The sweet stench of success. The corpse flower in New York.
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Undaunted by the oppressive heat and the inability of the Mets and Yankees to hit with runners in scoring position, I press on with the second installment of "And So it Went," my take on the week that was:
- Philadelphia. Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Al Franken, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, the general, Khizr Khan, Barack Obama. Etc. Etc. Etc. Emotion, drama, unity, inclusiveness, humor, compassion, wit, hope, soaring rhetoric, applause, standing ovations. Wow, we're so much better than they are. "Debbie does e-mails. Putin does e-mails. Who cares about e-mails? The first black president -- a Democrat -- hands the baton to the first woman-president-to-be -- also a Democrat. Huzzah! Hillary! Hillary! C'mon, Bernie fans, cheer!" At least she's better than Trump.
- Touching moments. Philadelphia: Bernie Sanders wiping away tears as his brother, also wiping away tears, places the senator's name in nomination as a Democratic candidate for president of the United States. Cleveland: Ivanka Trump, champion of equal pay, introducing her father as Republican candidate for president; Donald patting his daughter's behind. (Do we really need to say more?)
- Meanwhile, back in Pine Bush. This small hamlet in upstate New York somehow manages to have two groups promoting local artists, but not enough support to keep one, top-notch art gallery in business. Tom Bolger, owner of the Crawford Fine Art Gallery, held a farewell reception last week at which all his favorite artists came to drink some wine, nibble on hors d'oeuvres, commiserate about his closing the gallery and take their works home. Bolger said he was disappointed, but kind of relieved to finally be able to move on. He's opening a new gallery in nearby Cragsmoor, where he lives. Everyone said that sounded great and wished him luck. If any arts group is looking for a good location for a gallery, there's one available on Main Street. If you need a landmark, it's next door to where the barbershop used to be.
Zephyr Teachout. That's the name of, I hope, my next representative in Congress. Zephyr Teachout. I love just saying it. Someone put a sign up on my road with her name on it. It's not far from a couple of Trump signs to give you an idea of the neighborhood. A progressive Democrat in the Sanders mold, Teachout last year was more Zephyr Overreach when she challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a primary. Running for an open seat in Congress is much more realistic and doable. Reach out for Teachout. She can use that slogan if she wants.
- The Corpse Flower (gag!) blooms in the Bronx. The Amorphophallus titanum, is described by the New York Botanical Garden as "a horticultural jewel 10 years in the making. Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. "That"uncanny" scent is universally described as the smell of death. The Botanical Garden held special hours over the weekend for anyone wishing to experience the short-lived bloom first-hand. Thanks anyway, folks, but up here in Pine Bush we have guys who call themselves farmers who spread something that smells like death on their land a lot more regularly than every 10 years. Smell all you want, and it's free.
- "Where to Invade Next, "Michael Moore's latest movie features the writer/actor/director "invading" various countries to claim their best ideas and bring them back to the United States. From Germany, he expropriated the idea of requiring every student to get an hour instruction each day on the history of their country's actions in World War II. The knowledge of the mass extermination of Jews, gypsies, gays and others in "work camps" is never to be forgotten by young Germans so as not to be repeated, or denied. As fate would have it last week, Pope Francis visited one of the most notorious of those camps, Auschwitz, also to remind the world of what man has done to his fellow man. "It made me think that all Americans would benefit from requiring even a little bit of this kind of regular, honest education in American schools about how Native Americans were (and still are) treated and the unvarnished truth about slavery.
- Which brings me to Bill O'Reilly. The chief buffoon at Fox News replied to First Lady Michelle Obama's moving speech at the Democratic Convention, which included her waking up in a house that slaves helped to build, by saying that, while "slavery is an abomination,'' the slaves who helped build the White House were "well-fed and had decent lodgings." He defended these statements by saying they were factual. Yes, but the vital factual point, Bill, is that they were slaves and had no choice. They were property, to be maintained like any machine so as to be in good working order. Kind of like those well-dressed, well-fed, well-paid blondes working at Fox News who had to say Yassa to Massa Roger if they wanted to keep their jobs.
- Trump is entitled to intelligence briefings. Isn't that an oxymoron? She's way better than Trump.
And so it went.
(Article changed on August 1, 2016 at 16:20)