Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Innocent until proven guilty?
OK... I'm guilty as charged. While doing my
best to stay away from the news... I've gone
there. Obviously reality is somewhere that
I'd rather not be given the sad outcome of
the recent election. However whenever I go
off the deep end I feel rather guilty. While
in theory facing the facts is a good thing,
being confronted by our new political world
is nothing but BAD for me. I can't live in a
bubble for four years. So, what does one do
to keep a positive outlook against all odds?!
Do we shut up or stand up for what we know
deep in our hearts is the American way?

War dance
Where does one start? Frankly I can't fathom
what's going on across the un-united States of
America. Consider the recent uprising of irate
white folks screaming accusations of racism in
their local Starbucks, big box retailers, or as
they board aircraft. When called out for their
behavior, said offenders respond by spewing
"Yeah, I voted for Trump." How can such a
retort validate their prejudicial punishment
of anybody who disagrees with them? Sadly
they dost protest too much. Therefore based
on video evidence alone, said bigots must be

Back where they came from
A week ago a woman of color wrote quite
a moving editorial in our local newspaper.
There within she shared her fears and angst
over not only being an outsider but possibly
being deemed an outcast by the incoming
administration. Rather than offering her any
sympathy - subsequent letters to the editor
claimed her concerns were ill founded. All
dismissed her fears by justifying that a vote
for Mr. Trump was simply proof of a desire
for "change." I beg to disagree. If actions
speak louder than words then said change
agents aren't simply innocent bystanders.

Hair apparent
Then of course one must consider the nominee
himself. Exactly where does one begin?  I'm
not going to discuss President Elect Trump's
cabinet nominees as I simply can't go there.
That's because as a proud American I avoid
proven bigots and racists. Then there are his
midnight tweets. Apparently now that he's
won the fight, his gloves are off. Leaving me
to wonder what some of those who put him
into the hot seat are thinking now? As it gets
worse are they atoning for their sins? Or are
they celebrating their impending ill gotten
gain? Who will end up as the biggest loser?

Pocket change
As far as I can tell, Washington is about to
experience a major conflict of interest. For
all of my tenure in the corporate world we
were constantly lectured against the sharing
of insider information. Worried that any of
us could be busted, we did whatever it took
to separate church from state. Some erred
like Martha Stewart who was thrown into
jail for crossing the line. Yet Mr. Trump's
blurring of the borders between business
and politics is being summarily ignored.
Thus rather than going to jail, he's headed
for the big house. WINNER TAKES ALL?

Odd man out
I've no idea what to do. Recounts aside
we've got until Friday, January 20th to
avoid the inevitable. My problem is that
Donald is the least of our problems. My
challenge is dealing with all of my local
friends and neighbors who are feeling
quite triumphant. They are living proof
that ignorance is bliss. In truth they've
no idea of what they're gotten us into.
However given I consider their votes to
be criminal acts, they must be deemed
guilty by association. Even if in the end
people like me end up in jail...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


He's the man
The other day it was more than confirmed
that I'm NOT my father. Howard was the
ultimate Mr. Fix It. There was nothing he
couldn't do around the house. A banker by
profession, he was a handyman by passion.
Thus throughout most of my life my Dad's
workshop was not only his hideaway, it
was his nirvana. Far down under (or later
in the garage) he would tinker away at any
of the several projects always in process.
And somehow whatever the challenge he
found a solution that actually worked. If
only I'd been willing to listen and learn...
A child of the depression, Howard was a
naturally born chameleon. In his youth Dad
became a certified Duesenberg mechanic
and electrician. Always in love with planes
he was navigator on a bomber during World
War II, owned and flew his own plane post
war, and was a model airplane enthusiast.
As passionate about trains, he collected the
antique Lionel toy versions, and became a
skilled machinist in order to build his own
small scale steam locomotives. Oh, and did
I mention that he also crafted furniture and
built an addition onto our home by himself?
Heir unapparent
Resurrecting anything from obsolescence
gave my Father great joy. Whereas his son
seems to be incapable of being "handy"
except possibly in a dark gay bar. Try as
I might I was never very mechanical. As
was once again proven over the weekend
when I attempted to complete the simplest
of home repair tasks. While I'm not ready
to go into the details, suffice to say that I
made a mess of things. Which only proves
that I'll never be able to replace my Dad.
A reminder of how blessed I am to have
had Howard as my friend and father.
Off base
Dad was the ultimate Yankees fan. From
boyhood on he adored his home team.
Attending as many games as possible or
listening on the old cathedral radio sitting
upon a shelf in his workshop. Even today
simply hearing a baseball game brings a
tear to my eye. I was not a fan or athlete.
Initial attempts at team sports were dismal
failures on my part. Not only was I unable
to hit or catch a ball, I didn't like being told
what to do by some coach. Especially as
my Mother challenged any adult in a role
of authority who wasn't "one of us."
Man about town
Hitting a ball or fixing things weren't my
father's greatest gifts. Rather it was his
warm demeanor, caring heart, and sense
of humor that charmed the world. Daily
he rode the subway to work. Same time,
same station. And somehow he knew all
of his fellow travelers by name. The truth
is that Howard had friends everywhere. A
man of deep faith, he served as a church
deacon and helped many in ways that we
will never know. That's the kind of a man
he was. And the kind of man that I aspire
to be - even if I often fail on a daily basis.
Against all odds
As the father of an obviously gay boy, I've
no idea what he really thought. Especially
when I pirouetted about the house in my
underwear to Montovani's "Fascination"
as it played on the stereo he built himself.
The sad fact is we never got the chance to
discuss his feelings about my "lifestyle."
All that I ever knew was that he loved me
and supported whatever I wanted to be or
do. Whether that meant attending Pratt,
redecorating my room, or watching Bette
Davis movies. Dad was my biggest fan.
And his love enabled me to do my best.
The long goodbye
Then suddenly it was over. Howard's exit
from this world lasted eighteen years after
a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.  Very slowly,
stealthily, and silently said dread disease
took my father away hour by hour, day by
day. Thus long before he stopped breathing,
the man we knew and loved was long gone.
During that time I never thought of all of
the above as we cared for the shell of a man
that was left behind. It wasn't until after his
death that I finally reconnected with the real
Howard James Clark. And was able to once
again appreciate all that he meant to me.
What would Howard do?
Life is short. Thus we must do whatever is
possible to cherish the time we have here
on earth. I'm anything but perfect. As I've
grown older, I've tried to be half the man
my father was. Ill-fated attempts at home
repair aside, I try to honor his legacy and
memory. Before any of us realize it we will
be but a remembrance of times past. Hence
we each have a responsibility to make a
difference while here on earth. What that
means depends on the individual. However
I know that my father's smile alone was a
gift from God. Now, what will mine be?!

Monday, November 28, 2016


Repeat offenders
Today a group of Fergus county officials are
in our courthouse recounting ballots related
to our recent election results. As you know
the highly contentious initiative that changed
our form of city government was defeated by
only six votes. Thus one can't blame some for
challenging the numbers. But if they win, one
wonders what they'll accomplish? Proponents
for changing to a mayor form claim it insures
increased representation and accountability.
Yet key county elected positions still remain
unfilled due to a lack of interest as there was
nobody who stepped up to be considered.
Outside chance
Meanwhile the popular vote gap that favors
Hillary Clinton continues to grow. Expected
to reach 2.5 million, that total would be the
equal of the population of Montana, North,
and South Dakota COMBINED. Meanwhile
the Green Party and the Clinton Campaign
are filing for voter recounts in Wisconsin,
Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Also a petition
challenging the Electoral Collage to NOT
elect vote Donald Trump is circulating with
five million plus signatures I might note. So
it seems that many Americans continue still
struggle with the validity of election results.
The sum total of which?
Obviously the numbers are not adding up.
Thus we struggle with how to react to our
undecided and definitely NOT united state
of limbo. At some point we must move on.
Yet with narrow and conflicting results...
should we back off and accept what might
be the wrong conclusion? This dichotomy
indicates the schism between blue and red
American is ever expanding. A triumphant
Trump is establishing a cabinet that only
fuels the angst of more than half of we
the people. Whether we like it or... NOT.
So what are most of us doing about it?!
From the outside looking in
All of this has put me in a self imposed
hiatus. I avoid the news while bits and
pieces sneak in via my well intentioned
friends. In theory I've no idea what really
is going on, yet I'm more than aware of
what is truly happening. My Pavlovian
reaction is to hunker down, hide out, or
"cocoon." And apparently many others
are doing the same which can't be good
for business. Historically the election
cycle is always challenging for retail.
However this year our post traumatic
stress syndrome may be a total disaster.
Home for the holidays
You see we're paralyzed. Rather than shop
till we drop we're staying home. Even if
today is Cyber Monday - my preference
is to write my kids a check. Rather than
swop gifts with those afar, most of my
distant relations have suggested that we
"not this year." This abstinence is driven
by both fear and trepidation. Is it possible
that in tremulous times like these the last
thing one needs is a Cire Trudon candle?
Or is such a distraction an antidote to our
angst? A light at the end of the tunnel? Do
we need each other more than we think?!
An eye for an eye
A local lady I adore recently wrote a letter
to the editor. Within she told our local red
army she is "watching". While I laud such
vigilance I doubt Mr. Trump cares what she
or others of like mind think. A wizard in the
art of subterfuge, he's purposely avoiding
all of the ever increasing evidence against
the validity of his Presidency. The question
is if the votes of we the people - the literal
majority will matter once the final tally is
in. Could it be that our political system
insures that our votes count for nothing?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

7th Day Surprise: Road Warriors


After several days of food, family, and fun
many of you are on your way back home.

Wherever you are in your journey between
here or there
enjoy the ride via
trains, planes, and automobiles.