Summer Follies

Summer Follies

The hazy, lazy days of summer are upon us. Time to turn away from the horrors of planetary life — hydra headed monster of endless war that has become the empire’s official foreign policy, the disappearance-cum-privatization of communal space that has resulted in oxymorons like private beaches, gated communities, and fee required open spaces.

The blow-back of American capitalism run amuck eats into the fiber of family life. In 2014, (last year for which figures are available), 15½ million children didn’t have enough to eat (the government uses the more palatable “food insecure” to hide the brutality of this figure) during all or part of their day. In one night in January 2014, nearly 600,000 Americans were sleeping in their cars, outside, or in emergency shelters. Despite Obama’s promises, health care reform never materialized. Health insurance reform is a distant relative of real change and the fleecing of the American public, somewhat slowed in the early euphoria over passing anything at all, has roared back on steroids. In the executive suites of Big Pharma, the champagne corks are popping, eye-popping bonuses are flying off the balance sheets and the price Americans pay for the medicine that in some cases keeps them alive is skyrocketing along with deductibles and co-insurance. Are you one of the 2.7 million Americans living with Hepatitis C and facing a lifetime of chronic liver disease, high risk for liver cancer and ultimately death? There are two new medicines on the market that might cure you. Oops! They cost $90,000 and the drug companies working in tandem with the health insurance industry have categorized them as “special medications,” raising your “contribution” to as high as 50%. So if you don’t have $45,000 in the kitty, make sure your will is up-to-date.

“We weep for America’s Children” [Minister presiding at the funeral of an Orlando victim]

Since the “good war” (to be distinguished from that oldie but goodie “the war to end all wars”), almost 100,000 young Americans have died in the empire’s embrace of war to resolve international problems. The toll is far higher among the world’s children, millions of whom have perished as America’s war machine motored into high gear. Extreme caution is advised when listening to official (Bush, Obama drink the same Kool Aid) assurances that we “fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” How’s that working out? Judge for yourself in the unforgettable images of families overwhelmed with grief as they bury their young, casualties of a new American war fought in our schools, government buildings, movie theaters, nightclubs, and shopping centers.

When so much of what we read, hear, see, and experience is disheartening, we have decided to go against the curve and bring you real summer follies. Not the ones playing out in state legislatures as bought and paid for legislators keep their paymasters in tax rebates and subsidies, nor the chorus line routines in what we ruefully call the seat of democracy, Washington DC, where fat and happy congressmen (one-half of house congressmen are millionaires) in bipartisan unity pay obeisance to the God of Mamon (biblical personification of the greedy pursuit of gain) and bloviate away the “peoples’ business” while cautioning the citizenry that in order to let the evildoers know we are not cowed we must get with the program—“enjoy life the way we want it to be enjoyed…go shopping more.” {President George Bush’s RX for America after 911.)

Probably nothing you will read in this issue can top the hilarity (black though it may be) that abounds when congress is in session. But we can try. How about a couple of dog stories? In “Not My Fault” a guy and his dog cruising around the hood find themselves at the mercy of the long arm of the law. “Can I Get a Dog” features a hapless mom, a determined son, and the dog-in-charge. Then there’s “The Snake is Gone” — Dear Reader if you can get beyond the “ick” factor, it might bring a smile or giggle or two. The rest are a stew —of bizarre happenings (“The Night It Rained Birds”), life in the mother of all gyms (“Stiff in the Sauna”), terrorism gone rogue (“Terrorism Unplugged — a Tale of Survival in the National Security State”) and two short how-to manuals that will be of most interest to you moms and dads, aunts and uncles, caregivers to young children, those on the fringes of parenthood, godmothers, godfathers — you know who you are (“Summer Camp Meets the Feminist Mom” and “Confessions of a Mom Facing the Juggernaut or How I Survived the Elementary School Play”)

…Inebriate of air am I,

And debauchee of dew,

Reeling, through endless summer days,

From inns of molten blue.

When landlords turn the drunken bee

Out of the foxglove’s door,

When butterflies renounce their drams,

I shall but drink the more!


Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,

And saints to windows run,

To see the little tippler

Leaning against the sun!

Emily Dickinson

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