Here We Are

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Screaming.

Blaming.

Judging.

Pointing.

But not listening.

It turns out the basket of deplorables is much deeper than we imagined.

It turns out Facebook was the basket of deplorables all along.

I laughed derisively at those who said Twitter was “about what you had for breakfast.”

“They don’t get it,” I thought.

I didn’t get it.

I happen to make part of my living in social media.

So I feed the beast and the beast feeds me.

I have some stuff to work out.

Andy Borowitz, on stage Friday night in Poughkeepsie, explained the election situation fairly simply.

He made a Breaking Bad analogy. I don’t think you need to have watched the show to understand.

In the show Breaking Bad, the main character, Walter White, finds out he has cancer. He must pay for treatment. He has no money. He discovers if he produces and sells crystal meth, he and his family can stay afloat.

Andy said, look at the media as Walter White. Their cancer: they were broke.

Their crystal meth: Donald Trump.

The networks gave him over 3 billion dollars in free air time.

And they got richer.

Andy reminded us of what Les Moonves said, “Donald Trump may not be good for America, but he’s good for CBS.”

I cancelled my cable on Friday morning.

And I cancelled the New York Times.

These are two things that will help me.

I hope you can find things that might help you.

Last night, I watched a clip of Dave Chappelle’s monologue on Saturday Night Live, and wondered if Lorne Michaels understands now, what he helped do. By having Trump on his show, so many times, for ratings dollars, he fed him to the viewing public as a plate of normal. He’s anything but.

Facebook feels like a screaming abyss of panic to me right now. Twitter is worse, because on Twitter, there’s no governor on the hatred.

Since 2008, when I joined Facebook, I’ve indulged in the selfie mentality of thinking what I was doing with my life should mean something to other people, instead of making damn sure it means something to me.

That’s 8 years! That’s a whole third grader.

Shit.

Narcissism is how we got here, fellow deplorables.

And addiction to social media, all media, feeds the narcissism.

Addiction I can do something about.

I’ll share what Andy said on Friday, at the end of his show.

It’s the same idea I hung on to, as I sat in the dark silence of Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Change starts within. It’s all we can control.

To quote Andy again, “As Gandhi said – or maybe it was Melania Trump – I can’t remember – be the change you want to see.”

Thank you Andy, you’re one of our national treasures.

I need to put the phone down, and speak to people face to face.

For now, hello is enough.

And I’ll write.

Dispatch from the bubble

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God, I love you people — my tribe.
The messages, the calls, the hugs.
Yesterday, as my Zyban-like therapy for quitting social media (Zyban is the smoking cessation cure you get to take for 2 weeks while you’re quitting) – I spent time not unfriending, but blocking 37 people on Facebook.
Then, guess what?
I suddenly have entirely different things to say, on Facebook.
And outside of Facebook.
For now: here’s this.
More people voted for her.
Half of America didn’t vote.
Some people who voted for him are not hate-filled; they just needed a new system and this was the only avenue they saw.
(I’m still working on that one, but humor me.)
Things are broken. We broke them. WE, all of us.
We must fix them.
The Obamas are why we can’t have nice things.
This thing has been coming for a long, long time.
Since before many of the people who voted for him were born.
We must stop and think what and who it is we’re fighting, and then go fight it, with kindness.
Hint: it ain’t him.
Stay tuned.
ps: Did I mention how proud I am of my kids?

Never Trump: Let’s just take this one thing.

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Dear Trump bros (that includes you too, ladies),

Let’s just take this ONE thing. For now.

The FACT that the GOP candidate for president is on tape bragging that he can sexually assault women, because he’s a star.

Grabbing a woman by the genitals is sexual assault. FACT.

Stop saying it isn’t.

When you vote for Donald Trump, please own the truth.

You’re voting for a man who sexually assaults women. Oh, wait, he was just bragging about it? Um, no. As the tape unfolds, he leaves the bus with his pimp Billy Bush. Billypimp forces the woman they’ve been mocking and denigrating on the bus to hug both of them. They both grope her. Assault.

So, when you vote for Trump, you’re acknowledging you don’t care about this. “Those are just words, folks.”

Please explain that to your kids after you vote. They should know what hand they’ve been dealt, up front.

“Sweetheart, mommy and daddy had to vote for an accused rapist and serial misogynist because his opponent deleted some emails, plus she was MEAN to our guy. Mmmkay? Now go outside and play. But don’t wear that short skirt. And put on a sweater, for godsakes.”

I want to believe people I “know” couldn’t possibly vote for this man after they’ve heard him talk casually about sexual assault, call a woman “it” and so much worse.

But I’m not that dumb. I know they will. They may say they’re voting for his fiscal agenda. WHAT FISCAL AGENDA? He has none. He is a failed businessman who repeatedly stiffs the people he’s hired. Which is the role model some seek, I realize.

Back to the grabbing women by the genitals thing he said.

Actress, director and writer Amber Tamblyn recently shared a story detailing the night an ex did this very thing to her.

Women thanked her; men mocked her. Business as usual.

Kelly Oxford received over 8 MILLION responses online, when she asked women to tell their assault stories. Read them.

I know I’m not alone when I tell you this: my own degrading experiences, and those of my girlfriends, have flooded my memory since this man started demeaning people on a daily basis, months ago.

Like when a boy in our 6th grade class decided to call my best friend “Pig” and boys of all ages joined him, and called her that for years.

When a visiting male “superior” came into my office at one of my jobs as a writer, and told me to call a cab and book a hotel reservation for him. 

When I served as a sober cab for drunk men and one of them groped me from the backseat, the rest laughed. No one told him to chill. He asked me why I wasn’t nicer.

That last one reeks of the “Get over it, libtards!” response to the Trump Tape, from his male fans.

Ok, I’ll stop. These are the teeny tiny examples. I could go on. And on. And get far more graphic. But I’ll stop.

My point is Trump’s actions are faaaaaaaaaaar from unique in our culture. (Notice I didn’t say rape culture – at this point, it’s simply our culture.)

My dread and outrage are directed towards him, because he’s asked for it.

But please. Please, please, please don’t let this sick man become president of the United States. It’s okay to rethink it.

VOTE.

And lift a glass to Susan B. Anthony after you do.

15

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Fifteen.

Fifteen years ago, I decided enough was enough, in regard to drink and drugs. One witness concurred. Others didn’t, but they’re all gone now, one way or another.

I married the one who did.

There was a woman in the rooms when I first went, in my hometown, who was extra badass. A nurse.

We often had conversations outside meetings, especially during those first weeks, when I was a blank slate. She’d talk about feeling pride rather than gratitude. She told me to look for my pride every day.

Find what you’re proud of, she’d say, and feel good about it. It’s yours.

Ugh, there was so little, at first. Thank god that’s over.

Fifteen years. I’m so proud now of the changes I’ve made, and the chances I’ve taken. The little ways life just keeps getting better. That my pace has slowed down just enough to help me see the big picture more often, and that it’s usually not about me. That finally I’ve let yoga teach me things like, “balance happens when ease and effort are equal.” Man, I love that one. So much is good in my life. I’ve worked hard for that.

But today, on this day…I’m most proud of my beautiful daughter, and the way she gets up every day and goes back after it, using her creative and brilliant mind to try to figure out the puzzle of the world.

That’s never easy for any of us.

But damn, her persistence is inspiring. I’m so proud of her.

I’m proud of both of us.

Keep Thinking

13482879_10209824940688547_6450878168412378037_oWestcliffe, CO, June 20, 2016, photo by Bar Scott

“The full moon is the high tide of power. It signals it is time for you to release that which no longer serves you, what you no longer need in your life, or an aspect of yourself that you have outgrown.”

The things you hear at yoga. Who knew? Just kidding. Namaste, bitches.

Early on in my sobriety, I met a person who later became my “sponsor.” We used the term loosely, as I kept insisting a sponsor is someone who pays your way. Ray — let’s call him Ray — didn’t see it that way.

When I met Ray, he had more years sober than I had on earth. That’s a lot of wisdom to acknowledge. He was in a motorcycle gang in the 60s. A real life Captain America. Like I’m gonna argue with him about anything. The guy knew stuff about stuff I didn’t even know was stuff. I kept my mouth shut most of the time when I was with Ray. So, being with him always caused me to go against my nature in at least one way.

One thing Ray taught me is that it’s helpful, each year you’re sober, to let go of something. In addition to the booze and drugs and what not. You’ll constantly be surprised by what you don’t need, he said. He was right. It’s become second nature to let go of things that no longer help me move forward. Unhealthy things like cigarettes and resentments, invisible things like notions and fears, material things like collections of shoes and dishes: they’ve all made it to my discard pile.

I added a logical twist. Along with letting go of something I no longer need, I try to bring something new into my world each year. Maybe it’s a habit or a belief, a visit to a new place, a new friend, anything that keeps me thinking and growing.

Some years, I’ve gone a bit overboard, but that’s a different topic. Addicts can be excessive. Duh.

The huge moon Monday night was a beacon. I drank it in. It reminded me to get busy, and I haven’t stopped since. There’s so much left to do.

Tuesday, I learned Ray passed away while the moon was giving me permission for renewal.

I’ll keep that one last push he gave me clasped tightly in my hand, forever.

 

Rollercoaster Records, Kilkenny, Ireland

I found where all the good records are. Willie Meighan​’s Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny, Ireland. If Willie doesn’t have it, you probably shouldn’t want it.

Willie won’t miss a beat in your conversation while waiting on three other people, answering the phone, sipping a coffee, and looking things up on his computer.

His selection of music, books and movies will boggle your mind. It’s like he gathered up all the vinyl you wish you’d saved, and then stocked the cds you should have progressed to by now. It’s the record store you’ve always dreamed of.

When you go, ask him to tell you about Bruce Springsteen in Kilkenny. And ask him where you should go in Kilkenny for the best live music.

Here’s Willie now.

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Happiest little record store in the world.

Rollercoaster Records
Kieran St
Kilkenny, Ireland
Phone (056) 776 3669

On His Birthday: A Classic Tom Sheehan Story

Happy Birthday to my father, Tom Sheehan, who’d be 93 today. He died July 4, 2003.

Here’s one of my favorite stories about him. It’s a baseball story, of course.

The College World Series — played in Omaha every spring — got its start in 1946.

Here’s how.

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My father was an All-American baseball player, the catcher and co-captain of his team at Notre Dame. He was selected to play in that 1946 game, held at Fenway Park in Boston, for the Mid-West (aka West) team. He’s mentioned below as one of the standout selections.

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The East won, 6-2.

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I didn’t know about any of this until one night in the 90’s, when I was home visiting my parents. We were having a few drinks at our usual spot, when some friends, a couple named Harold and Lois, dropped by our table.

“We have something that belongs to you, Tom,” Harold announced.

We all exchanged curious glances, none more curious than Tom’s.

Harold pulled a tiny square blue box from his pocket.

“We were on a cruise, and we met a woman from New York. We told her we were from Carroll, Iowa, and she asked us if we knew you.”

My mother raised an eyebrow.

“We said yes, and she said she had something of yours she’d like you to have back. She had this with her!” Harold handed my father the little box.

We all watched as my father took off the lid and looked inside.

After a few seconds, he seemed to know what he was looking at. “Holy cow,” he said, using one of his favorite expressions.

“What? What is it? Let’s see!” We all were bursting to know.

He showed us a shiny gold baseball charm, engraved with his initials.

“It’s from the one and only college all-star game. I played in it at Fenway Park,” he explained, tucking the box into his jacket pocket.

“Not so fast,” my mother said. “I think you’re leaving out part of the story.”

My father sheepishly explained, “Well, someone I used to know had it… and she must have decided to give it back.”

Turns out that someone was Miss New York at the time she was his girlfriend, when he gave her this trinket. My mother was familiar with her existence.

But none of us could quite believe anyone would travel with something like this, hoping to finally meet people who could help return it to its owner.

For the rest of the night, he kept pulling the little box out of his pocket, holding it between his fingers, smiling. “They never forget,” he gleefully teased my mother.

And now, it’s one of my favorite possessions.

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The clippings above are the only information I can find about the game. I didn’t know it was the precursor to the College World Series until I did this research. I’d love to know if all the players got one of these charms, and if anyone else still has one.

In honor of his birthday, here are some highlights from his senior season at Notre Dame the following year.

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Happy Birthday, Tom. I miss you every day.

Fabulous Furniture, Boiceville, NY

Three works of art, all from the mind of one artist: Steve Heller, of Boiceville, NY.

IMG_8059 IMG_8084 IMG_8097And that’s just the beginning. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling through upstate New York on Rt. 28, you can’t help noticing the fabulous pieces of sculpture outside a little shop in Boiceville, just north of Woodstock. You must stop and look at them. And go inside.

There, you’ll find a menagerie of glorious art pieces disguised as furniture, made from reclaimed wood by award-winning car restorer and American Visionary Art Museum contributor Steve Heller.

The furniture is displayed amidst his collection of robots and space vehicles, also made from reclaimed materials. Pretty soon you’re going to want to meet the guy who made all this. And you can. Just ask for him. He’s more than happy to leave his shop to visit with you and tell you all about the making of any piece that catches your eye. Steve is a completely charming guide as he takes you through his store, listening to you just as much as talking about his process. You’ll quickly see how much love and creative genius has gone into every item, whether it’s wood or metal.

The photo opps are endless at Fabulous Furniture. Here’s just a sample of what’s waiting for you. And Steve does custom pieces, obviously.

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This weekend, Steve hosts a show of new sculpture. The mind reels. Details below.

11722558_10207453078354772_2804554398306781217_oFabulous Furniture | Wed thru Sun 11-5 | Route 28 Boiceville, NY | 845-750-3035 | fabfurn1@gmail.com

A Bubble Bath for Your Spirit

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Paulette Goddard in Anna Lucasta.

Have I ever led you astray? Wait, people who knew me in my 20’s, don’t answer that. Or my 30’s. Or early 40’s. Ok, have I led you astray recently? I try not to. Leave it at that.

In a perfect world, Sunday is supposed to be a day to care for the spirit. I’d like to help you do that. Dig in, if interested.

There are quite a few things happening around me right now that are causing me to take a closer look at the big picture. My husband and I had a long talk about this today. As you get older, the big picture has less detail and becomes more abstract. For me, life’s big picture is about remembering these few things:

  1. Do something to make today better than yesterday. Even if it just means listening better. Especially if it just means listening better.
  2. NEVER say never.
  3. Try to say yes as often as you can.

As a way of helping to make your today better than your yesterday, here are my offerings.

This episode of The Mischke Road Show. I told you about this days ago. Why haven’t you listened to it yet? Thank you so much to those of you who have, and who have let me know. I assure you, it’s worth your time, and it will inspire you and change your day. (And a shout out to our children, who are doing their part in filling that bucket with drops. After you listen, you’ll know about the bucket and the drops.)

The website of the brilliant Taylor Negron. Spend time here, lift yourself up. He was so much more than a character actor and stand-up comic, as you’ll see. He was a bright, light soul who used his time here in astonishingly productive and creative ways. All the art on the website is by him, including the gorgeous paintings. An essay not to be missed: The Pink Gorilla (Tuesdays with Lucy).

And this. If nothing else, this. A Last Gift From The Genius Mind of Taylor Negron: Reflections On A Life Spent Playing Everyman: A meditation on saying goodbye from a master of the form.

A sweet song about why you should laugh more.

Hope you feel a little lighter.

And much appreciation to all who take time to comment here or to email me. It’s everything! xo