Look What Happened Last Night in Sweden!


Trump rally in Melbourne Florida

Well yesterday our President flew to Florida for the weekend.  After all, why stay at Camp David when you can hunker down at Mar-a-Lago with your own butler and cronies.

As an aside, the government has already spent more on protecting this President than it spent in an entire year protecting the Obamas.  Trump seems to have little use for the government’s Presidential facilities.  Melania stays in New York at the T,T and they both fly to Florida each weekend; Mar-a-Lago is a “club” and there are members wandering about the restaurant and golf course.

Oh well.  Back to this post.

So the President flies to Melbourne, Florida yesterday (which is close to Orlando) on the way to Mar-a-Lago for a planned “rally” of his adoring followers in an airport hangar.

I thought the election was over and we were done with campaigning.  Apparently not.  The President had a bad week what with his National Security Advisor having to resign for talking to the Russians about sanctions before inauguration day (and then lying about it to the Vice President)  on top of having his next two candidates for the job publicly reject working for him.  Tsk tsk.

So Donald needed some love which he found in the contemporary version of the beer hall where he went on a rant about protecting the nation from those immigrant terrorists.  Cheers!  Donald felt the love.  Just in time for the weekend.

“You look at what’s happening,” he told his supporters. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

Yes Mr. President.  Tell us.  What happened last night in Sweden?

Nothing particularly nefarious happened in Sweden on Friday — or Saturday, for that matter — even the Swedes were left baffled not to mention anyone in America with half a brain.

“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister, wrote on Twitter.

“But the context of his remarks — he mentioned Sweden right after he chastised Germany, which also took in large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war and deprivation — clearly suggested that he thought something awful had happened.

“Sweden,” he said. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So we’re going to keep our country safe.”

Contrary to Mr. Trump’s allegations, nearly all of the men involved in terrorist assaults in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, in Brussels on March 22 last year, and in Nice, France, on July 14, were citizens of France or Belgium.”

Twitter users were quick to ridicule Mr. Trump’s remark, with joking references to the Swedish Chef, the “Muppets” character; Swedish meatballs; and Ikea, the furniture giant.   In an essay in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the journalist Martin Gelin speculated that “Trump might have gotten his news from the countless right-wing media in the United States that have long been reporting that Sweden is heading for total collapse.”

So the Donald ranted about terrorists and basked in the adulation of the mob though anyone in the crowd had a greater chance of being struck by a meteor than being killed by a terrorist; indeed had a greater chance of dying on the drive home.

So why does the President rant on (besides his need for the love)?

He rants on because fascism will come to America with the next attack.  Remember the bone chilling tweet of February 5th: : “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

“What’s taking shape here is a situation in which just one terrorist attack abroad or at home will enable Trump to point the finger of responsibility at the judiciary: “If only they’d listened to me,” he might declare, “then we’d be safe. Because our country is under attack. They want to kill us and chop off our heads! We need to shut down these bad, bad judges and their horrible courts before a mushroom cloud rises over New York City” wrote Phil Torres in Salon.

“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”  Perhaps it’s worth mentioning here that zero — that’s zero — Syrian refugees allowed into the U.S. through our refugee program  have been involved in a fatal terrorist attack. Virtually all of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. have involved American citizens, not refugees or immigrants.

No matter.

A significant portion of the conservative right will eagerly believe Trump, because another of Trump’s alarming tactics has been to delegitimize the press, which he now routinely calls “the opposition party.” Last week he tweeted that the press was “the enemy of the American people.”  Using Twitter to gain direct access to his followers, Trump will try to mobilize a small army of angry, ignorant xenophobes to see the independent judiciary as an enemy against America — essentially, as traitorous elites who don’t have national security in their best interest. Consequently, this group of followers will welcome an erosion of the court’s power — again, in the name of domestic protection against “the Muslims.”

And it’s just a matter of time.  And when the time comes it will be our turn to defend our institutions from authoritarians who would sweep them away in the name of “security.”

There is no shortage in this country of those who would willingly man the watchtowers and staff the camps.  Just look at the “beer hall.”  They are just waiting for the Reichstag fire.





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Dancing to Perfidia


The Hotel Torino – Massawa, Eritrea built by the Fascists when Eritrea was an Italian colony.  In 1960s it had a roof top bar; 20 year old Toritto  misspent a portion of his youth in Eritrea and had many a drink on this very roof.  If you get there have a drink for me.


Red Sea breeze and indigo sky
pierced by a full moon hanging
like the Christmas lights
strung above the roof top bar.

Potted palm fronds, barely moving;
pretty young things, different colors
chocomocha café latte
Italian band plays thirties favorites.

Transported to another time
sitting now where dead men sat
hot breeze off eternal sea
they dreamed of home, of Italy.

Il Duce’s portrait here no longer
“Campari soda piacere”
gone the dusty dream of glory
I’m dancing to Perfidia.



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Death of the White Rose – February 22, 1943

An annual re-post – Originally posted  in February 2010

Core Members of the White Rose – Munich 1942 – (l to r) Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst.  Arrested by the Gestapo and guillotined  on February 22, 1943.

The notorious Nazi Judge Roland Freisler was practically spitting venom.

“You are a traitor!!”

Sophie quietly replied “Well someone had to be first. What we wrote and said is believed by many others. They just don’t dare to express themselves as we did.”

Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and good friend Christoph Probst were on trial for their lives in Freisler’s “Peoples Court”. It was February 22, 1943 in Munich, Germany.

Freisler was enraged. “We are at war!! Did you not hear Reich’s Minister Goebbel’s call for total war!! Sophie and the others had been arrested by the S.S. the same day as the speech.

“Everyone in this room knows that your war is lost! None of you is brave enough to say it!”

Sophie was 22 years old; her brother Hans about 3 years older. The three on trial constituted the core members of the anti-Nazi “Society of the White Rose” and were co-authors of six anti-Nazi political resistance leaflets. The leaflets were produced on a manual printing press and distributed surreptitiously, first at the University of Munich where they were students and eventually as far away as Vienna.

Sophie and her friends grew up as the Nazi’s were coming to power; by the time she was an adult they had a strangle hold on the nation. There was only one acceptable world view – the Nazi view.

Sophie was raised a Lutheran and was devoutly religious. It was mandatory to join the Bund Deutsche Madel, the League of German Girls and for her brother Hans to join the Hitler Youth. Both had to perform six months “national service” in order to have any chance of attending university.  Sophie did hers at a metal plant.

Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl

It was the time during her national service that made Sophie think long and  hard about the current political situation.  She began practicing passive resistance.

When her long time boy friend Fritz Hartnagel was conscripted into the army and sent to the Eastern front, Sophie gave him two volumes of the sermons of John Cardinal Newman, an indication of how important religion was in her life. The White Rose was founded by Sophie and her anti-Nazi friends after they obtained and read a copy of a stern anti-Nazi sermon given from the pulpit by Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Roman Catholic bishop of Munich, a member of one of the most prominent noble families in Germany.

Meanwhile, Sophie’s boyfriend Fritz was writing home to her about the atrocities on the Eastern front.  Fritz was assigned to General von Paulus Sixth Army.

Sophie was horrified by his reports of the cold blooded murder of captured Russian soldiers and Jews in every town entered by the Wehrmacht. Her correspondence with Fritz delved deeply into Cardinal Newman’s “theology of conscience” and how an individual must act under a dictatorship.

The leaflets of the White Rose urged the German people to resist.  Obviously having anything to do with these leaflets meant almost certain death.

Monument on the floor of the University – stone leaflets

From the very first leaflet –

Isn’t it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes—crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure—reach the light of day?”

The core members and half a dozen others left the leaflets around the campus of the university, mailed them anonymously around Munich, carried them by hand as far away as Berlin and Vienna, left them in public places where they would be found by passersby. Meanwhile part of the group, lead by Willi Graf began a graffiti campaign around Munich, spending his nights painting “Freedom!” and “Down with Hitler!” on public buildings.  Willi had been forced to “volunteer” and spend his summer in Poland – he was becoming a doctor – and he saw with his own eyes the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos.  He came home and told the others.

This small group of German youth, who grew up under the dictatorship had rejected fascism and militarism and supported a belief in a federated Europe of tolerance, justice and peace – the Europe that hopefully would come.

From the second leaflet –

“Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way. The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals. Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty”

The Gestapo was in a frenzy to track down whoever it was printing and distributing the leaflets as they had caused a sensation. No one in Germany had read anything like this in years.

The fifth leaflet was composed by Hans Scholl and warned that Hitler was leading Germany into the abyss; with the gathering might of the Allies, defeat was now certain. The reader was urged to “Support the resistance movement!” in the struggle for ”Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states”. These were the principles that would form “the foundations of the new Europe”.

The Scholls were distributing the seventh leaflet of the “White Rose” at the university when they were spotted by a janitor and turned in to the Gestapo. Evidence on their persons implicated Christoph Probst, a married member ofWhite Rose and father of three small kids.

Within days of their arrest the three were brought to trial in Freisler’s  Nazi court.   Sophie remained firm and very brave at trial.  She attempted to take all of the blame trying to save her brother and friends. To no avail.

Immediately after trial, Hans and Sophie had one last meeting with their parents.  The parents were in agony, especially her father who had raised his children as tolerant lovers of peace.  The guards then allowed Hans, Sophie and Christoph a few moments together before Sophie was led to her death, followed by Christoph and finally Hans.  She kissed them goodbye.

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

One observer described Sophie;  “She walked to her death without flinching a hair”. The three were guillotined.

At his execution Hans said “Let freedom live!” as the blade fell.

Christoph Probst asked for a priest and was baptized a Catholic before he died.

The White Rose had the last word. Their final leaflet was smuggled to the Allies by Helmut James Graf von Moltke thru Scandinavia to London. Millions of copies entitled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich” were dropped all over Germany.  Von Moltke was the great grandnephew of Von Moltke the Elder, the victorious German commander of the Franco-Prussian and Austro-Prussian Wars, He was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle Resistance Group and he too was executed by the Gestapo on January 23, 1945.

Willi Graf, the graffiti artist was captured by the S.S., “interrogated” for six months and then guillotined. He told them nothing.

The members of the White Rose, especially Sophie, became icons of the new Germany representing selfless opposition to tyranny. They are memorialized and remembered with public monuments, squares and streets named after them across Germany and at their old school.

Black granite memorial to the White Rose in the Hofgarten in Munich next to the Bavarian State Chancellery.

The playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that “It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th century.  The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me.”

In 2003 Germans were invited to participate in “Our Best” – a nationwide competition to list the ten most important Germans of all time. Sophie and Hans came in 4th – ahead of Goethe, Bach, Guttenburg, Bismarck and Albert Einstein.  If the votes of young people alone had been counted the brother and sister would have come in first.

Readers of the German magazine for women, Brigitte, named Sophie Scholl the greatest woman of the 20th century.

The Scholle parents had six children, one of whom died in infancy.  Sophie and Hans were executed.  Sophie’s brother Werner was killed during the war in June 1944.  Sophie’s sister Inge would write the story and remained an active participant in the peace movement until her passing in 1998.

Sophie’s boyfriend Fritz Hartnagel was one of the lucky Germans evacuated from Stalingrad but he didn’t return to Germany until after Sophie was already dead.

Years later he would marry Sophie’s younger sister Elizabeth.






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Fascism and America’s Ruling Elite – A Re-Post


Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle

Awarded to Henry Ford by Adolph Hitler – 1938

So it’s the 1930s and Hitler and Mussolini, not to mention Franco have established nazism / fascism in Europe. Hitler has already opened the first concentration camp at Dachau and Mussolini has crushed any organized political opposition in Italy.

So where are America’s elite industrial barons?

Exactly where you think; getting cozy with the fascists in order to make money. After all Hitler and Mussolini were anti-communist and that was all our gilded elites needed to know.

William E, Dodd, the US Ambassador to Germany, gave important insight into German and American economic alliances. He wrote of the situation in general that:

“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there.”
– William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937

Some of the primary and more famous Americans with fascist sympathies included William Randolph Hearst, Joseph E. Kennedy (President Kennedy’s father), Charles Lindbergh, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon (head of Alcoa, and Secretary of the Treasury), Dupont, General Motors, Ford, ITT, Prescott Bush (grandfather of Dubya), National City Bank (now Citibank), Coca cola, Standard Oil,  and General Electric.

All in all, American investment in Germany grew by 50% between 1929 – 1940 while declining in the rest of Europe.

In 1940 Graeme K. Howard, head of General Motors overseas operations, published America and the New World Order, in which he advised that America give full cooperation to the Nazi regime. In his book he blames FDR for causing the war in Europe and goes on to say that the fascists should be supported as the better alternative to the spread of Communism.

Hearst’s newspapers published a constant stream of red-baiting and anti-Soviet articles while praising Hitler and portraying him as an able bourgeois German burgher who had no intention of going to war but was preoccupied with internal problems.  No mention of the camps in his articles.

In 1937 Fortune Magazine, a Hearst publication, stated that:

“The good journalist must recognize in Fascism certain ancient virtues of the race, whether or not they happen to be momentarily fashionable in his own country. Among these are Discipline, Duty, Courage, Glory, Sacrifice.”

In a 1938 article published In Hearst’s Better Homes and Gardens, Hitler is portrayed as a humble, personable man of taste.

“There is nothing pretentious about the Fuhrer’s little estate.  It is one that any merchant of Munich or Nuremburg might possess in these lovely hills.”

The concentration camps were already in full swing.


Hitler (back to camera, Goering (left) and Field Marshall von Blomberg

After the Wehrmacht invasion of the Soviet Union Hearst’s papers attacked FDR’s Lend/Lease policy:

“Is our free country piling up deficits, bleeding its citizens white with confiscatory taxation, rushing headlong into national bankruptcy, shoveling out our wealth abroad, and shipping our war materials to alien nations to bolster up Bolshevism in Russia to spread it over all of Europe, including Britain, and to breed it and broadcast it in our own America?”

Henry Ford’s antisemitic newspaper, “The Dearborn Independnt.” published a series of articles entitled  “The International Jew” which were later turned into pamphlets circulated world-wide, especially in Germany.


Ford and the other writers of Dearborn Publishing promoted the view of superiority built on race with Jews and other minorities as racially and culturally inferior. According to this view the ideas of socialism, liberalism and Marxism were plots used by inferior races to promote equality and thereby elevate themselves to the level of the superior Anglo-Saxon Protestants.   Can’t have that now, can we?

Henry Ford was by no means the only one to put such ideas in writing, but his publications were popular and served to spread the ideology.   In fact he was very popular among the Nazis and received The Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle from Hitler for his birthday in 1938.  Nice.

Henry Ford is presented with the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle – 1938

Tom Watson of IBM invested heavily in Germany and supplied them with American made punch card counting computer machines which were used for the German census, locating and tracking the whereabouts of every “undesirable” in Germany. The machines were not only used by the government but in the concentration camps to keep track of the thousands of prisoners.


IBM’s punch-card system for census and categorization of citizens was a critical element in the Nazi system for racial and genetic analysis of the population.  The Nazi program was based on the American eugenics programs, but taken to a higher level.   Everyone in Germany filled out a highly detailed census card, including a “family tree” in duplicate.  The census card was officially stamped and a portion given back to the person who had filled it out.  These were “your papers” which everyone had to have.  No papers and you go to a camp.  Meanwhile IBM’s technology was checking and crosschecking, performing analysis on family trees.  Virtually every jew or gypsy in Germany was identified,  located and processed for ghettoization and eventual deportation thanks to IBM.

Watson visited Germany frequently as it was IBM’s biggest foreign market and he was quite aware of what was going on.  After the conquest of Poland, IBM’s German subsidiary was given the license to operate in Poland by IBM’s head office in America. which was necessary in order to move punch card operations to Warsaw in order to find every Polish jew.  IBM cooperated with Nazi Germany right up until America’s entry into the war.  Multi-nationalism at its finest.


Charles Lindbergh while claiming he was an America Firster spent plenty of time hob nobbing with Nazi officials, was regularly praised in the Nazi press and had no qualms over having his picture taken with high ranking Nazis officials.  While he spoke neutrality out of one side of his mouth it was very obvious to anyone where his sympathies lay.  Even the Nazis knew.


Charles Lindbergh at a Nazi party in Berlin -1935

There was plenty of sympathy for fascism among the American ruling class – but hey after all those fascists were anti-red .   Nothing else mattered.  Anti red.  Anti Bolshevik.  Anti liberal.  Anti socialist.  Anti-pinko.  Anti-FDR.  Anti immigrant.

Why are you not surprised?

P.S. – It is so easy to envision Bannon and Flynn hobnobbing with Goering and Goebbels at a party in Berlin and for our President to be basking at a state dinner hosted by Adolph Hitler followed by a few days at Berchtesgaden.  Any member of Trump’s new Cabinet would feel right at home.



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Armed Resistance to Fascism – 1922

Guido Picelli – Leader of the Resistance

The workers of Parma were socialists to the core; among them a sprinkling of anarchists, syndacalists, communists and the left wing Catholic Workers Party.

In 1922 Fascism was delivering the counter-revolution, after two “red years”. Fascist gangs, the black shirted “squadristi”, roamed the cities and countryside, destroying trade union headquarters, newspapers, peasant cooperatives, bringing cities and towns to heel through terror. The Army, under the command of the King, did nothing. Socialists were anti-monarchist.

The squadristi were funded by major Italian corporate interests, FIAT and Olivetti as well as bankers, land owners, the clerical hierarchy and the bourgesoisie. They were a well armed, well trained para-military group, devoted to Mussolini and fascism; led by Italo Balbo and Ronerto “the sadist” Farinacci. Both would later be members of the Fascist Grand Council.

Farinacci began organizing Blackshirts combat squads in 1919 in Cremona. The Cremona squads were among the most brutal in Italy, and Farinacci effectively used them to terrorize the population into submission to Fascist rule. Farinacci enjoyed forcing his victims to swallow large amounts of castor oil until they soiled themselves with diarrhea before he murdered them.

In 1922, Farinacci appointed himself mayor of Cremona.  Farinacci thought Mussolini “too liberal”.  Mussolini thought Farinacci “too violent” and irresponsible.

The workers of Parma knew what was coming. They were at the center of socialism and the last city in Italy defying fascist rule. Fascism’s victory was not yet complete. There was still one place in Italy that was resisting – Parma. The workers got ready.

In August 1922, just ten weeks before Mussolini seized power, one of the largest armed confrontations between fascists and anti-fascists in history took place . Led by a Socialist Party MP, Guido Picelli, the local branch of the Arditi del popolo (People’s Squads), a national anti-fascist organization created in June 1921, had managed to bring together the many different strands of the Italian left.

For six days 20,000 armed black shirts threw themselves against the working class of the central Italian town.  The first contingents of blackshirts arrived on the night of 1-2 August, in trucks which had come from all over Emilia, Veneto, and Tuscany.. They were armed with brand new rifles, pistols and hand grenades, together with a huge amount of ammunition. They were experienced fighters, tried and tested in the tactics of ‘punitive expeditions’.

The workers were ready. The fascists opened fire just before 9 am and were met with a hail of worker bullets. Attacks and counter-attacks continued along the front line throughout the day, without producing any substantial changes in the situation.

Italo Balbo, who would later be the Fascist Governor of Libya attempted to lead a detachment across the Verdi Bridge but was met with a fusillade of gun fire from behind barricades at the other end of the bridge. Balbo hastily retreated in disarray.

After several days of heavy fighting the Army showed up and demanded that the workers put down their weapons and dismantle their barricades. The Army had orders from the King not to attack the fascist gangs. The workers refused. The Army withdrew leaving the workers to their fate.

The fascists resumed their attacks and the fighting turned into classic urban warfare.  Fascists entering narrow streets and alleys were attacked by women in upper story windows with small arms and firebombs. In the open parks they were hit by the Arditi and driven back.

Fascist resolved weakened and two days later collapsed completely. After five days of urban warfare fascist columns were seen leaving the area in disarray, military discipline melting away.  The black shirts had suffered 39 dead and 150 wounded. Once the news of the fascists’ departure spread, the working class populations on both sides of the river rushed into the streets in an indescribable explosion of enthusiasm – red flags were hung from the windows in ‘old Parma’.  The news of the working class’s victory spread rapidly in the surrounding area, where terrified local landowners abandoned their houses and ran towards Cremona.  It was the finest hour of the resistence.

Worried that the resistance would spread to other cities, the King declared martial law and the Army moved in to occupy Parma.  There was no stopping infantry units armed with machine guns.

In ten weeks Mussolini would rule Italy – fascism, industrial capitalism and the monarchy had come to agreement before the “March on Rome.”

The leaders of Parma were eventually arrested or murdered or went into exile. Guido Picelli, the leader of the resistance, would be arrested 5 times by the fascists and then elected to parliament by the workers of Parma.

On May Day, May 1, 1924 in the full flower ot the fascist state, he would enrage Mussolini by hanging the red flag on the parliament building for 15 minutes in protest for the cancelling of Labor Day.  He was repeatedly attacked on the streets by black shirts and served over 5 years in prison. He eventually died in the Spanish Civil War in front of Guadalajara, fighting for the Republic and leading the Garibaldi Brigade against General Franco.

Today there are memorials to Picelli in Parma and in Spain.  His tomb in Spain was destroyed by Franco and his bones thrown into an ossuary with unidentified Spanish Civil War dead.

No significant armed resistance against the fascist dictatorship would come again until the war years when Italian partisans took to the mountains.


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The Ugliest Valentine’s Day Card Contest

A Re – Post for Valentine’s Day

Red Carnations with Baby's Breath - mod/trans

“You get away cheap on Valentine’s Day!” she would quip with a smile.

Carnations were her favorite flower. Not roses. Carnations.

Long stem reds and whites wrapped in that paper that goes inside flower boxes with a bow, a card and delivered by the flower shop.  Some years, when the day was on the weekend, I would pick them up myself, the florist jammed with guys picking up roses.

There were always the guys who forgot the day.  “Sorry but we don’t have any more roses available. Want some carnations?”.

I didn’t have that problem. She loved carnations.  I was indeed a lucky man.

Picking out just the right greeting  card however always took some time.  It had to be just right.  She always knew exactly what to send me.  I had to be equal to the task.  She had to know I put some thought into it.

One year she decided that we would have a Valentine’s Day contest.

“Let’s see which of us can find the absolute worst Valentine’s Day card!”

How to judge?

“It has to be ugly beyond belief and have the worst possible “poem”.

It had to be “My God, how could anyone send that to someone they love??” ugly.

How do we decide the winner?

“We’ll decide. We’re both people of good taste aren’t we?  At least one of us! ”


And what do I get if I win ?


“Anything you like perve!” as she wiggled her ass up the stairs looking over her left shoulder.  She had told me more than once that she only married me to keep me from molesting young women on the subway.  Doing her bit for humanity.  Men are such pigs.

And what do you get, asks I?

Bigger smile. “Anything I want; for as long as I want!!”.

“Game  on sweet cheeks!”

So the weekend before Valentine’s Day I’m in all the places that sell greeting cards.  I pass on the likes of Hallmark (too tasteful) and hit joints like the Dollar Store. Waiting ‘till the last minute assures me that only the crap is left and anything decent has been purchased.

Thumbing through I look for ugliness. I flip open the card and look at the number of lines in the “poetry”.  The longer the better. Anything too short is immediately rejected.

And then, like Max Bialystok first seeing Springtime for Hitler I hold it in my hand.

It’s ugly. Not the worst, but it’s ugly.

Inside.  Inside it’s a treasure.

It’s awful. Just awful. And it goes on….and on….and on!

Methinks to myself “We have a winner!”  I can start planning her Valentine’s Day bedding.

On “the day” she gets her carnations (kisses for me), makes my favorite dinner (kisses for her) and afterwards over a glass of vino we exchange cards.

She reads mine. “My God! This is awful!  And it goes on like War and Peace!!”

I’m smiling.

“But”.  Uh oh.

“It could be a bit more ugly.”

I opened hers  I’m stunned.

It’s black. BLACK!  A black Valentine’s Day card!!  It looks more like a Sympathy card!!  For a moment I think I’m going down.

I open it and read it. It too is dreadful.  But it has a saving grace.  It’s short.

“It’s awful.  Ugly.  The poem however could be worse.  It’s not as bad as mine.  It’s short!”.

She practically coughs wine through her nose.

“But mine’s  black! Black!!  I win!”

“No I’m sorry. The verse in my card is so bad and so long it makes up for your black card!”

We have more wine.  Antonio Carlos Jobim is singing “tus besos nunca mas” in the background.

“Ok it’s a draw.”

“But what about “the prizes”?

She smiles.

“I get what I want anyway!” says she. “After all it is Valentine’s Day”

“And besides, you men always get what you want!”

She slinks up the stairs. “Coming…. honey?”

Oh yes.

As I write this Jobim is singing in the background – “tus besos nunca mas…..te quiero”.

I’m smiling.

Happy Valentine’s Day.






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Last Summer’s Affair

Woman Beach And Sea

Laying my head on your stomach
while the sun streamed through the blinds
forming stripes caressing your contours
just for a moment I thought of biting the thighs
of your perfect body.

Your sea green eyes animate Summer
terns and gulls off the starboard bow
your smile raising the waves
structuring the water
billowing the sails of boundless passion.

Tonight I will undress you
still covered in sand
tasting of sweat, salt and Coppertone
remains of a day at the shore
where no one knows, for we two give no clue
while hiding in plain pose.

But  Autumn comes, the Summer’s gone
“it’s time for us to both move on”
just one last kiss, a last caress
it’s time to dress for fall.





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