Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Wreck Of The Hillary C.

The legend lives on from Foggy Bottom down
Of the big swamp they call Washingtoonie
The swamp, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of mail thirty-thousand or more
Than the Hillary C weighed empty
And a Big Dog, it’s true, with a bone to be chewed
But the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the Democratic side
Bathed in blue from a mill in Wisconsin
Vanquished, it had, Chafee, Marty and Jim
Barely singed by some grapeshot from Bernie
It grimaced and mocked as the other boat rocked
When it left fully loaded from Cleveland
Yet later that month when the ship's bell rang
Could it be a north wind they'd been feelin'?

Began but a whisper, ghostly Slavic a sound
Lush balalaikas seemed to be strumming
But onward they plowed, the captain so proud
Glass ceiling, she pledged, it’s a-tumbling
Yet a sulfurous haze in the Autumn days
T’was darkness, a seer said, and foreboding,
So passion escaped and love had to wait
As the gales of November came courting.

We gathered on deck, stared mutely and numb
First Tar-heels, Ohio, the Cheeseheads
Dusk turned to dark, out sprang a groan
No Sunshine, no Motown, or Keystone,
The captain cried out that survival’s in doubt
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night as her lights lost their sight
The wreck of the Hillary C. became final

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When agony turns hours to years?
Pundits all say she’d have made Ches-peake Bay
But for Wiki, and Vladi, and Comey
Fate’s a cruel mistress, yet hindsight is plain
The helmsman’s myopia looming
And all that remains is the loser’s refrain
Why didn’t I see that one coming?

Lake Huron’s drum rolls, Superior sings
Midwest graveyard’s cold tune of yearning
Old Michigan steams of politico’s dreams
Thirst for office unquenched but still burning
And farther below, Lake Ontario
Takes in what Erie can send her
Blind pride will go as all mariners know
When the gales of November remembered

In musty old halls in New York they prayed
In chapels in Javits and Brooklyn
The church bell chimed 'til it rang one-thousand times
For each dream on the Hillary Clinton
The legend lives on from Foggy Bottom on down
Of the big swamp they call Washingtoonie
The swamp, it’s said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

Michael Liss (Moderate Moderator)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Night Before New Year's (2011)

The Night Before New Years (December 2011 Version)

Twas the night before New Years, when outside my flat
The Pols were stirring, but I said “no, no, not that.”
Screens were a’ flicker, with cheer and not Fox,
In hopes that the ball would shimmy, and glisten, and drop.

The children were rolling their eyes as I peek,
Just a few surveys, and op-eds I seek
And M in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
With Iowa’s numbers tucked in the nap.

When out from the street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Newspaper truck with deliveries, perchance?

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Reflected the pale visage of Michelle B. below.
I rubbed my eyes, when what should appear,
Michelle became Sarah, and eight tiny reindeer.

Ah, I cried, not her, I pled,
McCain, you idiot, go back to bed.
More rapid than sled dogs his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Perry! Now, RonPaul! Now, Rickster and Mitten!
On, Huntsman! On, Newter! On, T-Paw and Hermen!
You’ve had your fun; you’ve run your race!
Now dash away! Dash away! Save your face!"

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pounding of a rather large hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out the elevator came Christie with a bound.

He was dressed in a suit, red tie with a flag
And his shoes were bright polished, he carried a bag.
A bundle of stickers he had on his back,
And he looked like a lawyer, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
He said, not to worry, it won’t be Perry!
I said, “how ‘bout Newt?” He gave me a grin
“Not Newt, and not Ron, after I begin.”

“You picked Mitt, I replied, endorsed him well.”
“So I did,” said he, “It made him feel swell.”
He had a broad face and quite a big belly,
That shook when he giggled, like a bowlful of jelly!

Chris spoke no more words, but went straight to his work,
Pasting stickers on doorways then turned with a jerk.
And emptying the bag of his precious load,
And giving a nod, down, down the elevator he rode!

My kids, hearing sounds, called out my name.
“Dad, please come back, have you no shame?
I turned on my heel, Mitt’s up by three, I declare
D, stop that, they beg, you’ll go mad, we don’t care.

Watch football, they said, not the Jets, they will lose.
Pick college, Northwestern, something to soothe.
So I turned my thoughts to the upcoming bowls
Hawkeyes and Gamecocks? What are the polls?

We wish all of you the best of New Years.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Stradivarius Complex--On 3Quarks Daily


by Michael Liss

Are opera singers dumb?

As a child, dragged to the Metropolitan by opera-obsessive parents in order to practice sitting absolutely still for three hours, I sometimes wondered about this. Certainly, on stage, there was a lot of dumb going on. What intelligent person could possibly trust evil Baron Scarpia to keep his word, or would sing full-out when dying of tuberculosis, with only a delicate, tuneful cough to show the gravity of the situation? 

Opera singers were like Rat Pack Era movie-stars—they dressed well, they smoked and drank, they seemed always to be alighting from planes surrounded by Rolleiflex-bearing photographers. I heard a great story about Franco Corelli, the "Prince of Tenors," who, when irritated by a soprano lead, would have a pre-performance meal laced with garlic. Did wonders for the love scenes. To an eight-year old that sounded pretty darn smart.  

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