President’s Day Special: Why does anybody want to be President?

Here’s twenty-five reasons why it’s the best job ever:

1.You get your own song.
2.Everybody has to stand when you enter the room.
3.Even if you have never been to a library, you get your very own library. And it will be filled with your stuff.
4.There will be big fat books about you. Just look how many have been written about Washington’s cherry tree or Lincoln’s big shoes or Coolidge’s rocking chairs.
5.You get stuff named after you, especially streets, airports and bathrooms.
6.You get your own band. It’s great for parties. You can say to your friends, “You bring the food and the booze. I’ll bring the band.”
7.You’re so important people talk about you all the time.
8.You have your own house. Of course, it’s a loaner. But four years without paying for room and board. Pretty darn good, I’d say.
9.Your dog gets the run of the house. But don’t pull on his ears the way LBJ did. It’s a big no-no.
10.Anything you want to eat you pick up the phone. It’s yours in fifteen minutes.
11.Congress has to listen to you. Not. We know Congress never listens to anybody.
12.Think of the selfies. Everybody wants to take a selfie with you.
13.Any place you go it’s a parade.
14.You get free pens to sign stuff with.
15.You get a loaner cabin in the woods to have Summit Meetings at.
16.You get your own day in February. Of course, you have to share with all those other Presidents.
17.When you want to go to a show or a movie, you get front row seats.
18.You get your own airplane. And it’s a gem. It’s supplied with really good stuff. Like your favorite teddy bear.
19.Another benny is that helicopter. So you’ll never be stuck in traffic.
20.Movies will be made about you. How you killed all those vampires.
21.It will be a boon to the tourist trade for your home town. So you’ll be a hero to the folks back home. A bonus: your hometown will get a spruce up from the National Parks Service.
22.You might even get your face on money. Maybe the three dollar bill.
23.Your portrait will be everywhere. You’ll be up on the wall at the Post Office with the FBI’s ten most wanted. Quite an honor, I’d say.
24.People in uniforms salute when you show up.
25.You have a bowling alley in your basement.

There are some downers. You have to play golf. It’s required. Even Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln played golf. There’s a rumor that it was invented by Benjamin Franklin on his lunch break during the writing of the Declaration of Independence. So you can see why golf is required. It’s on the application. It’s the patriotic thing.

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A Job Well Done

It was around ten p.m. when L L pulled up into his driveway and stopped under the carport. Eighteen hours of work and he was finally home. He breathed a sigh of relief, then listened to the Beatles finish up with “Eight Days a Week” on the CD player. That was how he felt. That he’d worked eight days a week. He turned off the ignition and crawled out of the car.

He walked over to the garbage bin. Somehow it had been thrown on its side. Probably some neighborhood kid. Normally he would yell and scream at the street and the kids but he was just too tired. He stuck the key into the back door of the house, turned it and entered, then punched the code into the security keyboard.

“It’s just me,” he called out. His eyes were still adjusting to the dark house. He saw his beautiful two-year-old Russian Blue sitting under the doorframe from the kitchen into the dining room.

She was wary and a little anxious. She still wasn’t sure it was L L. But it sounded like him. If it had not been L L, she would have run for cover into one of her hiding places. And she had hiding places that had hiding places.

L L turned on the light, saw the cat’s empty bowl. “Geez, you must be hungry. I’m sorry,” he apologized to the cat. And this was unusual for L L. He never apologized to anyone. Except to his Russian Blue.

He had taken the cat in after she crawled up into the engine of his car. She had been six weeks old. He had run into Costco for just a few minutes. When he came out, there was a group standing around his car. He asked a woman, “What’s going on?”

“There’s a cat in this car. It’s trying to get out and can’t.”

He popped the hood open. A kid in the crowd reached inside the engine with his small hands and pulled the cat free. Then he handed her to L L. From her cries, it was obvious she was hungry. And scared.

L L wasn’t sure he should take the cat. He didn’t have time for a cat. He wasn’t sure what to do.

The woman next to him took the cat and put it into a small box. And handed the box back to L L. “I think you’ve found yourself a new friend.”

L L wanted to resist but he didn’t. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t in control of things. He wasn’t sure he liked it. He looked down at the box, the cat peaking her head outside the box.

“There’s a pet store nearby. You can get her some kitty food there.”

Keeping the box top closed, he drove straight the store, ran in and bought the food, then drove straight home. All that time the cat didn’t stop crying out its fear and its hunger. He sat the box on the kitchen counter. Took the bottle with the liquid out of the bag. Reached into the box. Took the tiny thing out. Holding her, he put the nipple into her mouth and she started sucking. She wasn’t crying anymore. L L still wasn’t sure about the kitten but it was obvious the thing was going to need him. “Well, we’ll give it a try.”

Two years later he filled the cat bowl with salmon pate. She ran to the bowl and began scooping up the food. As she did, he stroked her back. Then filled her water bowl. When she finished eating, she rubbed up against L L’s leg as he heated water.

The kettle whistled. He poured out the water over the tea in his cup. He grabbed a bag of chocolate chips and headed to the living room and some me time.

He sat down, ate his cookies and drank his tea. Slowly. The cat jumped up onto his lap, looked up into his face with her beautiful green eyes, crawled up on his chest and rubbed her face against his chin. Then she curled up on his lap and fell asleep. Except for the snoring cat, there wasn’t another sound in the house.

Sitting there in his large comfy chair with the cat on his lap, he looked down at the Russian Blue and smiled. “Well, I finally did it. It’s taken me years, but I finally got rid of Superman, Kryptonite.”

micropoem for the day: another Saturday morning

It’s Saturday morning. I get up early and feed the cat. She has been after me for some time. Once the cat is fed, I sit down and think about the day ahead. Saturdays are usually the day for things needed getting done. Cleaning the bathroom. Doing laundry. Errands that have been put off but now are demanding attention. Sitting there with my half filled cup of coffee, I start to doze off. Sometime later, about fifteen or so minutes, I shake myself awake and find the house in such a marvelous state.

the house is quiet
bird sounds from outside
the cat rattles paper

Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: A man reaps what he sows

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Movie Spotlight is “Home from the Hill” (1960):

“Home from the Hill” is a Greek tragedy of a movie. It’s Agamemnon all over again. Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) triumphs over everything, except his lusts, and eventually they destroy him.

He is the king of his domain. He owns half the county and more. He has the best of everything: whiskey, dogs, hunting rifles. He’s a proud man, his hubris filling any room he walks into.

Life, for Wade, has been good. He has lived it to the fullest. He has the trophies on his walls to prove it. The man has sown enough wild oats to fill a barn, and he is still sowing them.

But the chickens are beginning to come to roost. He’s sown more than his share of trouble. So much so that his marriage is in such a shambles, his wife (Eleanor Parker) is his greatest adversary. Now, in his mid-forties, the code he has breathed and lived by is turning on him. He’s created troubles enough for ten men.

The movie is also the story of Wade’s two sons. Theron (George Hamilton) is seventeen. He is a sensitive sort of man who has mostly been raised by his mother. Now Wade is ready to take over his education and make him into a man just like Wade.

Rafe (George Peppard) is a different sort of son. He is illegitimate, the son of one of Wade’s affairs. His mother died when he was young. And he has been on his own since. Wade has given him a place to live and work and taken care of him. He will not acknowledge Rafe as his son. In his eyes, Rafe will always be a bastard.

Yet Rafe is the man Wade could have been if he had not given in to his worst tendencies. Though an outsider, Rafe is the steady hand that holds things together. He brings a gentleness and a strength to all he touches.

Director Vincent Minnelli’s “Home from the Hill” was adapted from the novel by William Humphrey. By the time he took on the film, Minnelli had brought his steady hand to thirty films, including “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Father of the Bride”, “Lust for Life”, “Gigi”, and “Some Came Running”.

Originally Wade Hunnicutt was supposed to be portrayed by Clark Gable. We can be thankful that the role went to Mitchum. Supported by a great cast, he delivered what may be one of his best performances.

micropoem for the day: the rear view mirror

I never know what I am going to see when I look in the rear view mirror of my car. Some days it’s just a regular guy trying to get to his regular job, making regular time. Some days it’s a mom with her 2.5 kids, heading to drop them off to school. Some days it is some young guy heading toward me like Superman making like a speeding bullet. Scary, isn’t it?

rear view mirror sight
man on a motorcycle
sitting in traffic