Sunday, April 22, 2018

Gone But Not Forgotten

Mom and me

Barbara Bush (née Pierce) 1925–2018 Till we meet again.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

State of the Uniom

I’m just cheering on the Patriots right now and they have trailed the Eagles all night. Not that I’m worried. They’ve come back from behind before. (Update: tied up with a TD in the fourth with less than 10 minutes to go with a go-ahead FG.) (Second update: my Pats lose 41–33. Doggone it.) I’ve fallen a little behind in my blog posts. Been busy on the ranch, clearing brush and such. People have been asking me if I watched the President’s first State of the Union address. I tell them no, I didn’t. (But that was a little white lie.) Truth is, I didn’t really want to. Lolo and I were relaxing in the living room that evening after dinner. (Laura’s spare ribs? Dynamite.) Anyhoo, we’re sitting on the couch and she’s checking her phone for text messages. Then she turns to me and scrunches up her face. “George?” “Mmh.” I’m trying to distract myself with an old Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News. “TV’s off.” I look up. She’s right. It is off. “You’re right. It is off.” “You’re not going to watch?” she asks. “I’ll catch up later.” “You’re not at all curious to listen to you-know-who? Not even a little?” Laura’s learned not to mention he-whose-name-is-not-to-be-uttered, kinda Voldemort-style. I look over at her with a downward knowing look. Then I rustle my paper before burying my face in it. “Well, the suspense is killing me.” Laura grabs the remote and turns on the TV. I’m staring at an ad for Depends. The Orange Wonder is welcomed into the House of Representatives with a standing ovation as is the tradition. And as he steps up to the podium (I’m sneaking a peek while Laura’s not watching), he smirks. Then he starts reading the teleprompter. Slowly. Very slowly. (Slow reader. Not a surprise.) A few minutes pass. Laura is sitting next to me, arms folded, fuming. “I can’t take any more,” she says. She stands up, throws the remote on the couch next to me and walks off in huff. “I’ll be in the kitchen, polishing off the rest of the Häagen-Dazs,” I can hear her say on her way out of the room. I tune in and out while I’m still reading the paper. Between various parts of the speech, I hear the usual pauses in anticipation of the standard applause lines. (We all do it.) He talks about immigration and the economy, the usual things in a State of the Union. For the most part, he stays on message. Nothing too controversial. (What galls me is how the post-analysis on the cable news shows lets him get a mulligan for staying disciplined and delivering a conventional speech without ruffling too many feathers. In which case, you could put a Boy Scout recovering from pink eye up there with minimal reading skills and get the same results.) This is what I call a ‘low bar.’ We’ve become so inured by all the insanity that when he reads prepared text from a teleprompter and the world doesn’t suddenly implode in a ball of fire, that’s somehow presidential. And he gets brownie points for that. I hardly recognize this country anymore. (Meanwhile, you try to get through a locked door with a presidential swagger and you never hear the end of it.) Speaking of brownies, Laura comes back into the room with the biggest bowl of Fudge Ripple Brownie Bits I’ve ever witnessed. Lolo infrequently loads up on the ice cream, that is, unless she’s upset. And the more upset she is, the bigger the peak poking up from the bowl. In fact, I think a salad bowl would have been appropriate for the amount of Bits she lugged around. I’m not exactly sure if I saw it right in that dimly lit room, but I think she was eating from a serving spoon. (Or a spatula.) “I want to watch the Bachelor,” she says between bites. (Sounded like she said, “Mah wawawa buh batchwa.”) I oblige by switching to the DVR where a menu shows a list of every episode she’s programmed to record. As the music starts to swell during a recap of last week’s episode, Lolo turns to me and sees the smirk on my face. “I like this show. Don’t make fun of me.” She gobbles up another scoop. I turn back to my paper. All the while I’m thinking, ‘If Becca doesn’t get a rose this week, I will just die.’

Monday, January 29, 2018

Who is Pupupu?

So Chase is telling me that since I’m writing this weblog—sorry. Blog. Since this is what the kids call, “a thing”, I should promote it on social media. Now, from everything I’ve heard about The Facebook and The Tweeter— “Twitter, sir,” Chase tells me. “The Twitter.” “No ‘the’. Just Twitter.” Now, from everything I’ve heard about The Facebook— “Just Facebook, sir.” “Facebook. Full-stop,” I reply. “Yes, sir.” “All rightee.” Anyhoo, social media’s been getting a pretty bad rap these days. People are addicted to their doohickeys, tapping away non-stop, almost getting run over in the street. Not sure I’m too keen about participating in this stuff. Apparently, presidents and Twitter don’t go all that well together. (So I’m hearing.) But Chase assures me it’s necessary to build an audience. People have to know you’re out there. What’s the point of blogging if no one reads what you have to say? Good point, Chase. As always, you’re one smart chocolate chip biscuit. So Chase acts as my guide while we set up a Twitter account together. “You need a handle,” Chase says. “I doubt I’ll ever get a good handle on this Twitter thing,” I explain. This is where Chase tries to stifle a sigh as he very patiently attempts to get me up to speed. “A Twitter handle is like—” he pauses as he tries to find an analogy my non-techie brain might understand. “—a CB handle.” “Like a nickname.” Chase taps the side of his nose. I think we’re making progress finally. So I choose the same name as my blog for my Twitter handle. Seemed pretty unique, I thought. But much to my chagrin, @mynameisw is taken. So we read some of the alternate suggestions, but they’re all pretty awful. If I wore panties, they’d’ve been in a twist by now. After spit-balling for a bit, we fall on @mynameisw43. As in the forty-third president of the United States. Not as elegant or clean as @mynameisw, but beggars can’t choose what they’re begging for as a choice but to beg. Or something to that effect. Finally my account is up and running and Chase gives me a crash course on tag hashes and shortened Earls. (I think I wrote this stuff down. Somewhere.) But then Chase’s face scrunches up. “I’m curious, sir,” he tells me. “Wonder who took @mynameisw?” My curiosity is, as the Danish say, piqued as well. So he searches for @mynameisw. We read the owner’s name with a heavy dose of skepticism. Pupupu. “Squatter,” Chase mutters. “Well, if you’re gonna pupupu, you’re probably gonna have to squat.” That prompts Chase to shake his head. He explains to me that a squatter is someone who hoards web addresses and other online name properties in the hopes of selling them off at usurious rates. Pupupu apparently took the handle back in 2010 and has not posted tweet one. “That’s how it works out sometimes,” Chase says, resigned. Social media. It really chafes my chinos. If you like this blog, follow me on Twitter at @mynameisw43. (And yes, Chase wrote that sign-off for me. Never misses a beat.) W

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Free Melania

This is going to be a doozy of a post. But I think it’s important to shed a little illumination on what is often cast as the most inscrutable role in the White House, that of First Lady. Now I’ve known two First Ladies quite intimately. There’s of course my mother, Barbara Bush (1989–1993) and my own little Lolo, Laura Bush (2001–2009). These ladies were the pinnacle of inscrutability and class. I’d go out on limb and say no other woman who’s ever occupied that role excelled more than these two. (Yes, I am biased. Sue me.) The role of First Lady is probably the least political of any high-visibility role in Washington. (Although I might have to make an exception for Hillary. Some of her actions during her tenure as FLOTUS [cough, cough, socialized health care] got her into some hot political water. Not that I’m gloating or nothing.) (Okay. Maybe I am.) As such, it is traditional to treat the First Lady with a certain deference and to withhold any detractive opinions about her. But what we have here today in This Guy’s White House breaks with all kinds of tradition. Or what you might call normalcy. Or sanity. Or the universe in which people who are not nutjobs live. Our current First Lady, the Slovenian former model, Melania, is to any casual observer an apolitical figure. And when I say ‘apolitical’, I mean it. She doesn’t have bone one in her body that remotely has the slightest passing curiosity in government. A baboon’s red butt has more sex appeal to a moose on the moon than Melania has interest in politics. Which probably explains why she didn’t move into the White House residence till six months after the inauguration. Which also probably explains why she slapped away her husband’s hand when they visited Israel. Which again probably explains why their first dance together as POTUS and FLOTUS during the inaugural ball had less passion than a six year-old ring boy tripping the light fantastic with his younger cousin, the flower girl, at their aunt’s third wedding at the Olive Garden reception hall in Passaic, New Jersey. (Sincerely. No disrespect to my friends in the Garden State. I love y’all.) And then, I see on the news that Orange Face has traveled to Davos, Switzerland sans spouse. Excuse trotted out by the White House communications office? “Scheduling and logistical issues.” Riiight. And if you bought that, I have some male enhancement pills you might want to buy off of me as well. (Not that I have any problem in that department myself.) And, of course, the most tragic sign that Melania’s betrothal to P****-Grabber-In-Chief (excuse my Swiss German), this past weekend was their 13th wedding anniversary and not a peep from the White House, not a tweet from Melania’s husband, Carpet Hat, wishing her an obligatory happy anniversary. What a ****. (Apologies for the rough vernacular, but that just burns my barnacles.) I will sing the praises of Laura from the rooftops. She is my rock and the reason I live and breathe. But I get it. Marriage isn’t a 24/7 tickle fight. Laura and I have had our rough times. We annoy the heck out of each other from time to time. But I tell you what. Our love is tougher than oak and stronger than steel and will outlast anything life throws our way. That’s how it ought to be. But this poor lady. I have mixed feelings about her. On one hand, she’s married to a rube. Sure I can be a rube, too. Laura reminds me every day (albeit in her own inimitable, affectionate manner). But This Dude, he takes the cake, the plate the cake is sitting on, the table holding them both up, the floor inside the building where the table is standing (with the cake on top of it). Heck, let’s just include the whole town where the bakery’s in with the table inside, the plate, the cake and so on. Then again, I don’t think she was that stupid. She knew what she was getting in exchange for all that (purported) wealth. And look at him. Come on. You don’t think she could have found a hunk her own age with a decent income who’d treat her right? Was it for looks or charm or, dare I say, intelligence? (If you couldn’t tell, that was classic sarcasm, all the way.) I hate to judge. But as the bible says, “You will reap what you sow.” I read once where This Guy told Howard Stern on one of his shows that the time for one of his women to check out was by age 35. By This Guy’s standards, Melania is way past her expiration date. W

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Let me just start off by making it clear that I believe in democracy and that every citizen of these United States owes a debt of respect to the men and women who have given their lives for the sake of our freedom. And a vital part of exercising that freedom is voting. But the choice we had in 2016 goes way beyond anything we’ve been through in our recent electoral history. We were stuck with a maniac who’d bullied his way to the front of the line and became our de facto nominee. Yes, you know whom I’m talking about: That Guy. It was a major moral and political dilemma. How could any member of the GOP vote for this Bozo? Many Republicans had their backs up against the wall. (My saving grace was that I had no career to protect.) Consider how prominent members of the GOP, like Governor Rick Perry, called Our Eventual Nominee “a cancer on conservatism” and a “barking carnival act”. Senator Marco Rubio called him a “con artist” and even tried to take him down a few pegs by accusing him of having a tiny wee-wee. (Sorry. I had to laugh at that one.) Governor Mitt Romney made that infamous speech calling the self-proclaimed billionaire a “fraud”. He actually came to my defense after That Guy came after me personally and called me a liar in one presidential debate. Mitt really tried hard to give him the smackdown. Then guess what happened? Perry got appointed Secretary of Energy. Romney went trolling for an appointment as a possible Secretary of State. And Rubio? Rubio decided, reluctantly, that he had no choice but to vouch for the con man. “Yes, I believe Mister Madoff would be a great president.” On the news, you could clearly see the downtrodden look in his eyes as he heard his own words come out if his mouth. The whole scene made it seem like his doctor just diagnosed him for rampant and perpetual ED. I have to admit, even though I didn’t publicly criticize my fellow GOPers for supporting this nominee, I was pretty miffed. This was a party that was slowly slipping into something I didn’t recognize anymore. We still have some good people, but most are too chicken **** to stand up to That Guy. (Excuse my French again. Chase installed a de-cussifier on my MacBook Pro, so hopefully you won’t see any swear words once this thing goes live.) So I had a dilemma. With the election coming up, I had a choice between Hillary and Rugtop. Kinda like choosing between cat vomit and toenail-cheese from an in-flight menu on a plane bound for Bosnia (the bad part). I turned to Laura one day while we were sipping some pink lemonade she’d whipped up after I’d begged her to make some. (It was only about 55 degrees outside, hardly lemonade weather, but Daddy’s gotta have his fix.) I asked her what she was going to do when it came time to vote. She just sighed. “There’s really only one thing I can do: skip the top part and vote down-ballot.” I nodded with a creased look on my face, full of sympathy. “I mean, I just can’t vote for Hillary. For so many reasons. But vote for [name expunged]?” Laura shook her head as she tilted the glass to her lips. She gazed at the hills on the horizon. “Not in a million years.” I took a long sip of that sweet, sweet pink nectar and let out a loud “Aaaaaaaaah.” “I was thinking the same thing,” I said before taking another swig. Actually, I wasn’t thinking the same thing. To be honest, I hadn’t made up my mind till that moment. But when you’re married, you really ought to try to make things look like they’re totally sympatico with the missus if you want her to stick around. It was decided. For the first time in my adult civic life, I would leave the box next to the Republican presidential nominee’s name blank. It was very odd. It didn’t feel right. But this was an extraordinary circumstance. I just hoped that this would never have to be repeated. I called my brother Jeb that election night. Poor Jeb. I think a lot of people thought he was a shoo-in for the nomination. Heck, I was convinced we’d have a third president in the family. Jeb’s a bright guy, more like my dad than I ever was. But the way he was treated by Mister Privates-Grabber during the debates and in his ******* tweets, I’d have loved watching him physically take down DJT (Dye-Job Turdface) on live TV. But Jeb’s a softie. I did give him a lot of grief when we were growing up, kinda bullying him like brothers often do. But I’ve always envied his patience, something I’m still learning to practice in my own life. “I didn’t vote the top of the ballot either,” Jeb said, his voice smooth and calm on the other end of the line. “Columba too.” I didn’t blame Jeb’s wife for not supporting the Orange Freak. She’s pretty protective of him. “Did you hear about Poppy?” he asked. I did. “I heard he wasn’t going to back down from his threat.” My dad voted Hillary. I’d confirm it with him later that evening. “He told me he felt it was the moral thing to do, not to stand on the sidelines but to do everything possible to keep Señor Ano Naranja from winning.” I heard Columba’s voice in the distance, chiding my brother. “Sorry, W. She hates it when I cuss.” I let out a knowing chuckle. “Tell me about it.” W

Sunday, January 21, 2018

One Year In

I don't have a lot of time to watch the boob tube. I keep too busy on the ranch clearing brush and chasing coyotes to pay a lot of attention to what’s happening in Washington. To be frank, I’m pretty stoked that my tenure as president has come to an end. Not that I regret my service to the country. I regret very little. No sense in eyeballing the rear view when you should be watching the road ahead. But it’s a tough gig. Eight years later and I was so ready to just kick back and maybe partake in a brewsky or two while watching the sunset with Lolo. But admittedly I’m a creature of habit, so sometimes temptation kicks in and I’ll take a peek at the news, just to satiate the ol’ curiosity. And I gotta say, it’s almost worse than I thought. Now, people already know where I stand on our current Commander-In-Chief. I’ve made several public statements (without naming names) that addressed the need for our leaders to stand up for democracy, promote a sound foreign policy in an increasingly dangerous world and to keep a steady hand on the wheel. And boy, This Guy ain’t doing ****. (Pardon my French.) After my speech at the Spirit of Liberty event in New York last year, some people in the current administration had the temerity (gotta love these computer thesauruses) to infer that my speech had nothing to with Their Guy. (And folks call me an idiot.) Let me set the record straight: just because I didn’t mention Their Guy by name didn’t mean I was generalizing. I was specifically talking about Their Guy. I just have too much class to make it look personal. I was raising the tenor of the conversation. Maybe Their Guy could learn something about class, but maybe I’m setting my hopes a little too high. So here we are, one year into This Guy’s presidency. There is a choice word I would like to offer as an evaluation for what the past 365 days have been like, but Laura keeps looking over my shoulder and she doesn’t appreciate me cussing. So let’s just say this word (eight letters) aptly describes the state of our government under the current president and you’d use that same eight-letter word to describe … oh. I don’t know. (!) Imagine a bunch of cow turds with little hats and canes and bowties dancing and singing on a small stage. I think you all know what I’m getting at. Under my tenure as president, I never had the entire government shut down. This despite a very divided congress and senate. We managed to keep all our ducks in a row. The September 11 attack on America might have taught both sides (at least initially) to get together and find common ground despite our political differences. But This Guy? One year in and already Washington is literally dysfunctional. You can hear the cow turds whooping it up as they do backflips through hoops. And what kind of leadership has This Guy displayed in response? Diddly ****. (Laura is eyeing me suspiciously. Better use the find-and-replace to bleep out these naughty words.) Anyhoo, I’ll be keeping an eye on this mess and offering up a few more observations as things unroll like a poorly constructed Tekkamaki under This Dunderhead. Which reminds me, I should see if Laura wants to order sushi tonight. W

Friday, January 19, 2018

What Happened to Chase?

Some folks who are familiar with my weblog have asked me, “Whatever happened to Chase? What’s he doing now? Do you keep in touch?” And not just about Chase. I still get asked about the old gang: Condi, Dick, Col, Donnie, Bob, Ash, Berto. I’ve kept in touch with a few folks over the years. Others I’ve not spoken to since leaving the White House. I presume they’ve moved on. What’re you gonna do? But Chase is like one of those infectious diseases you never seem to get rid of no matter how much ointment you spread. Throughout my presidency, he’s been indispensable. Not just as an assistant, confidant and magician when it comes to computer stuff, but he ain’t afraid to say things to my face I don’t necessarily want to hear. Lolo Sorry. Laura (she’s definitely gonna kill me for publicly using that pet name) finally took a liking to him (following years of just putting up with him) after helping her with one of those fancy internet-connected scales. (I keep saying she looks like a babe, but she won’t listen to me. Women. Am I right, fellas?) Anyhoo, I’ve never been able to get a better fixer than Chase. I wanted to move him to Crawford, but he maintains he wants to remain in the big city. So we do the Skype thing on a pretty regular basis. So here I am, with my new-fangled MacBook Pro (Chase recommended highly). Initially, I’m trying to look good in front of the cam thingee. Now I’m not even bothering to un-muss my hair. I’m looking into the camera and saying, “Chase, mi compadre. ¿Como està? I’m looking to get the weblog goin’ again.” “Blog,” he says. “¿Que?” I ask back. “We don’t call them weblogs anymore.” He sees the confused look on my face. A look I’m told I wear often. Anyhoo, we go back and forth a bit. He’s trying to talk me out of it, but I am persistent. I am nothing if not persistent. Eventually he relents and since it’s been a dog year since I’ve weblogged—sorry again—blogged, he gives me a refresher course along with a few passwords that slipped my mind completely. (Did I mention Chase was indispensable?) So here I am, back blogging, thanks to my old friend Chase. We worked out a deal where he agrees to give me advice along the way. So expect to see his name pop up now and then. I have a sudden craving for some leftover lemon meringue pie Laura left in the fridge, so this is where I’ll call it a night. Catch y’all on the flip side. W

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Miss Me?

Self-portrait by yours truly. Maybe you all’ve been wondering, “Hey, W. Where you been at?” (At least, that’s what I imagine you sounding like.) Well, let me tell you. Mostly I’ve been chilling. (I think Jenna taught me that expression. Do kids these days still say that?) I’ve even taken up painting. I always knew I had a creative side and I’ve finally had the time to explore that part of me. Now, I know not everybody has taken a fondness to my works. But I think all considered, I’m pretty proud of my art. Come to think of it, my current pastime of painting ain’t that much different from my time being President. Not a whole lot of folk thought much of what I’d done, but their criticism never really bothered me. Still doesn’t. Just rolls off my back like the proverbial goose that got into the pond. I did notice, though, that it did soften my image around the edges somewhat in some circles. Some folk thought the contrast between my stubborn resolve as Commander-In-Chief and my ‘child-like’ art (their words, not mine) left them with a very different impression. Now, I don’t know about pegging my paintings as ‘infantile’, especially my earlier works, really applies. In fact, I think I’ve gotten better over time. At least Laura thinks so. (She is my muse, after all.) But the whole reveal of my creative side has at least served me well to show that I’m not just a caricature of a public personality. That I have multiple facets. I am a human being, not just a political creature. But now I feel like I need to put down my brush and pick up my laptop and start a discussion about what’s happening in the world today. I have a few things to say about the state of our democracy because what we are currently witnessing ain’t exactly kosher and I feel a responsibility as a former leader with some experience to glean from to say my piece. Watch this space. In the meantime, I gotta finish up some happy little trees. Love those happy little trees. W