JUST MUSING: “One hundred and one Jason Bournes …”

I have often taken a position that the soul of a criminal defense lawyer is revealed early.  Much like a birthmark identifying kin, spanning generations, telling a tale, sometimes foreboding, other times a blessing.  Not like Catalan popular cultural beliefs with regards to witches, “a witch is a woman who, by means of a pact with the Devil, has acquired supernatural power, which she uses for her own benefit and for evil purposes.”   No, no, mine’s eye is different, believing the markings are not visual, instead sometimes bundles as a riddle, hidden, not hidden, confusing, not confusing.  Sometimes obvious signs are seen: rooting for the Indians to rout the Lone Ranger, even though the Lone Ranger appeared to be a nice guy; shouting “lock her up” and pointing at the screen at Dale Evans – yes Dale Evans – believing instinctively there has to be an “other side of the story”; hoping that someone would eventually make Clint Eastwood’s day.  No, the signs are oft-times obscure; nary a mark of the devil on their posteriors, only one pupil per eye – not two – no horns.  Matters not whether the indicators are open and obvious or obscured, everyone knows the child is different, and none are shocked by the child’s declaration years later of his/her intended vocation, to defend the criminally accused.

Walt Disney’s movie 101 Dalmatians was adapted from Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.   Without viewing the movie, or ever cracking open the book, one can readily assume the title references the power of collective action, exceeding the power of one; a similar tale told in various parables, fables, lessons learned in life.  This muse however is not about 101 Dalmatians, the Lone Rangers, Dale Evans, or Clint Eastwood.

We have a President at war with the intelligence agencies in this country.  Complaining when they reported the Russians interfered with the presidential election.  Screaming fake news, lying and ranting over leaks when the leaks clearly are designed to show the American public our president is lying to us.  Insisting there is a bug in the White House, parsing his words, walking gently over the coals, careful not to over-speak, fearing there is actually a bug in the White House.  Tweeting … tweeting … tweeting, directing his rage at Jason Bourne, wanting us to root against Jason Bourne.

The initial confession contained in this muse is heartfelt, meaning it is difficult to admit a bias when the majority is rooting otherwise.   Something about color, being an active participant in that thing called southern heritage and known and unknown history of this country.  Imposing a minority paranoid, leeching, controlling thoughts, persisting much like a neglected bath tub ring.  Screaming at the movie screen – at no one in particular – throwing books down, away, against the wall, complaining about the distortion of history, seeing the distortion.  Seeing and remembering history differently than others.  Disagreeing with the assessment that Andrew Jackson was a hero, (seeing the travails of Trail of Tears), refusing the blame the victim, screaming, screaming, screaming when the Patriot Act was passed, reading, seeing abuses the language concealed, instead of protection promised to the American public.  Wishing against Tarzan’s, telling a different tale, seeing him deported back to Los Angeles.  Understanding the punch-line when the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto, speaking in a united tongue when surrounded by Indians, “What do we do now Tonto?”  Understanding the point when Tonto finally awoke from his previous submissive slumber, replying, “What we white man.”  So I confess.  Oh Lord do I confess.

However, this time I have to work against type.  Casting aside my paranoia, much like Superman’s cape.  Running toward the door, the window, hearing Johnny Nash’s voice, singing, singing, signing, “I can see clearly now.”  One foot up, one foot down, one foot down; turning as the song resides, understanding it is fundamentally necessary to root for the Jason Bourne, the one hundred Jason Bournes; those whom our President has declared war against.

Throwing the book of protocols out the window, telling others the lies, recognizing we are experiencing a difference the country has seldom seen.  Recognizing the ability to outrun, out-shoot means nothing at this time, calculating their survival, the country’s survival, exposing the duplicitous nature of he and his cohorts’ conduct.  Ignoring party lines – telling, telling, telling – hoping others too will awaken from their slumber and do the same.  Not caring that in movie and books, Bourne is always white, always blond, eyes sparking much like the blue seen in the Mediterranean Sea, the sky after a cleansing rain, projecting the historical-embedded argument of superiority, of supremacy, much like Tarzan, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  Seeing a connection between “He Who Wants to Fight One hundred and One Jason Bournes” and the violent attacks occurring daily around the country, resurrecting and affirming hate, dividing us, pushing us into distinct and separate camps.  Hearing Bourne’s theme music, rooting for the enemies’ demise – because it is the patriotic thing to do – eating more popcorn, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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JUST MUSING: “My view of the inaugural address – now, say something nice” …

A habit I have had for as long as I can remember; digging inside my ears with twigs, molding paper into a cone, reshaping the paper clip, any object deemed safe at the time – removing wax, satisfying an itch, nervous energy.  Pencils, pens, nails, a blade of grass, the same purpose; each having a different feel; each serving the same purposes.  Watching others winch, putting the instrument of comfort aside; sneaking, secreting, soothing, turning away when detecting, those interfering in my quest, attention wane.  In middle school, the point on the pencil broke.  I think it broke.  The point was no longer there, sitting there trying to remember whether there was a point, telling myself there wasn’t a point.  Touching the side of my ear, feeling something, something I didn’t remember being there.  It is said we discover our bodies at that age, let’s say I was no different than any other child.

My definition of a habit is “an act done habitually.”  Regularly, conducted at no particular time, schedule.  Mine cued by no setting, mood, act of others.  Digging while others talked; to satiate a non-existence itch; exploring around the ear canal, directing attention elsewhere; feeling the non-existent itch.

The same as those who place objects in their mouths, outside other’s knowledge, directing energy elsewhere, supporting the habit, much like supporting any other habit.  Dare say a habit safer than alcohol, narcotics, jaywalking in Mexico City – See the cars – count – count- count … on two … go, go, go … run – run – run!

Digging deep, twirling, pushing as close as possible to the ear drum – clinching the muscles around the mouth, tightening, muting sound, so as not to bellow like a hound, preserving a tradition, a persistent, long-held habit.

Straws, keys, the point of a small screwdrivers inserted over, “Don’t do that!”

“What!!!”

Knowing what he/she/they were screaming about. Hearing, not hearing, knowing, absolutely, having seen that face before.  Knowing I shouldn’t do what I was doing; still doing it, a habit.  I did.

Never confessing about the lodged pencil lead; telling no one.  Couldn’t be that bad, could it?  Passing physicals, not as if I took many, never hearing a complaint about wax in my ears, or any strange object; moving forward, nodding, thanking the health care provider, reaching out and securing the papers handed to me, moving out of the line.

“Ears look good.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yep, I’m sure.”

“Thank you … .”

“Give this paper to the school.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Tiring of the irritant, making one more attempt.  Dislodging the point three/four years later; dislodging with the point of another pencil; lifting the tip, recognizing immediately the central nervous system was intact, radiating pain, filling the cranial cavity, sending a message to hands, feet, a synchronized pain, extending them, separating them, as if shocked.  Struggling to remember the anatomical chart for the head; seeing images instead, consequences of pushing too hard, piercing the brain, forever dumbed-down.

Can I say … no harm, no foul?  Of course I can.  Of course, I will.  I do.  I do.

Lifting, rolling, winching, stopping, working up additional nerve, waiting for the pain to dissipate; touching the lodged object again, lifting, rolling in the opposite direction, taking a deep breath; stopping, putting the right hand over the right hear, realizing sound still carried in the left ear channel, taking a break – I did.  I did until I succeeded, removing the gift I gifted to myself years before.

I had tried oil on past attempts; water at other times – to no avail – the object of my attention remaining secured and secreted in the recesses.  The success – that time – came after the third attempt.  Refusing to quit, desiring comfort on both sides, digging, twirling, pushing a little deeper until I succeeded.

On today’s date (January 20, 2017), I dislodged an eraser.  A rattle at first; forward, backward, seeming to disappear, causing renewed memory, , rebirth, and wonderment, “What on earth?” A journey down the familiar; this time caused by shaking too hard, while listening during the inaugural.  The same shake I heard my elders exercise when hearing foolishness.

A … “My, my, my” … shake.

A, “Bless your heart” … shake.

A, “You’re kidding me, right” … shake.

Incredulity, disbelief, hostile words scrolling out before my eyes, invading in another mode and manner, entering both ear canals, touching the left first, the right, the uncoordinated shake followed.  Like a dog, with a tic lodged in the inner ear canal, engaging immediately in distressed behavior.

Too many unexpected/expected words, a rapid invasion, pushing the foreign, forgotten object backward, forward, in the other direction again, compelling the unanticipated reaction; shaking violently came first, words of damnation followed.  Listening, shaking rapidly, tilting leftward when the movement was felt, extending both hands, capturing a pink eraser.  Now darkened, ossified, retaining its’ identified molded form.

When it occurred? – I don’t know.  How it occurred? – That’s obvious!  Every now and then there was a dull spot in the ear, causing another habit – the lifting of my left paw, scratching the unknown irritant, dislodging from thought the reason, justifying the self-inflicted tic’s presence.

Listening to the speaker push the envelope, pleasing his base, encouraging hate, dividing, doing what he said he would do.   Wondering why I was shocked.  Admitting the source of my anguish after the election, grinding my teeth during sleep, writing and tearing the mythical paper into pieces at the same time, awakening; arguing with the imaginary, questioning whether I was being unreasonable, irrational.  I didn’t think so.  I hoped that I am not – being irrational.

Why do I muse?  Not because of the eraser, not because of my historical, disturbing habit; digging to make the heart content.

I muse to say what I learned.  Say something nice sometimes, even to those who wish your demise.  That’s it – that’s my dose of niceness, the contribution to civility.  Words of carnage, dislodging another foreign object, showing the nightmare is real.

JUST MUSING: “Bad movie…”

I believe I have figured out the disturbing disconnect which continues to rage after this last presidential campaign.  You’re familiar with what I’m talking about, aren’t you?  … Aren’t you?

You know:  “Our president” versus “not my president”; “You voted for hate” versus “I didn’t trust Hillary”; “He is a nincompoop” versus “Make America Great Again.”  The variations are multi-fold, driving fissures throughout the country, dividing America, causing confusion in the republic.  Are you getting my point, as to why I muse?  Are you?

Merriam Webster’s defines fissure “as a narrow opening or crack of considerable length and depth usually occurring from some breaking or parting.”  My analysis has little or nothing to do with elections concepts we have all become familiar with:  within the margin of error, suburban housewives, firewall states, battleground states, predictive analysis, working class-whites, blah, blah, blah.

Beware, mind’s eye differs, remaining slightly slanted, eschewed, after the fog and anger cleared, offering a different perspective.  Are you there yet?  Not yet?  Let me continue.  Please let me continue.

No matter what side of the theater you sit, you are familiar with the script.  The predictable, reliable theme:  an attractive couple living in Any Town, U.S.A., loving, caring, patriotic, believing in the America dream; existing in a dangerous, imperiled world.  Profound evil existing, side-by-side with pure and utter goodness, who would ever believe, who would ever dream such?  Perplexing evil so all-encompassing that law enforcement is befuddled, undermanned, and out-numbered; invoking the need of a higher power, a savior.  Are you feeling me?  Of course you are not.  Please be patient.  We are almost there.  An unidentified Volvo is destroyed.  A row of suburban homes are blown apart.  At least ten police officers are killed within the first fifteen minutes of the movie.  Flashback to our couple:  Still loving, caring, dreaming the American dream; unwittingly going about their day-to-day routine, predictably marching into harm’s way; America imperiled; the world imperiled.  Now look stage right – the savior, the hero!

Social scientists use to conduct word association tests to determine our views on race, sex, money.  In such tests, the participants are given a word and asked to respond with one word to what they see, what they think.  By way of example to simply the subject, I will use “race” as the identifying marker.  The word “rapist” is given.  The subject is requested to identify the image he/she sees, “the rapist’s race?”  The writers and producers, of the genre of movies I discussed earlier, aptly apply social science; using knowledge from past studies, pulling us in, applying words to images.  So it matters not where you are sitting in the theater, the city of your venue, the state you reside, the time the movie runs.  None of us – hear me – none of us need any additional prompting during the movie.  Seeing the image of the hero coming to save the day; a clear image, defined racial features, gender specific, embedded in the recesses of our brains; possessing the same neurons, as if we have all been cloned.

The problem is this – we are fracturing as a society, no longer seeing the same image.  Words of starkness still bring forth images of James Bond, John McClane, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, running, flying, soaring, shooting away – to save the day.  No matter how belittling the words are to other groups – the rest of the world – the hero’s language, promise, and bold proclamations are designed to reassure.  He did promise to save the day, didn’t.  He did promise to make us great again, assuring the mythical (and real), attractive couples, living in Any Towns, U.S.A. their safety,  their survival.

During the elections, some commentators who knew this Super Hero (Señor Trump) told us his was all an act and that his racists and sexist words didn’t mean what they meant.  Assuring us that he was a good guy, like Bond.    Telling us, “you just got to trust James Bond, get pass the sexism, the racism.” They invited us to share a good laugh as the camera continued to roll.

In November 2014, Newsweek published an article reminding us of a long standing finding, that we are no different biologically. “In 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement asserting that all humans belong to the same species and that ‘race’ is not a biological reality but a myth.”   I get that, I do.  My point is different however.

We all possess the same memory neurons, the ability to retain information, symbols.  I believe that history and time has now re-programmed the others.  Of course, they still see Bond, McClane, Batman, Superman, and the other heroes.  They are no longer convinced these characters are on their side.  Seeing the same pattern, “they” (the hero) sleeping with the erotic woman before she dies (she always dies) (and then having their way with any other woman he wants).  Okay, I will concede this is primarily the Bond plot-line and I digressed slightly.  My point is the others now see differently, no longer believing the means justify the end.

The others still seeing the heroes ability to fight, maintaining super human abilities, in fact always winning, against the enemies, who happens to also be labeled others, who by chance, by happenstance, looks like them (Chinese, Africans, A-RABS, MESKINS, “the blacks”).  Always winning, always winning – always winning.  Hearing and seeing the hero’s message, making American white again, I mean great again, protecting others … but not them.

An election in which the participants (the audience), saw different movies.  As if the movie theater was divided in half, straight down the middle.  When the closing credits rolled, half of the audience cheered, crying with relief with their hero’s victory.  Thanking God.  Thanking only their God.  Comforted by their hero’s words, not at all insulted, taking him at his word, accepting the promises.  The other half  secured in their seats, seeing the credits, seeing but not seeing, locked in place, as if lashed in place, crying in sheer disbelief, frightened by the hero’s words, pulling back, curling inward, taking him at his words, accepting his words, frightened with their prospects; seeing and remembering the words of another great white American hero, Jay Prichett, “How that work out for you the last time”  (slightly paraphrased … you get my drift though).

See life is rather simple when you think about it.  We forever remain participants in a social experiment.  Seeing the same movie, hearing the same words, seeing the same characters – even crying at the same time – collectively moving uncomfortably in our seats during the show, all worried about the Attractive Couple, wanting the car, the house, the lifestyle, exiting the theater debating what we just saw, and the meaning of the hero’s words.  Still a hero to some, no longer a hero to most, all wishing the mythical heroes would come, could come, appear magically to save us all.  Unfortunately, they will not.  They cannot.

JUST MUSING: “Rock-paper-scissors” …

I never was good at the game rock-paper-scissors.  I can’t explain why.  Either I lost interest after one or two rounds, ultimately conceding, agreeing the other person was the winner, or I simply didn’t have the requisite skills to compete.  Wikipedia describes the game as “a zero sum game in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand.”   A simple fist (rock), a flat hand (paper), a fist with the index and middle fingers extend forming a V (scissors).  Rock beats scissors, paper cover rocks, and scissors in turn cut paper.  If both players choose the same shape, the game is tied and is usually immediately replayed to break the tie.  Maybe my inability and unwillingness to compete was because the game seemed to reduce winning to a simplistic absurdity.  Corrupting the game’s rules for me involved displaying the same form repeatedly.  No, I don’t know whether my chance of winning increased or decreased by forming the same figure.  No, I can’t give you any mathematical probabilities.  Opting out, choosing not to play – which I did, always, walking away, worried little whether rock-paper-scissors won.

I disagree with Wikipedia defining rock-paper-scissors as a zero-sum game. To me a zero sum game, in life, is a hand which is played when all else fails; occurring when there is a total loss of hope, followed by a be-damned decision, an act of defiance.  It is when life becomes unbearable, thus reducing winning to destruction, annihilation.  I am not sure I am making sense.  Let me try explaining with real world examples.

Palestinians strapping bombs onto their bodies to kill themselves and Israelis represents a zero-sum game – “my loss is your loss” – winning by losing, reducing life to an absurdity; an act which is clearly not a game of rock-paper-scissors.

A Tunisian vendor (Arab Spring), standing in the middle of the plaza and setting himself afire, taking his own life, is a zero sum game.  Rock-paper-scissors, ha!

Prisoners electing death over living is a zero sum game; indefinite detention, no hope of formal charges, or trial, in an isolated setting, invites hopelessness.  The game played at Guantanamo Bay is not rock-paper-scissors.  It is a life-game played against the backdrop of the total loss of hope causing the prisoners to react, taking power away from their captor, giving all, forsaking all to win.

*           *           *

I have been in a state of daze since the presidential election.  No, not because my candidate lost.  No, not because the United States continues to limit its highest office to a limited class of persons (Just Musing:  Babble, babble, babble …”).  No, not because of my health is failing, allergies, the change in seasons, or because I just realized, at this late date, that elections have consequences (Just Musing:  “No longer a chameleon”…).  No, no, no … this haze is different, much different.

When Barry Goldwater ran for the office of the presidency (1964 election), I was nine/ten years old.  Mr. Goldwater was a United States Senator from the great state of Arizona.  I remember, even at that age, being insulted by his words.  He was talking about me and people who looked like me.  His picture of America, cast under the umbrella of conservatism was much like the black and white television sets of my youth – clear – black and white – pitting white folks against black folks.  Telling his fellow America to follow his lead, give him their vote, to protect “us from them.”  The American public didn’t follow his lead, rejecting Goldwater’s call to hate.

In 1968, George Wallace, the Governor of the great state of Alabama, ran for the office of the presidency.  He, Wallace, was an avowed segregationist.  His image remained ingrained in the minds of every southern black child, standing in front of the school house door, telling the rest of America that America was a white man’s country and he, and he alone, would remain principled to protect America from us.  The American public by and large rejected Wallace’s message, affirming that hope remained part and parcel of the American dream.

Oh sure, part and parcel of any election is an “us against them” message; encouraging citizens to vote for a particular candidate, showing contrast, extending a hand requesting “the privilege of your vote.”   Absolutely, communities of interest become important, even when those communities of interests invoke race, sex, nationality, religion.  But this election seems different.  A tactical invitation to separate “us from them”, played masterfully from beginning to end, an in-your-face display of hate.  The results of this election caused the haze to roll over the hill, clearing the horizon, making it clear the American public accepted this candidate’s words and lead.

When he moved down the escalator and cast aspersions against Mexicans, a good friend of mine who is a White female, a liberal most of her life, told me she thought the candidate was funny; as if he didn’t mean it, as if he was play acting.  I listened to her hearty laugh, curled my mind around her words and laughter; curled my body around my anger and anxieties.  I explained then that his invoking race and racism could never be funny to me; it is always personal.

He never stopped his supposed joking – grabbing and reaching – touching any many disparate groups as possible.  But he was not joking, not at all a play of symbolism, no, no, no – his were direct words – directed against “the Muslims”, “the African Americans”, those lying women (whom he promised to sue), the disabled (whom he openly mocked and then said he wasn’t mocking; sort of like others contention of his joking, play-acting).  The consequences of his actions however were clear – causing others to laugh, point, cheer and jeer.

*           *           *

Americans stood up in 1964, a time our society was under fundamental pressure to do better; truly a zero-sum time in the country’s history.

Americans rejected Wallace’s attempt to import his hate to other states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – and white women – said no – but not now, but not now.

No, this time was different.  They laughed at him while gifting him as much press time he needed to import his hate.   As if making a point, they remained silent, saying they were undecided.  Ginger-flexing (if ginger-flexing is a word), self-reflecting, assuring the rest of us he didn’t mean a word he said, while casting their ballots in the privacy of their homes, in voting booths throughout the land.  Not like Goldwater.  Not like Wallace.  Not like the rest of nation who rejected the hate – then.  Not this time.  A stark reminder we do have something to lose, while they closed their doors in the rest of our faces, to finish their hearty laughter.

JUST MUSING: “Abraham, Martin and John…”

Let’s see – Colin Powell, John Podesta – hacked – both powerful individuals with superior technical support, arguably superior to the average citizen, with security clearances that allow them to receive sensitive government data.  Both existing in cloistered worlds, separate from the rest of us, seemingly immune from our mundane problems.  So they assumed. So we assumed.  After they were hacked, we all participated unwittingly in the breach.  A breach which played out on the news, in cable-land, accompanied with questions about what the “public wants to know,” ignoring and refusing to discuss the fundamental breach of privacy and illegal activity done on our watch, supposedly in our name.

What else do we know? – Government and corporate entities are also not immune. India hacked.  India hackers in turn targeted Pakistani websites.  Name any country, if connected by phone, computer, banking, in this bold-new world, they too have been hacked, are doing the hacking, invading, exploring, stealing data.  The Europeans, the Africans, the Asians, the Americans – all participants in the new rules of plunder.

In the United States, 21.5 million were affected by the breach of the United States government computers (obtaining health care information, financial data, personal information, including social security numbers, and fingerprints).  Think your financial records are secure?  Think again. Even the IRS isn’t immune – hacked.   USA Today reported a 2015 IRS hack exposed 700,000 accounts.  US News reported in February 2016, the additional hacking of IRS accounts, affecting 100,000 accounts.  Robbing a bank by gun seemed so passé.

The predictable sentiments are loud and clear, wishing for the good old days.  Don’t worry – the good old days are here.  We are going to sleep at night with our doors and windows unlocked, comfortable with our safety, while hackers (both private and government) enter our world, pulling back the bed covers and do as they please.  Telling us to put tape over the camera while we sleep doesn’t seem to solve the problem.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) this past month (October 2016) issued a ruling [WC Docket No. 16-106], that some commentators have labeled “landmark.”  The new rules permit the consumers to forbid Internet providers from sharing sensitive personal information, such as app and browsing histories, mobile location data and other information generated while using the Internet.  Privacy advocates have applauded the changes.  I would contend it is a good start, but we can’t ignore the other inaction and direct actions of our government; tantamount to locking the door, disabling the camera and security system, while leaving 9 out of the 10 windows cracked, open for theirs and others access.

In 2015, President Obama, urged Congress to pass a Personal Data and Protection Act, legislature which would require companies, read this as private companies, to notify customers within thirty days of discovery of a breach and if sensitive information is exposed.  Congress took no action on the President’s request.

Our government (effective December 1, 2016), now has invoked new rules, “which would let judges issue search warrants for remote access to computers located in any jurisdiction, potentially including foreign countries.” These new rules broaden the government powers, allowing further access to data, breaching our privacy, further eroding the Fourth Amendment.

Absolutely, they tell us (read they, as politicians) that they too are concerned about privacy.  In fact, it was reported that on October 27, 2016, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. Congress asked the Justice Department to clarify how the new rule change in the government’s hacking powers could impact privacy of innocent Americans.  Of course, they (politicians) will ask, point to their asking and then go about their busy lives, reminding us of security concerns, and the need to make us safe, while our privacy rights continue to be eviscerated.

Sure, we can attempt to go off the grid, riding ourselves of computers, phones, any microchips found anywhere in our homes or work, but any such solution is about as unrealistic as some of us swearing off anything made with butter or sugar.  Some of you can.  Most of us can’t.   Travel, banking, our jobs all implicate privacy concerns – where there is a computer, there is access.  Ask the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – they too were hacked.  And everyone laughed, ignoring the threat to our freedoms.  Posting, musing, engaging in Face-time exposes each of us to the world.  I can’t help but muse:  if John Podesta and Colin Powell can be hacked, no one stands a chance, no matter what we do – particularly not under the current rules.  Changing our passwords, spending billions on patches and security systems seems to ignore there are eight other windows open in which they can crawl through.  Invading, touching, taking as they please – they did it to John.  They did it to Colin.

JUST MUSING: “It never rains in southern California…”

Years ago Roberta Flack hosted a radio show which originated out of New York – WKRS, KISS FM.  The show aired in Houston at 4:00 a.m. each Sunday morning.  As with her music, so was her hosting; soothing, instructive, invoking memories.  Laying a marker in time, before and after, educating her audience how music, life, and time remain forever interconnected.  I religiously rose, turned on the radio to participate in Roberta’s music appreciation class.  One particular morning, Roberta seemingly isolated us by age, instructing the listeners of a certain age not to ignore new artists.  Marveling over “those artist under twenty five,” before introducing the musical group Tony! Toni! Toné!

Roberta spoke of those who influenced Tony! Toni! Toné! ’s sound, imploring the rest of us to listen to their voices to hear the voices of others.  Playing the song, stopping, allowing silence to invade – one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three – before speaking again, forever soothing, pulling us closer, rewarding our joining her so early in the morning.

“I am going to do something I normally don’t do.”

Playing the song again, allowing the voices of the artists to instruct the class.  Making the point, bridging the gap, making sure those who arose each and every Sunday morning understood why she rose each and every Sunday morning to share with the rest of us.

So that I am clear, this musing has little to do about music, less about Roberta Flack, and absolutely nothing to do about Tony! Toni! Toné!  It is, this musing, is written to discuss the dance the mind does to make sense of nonsense.

In listening to presidential candidate Donald Trump explain away his conversation with Billy Bush, my mind tried to make the sense of what I heard, what I saw.  Bragging, pointing, ogling (in front of others), caring little what others said, thought, or heard.  Allowing their handlers to depart the bus, while they remained seated, continuing to share their views on women, assessing their figures (“move, move”), comparing (“the short one”) as men or wont to do, then reaching for the tic tacs – not caring their mikes were hot – behavior which had normally been protected.

My mind did that dance, jumping over logic, not hearing the voice of a grandparent, parent, or theorist, ignoring the political pundits, instead hearing Roberta Flack’s voice, while Tony! Toni! Toné! ’s lyrics rang in my head.

It may never rain in southern California –♫ “They tell me.” ♫ – Trump’s voice, and Bush giggle, said that it didn’t.  At least they have never experienced such rains.  Their setting was no different – the comforts of luxury, surrounded by handlers, protected, sunny California weather, privileged – allowing them to let down their hair, to share a commonality; and share they did.

Perfect, perfect for ten years, until someone told.  Putting NBC in a bind; causing them to hold the tape for a week, refusing to tell the rest of us (my paranoid surmise), suddenly hit with a stark realization – sometimes it rains in sunny California.  Sometimes you have to tell, even if it hurts the franchise.

Perfect, perfect weather, until someone got angry at NBC’s refusal to tell (the tattle-tale among us strikes again), sending the tape to the Washington Post – the Post told, telling the rest of us.

♫ “It never rains in Southern California.”♫

Trump apologized – “if any of us were insulted.”  Bush suddenly became “embarrassed and ashamed.”  It felt if both were actually apologizing for getting caught (as men are wont to do) before he – Trump – instructed the rest of us to dismiss what we heard, saying it was not what we heard.

♫ “It never rains in Southern California.”♫

Of course it doesn’t (never rains) – so they assumed.  So we were told.  So we have always been told.

Explaining bigly styled – as if life experiences and time suddenly became irrelevant – so he says.  So his handlers say.  So they will now tell us?

Hearing the explanation causes me to hear the voices of others.  Life and time forever remains connected.  Playing life’s song, stopping, allowing silence to invade – one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three – knowing what we heard, hearing Roberta’s voice, soothing us, knowing it finally rained in southern California.

JUST MUSING: “Parental Advisory…”

When first reading of his transgressions, our mouths grew agape, wondering how could he?  Tweeting, posting, flashing, showing, and sharing intimate details, varying his routine, wittingly making his child a participant.  His habit, his ritual; once, twice, now a third time – same picture, same color underwear, sharing, sharing, sharing, is his addiction.  If he had been the inventor of the Polaroid camera, he would have pushed, zipped, and pulled, turned to someone, to anyone, requesting they take possession of the picture.  Because of his insistence, the invention would have been ignored, someone – anyone – we – concentrating instead of what he took a picture of – “See, see, see.”  But I digress, he was not the inventor of Polaroid; such is not his generation.  The reach out and touch generation requires no printing, developing, waving, blowing – no, no, no – such is not their encumbrance.  His generation only has to aim, push, type a message and forward.

Most commentators expressed sympathy for his spouse, knowing she stayed, suffering the public embarrassment of the wayward one.  Seeking to maintain the union, pleading to the rest of us to allow her and her spouse to work out the details in private – once, twice – she plead.  Her embarrassment seemed to compound itself when he didn’t exactly deny he had ceased sharing his Polaroid.  Whether he thought the press in New York was not going to ask, or whether they were going to stop being the New York press, or whether he had magically created another invention – privacy in a sphere where there is no privacy – I don’t know the answer to any of the inquiries into the world of mythical possibilities.  I like most instead thought – What was he thinking?

An addiction is defined “as the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”  During the comedian Richard Pryor’s struggled with his addiction – cocaine – he joked the first thing he noticed during sobriety was he wasn’t what he thought he was.  “Hey I have been robbed.  Somebody stole my dick and left me with this little child’s wee-wee.”  His personification of the penis evoked laughter, while stating a matter of fact life truism – “Damn straight, men have dick hang ups.”  But Richard’s generation was a couple of generations before Anthony’s. Richard’s Polaroid was not Anthony’s Polaroid.

Whether an addiction is modern day addiction or not, it matters not – it is an addiction.  Threatening Anthony meant nothing to him.  Demanding he not do again what he did before were hollow words.   Anthony is an addict, addicted not to Dr. Pepper, Pepsi or Coke.  Not to coffee.  Not to alcohol or tobacco.  Not to cocaine.  He is still an addict.  Always denying the addiction then once cornered promising to correct his behavior.  I’m sure he promised.  I am sure he did.

His wife could have cut through the years of heartache by giving him a Polaroid camera the next day, reaching for his cell phones, pads, and computers and walking him through the process of closing all of his social media accounts.  No Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), WhatsAppTumblrInstagramTwitterBaidu Tieba, WeChat,  Line, Google+,  Skype, or Snapchat.   Reading off the list, asking yes or no, “do you or do you not have an account?”  Demanding any and all assumed names, and passwords, watching his eyes, his hands, listening to his words and anticipating the utterance of the words, “I don’t have a problem.”  If those words invade the room, get up and leave!  He is an addict.   If he delays, and says he will think about it, then refuse to give up the cell phone (“Step away from the cell phone!”) – leave!  He like most addicts will always take the side of that which possesses him, capturing his soul, imagination, and reasoning.  If he says he doesn’t remember his assumed names – he’s lying – has the information written somewhere or has subjected the passwords to memory – leave!  He is addict.   Pointing, shooting, typing, sending – he still an addict, “as the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.”  Read the definition over and over again, this will help you ward off self-doubt when it visits your cranial space.  After you are safe, secure and separated, send him a link of Lil Kim’s How Many Licks [look – don’t click on this link if you are easily insulted or have no idea who Lil Kim is!]  He will find no humor in tit-for-tat.  He will call you crazy, and will never call again.  You made your point and will have your peace.  Remember, you can’t cure him.  He has to be willing to change, admit his addiction and seek help for Anthony and Mr. Polaroid.