Out of the mouths of ‘old’ babes!

41zTut24meL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has an annual event called ‘Storyteller Night’, where local residents are asked to tell a story from their pasts. The stories can be true or made up and can be funny, sad or inspirational.

I saw it as a chance to sell a few copies of my book ‘The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Anthology’ which is in fact a collection of short funny, sad and inspirational stories.

Rehearsal night was on Thursday where the host of the show introduced the storytellers and we each told an eight minute story. Ten storytellers were chosen, I was one of them, and we were instructed to appear on the following Wednesday for the ‘live’ performance.

I asked where I could set up a place to sell my books and was told that selling books or anything else was not allowed on Town Hall property.

I was crushed. My only motivation to participate was to sell books. I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t bother to attend. But when Wednesday came around I did the right thing and showed up to tell my story. I had received permission to give out business cards and to provide the information to the audience as to where they could but my book. It was satisfactory compromise.

The audience had been bused in from several assisted living establishments and old folk’s homes. Of the eighty attendees half were in wheelchairs, all were partially deaf and many had no idea where they were, or even cared where they were. I was storyteller number nine out of ten, and with few exceptions the audience was asleep or bored to death. When I finished my story there was a very limited amount of polite applause, mostly from the other storytellers.

I had a prepared thirty second commercial to announce, so I plunged right ahead saying,

“If you enjoyed my story you can read many more just like it in my latest book The Lauderdale-by-the Sea Anthology. It is available online at Amazon.com.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew that nobody would go online to buy it and most of the audience had no idea what I meant, but I continued on, “if you would like to talk with me after the show is finished I will give you a link!”

There was a moment of silence that was broken by a single very loud male voice telling this news to his wife, “He’s gonna give us a link.”

I think he thought he was going to receive a free gift of some kind.

The wife responded in an equally loud voice that resonated throughout the auditorium by asking, “What the fuck is a link?”

It was the funniest moment of the whole evening. I still chuckle to myself whenever I think about it.

 

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The NY Times tells us exactly what makes Trump who he is.

This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath.

The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance.

It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage.

In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest.

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It’s time for him to go!

nixonThere’s a lot we don’t know about Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia. We know that the FBI and other agencies have been looking into any contact Trump’s campaign advisers Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone might have had contact with the Russian government during the election. We know that intelligence agencies suspect those three might have worked the Russian officials to coordinate the release of hacked emails. We know that disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions all lied about or failed to disclose communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

We don’t know how all these pieces fit together. We don’t know exactly what Donald Trump Sr.’s direct involvement is, or how aware he was of his advisers’ efforts, or the nature of his business relationship with Russia. That’s provoked a lot of very valuable investigative journalism, as well as a lot of outright conspiracy theorizing.

But focusing too granularly on the details of Trump’s personal involvement risks setting the bar too low for him. It risks suggesting that unless we find undeniable proof of collusion between Trump and the Russian government, he’s in the clear.

The fact of the matter is that without any more information than we already have, we already know Trump’s conduct is at least as outrageous as what Nixon acknowledged in the smoking gun tape.

In Nixon’s case, what crossed the line, moving top leaders from his own party to go to the White House and tell Nixon that his presidency was over, was Nixon’s attempt to hamper the FBI’s investigation into Watergate.

And we now know that before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he asked Comey to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Flynn. This is exactly the same kind of FBI investigation interference that forced Nixon out of the White House and shocked his Republican allies out of defending him.

As of now, Trump’s Republican allies in Congress are standing by him and not demanding a independent prosecutor, let alone impeachment.

But this is not a “where there’s smoke there’s fire” situation. We don’t need to know much more to know that the president has committed conduct that was once thought sufficient to warrant removal from office.

The Comey firing isn’t smoke. It’s fire.

 

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Let’s make some money together!

Of all the books I have written JAKE has received the most critical acclaim of them all. I am amazed at the wonderful reader reviews I receive almost daily, and most of them include a phrase to suggest that JAKE would make a terrific movie.

I agree, but how do I get the book into the hands of someone in the movie business?

Here’s how you can help.

That old cliché that says you have to know somebody is very true when it comes to the movie business, so rack your brains and search for a friend or acquaintance who might know someone. Just get the book into their hands and ask them to read it. The rest as they say will be history!

You will be my agent and I’ll be happy to pay you 10% of any compensation I receive. Could be a substantial amount for simply passing along a copy of JAKE.

 

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The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Anthology.

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I have finally succumbed to the pressures of my friends and peers who since they discovered that I write books, have being saying to me every time unusual incidents occur, “Derek, you should write a book about that!”

‘The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Anthology’ is an eclectic collection of short stories, poems and articles all pertaining to the people and the topics common to the Town. It is humorous, informative and thought provoking and is available as a paperback ($9.95) or as an EBook ($3.99) from Amazon.com.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521095590

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Don’t let Trump destroy our culture.

Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice. Experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.

Public broadcasting plays a special role with young children. More than half of all kids in our country do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool program. I’ve also seen research that PBS local stations reach more children ages 2 to 5 than any other children’s network, and the new dedicated PBS Kids channel is the only free national programming for children that is available anywhere and anytime.

Public television works hard to engage young learners and build the skills needed for a jump-start on life. We need our youngest to be curious, resilient and empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future.

Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social-emotional skills like persistence and self-control that are fundamental to success in school. In our society, I see public media as a lever. It pushes people by elevating them and their sights. It brings them into more thinking and understanding, and it brings us together. The federal appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — about $445 million annually — supports more than a thousand television and radio stations at a cost of about $1.35 per citizen. President Trump has proposed scrapping the corporation.

We need public media that acts as our largest classroom. We need broadcasting that treats us as citizens, not simply as consumers. We need a strong civil society where the connection between different people and groups is firm and vibrant, not brittle and divided. We need to defend against weaknesses within and enemies without, using the tools of civil society and hard power. We don’t have to pick one over the other.

 

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