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My recent circulatory setback has nudged me offline, but since I think I’ve been consistent in posting, for better or for worse, at least once a month since 2009, indulge my feeling inclined to place a marker here to signal that I’m still around.  If you don’t hear from me in March, consider me kaput.

I know… its too painful to contemplate.


Sorry to be a week late with my annual birthday selfie.  It’s been a rough year…

Today is the seventy-first anniversary of Davemas, aka my birthday.

The lead-up to it has been inauspicious to say the least, as I spent Tue/Wed/Thu of this past week in the hospital (leave out the ‘the’ if you’re from the UK).

As Stephen had the flu, he insisted that I go to a nearby walk-in clinic to get swabbed.  While there, we discovered that my heart was racing at double the normal rate, and the doctor insisted that I go to the ER, which I did.

With no symptoms that I was aware of, we discovered I have AFib.  Wish me well.  (I insist.)

My only relief during my hospital stay was my day nurse, ‘a well-made youth’, as sweet and charming as could be — made all the more charming by (though he tried) an almost complete inability to make smalltalk.

How prescient my previous post;-)

I’ve been out of commission for a while, and haven’t posted.

When I posted this photo before, it gave my ‘views’ a boost.

I’m certain it was the eyes that engaged so many then, so…

I posted this Edward Gorey yuletide tableau before, long ago on Domani Dave.

The image originally appeared on the cover of an issue of National Lampoon of all places, and to the best of my knowledge never resurfaced, not even in any of the Gorey compendiums.  I’m sorry: ‘compendia’.  We are, after all, talking about Edward Gorey.

As I’ve pointed out a number of times before, I will steal anything.  If I’ve used ‘the Works of Goethe bound in blue Levant morocco’ once, I’ve used it a hundred times over the years in answer to what I want for Christmas.

A sable pelisse would also not be bad, but if you are casting about for something to send me, I already have an automaton that sings ‘Dal dolor cotanto oppresso’.

Happy Holidays, my dears!  We all deserve s o m e thing happy after this year.

Click to enlarge

After November 2016, I stated somewhere along the way that I was going to endeavor to guard against this blog becoming ‘one of those’.  Not that I have anything against ‘those’.  I think I’ve been a pretty good boy.

This article from ‘The Guardian’, however, is just too entertaining to pass up, and to celebrate yesterday’s Michael Flynn news, I include it here.

When Donald Trump became a presidential candidate, Susan Mulcahy got a call from a former colleague at New York Newsday. “You’d better stock up on valium,” the ex-colleague said.

“It’s because I hated him so much,” said Mulcahy, the veteran gossip columnist who covered Trump for years at the New York Post, describing the call. “I would go ballistic if his name was mentioned in the office.”

Trump’s reputation as a liar now precedes him, but this week it reached new heights. In addition to reports that he regularly brags about winning the votes of a majority of American women – he did not – other accounts say that he has begun questioning the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.

It’s an over-the-top falsehood (the hosts of Access Hollywood have reiterated that the tape is authentic) but to Mulcahy, it is just par for the course with Trump. “Most people have an alibi or a backup plan; Trump doesn’t do that,” she told the Guardian. “He just says the exact opposite of what he did five minutes ago.”

No one can argue that Mulcahy didn’t warn them. “He’s a pathological liar. I’ve said that repeatedly and I’ve been saying it since the 80s. He has two sports, golf and lying, and that’s it. He just lies about everything.”

…  [click the link above to read the entire piece]

But Mulcahy, who gleaned her insights into reporting on Trump the hard way, does have some thoughts for those charged with covering the president today.

“Donald Trump should be treated like a very, very bad child in a preschool. Like the kid in preschool who really wants attention, so he throws his excrement against the wall? That’s Trump on Twitter.

“Bury the absurd outbursts and cover what is really happening. Don’t cover his personality and his statements on Twitter, because they’re ridiculous.”

Mulcahy said she wished there were a way to cover the actions of Trump’s administration without covering Trump himself. “He would lose interest in the whole thing, as soon as it wasn’t all about him,” she said. “He would lose interest in being president if you just covered those actions.”

For instance, she said, it was no coincidence that when hurricanes were pounding the Gulf, Trump was busy tweeting about players kneeling at NFL games. “He wants people not to pay attention to the fact that his government is not doing a good job of hurricane cleanup,” she said. “He’s very good at redirecting attention.”

She is damning about what she see as the president’s narcissism.

“He’s so excited to turn the TV on – it’s Donald everywhere and that’s all he wants,” she said. “He didn’t get into office with a plan, like: I want to accomplish these things. He just wanted to win – just like he wanted to make a major real estate deal and get the most tax abatements or whatever.”

She added: “He has no policies or theories, just a desperate, endless need for attention.”

Thirty years after she first began dealing with Trump, her observations remain apt.

“I certainly did not envision my comments about his lying to become relevant in this context so many years later,” she said. “I thought he would be a lounge act in Atlantic City about now. If so, he’d be happier, and the rest of us would have much less to worry about.”

Credential-less myself, it does amaze me how many people with credentials I have collected on Domani Dave – retired MIT professors, for example, Canadian foreign service types, the odd psychiatrist (meaning, of course, ‘random’ as opposed to ‘strange’).

On the other hand, during a period of my years working at the university here, I would have the odd (in this case meaning ‘from time to time’ and a bit strange) lunch with a Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the conversation was never less than lively.

(Last nod to the ‘My degree is bigger than yours’ culture one has to endure in a university setting, I recall a cocktail party he and his wife hosted.  Populated primarily with university faculty, another guest asked me, ‘How do you know Bill and Mary?’  I’m certain that I was not feeling overly oppressed at that function when I heard in that query: ‘How do you know Bill and Mary?’)

Massachusetts born and a Yalie, Dr. M made the most remarkable comment during one of those lunches.  He said he found me to be ‘the least Southern Southerner’ he’d ever met.  This is of course absurd.  Most prominently, I am unmatched with the novella-length answer to most any question put to me.

Here at the Thanksgiving season, my mind has darted back to the larger family gatherings during my childhood, and what I had always thought to be the most Southern of expressions, ‘gracious plenty’.  My guess of regional claim is based, I’m sure, on pronunciation.  Run it in your head with a Southern accent.  Yes?

I Googled ‘gracious plenty’, and found it paired with ‘elegant sufficiency’:

“Gracious Plenty – If you’ve had enough to eat, you might say you’ve had gracious plenty. This expression goes back to the early 1800s, and serves the same purpose as saying you’re sufficiently suffonsified or you’ve had an elegant sufficiency.”

I heard ‘elegant sufficiency’ only once as a child at a dining table, minus the word ‘elegant’, uttered by my cousin Burt as a burlesque.  (‘More turkey?  No, I believe I’ve had a sufficiency.’)  But ‘a gracious plenty’?  If I heard it once, I heard it a million times.

I do hope you’ll have a gracious plenty on Thanksgiving Day.  I’ll even go so far as to hope you’re sufficiently suffonsified.

Koan: a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.  (Merriam-Webster)

The answer to the quintessential ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping’ is (allegedly) the sound of air passing over the hand as it strikes nothing.

I’m sorry, this answer does not strike me as ‘enlightened’.

My favorite Zen Koan is this one.

–      –      –      –      –      –

A duckling placed in a bottle has grown to full size with only its head sticking out through the neck of the bottle.

How can we free the duck without killing it or breaking the bottle?


There!  [punctuated with a sharp two-handed clap]

It’s out!

–      –      –      –      –      –

Kindly explain this answer to me.  I’m not in a great hurry, it can be something to ponder after Thanksgiving lunch before your nap.  However, if you cannot come up with an explanation, I will think very little of you.

I know that’s a bit harsh, but I have every confidence.

Today is Veterans Day here in ‘The States’, as we like to call the country when we’re feeling all jocular.  I myself have not been feeling the least ‘all jocular’ about les États-Unis during 2017, dating from November 8, 2016, but don’t get me started on that.  And do not get me started on Alabama.

What this year has been for me, Veterans Day-wise, is the fifty-year anniversary of surviving eight months of classes in the Air Force learning ‘Intercept Analysis’ before embarking to the Mediterranean in 1968 to eavesdrop on North Africa.

I’ve romanticized my four years in the military all out of proportion, but the unlikelihood of it still astounds me: I was a delicate flower at twenty in 1967.

As I am no longer twenty, I can verify that in spite of guarding against it, conversation among the elderly invariably drifts to infirmities.  While not suggesting that you the reader are elderly, I shall still be brief.  I have been dealing recently with a rendezvous with concrete.

I am in my tenth year of speed walking for thirty minutes every day.  Apparently nothing short of muscle memory saves me from the treacherous uneven sidewalk, but it was not always so.  Some time ago, I tripped and dove into the sidewalk landing on my shoulder; it must have been quite spectacular to witness from a distance.

Still a delicate flower, I suffer from what I call ‘The Princess and the Pea Disorder’ (or ‘PPD’), characterized by feeling that if one thing is going wrong in your life, the whole thing sucks.  I’ve saved you from my bad vibe by recently abstaining from very much writing here on ‘The Dave’ (as we like to call the blog when we’re feeling all jocular).

I wrote a piece years ago about my daily walk, when I was still writing about more than just how long Stephen and I have been a couple.  If I can scare it up, I think I’ll republish it.  It was a crowd-pleaser, and one of the few posts I wrote straight through and hit the ‘Publish’ button without torturing it.

By the way, the title to the present post is a little misleading.

For the past number of Halloween seasons, I’ve proclaimed the posting of this photograph to be its last, but you know I can’t be trusted, so here it is again.

This jack o’lantern had reached its true potential macabre-wise when I set out to take the picture, as it had started to rot and collapse.  With lots of overhanging limbs and leaves where the pumpkin was situated, that tiny shaft of light coming in the top opening and illuminating that one discrete ‘tooth’ was pure serendipity.  That’s photography for you.  [click to enlarge]

Here are two other previously posted pictures for your Halloween pleasure.

The first, merely sinister.  The second, unrelentingly, devouringly terrifying.


Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but September 2015, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas as my old friend Susan once said, 'Compulsion is a cruel master'.

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