Civil Rights in the Bathroom Blues

I dreamed I was trapped in a Women’s Bathroom at a rest stop on I-95 with Caitlyn Jenner.  We’re washing up at adjoining sinks, our faces reflected in the mirror.

Bright and chatty, reveling in her still new identity, she wants to make girl talk.

“Those eyes of yours would pop with some mascara,”she tells me, not that I asked.

latte woman white cat

“Mascara smears up my glasses, ” I tell her.

“Girl, you need to get contacts. This very minute-”

” I have a perfectly reasonable phobia about touching my eyeballs,” I start to say but she’s inexorable.

“Girl, when was the last time you used moisturizer? Moisturizer. That’s the stuff you put on your face before the foundation. You’ve heard of foundation? “

With a regime of skincare that could take a mere hour or two a day, she says, I could turn back the clock.

Turning back the clock is exactly what scares me.

Back to the days when no one had civil rights except white guys who could afford lawyers? No thank you.Pig with lipstick  2

Every human being , not just heterosexual white guys with cash, is entitled to be treated with dignity in public places. If this means Caitlyn Jenner gets to use the same bathroom as I do, so be it.

As long as I don’t have to talk to her.

Posted in Blues, Civil Rights, Feminism, women | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump Blues

We’re in Mexico for the rest of the week, trying on the Ex-Pat lifestyle just in case Donald Trump wins the election.

Memphis Earlene feels right at home,  especially after dark, having discovered the Vampirito, a fearsome mix of tequila and mystery juice.

Margaritas, she tells me, are strictly for gringos. So is Montezuma’s revenge.

odalisque pepto bismal

Shouldn’t have had the cilantro.  Ditto the chopped cucumber.  Should have kept my mouth closed when I washed my face.  Ditto in the shower.

Feel like I’m fixing to die.  Find myself wondering, in a compassionate way, how Trump  covers his Male Pattern Baldness. Comb over or toupee?

“I don’t want to live in a place where you can’t drink the tap water,” I tell Memphis Earlene.

“That leaves out Flint Michigan, gringo.”

Also St. Joseph, Louisiana, anyplace near a Duke energy coal ash pond in North Carolina, Southwest Baltimore charter school drinking fountains.  All those lead pipes.  All that crumbling infrastructure

Paying for water you can use for brushing your teeth as the New Normal?

Why not be ahead of the curve?   In Mexico they  sell real Coca-Cola, the kind made with real sugar, not corn syrup. It’s sold in glass bottles.




Posted in France, Trump | 1 Comment

My Own Private Hillary Clinton Blues

At some point in Memphis Earlene’s  long bluesy life ( she’s an extremely old soul) she got schooled by somebody’s mother  or maybe a  retired English teacher,someone who raised children, hers and others, not to be trash.

“Trash are the people who don’t pick up after themselves ,” says Memphis Earlene. “They expect you to clean up the mess they make or else they just don’t care.”

“So  Donald Trump is just trash?”

“Iignorant trash,” says. Memphis Earlene. “ Big fat baby in a business suit. Stupid on purpose trash. Worst kind of trash.”

The whole Republican ticket is trash.  All of them since Eisenhower.

“What about the Clintons?”I ask.

“Plain old trash, the pair of them,” says Memphis Earlene. “Trash with a sweet tooth, both of them, not the worst kind,” she adds,not to sound overly judgmental, but I still take issue with the appraisal.

“ Trash is white people who live in trailer parks and seem to be having more fun than me, unless they’re killing each other or cooking meth.  Hillary  can’t be  trash.  She went to Wellesley. They both went to Harvard Law, or was it Yale?,”green heart

Memphis Earlene cracks up, laughing so hard that last swig on Southern Comfort spurts out her nose. Then she calls me an ignorant lunacy

“ But I like Hillary. She stands up to bullies. She’s bossy but she’s not mean. She’s friends with dorks and nerds. She’s running for Student Counsel President again, and this time she’ll win,” I find myself saying.

With enthusiasm, even.

“Still trash,” says Memphis Earlene. “All them Clintons expect you to pick up after them because you have no other choice.  It’s them or the playground bullies. Clintons’ll always take advantage of you, and then tell you it’s for a good cause, like World Peace or curing some disease in Africa. ”

“ Hillary Clinton wasn’t raised to be trash, she learned that at Harvard Law,” I tell Memphis Earlene.”Or maybe it was Yale.”

Hillary Clinton, just like me,  was raised to make her bed because the cleaning woman is coming . “But that’s the cleaning woman’s job,” one of Hillary’s Harvard  friends explained.

I know this for a fact because I used to work for the man. Hillary spoke at his memorial service.  (Correction: Hillary knew Marty from when she was at Wellesley and he was at Harvard as an undergrad.  He was the one who went to Harvard Law.  She and Bill went to Yale.  ) 

She told the story as an example of his wit, his charm. How he taught her,  a hick from the sticks,  some East Coast folkways.  You were supposed to laugh a little.

We were her people, a room full of attorneys and civil servants.

I was raised to make my bed and tidy up the room when the cleaning woman came because my mother did not want Flora Fletcher, who cleaned our house once every two weeks,to think she ( my mother, that is) raised us to be slobs. She also was diligent about paying into Flora Fletcher’s social security.

“All the candidates are trash,” Memphis Earlene says firmly.

“Not Bernie Sanders, who’s the only one who pays his interns. $10 an hour, he pays them.

I read that on Facebook so it must be true.

( see

Posted in Blues, France, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Politics 2016 | Tagged | 4 Comments

Election Year Blues

Iowa Caucaus Post Mortem. Memphis Earlene thinks all white guys look alike.

Source: Election Year Blues

Posted in France | Leave a comment

Election Year Blues

It’s the day after the Iowa Caucus. Memphis Earlene, Latte Woman and I are sitting on the Virtual Verandah with our beverages of choice (Southern Comfort, Triple Soy Mocha, and flat Coke Zero, respectively) parsing the results.

“Best possible outcome,” I say. “Bernie and Hillary tied.  Trump lost.”

“Ted Cruz won.  Like there’s some difference?” says Memphis Earlene.

All white guys running for President look alike to  Memphis Earlene. Even Bernie Sanders.  Put them in a police line up she wouldn’t know the difference.  And all those Republicans sound alike, namely ignorant on purpose.

“Can I get some love here for Hillary?” I ask.

Silence.  Uncomfortable, because it reminds me how many people think it won’t matter to them who gets elected so they won’t vote.

Hitler came to power on a close election.

“Grudging affection, maybe,” Latte Woman concedes.

latte womanLatte Woman, like me, is a Yellow Dog Democrat.  If Jesus  was running  for President on the Republican ticket against a yellow lab Democrat, she’d vote for the dog .   This doesn’t change the fact that she’s not happy with the available choices.

Too many went to Harvard.  They all go to Church, except Bernie.

“No one who expects to be raptured should be making foreign policy decisions,” Latte Woman says.  “I want big decisions made by  people who think this is the only world we’ve got and want to pass it on to their grandchildren.”

“Other eligibility requirements?” I ask.

She’s got a little list.

“  Everyone has to have gone to public school or been in the Army.  Quotas for lawyers, and no one who made Law Review.  ”

No more reserved parking.

NO more flying Business Class.

If you want to run for President you fly steerage like the rest of us.

“This isn’t practical,” I tell Latte Woman. “You can’t expect the Secret Service to sit in steerage.”

Memphis Earlene is rapidly losing interest.

“Shit rolls down hill, no getting around it, no matter who’s elected, ” she says. “And if I want to watch a horse race I’ll go to the track.”

Unlike me, Memphis Earlene did not major in American Studies.  In order to convince her that this election matters  I’d have to be a Charismatic Civics Teacher.

Like the ones I had in high school.  Or Elizabeth lunacy

To be continued, I expect.











Posted in Banality of Evil, Blues, Humor, Iowa Caucus, Politics 2016, Religion | 6 Comments

New Years Resolutions Blues

Welcome to the Virtual Verandah, which is getting crowded.  Meet Latte Woman and her White Male Companion, our Political and Cultural Correspondents.


latte woman white cat

Memphis Earlene  doesn’t like the looks of the new arrivals.

“She looks like one of those Talking Heads on TV and he’s just coughed up a hairball,”

“It’s an election year.  I need someone who reads the papers and has Opinions,” I explain to Memphis Earlene.

Latte Woman reads the New York Times, which she refers to as “That Right Wing Rag”.

She’s an Anti-social Socialist, a Secular Humanist with no faith in humanity, and she has Feline Dependency Issues.

I’m hoping she will help me jump start this blog, which is one of my New Years Resolutions.

I’m hoping she and Memphis Earlene will hit it off, given enough time , Southern Comfort, and Caffein.

Posted in France | 3 Comments

Roots: An Interview with Memphis Earlene

Source: Roots: An Interview with Memphis Earlene

Posted in France | Leave a comment

Sandra Bland Blues ( with a side of Cosby)

Memphis Earlene and I are on the Virtual Verandah with our beverages of choice–Southern Comfort for her & a Dark and Stormy for me to match my mood, because I still read the papers. Sandra Bland’s death at the hands of Texas style law enforcement is very much on my mind.

s.nothing to wear blues“I didn’t know you could be thrown into jail for failure to use your turn signal in Texas,” I say. “ In Virginia they just give you a ticket. At least that was my experience.”

“It’s called driving while black,” says Memphis Earlene, who prefers to take the Metro.

“ Something real ugly about a bunch of guys in uniform, public servants, picking a fight with a woman. Telling her to put out her cigarette? That’s not proper law enforcement. Cop should have given her hell for bad driving and then write up the ticket–or better yet, let her off with a warning. She’s no physical threat. And even if she gives you a bit of lip, that’s no excuse for going postal. She’s a woman in a suit , not a gang banger.”

“Driving while black and female,” says Memphis Earlene.

“And what about Bill Cosby?,” I say. “Why did he have to drug all those women? That’s the dating strategy of loser guys who couldn’t get lucky any other way.   You mean to tell me he didn’t have options?  ”

Memphis Earlene puts her hands over her ears.

As a disenchanted Woody Allen fan I can appreciate the trouble she’s having shifting gears.    But right now I’m not seeing much difference between Bill Cosby and those white Texas cops.

Posted in Banality of Evil, Bill Cosby, Misogyny, Sandra Bland | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Angry White Guys with Guns Blues

Memphis Earlene and me on the Virtual Veranda reading the New York Times and the Washington Post. Memphis Earlene sips Southern Comfort while I rant.
She takes mendacity in high places for granted.
I’m always surprised.
It was the Washington Post Headline that set me off.
“Roof’s Manifesto: I Have No Choice!. Like there’s two sides to this issue and maybe the guy is just  a crazy loner instead of a  terrorist !”   
Memphis Earlene just shakes her head.
“Dylann Storm Drain, Damn. Looks like John Boy Walton with even worse hair.”
“It’s Roof, not Drain,” I correct her.
” Makes no never mind,” says Memphis Earlene, “Sounds like one of those porn star names . ”
“Mom’s a Storm and Dad’s a Roof and they both liked Dylan but wanted to be different.”
It’s possible .
Maybe he had no lunacy

Posted in France | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Birthday Blues


April 20……..Hitler’s birthday. Mine as well.

I’m in a Doctors waiting room in Amherst Virginia, been here for two hours, FOX NEWS on the TV. Springtime for Hitler doesn’t feel so much like a joke. I got a tick bite, but a good dose of anti-biotics will ward off potential Lyme Disease.

Fox News, on the other hand?

“Happy birthday” says the receptionist.

As birthday parties go, this one’s crummy.

When Ford Madox Ford was my age he looked like an old Walrus. Or else he was dead. One of the All-Stars– wrote THe Good Soldier and Parades End, which are still very much alive.

He beat the reaper.

I might not live long enough to finish my masterpiece.

“Don’t fret yourself,” says Memphis Earlene. “

You can grow old with the Blues, she reminds me.

That is, if they don’t kill you first.

“If the Blues were going to kill you you’d be dead already,” says Memphis Earlene.

“‘ You get to be an Old Blues Woman in this lifetime”blue crazy.”

Not that I’m there yet.

Not old enough.

Posted in Blues, Book, Existentialism, Humor, Literature, women, Writer | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments