Khizr and Ghazala Khan at the Democratic National Convention, speaking about their son Captain Humayun Khan

Sad and Mad Again

I simply cannot believe that there are more than a handful of voters on the lunatic fringe who can actually bring themselves to vote for Trump, even after his disgusting, disgraceful attacks on the Khan family, whose appearance at the Democratic National Convention was one of the most powerful, moving presentations I have ever seen on television. I feel so sad for them, while I can also see their justified pride in their lost son.

However, I am well aware that there are many of my fellow Americans who, as one put it, plan to “vote with their middle fingers” in November by voting for the GOP nominee. What they do not acknowledge is that by doubling down on their support for him after his insane attacks on the Khan family, they are also giving the middle finger to a Gold Star family that deserves nothing but all Americans’ sympathy, respect and gratitude.

What evil miasma has taken over so many of my fellow citizens? I didn’t think it could get much worse than the lunatics who have repeatedly claimed that the bereaved parents of little children murdered in Sandy Hook Elementary School are actors promulgating a government fraud, and that no one was killed. This may be even worse.

I have never voted a straight party ticket in all my decades as a voter, but I will do so this fall, for the Democratic Party, to send a message to the GOP that their embrace of this wicked charlatan at the top of their ticket is beyond the pale. I hope others do that too.


King Louie in The Jungle Book 2016 movie by Disney Pictures.

“Only I Can Protect You…”

Paraphrase of GOP nominee Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last week? Well, his exact words were “I alone can fix it”, after conjuring up a dark vision of America as the beleaguered, corrupt, twilight Gotham City of “Batman Returns.”

BATMAN RETURNS – Penguin’s speech from DAVE STONE on Vimeo; film by Warner Bros.

But a different movie immediately came to my mind: this year’s remake of Disney’s “The Jungle Book”. The orange hair, the Queens accent … ammiright?

The GOP nominee wants you to believe that only HE can protect you, and he will — for a price. Think about it. I don’t live in Gotham City, do you?

Donald Trump, angry; the 2016 GOP nominee.

Donald Trump, the GOP nominee.

King Louie in The Jungle Book 2016 movie by Disney Pictures.

King Louie; image from Disney Pictures.


Candles lit for victims of Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, June 2016.

If Martin Niemoller Were Here Today …

If Martin Niemoller were here today …

They shot the high school students. And I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t a high school student.

Then they shot the college students. And I didn’t speak out, because I didn’t go to college.

They shot the immigrants. And I didn’t speak out, because I’m not an immigrant.

They shot the midnight movie-goers, and the public employees. And I didn’t speak out, because I don’t go to movies at midnight and I’m not a public employee.

They shot the customers at Luby’s and MacDonald’s, and I didn’t speak out because I don’t eat at Luby’s or MacDonald’s.

They shot Parisians and Texans, and I didn’t speak out because I’ve never been to Paris or Texas.

They shot Tunisians and Egyptians and tourists, and I didn’t speak out because I don’t know any Tunisians or Egyptians and I’m not a tourist.

They shot Sikhs and Jews and the Amish, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not a Sikh or Jewish or Amish.

They shot black Christians in church, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not black or Christian and I don’t go to church.

THEY SHOT FIRST-GRADERS AND THEIR TEACHERS, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not a parent or a teacher.

Now they’ve shot Latino/a and LGBT club-goers and I’m not Latinx, or LGBT, and I don’t go to nightclubs.  Who is left to speak? Will I speak out now? Will you?

#NoBillNoBreak #DisarmHate #HateWontWin

So why ARE we so angry?

As anyone who knows me is well aware, I get confused very easily. So the other afternoon when I was using the drive-up ATM near my favorite grocery store, I somehow managed to make a wrong turn, thereby exiting the parking lot through an entrance lane. Before I could drive off, a woman in a […]

via Why Are We So Angry? — Muddling Through My Middle Age

Galanthus and gall

This is a hilarious account of misplaced middle-aged rage, prompted by a scarcity of snowdrop tour tickets!


I have spent the last 5 years working in the health and social care sector, during which time I’ve met people living in the most challenging of circumstances, dealing with money worries, illness, disability, loneliness, addiction, depression and myriad other issues. Despite their situations I have been impressed with the resilience and optimism many of these families display and have met some amazing people who have taught me a great deal. Better still, I have never been harangued or threatened by any of them, which is in marked contrast to my time spent working for the National Trust, which you would expect to offer an altogether more civilised perspective on the world.

The reason this is on my mind is down to the time of year. As I drove to work the other morning my eye was drawn to the drifts of snowdrops blanketing the grounds as I left the estate. It was impossible…

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The Weekly Vent: Heckling, Hate and Halloween

The viral news of this week — leaving aside the serious issues of war and peace in the Middle East, ongoing genocide in Africa, incursions into international waters by China, etc. — was the reaction of undergraduates at Yale College to two emails sent to them by various faculty and administrators. The first, send by a group concerned with Intercultural Affairs, reminded students to avoid racially and ethnically offensive Halloween costumes.  The second, sent to students in one of the residential colleges by its Associate Master, criticized the first message and questioned whether it was appropriate for Yale to manage expression by its students or if it would be preferable for Yale students to monitor each other and — gasp! — have thoughtful, respectful conversations about their disagreements.

So far, just another tempest in an academic teapot. But when an advocacy group called FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) got hold of the story, and its president recorded and aired a video showing a confrontation between some students and the Master of Silliman College (who is married to the Associate Master), the story went viral. Lines were drawn in the sand and loud voices at both extremes of the political spectrum have been raised. Score one for FIRE! Free publicity!

Here is my take on it, in part. Continue reading

The Weekly Vent: The Rationality of Rage

Well, well, well — it turns out that a certain amount of rage, in specific situations, is strategically useful. Rational, in fact, according to The New York Times: The Rationality of Rage.

We tend to associate anger with the loss of control, but anger has clear applications and obeys distinct rules. It may be blunt, but it has its own particular logic. And used judiciously, it can get us better deals, galvanize coalitions and improve all our lives.

The situations where anger is most useful as a strategy are “balanced”, i.e. they have elements of both cooperation and competition, such as selling a business to a buyer. Makes sense to me but I’m not so sure about this part:

… anger evolved to help us express that we feel undervalued. Showing anger signals to others that if we don’t get our due, we’ll exert harm or withhold benefits. As they anticipated, the researchers found that strong men and attractive women — those who have historically had the most leverage in threatening harm and conferring benefits, respectively — were most prone to anger.

Wow. Strong men and attractive women have the most leverage because they can threaten harm and withhold benefits. Sounds like war, money and sex to me. I guess we really are still primates at heart!

Illustration: Gerard DuBois, in The New York Times.

I’m Furious About You Being Furious About The Thing You’re Furious About

This is hilarious! Everybody’s furious about something. We middle aged ragers truly understand. Good to laugh about it!


Watching social media more or less incessantly as I have been over the last few days – instead of working or feeding my children or acknowledging brief but important everyday moments of physical affection from my partner – I’ve seen, as you surely have, that everyone is furious about a thing.  This thing really has got goats and stuck in craws in every corner of the globe. It’s been trending for days and hardly anyone’s feed is free of comment on the subject.  Politicians and celebrities have weighed in with their opinions, and seventy-four badly-realised parody accounts based on this thing were registered by midnight Pacific Time last night.

But ask yourself this: why? Why are they furious about this thing when there is another thing that I believe they should be much more furious about?  The thing that I believe they should be furious about is so much more…

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Mad and Sad

I’m having a hard time with the news this week. I was heartbroken over the terroristic murders at Charleston’s Emanuel AME church, but I felt uplifted by the families’ faith and courage. And I was encouraged by the community’s response, thousands of them walking in unity over the Ravenel Bridge to show that hate wouldn’t win in their city. Then the state legislature found the courage to stand up to bullies and got the rebel flag off Statehouse grounds. So I was still very sad but I felt strengthened by the stand so many people took against hate.

Then came this week. Continue reading

Sad and Mad

I was raised in a household where children were never allowed to express anger. Not that all anger was forbidden or unexpressed — just children’s anger. A child’s anger was wrong — and bad. So I spent many years not admitting even to myself when I felt mad, and instead feeling sad and bad. And when I had children of my own, I wanted to teach them to know their emotions: to name them, acknowledge them and cope with them. Sort of like mindfulness for toddlers.

So I did a few things. I always told (and still tell) my kids clearly that I love them, every day if possible, even if it’s just a text now that my oldest is away at college. And when they did something that upset a member of the family, including me, I would say something like: “You did ___. That makes me sad. And mad. I am sad because (fill in the blank: you broke something I liked; you said something hurtful; you pushed your sister). I am mad because (fill in that blank: you know better; you hurt someone; what you did was wrong and here’s why).”

Then I would work with the child to address the situation: offer an explanation, clean up the mess, apologize to the sibling, take some time out to think about what just happened, reflect on why the kid did it, think of better ways to proceed next time. The idea was to model that we can be sad and mad, but those feelings don’t make us bad. It’s how we choose to respond to those feelings that can turn a situation bad.

I was reminded of this, reading another blogger’s eloquent post about Pagliacci, and anxiety and sadness, and how those can look like anger: Pagliacci Is In Town Tonight. I would add that not allowing yourself to feel mad can make you feel really, really sad.  And THAT’S bad.

Illustration: Sad and Mad; found on