Monday, April 09, 2018

Post #777: Random Observations

October 18, 1981
The following are a collection of random thoughts and observations that I peppered about the internet and in my notebook:
1. A Good News/Bad News Scenario:
GOOD NEWS: There is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump will eventually be removed from office for crimes committed against the American people.
BAD NEWS: Mike Pence is dumber than a moldy bad of rancid mangoes.
This is the Catch 22 situation we face, folks. Whatever happens, a deplorable situation will persist at least until January 20, 2021. Unless the vice-president is also implicated in any crimes we have no other choice but to make the best of it.
2. The GOP's Ayn Problem
I'll level with you: I never read Ayn Rand. I attempted to get through Atlas Shrugged when I was living in Toronto in 1981 and abandoned it at about a quarter way through. It had not a thing to do with comprehension or ideology and everything to do with the fact that I thought the book was trash. It was only one of three books in my life that I never bothered to finish.

What perplexes me is the fact that much of the Republican Party's modern philosophy is based upon the fictional writing of a bad writer whose been dead for decades who is widely believed to have been mentally ill. In fact, the prerequisite to working in Paul Ryan's office is that every staff member has had to have read her work and be familiar with it. As a political philosopher she's no Thomas Jefferson. This is why, in a matter of a few short years, the GOP will be deader than Ayn Rand herself.

3. A Memo to my Conservative Friends:

I've got a jolly good idea! For the next week or so, try getting your news and information from any news service other than Fox Noise and the New York Post Toasties. I see so many Facebook postings from my right-wing-oriented acquaintances that are dismissing the Russian investigations as being over. They seem to be blissfully unaware that this thing is exploding more every day. By this time next year we might be at the point where Donald Trump is living in deranged exile, contemplating a permanent residency in Leavenworth. Perhaps in two or three years, everything I write on this site will look foolish in hindsight. Perhaps not. One side is going to wind up with an awful lot of egg on their faces - and I'm more-than-certain that it won't be my side. We shall see.

4.  Dark Comedy

Did you ever get the feeling that you were living in the middle of a very dark and disturbing Paddy Chayefsky satire? You'll be forgiven if you have. 
5. A Cherished Moment Relived

Mr. Sager
This has got to be the kindest thing any other human being has ever done for me. A number of years ago I told my pal Brian Sager about April 3, 1972. It's a night that sticks out in my memory as clear as last night does - clearer, in fact ( I had one too many last evening). That was the night that brother Pete and I saw - in freakin’ person - Charlie Chaplin at Lincoln Center in merrie olde Manhattan. He showed two of his films that night: pristine prints of The Idle Class and The Kid, both filmed in 1921 for the First National Film Company (which later became Warner Brothers). I was four months shy of my fourteenth birthday.
This was Chaplin's first visit to the United States in twenty years. In 1952 he had been unceremoniously kicked out of this country simply because his personal political beliefs were decidedly left-of-center. Anyone who leaned left during that weird period was accused of being a communist. It was that kind of time in America. The fact that Charlie wasn't a communist made little difference to people like Senator Joe McCarthy and Congressman Richard Nixon. They didn't like his ideas. That was enough of an excuse to throw the most brilliant and visionary cinematic artist of the century out of the country he had brought so much joy and merriment to.
Mr. Chaplin

Cut forward twenty years. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - feeling pangs of guilt, no doubt - invited Mr. Chaplin back to the Hollywood he had helped create to receive a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. On the way, they stopped by New York City's Lincoln Center for an honorary gala that was arranged by Gloria Vanderbilt. My father was a New York City contractor and was fairly well-connected. Getting the tickets was a relatively easy feat for him. When the great man made his appearance on the upper-left mezzanine, Pete and I were directly above him.
I kept screaming his name at the top of my lungs, desperately trying to get his attention. Finally, he turned around, looked me dead in the eye and blew me a kiss. At that moment, Candace Bergen, who was then a photo journalist, snapped an image of Charlie waving at me. It made the Life Magazine article on that story and was the featured photo; a mountaintop moment in my life.
Miss  Meghan
When I told this story to Brian, he searched for and purchased that Life Issue via eBay. He then got in touch with Ms. Bergen's publicist and sent her the copy asking for a personalized autograph to me. Brian and his family are some of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve have met in all my years of life on this planet. This was a mere four months after the loss of his and Terri's beloved daughter (and my cherished friend) Meghan. The fact that, during such a difficult period, he would take the time to do something like this for someone like me moves me on too many levels to count. He dropped the magazine in mail with a self addressed, postage-paid envelope and waited….and waited….Four years and nothing. It finally arrived in the mail on Saturday with a little message from Ms. Bergen:
“To Tom Degan - It was a great night. Candi Bergen”
Thank you, Candace. And most particularly, thank you, Brian. It was quite a surprise. I have the coolest friends. I really do!


Here's a link to make a donation to the Meghan Sager Memorial Scholarship Fund. It is a site that funds the educations of people, like Meghan, who excel in the arts, scholarships, or just the good old fashioned milk of human kindness:

You'll never know how much I adored this kid.

Tom Degan

Goshen, NY


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

"5. A Cherished Moment Relived" ~~ Tom Degan

A beautiful story, Tom.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Majormajor said...

There is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump will eventually be removed from office for crimes committed against the American people.
Tom Degan

Dems should NOT commit to impeachment unless & until there’s a demonstrable case for one.
It is not just a matter of politics. It’s a matter of principle. If we “normalize” impeachment as a political tool, it will be another hammer blow to our democracy

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) April 8, 2018

Tell that to Maxine Waters


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