Prediction (feel free to tape it)

Does Trump have a Comey tape or not?

Pressed on the issue last Friday, Trump said “I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” (AP)

I’m going to commit myself to a prediction.

[insert ghostly psychic music here]

No.

He’s got nothing but a 5th-grade bully taunt (apologies to 5th graders everywhere).

Here’s what we’ll hear from Trump in the next few days–whether prompted by Fake News outlets like CNN and The New York Times or just volunteered.

“OK, I’m gonna tell ya what the story is. No tapes. <long pause> Gotcha!”

And this will be followed up by something like,

“I told ya you’d be disappointed! So disappointed. Very very disappointed.”

and…

“Believe me, if there were tapes, they would totally corroborate my statements.”

or…

“I know how you fake news folks like to focus on unimportant things, so unimportant, like whether or not there was collusion with our administration’s extensive Russian business interests and tapes, or videos or snapchats or whatever. I so totally had nothing to do with whatever is being spouted by the sore losers — whether it’s fake Russia news, covfefe or rigged elections — so I was just baiting you. Now, can we get back to the critical business of bringing imaginary coal mining jobs back to the people who elected me?”

“I don’t understand why the president just doesn’t clear this matter up once and for all,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, referring to the existence of any recordings.

Answer: Because Trump thinks he’s still on a TV reality show where cliffhangers before the commercial are de rigueur — part of the fun.

Maybe the Trump presidency ought to be renamed…something like, oh, The Apprentice.*


*Because, as House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “He’s just new to this.”

Cof’veve Salade au Spamme Internationale

For reasons that are not entirely clear, this internationally acclaimed recipe has suddenly taken the country by storm.

Cof’veve Salade au Spamme Internationale

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 can Korean Spam

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup cubed fresh Hawaiian pineapple

¼ tablespoon of Russian cof’veve (may substitute Saudi Arabian-style or Yemenese cof’veve for a more shawarma-style flavor. Some chefs use a Canadian blend but that’s considered a bit…conciliatory among cof’veve aficionados)

Preparation:

Carefully remove Spam from container and cut into medium slices. In a lightly oiled (don’t want to bruise the Spam) frying pan, sautee the Spam nonchalantly on one side, turn and fry more intensely on the flip side to give a Cajun texture.

Shred the lettuce and cheese, a la Mexican taco. Roast the pineapple cubes on ungreased rimmed baking sheet drizzled with toasted North Indian sesame oil and vegetable oil.

Dice the cooked Spam slices into small, quarter-inch nuggets and toss all into individual salad bowls.

At this point, the cof’veve (see photo at right) should be sprinkled lightly on top either using fingers or a small ornate spoon.

Caution: a little cof’veve goes a long way so do not be tempted to overdo this fascinating ingredient. The secret is to have a light touch and spread evenly.


All photos copyright J. Veihdeffer, including…yes…really, the Korean Spam can. I don’t remember where I got it or if I even consumed it. But it was too good of a deal to pass up in whatever grocery I found it in.

Eerie shadows and light

I thought I’d take a break from peering into the eerie creepy shadows of current politics to offer some recent shadow and light images from my own humble abode. Except for a bit of contrast control and minor cropping, these are straight out of the camera. (You can click on the images to get an enlarged view.)

Some of these are imbued with inherent mystery…

1) …such as this unusual configuration shining through an upper window, illumined by moonlight only, no camera tricks.

2) …and this bizarre light show that simply appeared one night

3) This Mickey Mouse cactus on my back patio is lit only by a porch light.

4) Can you guess this one. Hint: looking downward.

5) This small pink ball appeared on my front walkway one morning. No note. Only those odd shadows know.

6) Not much mystery here, other than the fact that the hummer was up pretty dang late for dinner.

7) Full moon across the street, along The Arizona Canal.

8) I’m a fan of this serendipitous image from my kitchen table

9) OK, this Cowboy Hydrant just outside the humble abode is admittedly not a shadow figure, per se but it seems to gain some credibility from the play of early morning light.


  1. Shadows of miniature cacti and empty vase and a small Don Quixote figure are refracted through an upper window onto my upper living room wall by the loft staircase. This is straight out of the camera with just a bit of contrast control.

  2. Turns out, the weird other-worldly display comes from from small, shiny, colored peace symbols that I had casually tossed onto the cabinet.

  3. Paddle cactus

  4.  This is a downward look into a glass jar containing sugar water and a two drops of red dye for the hummingbird feeder

  5.  This fun, colorful ball was deposited by a neighbor in thanks for a small favor I had done. When you bounce the ball, it lights up.

  6.  Not clear where the orange-ish light on the hummingbird fluid is coming from, possibly just a porch light

  7.  The Arizona Canal crosses Central Ave by my house. The 50-mile canal actually starts out in northeast Mesa, flows across the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, jaunts through upscale downtown Scottsdale and continues northwesterly through Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria before ending at New River, near Arrowhead Towne Center. (What…they couldn’t spell it “Centre”?)

  8.  I had just bought a small oscillating fan and discovered that I had to assemble it. The fan blade was enclosed in this cool, resealable plastic bag which apparently is irresistible to children.

  9. Cowboy Hydrant. Not sure where the hat came from…presumably a workman in the parking area.

The Joy of Repairing Stuff

The Joy of Maintenance Repairing Stuff.

I had the opportunity recently to have several home repair issues taken care of—which got me thinking about an Oct. 2016 Freaknomics episode called In Praise of Maintenance.” In the podcast, Harvard economist Ed Glaeser traces municipal maintenance back to 6th-century BCE Etruscan and subsequent Roman Republic projects in the time of Cato the Elder (2nd-century BCE).

But while maintenance of stuff is certainly important, I find I get a lot more inherent pleasure out of getting stuff fixed.

I’ll stick to the last two months

  • Guest bath: completely new faucets and hoses to fix longstanding dripping problem
  • Guest bath: varnished under-sink wooden cabinet base to keep it from flaking (after years of dripping from the sink)
  • Front door weatherstripping replaced
  • Front door latch bolt replaced (caused by weatherstripping replacement)
  • Front storm door pneumatic closing mechanism adjusted (that’s the gizmo at the top that prevents it from slamming closed and allows you to lock the door into an open position

  • Main bath shower: drain strainer fixture replaced (after previously botched job)
  • Main bath toilet: loose seat adjusted (subsequently loosened again)
  • Roof: installed drain pipe from rooftop AC unit (to keep water from dripping down the roof tiles)
  • Laundry room: replaced ballast on fluorescent light fixture
  • Kitchen: fixed broken track light, installed dimmer switch and new bulbs for track lights (I actually cracked the track light fixture trying to install a bulb while balancing on the tippytop of a ladder, thus necessitating the repair and renovation cycle)*

  • Loft fan: bought new fan to replace decrepit unit
  • Refrigerator: super-glued door shelf back into place (this vintage fridge really needs to be replaced—it’s already lost the ability to serve water and ice and some of the light bulb fixtures are defunct)
  • Patio: scrubbed out long-standing bird- and tree-dropping stains from concrete area.
  • Fireplace: vacuumed and scrubbed out (this is probably more like yearly maintenance but it still feels good to get it done with).

Note that none of these are regular maintenance projects like changing your car oil or house AC filter, filling your bike tires or watering your plants.

(I admit that I’m pretty proud that this orchid has started blooming again after two years of, um, benign neglect)

Oddly, I think I derived greater pleasure from these simple maintenance projects than from buying new things for the house. It’s like removing one little nuisance after another.

Now, can the same thing be done for our government? Repair (not replace) our healthcare system, our tax codes that seem to mainly benefit billionaire real estate magnates, our treatment of people who can’t defend themselves? Repair the 2nd Amendment that makes it ridiculously easy to get access to guns? Repair the gerrymandered voting districts? Repair our educational system (hint: it’s not going to be by vouchers).

Needless to say, I had professional handymen doing the work above, though I did buy a stepladder that allows me to get up on the roof to see what the neighbors and their infernal barking dogs are up to.

But who will be the handyperson to repair our democracy?


Yes, those are airplane models and ridiculously outsized wine bottles up there. Fixing the track lighting gave me a good opportunity to do my yearly dusting of the high ledge.

The real reason Trump won’t release his tax returns

Here, for your amusement, is a unique defense of the so-called president’s refusal to release his tax returns, from the perspective of a certain gun advocate who calls himself “The Uninvited Ombudsman”*:

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:
The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:*

As the president has repeatedly said, his returns are under audit, so the papers are only a draft. They are unofficial, subject to change, and can be accepted, rejected or rewritten at the pleasure of IRS. [italics in orginal]

Apparently this was brought on by the gun author getting tired of pesky citizens unabatedly continuing to ask for these documents.

So the real reason for the Bankrupter-in-Chief not releasing his returns is that they were “drafts”! (Like when I submit a piece of writing to a client and await their comments for revisions or approval. “Oh, you didn’t like that wording? OK, let me tweak it a bit till you find it acceptable.”)

Of course the SC-POTUS itself has continued to assert that since his returns are under audit, he’s “not allowed” to release them—despite clear and definitive statements by the IRS and others knowledgeable of tax laws that there’s no such restriction.**

The author goes on to assert that:

Reporters had stopped asking about Trump’s taxes, now that they have other gripes to repeat ad nausem, which will frustrate them equally, for similar reason. [itals, quote marks, Latin spelling error in original]

Of course, neither the millions of petition-signing citizens nor the news community have ever stopped asking, but our author continues his rant:

That ended when “news” outfits nationwide gave exorbitant coverage to staged rallies by left-wing malcontents demanding presidential action on his tax returns — where none is required. [quote marks in original]

Yes, we know that there’s no legal requirement to release the returns. The arguments for releasing the returns are those of transparency, a legitimate interest on the public’s part to see whether the SC-POTUS and his associates might have significant financial dealings with various governments, politicians and corporate interests that could affect his ability to serve solely in the public interest.

And we can’t help but wonder what the difference is between a “staged rally” and other kinds? Aren’t rallies, by definition, staged? At least the pep rallies in my high school were.


*Yes, the author refers to himself as “the uninvited ombudsman” and likes to double-up the line before each of his responses to various issues.
“In a statement Friday, the IRS said that federal privacy rules prohibit the agency from discussing individual tax matters, but ‘nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.’” (IRS: Trump can release tax returns, regardless of audit.” USA Today, Feb. 26. 2016)
Cartoon from The New Yorker

Easter yoks, er, yolks

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is from the inter-faith comic strip series, “Jesus & M0”

 

and my current favorite…Vermeer’s mystery muse.

 

Oh, all right, one final one, for you so-called golf fans:


FYI – in case you’re one of the folks who got the original version of this and are wondering why there’s a duplicate with a different headline: When I posted this on Facebook, the stupid system featured the wrong image. There’s currently no easy way to select the image you want to feature on the FB page (it apparently requires deep coding work), so I just made the original one private and re-did it without the wrong image…and then added it back in after it was posted. (I think)