U.S. Politics

Planting little kisses all over my face in the mirror…

I mean, normally that’s YOUR job, gentle and misguided reader.  But I’ll give you the day off from following my EULA to the very letter.   You deserve this not for any action on your part – puhLEEEASE! – but  because I have triumphed over the forces of darkness that have been swirling around my ankles like a choirboy’s cassock at a Vatican audition.

But first:  What was your favorite Trump moment of the past week?  Mine was his retort to Theresa May, PM of Britain.  In case you hadn’t heard, Prime Minister May, in an unprecedented public shaming, chided Trump for displaying extreme, and almost certainly fake, racist, anti-Muslim videos obtained from extreme UK right-wing group “Britain First”.

May’s office condemned Britain First for its use of “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

The statement continued, “The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect.”

Then, unequivocal condemnation:  “It is wrong for the President to have done this.”

Trump, like a defensive high school kid caught red-handed smoking behind the recycling bins and sent to the Principal’s office, decided to “Back atcha” her with a little arrogant, patronizing cyberbullying:


How was he to know that he targeted the tweet to the wrong Theresa May?

Yup, that’s right.  Theresa May Scrivener, a 41-year-old British citizen with a protected Twitter account of six followers said, “I haven’t been able to leave my house. I’ve been bombarded and contacted by press from around the world.”

She added,

“It’s amazing to think that the world’s most powerful man managed to press the wrong button,” she said. “I’m just glad he was not contacting me to say he was going to war with North Korea.”

No kidding.  Britain First, a hate group, is reviled by most British citizens (who, despite May’s brave words are no slouches in the racism department), is in trouble with the law, and represents possibly the worst candidate for publicizing by a President of the United States that you could possibly choose. From a fringe position of near invisibility to world-wide notoriety in one instant—all thanks to The Donald.

I wonder what the gaffes are that we DON’T hear about…?

And now, back to me, thank ya JEEEEEEZUS!


True Confessions of a Meshugener Fag

A very saintly, filled with god-sky, and maybe just a

teensy bit sanctimonious good morning to all you guys and gals!  Better have your extinguishers ready ’cause I’m tellin’ ya, I’m so stoked to be here today, my glorious raiment is like unto fire! 

Hey, I’m only goofin’ around with the bible talk! Is that just so 1611 or what?!

Not forgetting to offer a fruity, full-bodied sip from the chalice to the rest of Dad’s creation, and— last but not least—a cheery yet perplexed shout-out to all those men, women and children, plus their respective farm animals, currently trampling each other to death as they board the ferry scheduled to sink in the Arabian Sea on Boxing Day.

Never change, ferry dudes! Gotta love your stick-to-it-ivity!

jesusmachinegunFirst off, I’d like to thank the whole world for dropping everything so we could hang out, and also for the seven billion cappuccinos and “morning glory” muffins, that’s awe-sommmme! 

And frankly, the high fibre is just what I need today. You’d think with all the pieces of whole-wheat toast I appear on, I’d be more regular.  Well, not the case!

And for the millionth time—are you ready for this?— special memo to the ferry passengers:  Please, just this once, could you not get on the fucking ferry.

I know, right?  I mean, what is that??!

I can tell by the way some of you are looking at me like so many Sauls on so many collector lanes of the Damascus Freeway that you’re freaked out.  It’s OK, I’m used to it.  But yes, Mrs Aquino, it really is me, so you can put away the rosary, honey, and— just look up, I’m right here, OK?  Sheesh.

Traveling light today, with my accompanying clouds of glory, but minus the sheep and the goats, because— well, I know they need dividing, one from the other, but, like many of you I’m sure, I woke up, took one look at the sunshine and said to myself, “It’s just way too nice a day to be stuck in Purgatory with a bunch of even-toed ungulates.”

And of course, minus the angels.  If you’re out of the loop, it’s a collective action thing until we sort out how many of them can dance on the head of a pin without creating a fire hazard, which a certain Heavenly Father, not to mention any names, never got around to deciding.

Plus c’est change—!  

Now, the IT department says that many of you have been close to crashing starry-firmament-dot-com with your requests to develop a close, personal relationship with Yours Truly.

Hey, don’t be be nice to me, I can’t take it!  L O friggin’ L!

So let’s kick off this getting-acquainted confessional conflab with a little segment I like to call “My Favorite Things”.

I used to call it “I am sixteen, going on seventeen”, but someone pointed out that there’s a limit to what back lighting and too-tight raiment of fire can do for a guy.

And far be it from me you should have “Second Coming Shock”!  There’s enough to worry about as it is, right?

Now, when it’s a question of My Favorite Things, let me set the record straight: you can just back off with your raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.  Gag me with a spoon, Murgatroyd!

Similarly, I’m about five hundred hallelujah’s short of a Handel chorus for any wild geese that fly with the moon—or anything else, for that matter—on their wings.

No way, José!

And make no mistake, it was after a dinner of fine apple strudels, and doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles, that Mr Hitler turned to Mrs Hitler and said, “You see that homeless guy over there, in the corner, all glowing white, with the dove flying around his head and holding a cross? That’s Jesus Christ!! Yes siree, and believe it or not— he’s ordering me to kill Jews! All of them! Why the hell would I want to do that?”

And after a moment of quiet reflection she replied, “Job security … ?”

So fuck all that Oscar Hammerstein II—Mary Martin bullshit!

My favorite thing is:

When a whole bunch of innocent people get gunned down in a church. 

Call me shallow!  Mister Away-In-a-Manger-Irony-Pants, that’s Me!

L O Friggin’ L!

Because nothing, I tell ya, nothing brings people together more effectively or reminds you, in the course of  your tedious, workaday life, of what’s really important better than a mass shooting by a deranged civil servant or psychotic fast-food employee who’s gonna kill himself anyway.

Nothing, I tell ya, gets your adrenaline flowing like a hail of bullets erupting as you sing “Amazing Grace”; nothing ups the ante like seeing your loved ones’ blood on the Book of Common Prayer, or hearing your kids screaming in panic as they try to take cover.

I mean, it’s at moments like that when life is revealed in all its gorgeous complexity. But wait! Are you thinking what I’m thinking…? Yep, you got it!


The candlelight vigil is the warm, hemorrhaging heart of an American-as-apple-pie mass shooting incident.  It’s the healing moment, the time when America sits itself down, looks itself in the eye, and faces a difficult truth: that we still don’t have enough guns or few enough gun controls for us to feel safe enough to sit ourselves down, look ourselves in the eye and face the difficult truth: that it’s time to forgive ourselves, and move forward after closure, and do everything exactly the same!

When it comes right down to it, the candlelight vigil is why we do mass shootings in the first place, the “raison de ne pas être”, as it were.  Awww— ! I dunno about you, but personally, as someone who’s embraced Pontius Pilate, Pol Pot, and everyone in between—I’ve never felt so damned “huggy”!

You know, and can I just say, seriously.  Some people don’t appreciate my work, and I try not to pay attention to them or let them bring me down. I just continue making people’s lives a little more holy, holy, holy, a tad more Lamb of God-y, with never a thought for my own fleshly desires or even finding someone to watch Game of Thrones with on a Saturday night.

For example, ever since I figured out that LOL stands for “lots of love”, I try to work it in wherever I can.  Like, I just appeared on a crying-old-lady-in-Bosnia’s piece of rye bread covered with apricot preserves—and looking up, you know, into the apricot preserves, I wrote with my tongue—

Žao mi je što je puhasto pregazio tramva LOL!

Which means, in Bosnian, “I’m sorry Fluffy got run over by a tram LOL!”— but then the old lady just kind of freaked out and cried even more.


You either get it, and you’re on the High Speed GO Train of God Bless Our God; or you don’t get it and you’re just walkin’ in place, walkin’ in place in that old soft-shoe routine headed straight to “Welcome to Loserville, population one”.

I could end up with my ego right down the toilet if I listened to every Tom, Dick andceramic-gun Harry. “It only hurts if you think it’s true!” That’s what Charlene, my life coach, told me back in 1993, and I was like, “In which case, Charlene, it won’t hurt when I tell you that, sure, with my stripes ye are healed, but in your case I should have specified vertical.”  Oi ve voy!

We’re all adults?  I can talk freely? ‘Cause I do have issues.  Low self-esteem, social anxiety. Chronic frizzies when it gets even a teensy bit humid out.

I was that typical crucifix-building nerd, you know, scrawny.  Bullies kickin’ the Dead Sea in my face when I’d be just minding my own business, trying to even out my tan.

And I was a horny little bugger, but inept. There’s one time, like, I’m about twelve and I see Mary Magdalene at the well, you know, promoting her “Buy One, Your Ten Closest Male Relatives Get It Free!” special.  So I approach her, I’m so excited and so shy at the same time, and—she pops her tits out!  Well, yeah, OK.  I guess they were more or less like juicy pomegranates if you wanna get all Song of Solomon about it.

And what do I do?  Instead of, like, just pulling a Weinstein, instead of jumping on her like a pit bull and tit-fucking her like any other normal, red-blooded Israelite of twelve, I’m like, “Nice belt!”

Nice belt?!

Hot hairy balls on a communion wafer, what a little meshugener faggot! May all the Sons of Abraham lube me up with locusts and honey if she didn’t probably think I was one of those sodomites the Pharisees are always going on about.

Like Bruce bar Lenny, our local combination hair stylist and abomination. This is back in Galilee you understand, where it was soooo provincial. I mean, you wait and wait, the big show finally makes it there, everyone lines up for an absolute eternity for tickets— then they all prance around at intermission sayin’ “Leessa Minooli”.  Talk about embarrassing!

Yeah, so anyway this is the new lean, mean Joshua bar Joseph Son O’ God machine, kind of thing. I was getting sick of the eighty-hour weeks, absolutely no “me time”, always exhausted and dropping my iPhone in the hummus, I’m sure you can all identify.

Day in, day out, same old drudgery, then one day I say to myself, Jesusbro, you are not up to speed with this shit. Game the system, dude!  I mean, have you totally forgotten the Eight Beatitudes of Highly Successful People?

So I started pumpin’ iron, cuttin’ down on the saturated fat. Screw loaves and fishes, I bulked up on rice cakes. Compared to which, frankly, styrofoam would be tastier.

No more freebies, either. Who’s gonna work if they got everything handed to them on a plate?  Seriously.  Food miracle queens!  The Riviera’s full of ’em!

And I initiated some time-saving strategies.  Now, instead of giving babies original sin individually—I mean, bespoke is all very well, but that shit’s just not scalable—I came up with, we line up a few hundred thousand in a grid, and then Adam and Eve, and sometimes Steve, can just piss on all of them at once.

So yeah, I cut down on the human resources, too.  Got five disciples doin’ the work of twelve.  Now that I’m ripped, of course, John gets hissy fits whenever Judas gives me the old hairy eyeball, and I tell ya! Those gingers! We’re talkin’ trouser snake, major, and when they say that cock crowed three times — sometimes four!  Whoa!

So I end up with some leisure time, and at first it’s fun.  I get together with Milton Friedman, that old schlemozzel!  And once the old blood and water’s flowing from my pierc-èd side, and he’s stuck his fingers in for proof, we have a ‘trickle-down’ contest.

Good times, man.  Good times.

So, whatever. Leisure is for the masses, but when you got ambition—!  I decide to do a hard-hitting exposé of corruption among the Pharisees, and the people are like, “Are you nuts? They’ll crucify you!”  How the hell was I supposed to know they meant it literally?

Gun_Mailbox-1Around the same time, I create this new religion spin-off with my buddy Mohammed, and we do some A-B testing.  Will people like the latkes, or will they like the tabbouli, kind of thing.  Pants and shirts or kaftans?  Donkeys or mules? Oppressed women or oppressed women?

But then I find Mo’s been fiddling with the concept, he’s added all kinds of crazy perqs for the tin-foil hatters.

I mean, nine-year-old brides? Right. Maybe you’re fooling the Age of Aquarius crowd with that “girls got the curse earlier in those days” shtick.  But I say let her tinker with her “Jihad Barbie Dream Caravan” for a couple more years, OK?

Like my mom, Ave Maria, used to say:

“A nicely brought up little girl should never give birth to anything larger than her own head.  Unless she’s a shiksa, in which case I hope every ten-year-old chick on the Left Bank should pop out a camel!”

So yeah, I joined the NRA, just ’cause I love when some pansy called Beauregard gets his panties in a twist about packing a rocket launcher in his hand luggage.  And I indulge in a little target practice: San Antonio one week, Las Vegas the next.

Orlando, now, that was different. I’m crying with laughter when some genius suggests it woulda been better if they’d all had guns.

Are you fuckin’ retarded? Boys and girls who flounced off to the disco for a fun time are sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood, and you’re suggesting a hundred screaming queens messed up on crystal fighting back with automatic weapons?  It’d be like “All About Eve” meets “Saving Private Ryan”!

So what I do is, I stand next to them in my Invisibility Cloak, help the guys aim, whisper in their ears who to pick off next.

Fourteen-year-old preacher’s daughter. BAM!  J. F. K.— BAM BAM! Yeah, I can finally come out about Dallas.

Good to have a creative hobby, it’s like, I’m top of the pyramid in Maslow’s Hierarchy, self-actualization, and it’s not many guys in sandals can say that.

No one achieves anything on their own, but as long as I get the credit, I don’t care. Ten years ago I invested heavily in a vanilla-scented candle operation, cornered the market in adorable stuffed animals and launched my event planning division, “Vigils by Emmanuel!” which has already won two “Smarmies” and a “Dead Teddie” for “Best Grieving by Ten or More Hysterical Survivors”.

I tell ya. Americans can make sausage out of anything!

Anyhoo, tomorrow’s an early start. Looking forward to appearing on some Aunt Jemima pancakes drenched in maple syrup, that’s always been like my Holy Grail.

Holy Grail!  What the fuck, ha ha HA!

I tell ya, I don’t know where it all comes from.  It’s like mom used to say, Josh, she’d say.  You’re a natural!  You like, totally nailed it!

And that, my friends, is why they pay me the big bucks.



Takin’ a spin on a Gigolo +PLUS+ Didja notice…?

There exists online a European-based hook-up site for gay

men called “Recon” – recon as in reconnaissance, as in gay men meeting up online to do offline, and sometimes even online, what only we can do; and if you examine the links closely you will soon find an invitation to visit their online store.  (“Shop till you pop?”)

Follow that link, Murgatroyd, and once in their store you’ll find, among the jock straps and cock rings and puppy costumes made of rubber—I know—and lube, and ball gags fit for a queen, a product called, with that certain European flair, “F-Machine Gigolo”, and I’m just guessing that “The One and Only Acme Butt Bandit” didn’t make it through the branding brainstorm.

Please remove your unoccupied hand from your eyes to see the image on this page, an image which you will, by the way, never be able to forget, ever.

This is when “je ne sais quoi” becomes “je sais very well indeed quoi! Taber-NAK!!”

F Machine Gigolo

Hey, Big Spender! Who’s a naughty 2017?

Ze F-Machine Gigolo, she is, ‘ow do you zay, quite ze va va voom, ja?

Ja! Und sie also sells for 399 Euros, not including the probably helpful F-Machine Anchor, and the obviously almost stupidly important F-Machine Suction Base Universal Adapter with USB port.

We all knew that boys and their toys were a sublimation of sex; now it seems we’re advanced enough to dispense with the sublimation and get right to the, as it were, shameless meat and potatoes.

Can’t you just hear them over at “Fred’s Garage and Live Bait Open 24/7 Closed Sunday” :

Jim:   Sweet F-Machine Gigolo, dude!
Fred:  Frickin’ AWESOME!
Bert:  Sweet ride, man!

Which may give “take her for a spin” a “hole” new meaning.

Geddit!?  “Hole”?!!!?? L M Friggin’ A O!

(Secondary bonus: Martha Stewart reports that your F-Machine Gigolo makes short work of the twenty-six egg whites you’ve been saving for meringue in a Tupperware container in the fridge, just the ticket for those “Floating Islands” you’ll never in a million years do anything but aspire to.  TIP: Remember to Wet Wipe first! Yowza!)

You know, and can I just say, seriously.  I was trying to come up with a way to describe the year 2017, to distill its essence; to find solace, as does a sub under the bull-whip, in a metaphor that would encompass its sleazily impersonal yet obnoxiously persistent modus operandi; then I casually clicked on that store link and—!  Whaddaya know! Eureka!

I have found my metaphor, distilled my essence, and she is beautiful, to wit:

Two thousand seventeen is a lean, mean, bend-you-over-against-your-will, spread-those-cheeks-and-prepare-to-die fucking machine. (And the white girls sing: Oh, yes it is, uh-huh, uh-huh, oh yes it is.)

Take America.  Please.  Shoved face first to the sawdust-strewn floor of the bar by Trump, pants yanked down.  Prepare to die, America!  You ARE Korean bar-b-q, extra kimchi version! Crank that Gigolo up to HIGH!

Two thousand seventeen is, first and foremost, the year of Trump. TR-R-R-R-UMP! The name rolls off the tongue like that unchewable wad of gristle from a cheap cut of steak that you can’t swallow but still can’t bring yourself to spit into your napkin.

Well. At least he survived the second disaster of his Presidency.  The first being, you know.  His Presidency.

Hurricane Harvey strikes, answering the diabolic chants of every gay male in every coven from Salem to Esalen; Melania, ever devout, petitions Saint Manolo of Blahnik to intercede. And while we’re on that topic: Was there a conversation before their departure for Texas?  Something along these lines?

Hey Mel. Mel?”

“Yeah, what?”

“It’s the shoes. The six-inch stilettos. The hooker heels. With the Capri pants.”

“Yeah, what?”  

“How much did I spend on that.”

“You like, baby?”

“They’re fucking awesome.” 

“This I am also thinking.”

Admirably suppressing any pesky brain cells that might get in the way of his being irrelevant, Trump rhapsodizes about hurricane water:  “This is big water!  The biggest water ever! So much water! It’s like frickin’ ten infinity pools at Mara-Lago!  This is just— so much the biggest water! Than was ever seen! Ya know? Like, check out this water! Lotsa water! WOW!”

Gettysburg Address, I Have a Dream, Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You? Keep your Lincoln Memorial, I see in its place Donald’s Water Speech carved on a plinth, topped with an inflatable Trump, as if there were any other kind, rendered by Jeff Koons in 24-carat gold.

As in art, so in politics: If you’re a hideous and hideously expensive joke, a 24-carat balloon, everything depends on how many people you can fool, and there’s a helluva lot of fools in the U. S. of A.


Margaret Atwood and Doug Ford?

But back to me <heaves audible sigh of relief> and my insular yet glamorous Toronto life of rent tribunals, NSF charges that are bigger than the actual payment I missed, and being the hostage in home invasions.  How I find the time to twirl my big toe in the dirt and weave those garlands of daisies, I’ll never know!

I’m seriously post-trauma. At least, I will be when I figure out when one trauma ends and the next begins. The sound of the bedroom door chunking open like a missile silo at Cape Canaveral to blast Roommate # 335a into my face, and the metallic slap of the mail slot against my front door after it vomits another unpayable bill on to my porte-cochère set my heart to pounding and my blood pressure spiking like Oprah’s weight, but without the soothing mud mask that helps her forget. Impending strokes are my cardio, though given the choice, I’d sooner implode.

“Let me guess, 805?” snarls my super to my buddy, caught walking while black, who has decided to follow another tenant inside instead of ringing up.  I realize that, to Timbercreek Property Management, I am the living Christ: Their personal put-upon scapegoat in cheap sandals that taketh on the sins of the world. I can just about live with it as a final phase.

The next day, a car jumps the concrete barrier to the underground parking at my building and crashes; I contemplate sending a note to management apologizing just in case I actually did cause it. It feels quite possible. I’m looking a lot like Carrie White these days, all drab hair and bald spots, cardboard shoes and unchanged panty pads. Ashtrays vibrate on the corners of desks at my approach.

There’s more. The rental office tells a prospective roommate that my apartment is the source of cockroaches for the building. The source! I am forced to write to them stating in no uncertain terms that I’m far too busy dealing with my own roaches to supply the other tenants. They will unfortunately have to provide their own.  Score: Dave, 1.

Next, we top the Danish open-faced sandwich of public life with yet another steaming-hot curlicue of horror, this being the announcement by Doug Ford that he has decided not to spare us the inevitable. Yes, he will run for Mayor of FordNation!

Well, puncture my toe with a rusty nail at Hanlan’s Point, he never! Let’s hop right on that Gigolo and never dismount till 2019, and what you wanna bet she’ll be corkscrewing outta my ear before this baby’s done, hot damn!

Seriously, is there no respite? How many, oh lord, how many more zombieFords still float in their tanks of formaldehyde like so many Damien Hirst prototypes, awaiting reanimation in that festering Fordlab littered with empty buckets o’ chicken and Labatt’s 50 cans? It feels, here in the City of the Undead, like we barely managed to kill off the last one, and just in time, too, before he tore down Margaret Atwood and replaced her with a casino.

Nine PM. A strapping young lad decides to make my online day. “Hey, Gramps!” he chirps.

Yeah. Shoulda stuck with the pics from ’85. They got a great response, perfect if you’re into bondage, long walks on the beach and door shock (as a bottom).  I reckon, or Recon, he’s German. He probably meant to say “Gran”. Or “gnädige”.

I decide to tackle those Christmas cards from last year I never sent out.

Things just might be looking up.


Didja notice my redesign and didja like it?

Even better:  My online store is now at shop.slowpainful.com.  That’s right.  I configured a sub-domain.  The tits are off the bull!

Check out the link “Buy Merchandise” at the top of the page.  Tell me what you think. And buy merchandise.  Kind of thing?

And if you enjoy my blog, why not consider 1.  Making a donation through Paypal; 2. Buying merch; 3.  Adopting me so I can live in your penthouse.   I could really use the support right now.

And a Gigolo.



“Obamacare Watch” exclusive: National Rifle Association steps up to the plate with no-payer health care solution for GOP.


In an inspired, audacious,

“why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-this-before?” move that has Americans smacking their open palms on their foreheads from Fire Island to Big Sur, the Trump administration and the National Rifle Association have joined forces in an unprecedented nation-wide initiative to reduce and eventually eliminate health care costs.

“Stand Your Ground Against Health Care-tards!” is the second program implemented under Trump’s so-called “Great Big Yuge Agenda”, just two weeks after the start of “What Has Intelligence Ever Done For YOU?”,  the educational program which has Betsy DeVos overseeing the winding down of the public school system.

But what about rumors that the new health care plan was inspired by a recent shooting at a New York City hospital?


Senior citizens enjoying their final Christmas Surprise as part of Trump’s “Stand Your Ground Against Health Care-tards!” initiative.  A NRA-approved program.

I caught up with Ms Peggy Wagstaff, Trump’s most trusted personal confidante and official White House Playmate of the Month, half-way into her graveyard shift at the Trump Tower Full-Pay Medical Clinic and Make America Great Again Souvenir Concession.

“We were watching the news about that hospital in the Bronx, and—well, I guess you could say it was a lightbulb-over-the-head moment,” said Miss Wagstaff, as she carefully arranged ashtray replicas of the Las Vegas replica of the Great Pyramid of Ra.

“Cuddles got this weird look on his face, and then suddenly he shouted, ‘Health Care-tards!  That’s it!!  It’s fiscal responsibility, state lottery and reality show all in one!!!’  You know how he gets.”

First steps?  Ms Wagstaff hesitated for a moment.


Ms Peggy Wagstaff, Spokesplaymate for “Stand Your Ground against Health Care-Tards!”, and all-round good-time girl.

“I mean, the plan’s a little rough around the edges at this point, but so far we’ve issued firearms to all the doctors, the residents, senior nursing staff, the secretarial pool, and Mrs Pereira the night-shift cleaning lady, but we’re still fifty-fifty about giving one to that old guy with the aluminum pie plate hat who sleeps in the biohazard bins in the alley.”

Ms Wagstaff began polishing an enormous Jeff Sessions crystal paperweight, $49.99 on special.

“Donald says your average American does not want some little punk with a disease regular people can’t even pronounce lying around on a gurney the rest of us paid for, talking to a stuffed animal and getting sassy with the grown-ups, you know? Demanding more than his share of rice pudding and whining about the choice on the cable TV.”

What was the message here? Was this a teaching moment?

“Hmmm. Well, basically we’re talking I am not your keeper, every man for himself, all the things Ben Franklin put in the, you know. Bill of Franklin. Oh, snafu, or was that Bill Wrights?”  She sighed. “There’s so much to remember!”

Bill of Rights? I suggested.

But Ms. Wagstaff was interrupted by an anxious-looking elderly woman carrying a small suitcase and sleeping bag. She handed Ms Wagstaff a bunch of crumpled papers.

“Hey there, Mrs… Campbell!  Let’s get you sorted out! I see you’ve been booked in for our Half-Price Exploratory Heart Valve Procedure today at three. That’s awesome!”

I couldn’t help but be impressed as Ms Wagstaff moved on to the up-sell.

“Would you care to “Super Size” that to full open heart surgery for only fifty grand extra? You’ll also get an additional night in our shared single room, our post-op free gift of two aspirin and a glass of water, AND sheets for the bed!”

The woman opened her mouth as though to answer, took one loud, wheezing breath, and fainted dead away.

“Is that a definite ‘no’?”, said Ms Wagstaff, which I thought was pretty droll under the circumstances. “Alrighty, then, dear, no problem!  You’ll find it’s two floors up then hang a left for your pre-op holding pen.”

“Cheapskate,” she added, as a couple of Candy Stripers dragged the woman up the stairs marked Economy Class. “Doesn’t seem to matter to some people that I’m on commission.”

Ms Wagstaff strapped on her holster, donned a fresh white lab coat and gestured for me to accompany her.

“Walk this way,” she said, heading with a no-nonsense stride down the hallway.  I followed her through the double doors marked “Maternity”.

“I think this would be a great time to demonstrate the Random Cull”, Ms Wagstaff continued. “So, like—everyone in emerg, or everyone with a name that starts with C, or like today, I think we’ll do—black single moms. You get the idea?”

Ms Wagstaff suddenly whipped out her Glock, took aim and blasted the relevant beds and their occupants to kingdom come.

My ears were ringing from the explosions. Wagstaff grabbed an orderly by the arm as he ran by.  “Hey, you! Wipe that blood off your face and go tell Mrs. Pork Chop in Housekeeping we need her up here, pronto. Routine spill. Thanks, sugar.”

Ms Wagstaff looked wistful.

“Just between you and me, sometimes I wonder why Cuddles hired me in the first place. Whenever I ask him, he just laughs his head off and says, there’s two great, big, YUGE reasons, Pegs—but then he never tells me what they are.”


Ben Franklin and Bill Wrights are—still flying their kites.


In which I get all squishy about Melania.

Good morning, I’ve had a most

instructively contrary twenty-four hours and damn it, I mean to share.

I’ve bashed my erstwhile Monday Man-Crush, The-Person-Called-Trudeau (I didn’t mean it, baby, it must have been the string beans, honest!) in broad daylight on The Guardian’s website (on the other hand you never picked up your cell, and you dance like a str8-tard, nyah!); and now, in response to » a deliciously spiteful article on Medium, I’ve stood up for The Great Mannequin, Her Royal Trophy-ness, The Missus Melania—and may every Progressive worthy of the name heave great gobbing globules of spittle on me should I dare show my face in public again.

And how much, I ask myself, do I really care?  And do I agree with myself?  Politics is so confusing.

Here’s the link to the Medium article:

» Melania Trump Isn’t a Black and White Issue

And here’s my response:

When I, progressive as I am


Melania deserves – less Photoshop?

down to my toes and up to my increasingly wrinkled brow, see a — critique? Article? such as this one — searching for the right word here. What do they call it when someone is denounced from a pulpit? Anathema.

Anyway, when I see an, err, anathema, I have a strategy. First, I read it through, even though I may have to prop open my eyelids like they do to Malcolm McDowell as the protagonist in “A Clockwork Orange”. I find cocktail toothpicks work well for this.

It’s not that I’m bored. Far from it. In fact, in the case of this particular anathema, from the first sighting of the words “gets what she deserves” I’m filled with revulsion. Now, as a writer and an artist, I know that revulsion is often a good sign, a sign that the work has had a profound effect on me. I mean, I didn’t set out to read anything with the word “Trump” in it expecting a day in the country and a hamper from Holt Renfrew, you hear what I’m saying?

Second, and I know you’re all following along here, I put on my conservatard-proof full-body nuclear jumpsuit, ready for the onslaught of “you liberals” and “nothing better to do” and “nyah nyah you lost we won” off-the-rack progressive-bashing, which involves little imagination but a lot of spraying saliva. Check.

And third, I attempt to fashion a reasoned response, because though I don’t agree with a lot of what you say — and maybe even you don’t agree with a lot of what you say — I am darned determined to back you up as much as I can, as though we were a divorcing couple who hold hands in public but fight at home with the curtains closed.

So honey, now that the curtains are closed — I understand your righteous indignation, and I’m all for it, but let’s talk. Let’s leave “she’s costing the taxpayer money”, because that’s just silly. Anyone in the role of FLOTUS is costing the taxpayer money, vapid or not. And it’s interesting to speculate on the hand-brushing-away thing, but neither you nor I nor anyone has the slightest clue what that is about, not really. You are reading into that gesture a confirmation of a story you have built up about Melania.

Melania Trump made choices that many women might have made had they had the opportunity, and I don’t particularly see anything vile or even surprising about them. She had, as far as I’ve read, a successful career, she married a wealthy man and took every advantage of that—and what would the rest of us do, eat Pot Noodles and shop at the Sally Ann?— and now, (here’s my story) to her astonishment, and possibly horror, she’s married to the President, with every eye upon her. She may be unfit, she may take a deep breath and rise to the occasion. I suspect the latter.

No, let’s be honest, I hope for the latter. I want women to be strong and successful and rise to the occasion; I’m just a sucker for hope, that way.

But in no way, no way, is she responsible for her husband’s performance or his policies. No way is she responsible for his crass behavior or his beliefs, assuming he actually has some. No way does her position as first spouse necessarily mean that she supports him.

What am I saying, ultimately? Resist the urge to blanket condemn anything that Trump touches, including his wife. It’s not a black and white issue, your words, not mine; but your insistence on having Melania play the role of “evil consort” leaves no room for nuance, and nuance, god help us, is what we crave more than ever.

Have some empathy for someone caught up in a role they never anticipated, have some faith. And never, never put your sister down.

Great piece, by the way.