Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ode to Spokesperson Kellyanne (to the tune of Leonard Cohen's "Marianne," and he'd be really upset that I stole his tune, or maybe not)

Ode to Spokesperson Kellyanne

(Tune: “Marianne,” by Leonard Cohen, who’d be really upset that I stole his tune; or, maybe not)

By David Hartley Mark

                                                Look closely at the TV Camera my little Darlin’
                                                I’d like to try to read your lips
                                                Do you really believe in all that balderdash
                                                That flows when your ruby mouth unzips?

                                                So come on, Kellyanne
                                                It’s time that we began
                                                To tell some facts
                                                And stop being lax
                                                About your Master’s plan

                                                We know you hesitated to take the job he gave
                                                We thought you had some morals left
                                                But when he waved ‘fore you that salary
                                                You ran and grabbed it like a theft

                                                So come on, Kellyanne
                                                It’s time that we began
                                                To stand in fear
                                                ‘Cause Heaven’s near
                                                You cannot serve Satan

                                                I love when you flip your blonde hair back and forth
                                                I love when you smile and giggle loud
                                                But when you tell us all that—I can’t say
                                                That stuff, one day, won’t make your kiddies proud

                                                So come on, Kellyanne
                                                It’s time to renounce the Klan
                                                White House is Major League
                                                Don’t claim fatigue
                                                Or nod at the barman

                                                I guess my song won’t make you change your mind
                                                It’s gonna be a long four years
                                                Your place in history is sure, we know
                                                But you’re gonna cause a whole lot of tears

                                                So come on, Kellyanne
                                                It’s time for you to man
                                                Up, and tell your Boss to go to—
                                                Well, I’m done. You’re just

                                                Another chessman….

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A New, 2017 Political Lexicon (Thanks to Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary")

A New, 2017 Political Lexicon
Obanimosity--a lingering disgust with and dislike for the outgoing president (not ex-president; the only ex-president was Nixon, because he resigned), coupled with a regret that the American media and public will not have him to "kick around" or blame, anymore
Obamidolization--the opposite of the above, resulting in an inordinate love for the same, realizing that, while he did not fulfill the great promises of his Obamalot, the Muse of American History may well deal better with him (except in the area of foreign policy, for which his fans will blame the previous administrations) than our current age
Trumpamores--those who carry a torch for the incoming Administration, secure in their idealistic faith that rich people know best how to create jobs for poor and middle-class people; that federal laws regulating business, the Environment, banking, Wall St., commerce, Defense, Healthcare, Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to the unemployed, the poor, the physically and mentally challenged, Education, National Security, Immigration, Border Security, the Internet, Federal vs. State controls, minimum wage, income taxes and the entire question of taxation, business taxes and rich and not-so-rich paying their fair share, should be either severely curtailed or entirely done away with. Furthermore, they believe that immigration should be limited or stopped; that the races should be separated or prevented from mixing overmuch; that women's birth rights should be overseen by the Government; that Christianity should be the law of the land, as provided for by the Founders of our Country, in their interpretation, and that we should return to the values, beliefs, and practices of "The Good Old Days."
Trumpunbelievers--those who disagree with the above, but may hold with equal zeal in the rapidly-waning flames of Hillary, Bernie, Libertarianism, or some vague leftwing philosophy (such as Democracy); they may also be anti-Trump, but not necessarily "for" anyone or anything, and have difficulty organizing into a potent Opposition
The Above is subject to discussion, challenge, agreement, or disparagement.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tossing the (Psychological) Trash: How a Trip to the Garbage Can May Rid One of Worries and Troubles

Tossing the (Psychological) Trash

By David Hartley Mark

            When my parents, sister and I moved into the East River Co-op Apartment Houses on the Lower East Side of New York City, back in 1956, I was four years old. The NYC Dept. of Sanitation had an enormous vehicle depot then, at the foot of Lewis Street, I believe, nearly under the dark, ominous-looking Williamsburg Bridge, where the huge, smelly, diesel-powered garbage trucks roared in-and-out all day long, discharging their burdens.

As a small boy in love with trucks—boys instinctively gravitate to machines that make noise, cars and trucks in particular—I was enchanted. The smells, stink, purpose, and appearance of the steel Goliaths fascinated me. Even better: all of them were painted a bright, incongruous, daisy-yellow, albeit accented by plenty of grease-stains on their chassis, along with indescribable streaks of city dirt and grime. It was a paradise of noise and smells, and a visual rapture for me. We always awoke to the sounds of garbage cans crashing and crunching, every morning. It was our wake-up call, our daily bugle-sounding. How wonderful! How New York!

            Alas, the next year, some City Hall bureaucrat decreed that the trucks should all be painted an antiseptic white, as if a fleet of massive garbage-ambulances were better fitted to bear the debris and offal of our mighty City. Missing the yellow colors, I lost my love for the stinking Behemoths: I moved on to fire engines, reliably and dependably shiny-red.

I fell in love particularly with the NYC-brand of hook-and-ladder truck, built specially long to reach as far up as possible to the top of our City skyscrapers. The Scarlet Anaconda protruded nearly the length of a city block, and required a second driver for the rear wheels, perched precariously on a cab mounted on the back of the ‘ladder-truck, where he clung desperately to the massive steering wheel, a plaything of the winds, centrifugal forces, and momentum of the Herculean engine pulling him from the front. To my childish judgment, that firefighter was the Bravest of the Brave.

            Nonetheless, I retained a lively interest in Garbage Disposal: taking out the night’s garbage was my daily chore. We had no recycling in those days; no. Instead, there, just outside our apartment door, was a door and hopper handle that led to the Incinerator, a hungry, heated monster that led to a hellish, gas-fed fire, deep in the bowels of the building. I would toss down our paper grocery bag of scraps and leavings, but reserved a particular fate for any glass bottles my mother wished to dispose of.

            Holding the hopper open with my left hand (I’m a lefty) and carefully placing the glass bottle into its angle with my right, I would deftly put some “English,” or spin onto the bottle, causing it to leap forward, hit the brick-lined chimney that was the descent into our fiery hell—and, with any luck, cause the bottle to shatter against the brickwork. If the bottle survived my initial breakage attempt, I still had the great and deep pleasure of listening to it ring and tinkle its longish way down the chute, to smash to pieces at the bottom. Then, I would slap my hands together, and, grinning with satisfaction, return to the apartment, to resume my homework—usually a bout of devilish Algebra or an Earth Science textbook chapter to outline. Horrid work….

            Since those days, I have retained a particular satisfaction regarding Garbage Night—that is, the evening before Garbage Pickup, the next day. Of course, we sort our cardboard, newspaper, and the various forms of plastic which our county chooses to recycle. Still, I get that particular feeling of fulfillment, a pleasant frisson, or chill up the spine, when wheeling the garbage to the curb—as if I am ridding myself of most of the worries and troubles I have accumulated during the preceding days of the week. I am aware that most of our offal will, unfortunately, wind up beneath the well-fertilized sod of Mount Trashmore, the huge, man-made mountain of cast-off human and material waste that graces the lower portion of our neighborhood. Still, tossing the trash remains an agreeable memory from my childhood.

            One could do worse than imagine their troubles, setbacks, and obstacles left out at the curb, and a helpful, cooperative team of men carrying them away, in a big, noisy truck—driven, this time, not by diesel, but natural gas, and colored an agreeable, environmentally-friendly, green.

            I commend the practice to you. Try it, sometime. 

Disillusionment of Evening TV Programs: With Apologies to Wallace Stevens, a Usually Misunderstood Poet

Disillusionment of Evening TV Programs

By David Hartley Mark
(With Apologies to Wallace Stevens,
Whom No Undergraduates “Get,” Anyway)

                                                The houses are entertained
                                                By pale TV screens.
They are not human,
                                                Though they contain human images,
                                                And Flesh-and-Blood Humans are watching them
                                                Seated on Couches & La-Z-Boys
                                                While holding small plastic, glass, and metal rectangles
                                                With more images of humans
                                                And words projected thereon

                                                It all appears very human.
                                                We cannot see if the Human Images are wearing socks of lace
                                                Or beaded ceintures.
                                                It does not affect the Message, the Transmission thereof,
                                                And the Humans laugh, and stare, and laugh some more, and
                                                Gently touch buttons, on
The TV
                                                The Cellphone,
                                                Of Themselves,
                                                Of Humans…

                                                Only, here and there, an old curate,
                                                A cold cup of tea at his elbow,
                                                Reads, “I have Sind”

                                                In an English History.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Ballad of the Coronation of the Emperor Donald John I

The Ballad of the Coronation of the Emperor Donald John

By David Hartley Mark

                        ‘Twas the Royal Coronation of the Emperor Donald John,
                        And all his loyal retainers stood at his right hand, anon:
                        Th’Imperial Hall was rich bedecked, in golden taffety,
                        More gold was displayed everywhere, for all the eyes to see.
                        For golden plate did rich elate the wealthy attendees,
                        And wine aglow and liquor also did quench their appetease.
                        Still, not a drop did the Emperor sup, his brain was sharp and hard:
                        On his throne he sat, and twittered that “My decisions are smart & diehard!”

                        Reporters who inform the Masses, dispel Imperial mysteries,
                        Were not to be found on air or ground—their absence, it did please
                        The Emperor. “Bah! Where’s Ivanka?” He clapped his hands full thrice,
                        And there appeared, in manner weird, his daughter-accomplice
                        With countenance cool (ne’er think her a fool), she whispered in his ear,
                        And deftly plucked his phone, and tucked
                        It, into her bandolier.

                        A fly on the wall supplied me with all
                        The names of the Baron Band
                        Whom Emperor Don collected as solons
                        To rape and purge the Land:
First, Tillerson, who first begun to hug and kiss Putin,
                        Will reap rewards of millions more beneath our Eagle’s grin.
                        While Gary Cohn directs the National Econ, he’ll better direct his own:
                        Like Tillerson, he’ll pay no tax on all business shares he owns.
                        Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Sec, will sell off CIT,
                        Will mow his hedge, and dodge his tax—
                        Is there a trend, we see?
Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross, the Ed and Commerce Sec.’s,
                        Will also stake a major tax break, which scarcely will them vex.
                        Andy Puzder, of Carl’s Jr., will be Trump’s man at Labor,
                        And he, like they, will avoid the pay-
                        Ing tax; ‘twill be in his favor.
                        And what of Nazi Steve Bannon? Let’s not leave fascists out:
                        His capitalist days at Goldman Sachs made him a pile of gelt—
                        But he won’t pay a cent today: he and the above? Include them out.

                        “’Tis plain,” the Fly of Truth declaimed in its thin fly-voice to me,
                        “If this is how they profit going in, what will their benefit to America be?
                        “And didn’t Mr. Trump proclaim, time ago, to ‘champion the Forgotten Man’?
                        “He seems to have forgotten that—should we reminding him?
                        “Well, now I see that he’s busy—but what about the Klan?”

My thoughts were scrambled, then and there, by a loud burst of trumpets and drums:
                        I saw a mass of uniforms, and beheld a troop of guns:
‘Twas the Emperor’s Military Advisors, and a goodly sight to see—
                        All flags and cannon and pennants aloft, and I saluted Old Glory.
                        We stood, we pledged, sang “The Spangled Banner,”
                        And spoke of Evil Threats:
Islamic Terror, Gay Overreach, and the Need for Nuclear Bomblets.
                        For all the folks were carrying, and that made me feel safer—
                        Of course, Steve Bannon shot a busboy, but we hid the body beneath the myrrh.

                        “My friends—“ the Emperor rose to speak, and the crowd gave a visible groan—
                        “I’m pleased that you’re all here with me, and not making money on your own.
                        “For the rule is, ‘Share and share alike,’ and that’s the way to be,
“For an emperor acts as an emperor must, and there’s never been an US Emperor like me.
                        “If you take from the poor and give to the rich, be certain to cover it up;
                        “If you don’t pay a tax, just delay and delay—claim it’s you the media’s set up.
                        “If your facts don’t add up, just make up new facts;
                        “If your facts are lies, then shout louder;
                        “If they call you out, change the subject fast—
                        “Stick your lip out; try to look prouder.
                        “You can fool lots of people lots of the time;
                        “Because you are rich, you get richer;
                        “When you say crazy things from the back of a limo,
                        “Just hold your thumbs up in the picture.
                        “So stick along with me, have your balls made of brass,
                        “Don’t forget to hate others and blame them—
                        “Be certain to pick on the most helpless of groups,
                        “And the ones who can hurt you—well, tame them.”

                        It was time for to listen to the Emperor’s men:
                        The Generals who would defend us—
                        The Country? Or the Emperor’s policies?
                        I wasn’t sure—I thought it all horrendous.
                        A General Kellogg took to the stage—
                        He and General Flynn were the center
                        Of Trump’s right-wing attack force on all things that threatened—
                        To find, seek, destroy, and rearrange
                        The entire World in more American style
                        To make it all safer and calmer
                        By removing the Middle East, Russia, and China;
                        And replacing North Korea with South Carolina.

                        The room began swimming—my head growing weak,
                        I put down my Trump-flavored seltzer,
                        Stumbled past the Marine Guard,
                        Through the Wall Street clique,
                        And blundered past one or twenty bankers.

                        Into the Rose Garden,
                        Past Nixon’s grave,
                        I gazed towards the Lincoln Memorial,
                        And sighed:
                        Will the Nation survive
                        Nearly a decade
                        Of Imperial Trumpism Historical?

References: NY Daily News, "Trump's Wealthy Cabinet picks stand to get richer as they sell off their stocks-- and avoid paying millions in taxes," (Adam Edelman)

The, "One of Trump's top military advisers played a key role in the disastrous Iraq occupation," by Tim Shorrock, 11/18/2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Vayayshev: Mrs. Potiphar & Tamar, Incestuous Daughter-in-Law of Judah, Meet in Hell


By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Scene: Sheol, the Afterlife. A small metal table, such as one would find in an old-fashioned café in Paris, perhaps, or Greenwich Village. Two uncomfortable-looking but necessary metal chairs with curved metal backs, suitable for two ladies of fashion to sit and chat.

The air is gray, with some bits of ambient light moving through, perhaps supplied by wavering spotlights, but there are gray-black-blue fingers of smoke, as well, to give the impression of this primitive, earliest vision of the Afterlife—not Cherubim and Archangels shouting Hosannahs from cheery, fluffy, white clouds , but a place of utter silence, with nameless spirits flitting about.

Enter Zuleikah, the Wife of Potiphar. She is wearing Egyptian garb from the New Kingdom of the Pharaoh Seti I (1291-1278 BCE), with the addition of a Donna Karan bag, from which she takes out a long cigarette holder, carefully inserts a Virginia Slims, and lights it with a Tiffany lighter. She inhales deeply, and exhales a long plume of smoke. Looking about, she signals for the Waiter, who sighs deeply, comes forward immediately, and bows slightly, deftly taking out pad and pencil as he does so.

Waiter: Good afternoon, Madame. Madame desires—?

Zuleikah: Oui, Jacques. Bring me a Pernod, please, and a glass of water. And, could you empty this ashtray? It’s full to overflowing (with a strong note of disgust). I can’t imagine why Hades stands for conditions down here. He’s such a neat person, I understand.

Waiter: Oui, Madame. Right away, Madame. (He picks up the ashtray, dumps the ashes on the floor at Zuleikah’s feet, and replaces the tray without wiping it out)

Zuleikah: Oh! Be careful, can’t you?

Waiter: Sorry, Madame; after all, Madame, this IS Sheol, not the Trump International.

Zuleikah: Well—well, just go get my drink, will you? (Waiter exits) The nerve of these serving-people….

(Enter Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah the Patriarch, with whom she had an incestuous encounter and became pregnant, after Judah failed to provide her with a suitable husband; both Er and Onan died without leaving her pregnant with male issue. Her face is veiled, and she is hesitant, at first, to approach the table of an Egyptian Noblewoman, and waits in the shadows. Zuleikah impatiently taps her long, red-painted fingernails against the edge of the table, but finally notices the hesitant Judahite woman, and calls to her—they have an appointment, after all)

Oh, Tamar—there you are, my dear! Come here, and join me!

(Tamar, still hesitant, comes forward, and, face still veiled, sits gingerly down on the old metal chair opposite Zuleikah. She smiles nervously, but remains silent.)

Zuleikah: How pleasant to meet you, finally, Dear One! Hades told me yesterday that you had arrived, and that we ought to get together. Horus knows, there is nothing to do in this godforsaken place, and we seem to have so much in common—

Tamar: Excuse me?

Zuleikah: I said, we have so much in common…. (The Waiter comes forward, and leaves the glass on the table. He seems rushed, as if he does not wish to take Tamar’s order. Zuleikah crushes out her cigarette, and immediately inserts and lights another. She, too, is visibly nervous, but trying to hide it.)

Zuleikah: What I meant was, we are both famous seductresses, you and I!

Tamar (with great dignity): I beg to differ. I seduced—though I choose to call it, “called to judgment”—my father-in-law, in order to continue the sacred bloodline of the Judahite Tribe, which was later to become both the largest and the ruling tribe of Israel. Kings David and Solomon themselves were to spring from my loins. While you—you adulterer!—were merely playing with an innocent boy who happened to turn up among your slave-staff. Joseph was pure as could be, and you attempted to corrupt him, and bring him down to your wretched Egyptian ways.

(While Tamar is fulminating, Zuleikah is sitting back, sipping her Pernod, and smoking away, very coolly. Finally, Tamar finishes, breathing heavily, and signals the Waiter. He steps forward, a bit livelier than he did for Zuleikah.)

Waiter: What can I bring you, Madame?

Tamar: I will have—I will have—an ice-cold water, with a slice of fresh lemon.

Waiter: Immediately, Madame (He clicks his heels and bows, while Zuleikah glares at him, which he ignores. He races off, brings her drink; she sips at it, as if dying of thirst.)

Zuleikah: Are you quite finished, Dear? Are you quite, quite—done?

(Tamar nods, cradling the glass in both hands, and touching it to her forehead while sighing with relief)

Zuleikah: …because I don’t think you’re being entirely—fair, shall we say? After all—your precious kings—David and Solomon, did you call them? Are hardly to be the paragons of virtue you make them out to be—I mean, what with all those wives, concubines, extramarital affairs….

Tamar: I—that is, I—

Zuleikah: While I, at least, make no pretense of what I did. And I am here, in this dimly-lit Afterlife, paying the price. Dealing with (she points disgustedly at the cigarette butts on the ground and makes a face) this trash, drinking sub-standard alcohol, dealing with (she nods her head slightly at the Waiter, whose back is turned to them) the likes of him, and being in surroundings altogether foreign and miserable to the way I used to live when I was, well, alive—
But still!

Tamar: Still—what?

Zuleikah: I, too, had my role to play in your little tribal drama. Had it not been for me, your little Joey-boy would have stayed a slavey to a relatively-minor court official under Pharaoh Seti I, instead of rising to a position of power. That is something you choose to ignore. You, and all the various wise men—men, of course—what d’you call them—rabbis?

Tamar: I believe so, though they followed millennia after my time….

Zuleikah: Well, they piled pages and scrolls and volumes of opprobrium on my poor little head, never realizing that, had it not been for me, Little Joey would never have become the Vice-Pharaoh of Egypt. I was not just a seductress; I was a very valuable part of the action, of the story. Indeed, who is to say how many Jewish, Hebrew, Yiddish writers chose later, during your Haskalah, your Jewish Enlightenment Period, and your Yiddish Theatre, to focus on me, as the Forbidden Woman, the One to Avoid, the Dark Side Sweetheart, hmm?

Tamar: I suppose, they did the same to me—

Zuleikah: More than likely. Jacques! Bring me another of these, would you? No; on second thought, make it a martini.

Tamar (resignedly, decisively): Make that two. With two olives.

Zuleikah (ironically): My, my, the little Judahite girl is quite a drinker now, is she not?

(The Waiter brings the drinks; they sip them, contemplatively, and both sit back. Tamar steeples her hands, brings them up to her face, narrows her eyes, and looks pointedly at Zuleikah through them.)

Tamar: Well, you’ve taught me something today, Ms. Zuleikah.

Zuleikah: And what is that?

Tamar: Even when we women were oppressed, beaten down, ignored, left uneducated, called witches, whores, baby-factories, cheap labor, and however else those men chose to insult us—

Zuleikah: We still managed to hold our own.

Tamar: And even, once in a while, get ahead! (Waiter comes with drinks)

Both: To Us! And to All Oppressed Women! (They clink and drink)


A Reading List for Our Times: Something Old, Something New, Something About Racism &/or Totalitarianism

Reading List for Our Times

Topics Covered: Totalitarianism, Racism, Technology’s Grip

Presented in No Particular Order:

George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell, Animal Farm

George Orwell Essay, “Politics and the English Language”—showing how language can be distorted to mean something other than it does; i.e., “liquidated” or “terminated with extreme prejudice,” rather than “killed,” “exterminated.” Link:

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Jack London, The Iron Heel

Georg Steiner, The Passage to San Cristobal of A.H.

Now, to the Americans, from early 18th Century. Please note that I have left out the more common writers (Emerson, Thoreau, Poe) and poets (Whitman), in favor of those who emphasize what I believe to be direct appeals to my above subject areas. And I skipped those whose approach is more diffuse, or difficult to pinpoint (Douglass), scattered as it is over the course of a book. Besides, many of these early writers are dull reading, by 21st-century standards.

Feel free to skim. As Bashevis Singer said, “Children make the best literary critics. A child will not read anything they do not enjoy.” I am the same way. I read several books at once, and refuse to read something that does not match my mood.

Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”—the Puritan View of Calvinism, Predestination, and a generally gloomy view of the Afterlife, signifying why government should interfere in people’s private lives, which accounts for the Right’s continuing interference in birth issues

Red Jacket, “Reply to the Missionary Jacob Cram”

Tecumseh, “Speech to the Osages”

—both of these are Native American protests against White encroachment on tribal lands, as well as pleas for the Red Man to receive treatment equal to the Whites; ironically, though, the Indians owned slaves.

Benjamin Franklin, “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America”—BF’s plea for granting equal rights to Native Americans, though how much stems from his own liberalism/Deism, and how much from a reading of Rousseau’s “Natural Man,” we will never know

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl—compare this to Ann Frank, and decide which suffered more; in a Holocaust course, I would teach them together, as I used to show my 8th Grade Jewish students both a Holocaust movie and Hotel Rwanda

Mark Twain, “The War Prayer”—read also about the Filipino-American War of 1900-1902, one of our first Imperialist American Wars, and very little known

“The Great Controversy”—Booker T. Washington vs. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois (pronounced Doo-BOYCE)

Paul Laurence Dunbar—read about his life, and two of his short poems: “We Wear the Mask,” and “Sympathy”

Susan Glaspell, “Trifles” (a Play)

The Harlem Renaissance: short poems by:

Claude McKay
Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to be Colored Me” and “The Gilded Six-Bits” for its first mention of Black folk having a sexual life (1920s)
Nella Larsen
Langston Hughes (but then, he’s so nice; perhaps you could skip Langston, except, perhaps, “Theme for English B”)
Richard Wright—try to read his harsh, killing short stories—he has a great deal of anger; his autobiography is best

E.E. Cummings, “i sing of Olaf glad & big”

“next to of course god america i”

Ben Hecht, A Guide for the Bedevilled--the newspaperman, screenwriter, and curmudgeon on anti-semitism in particular, and racism in general

Randall Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”—the Modern State wants to kill its young, and really doesn’t care about them

Later Black Poets & Writers:

Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage”
“Those Winter Sundays” –because it reminds me of my father, and many other fathers

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, “Battle Royal,” if you can’t read the entire book
James Baldwin—his essays are better than his fiction, except for Go Tell It on the Mountain, and the short story “Going to Meet the Man,” about a lynching
Toni Morrison—“Recitatif”—I have tried, will try, to read her longer work, but this story deals with two girls, one white, one black, raised in a shelter. They become friends. I can say nothing more.
Le Roi Jones/Amiri Baraka—I have not kept up with his more recent work. He is an Aged Lion. We have all grown old. He is still important; perhaps, more relevant than ever.

Louise Erdrich, “Fleur”

--I realize that I have left out most of the Native Americans, the Hispanic-American Writers, and will be happy for corrections, criticisms, and emendations. Please remember that, in one month, I cover from 1492 (Columbus’s arrival) to 1984 (Toni Morrison) and perhaps a Billy Collins poem; it is the nature of a career college.

Enlightening Reading!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sixteen Knesset Members: A Threnody for the Women of the Wall, As Sung by PM Benjamin Netanyahu (with assistance from Tennessee Ernie Ford)

Sixteen Members: A Threnody for the Women of the Wall,
As Sung by PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Behind the Scenes, of Course)

By David Hartley Mark

(with a little assistance from Bibi’s Orthodox Coalitzya Partners,
& Tennessee Ernie Ford)

Jail women for shofar-blowing? That’s what Shas’s
Western Wall bill says
Mixed-gender prayer at Robinson’s Arch would lead to 6 months in jail or hefty fine; incendiary legislation is unlikely to pass, though Shas chief warns struggle against Reform is ‘uncompromising’
BY MARISSA NEWMAN December 13, 2016, 6:01 pm 
Times of Israel


I’ve got Sixteen Members
                                                Of my Coalition Team
                                                Backin’ this Bill
                                                So don’t expect no spleen
                                                When Women of the Wall
                                                Take Tefillin in hand
                                                The Temple Cops’re comin’
                                                ‘Coz we’ve got it planned

                                                Enraged Orthodox Rabbis:

                                                The Mishtara is comin’
                                                ‘Coz we’ve got it planned

I’ve got bigger problems ‘fore me
                                                Than a bunch of broads
                                                ISIS is in Syria
                                                So, help me, Lord
                                                Iran is building bombs (they think)
                                                But I’ve got a plan
                                                I’m walling off Hamas in Gaza,
                                                And Trump’s my man

                                                Ultra-right Members of Coalition:

                                                He’s walling off Hamas in Gaza,
                                                And Trump’s his man

My major issue, nowadays
                                                Is survivability—
                                                Israel’s got a brain-drain going—
                                                Can’t you see?
                                                It’s not that we need settlements—
                                                My Iron Dome
                                                And David’s Sling Components
                                                Will guard Zion’s home

                                                The Generals:

                                                The David’s Sling Components
                                                Will guard Zion’s home


                                                I look good in a pinstripe suit,
                                                I scream, “Islamic Terror looms!”
                                                And Israelis all throughout the land
                                                Go from malls to plastic-lined rooms
                                                David Friedman’s US
                                                He’s more right-wing than me,
                                                The wingnuts ruling USA
                                                Have set me free

                                                Amen Chorus in Trump Administration,
                                                Along with Religious Right:

                                                We’re the Rightwingnuts in power, Bib,
                                                We’ll set you free


                                                So who cares? Ban our Sodastream,
                                                We’re Big Dog on the Block,
                                                We’re keeping watch on Evil Iran,
                                                We’re clocking Putin’s stock;
                                                Israel has never been so key,
                                                A regional giant, too—
                                                So when we crush a coterie
                                                Of women, what can you do?

End with the Chief Rabbis, Sons of Chief Rabbis, Sons of Politicians:

Try’n drag us through the Israeli Courts—
We’ll harass you with something new.


When Jews act anti-semitically,

What’s a Jew to do?