruit, and know when the salmon was delivered. But I understand that working women, and men, are still looking for time-saving ways to serve a meal to their family, even if it’s not two dozen people at the dinner table.

Maybe I’m thinking of my Mother because next year, Bob and I are planning to visit Prague. But today I’m heading to the ballot box in VA because I do believe in birth control and I don’t believe in censorship. And I want guns out of the hands of abusers, and the mentally ill. And I have to think that Nelly Bly would agree.

This is my cauliflower au gratin – made with sweetened condensed milk and goat cheese. Nell put canned milk in her coffee, so I always have it on hand!IMG_3401

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