Monday, January 30, 2017

Thoughts on NO GREAT MISCHIEF by Alistair MacLeod

     NO GREAT MISCHIEF  is a novel of change, the ending of tribal roots through intermarriage, the gap that emerges between siblings with a college education and without.
     Alistair MacLeod writes with a grace and warmth that is a pleasure to read; the kind of a book enjoyed with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
     MacLeod’s characters are living in the late twentieth century in Canada while eighteenth century Scotland is a dominant presence in their memories; they still speak Gaelic as well as English. They are part of the MacDonald clan, driven by the English from the Highlands of Scotland to Cape Breton 200 hundred years ago.
     The protagonist and his sister, who grew up in the care of their grandparents in a loving home and are well-educated, break the links to ancient Scotland by marrying outsiders. They have suburban lives of material comfort.
     Their uneducated siblings are doomed to the dangerous and drone jobs of the blue collar working class. One is a wild man, who ignores the restraints of society, the little ones like driving without a license and the more serious of deadly brawls; he ends up in prison and as a drunk without a real home or his own family (meaning a mate and children).
     I would love to read another novel by MacLeod, but he wrote only one, NO GREAT MISCHIEF, and died in 2014.




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SCARY DONALD TRUMP, a villanelle

          Donald, Blue America lives in fear
          of your finger on the bomb
          oh, your helter-skelter mind

          Will you survive more than a year
          with your speech so unkind
          Donald, Blue America lives in fear

          The frightening words Baltics hear
          you are in a Putin bind
          oh, your helter-skelter mind

          While Latinos pain is here
          the deportation orders signed
          Donald, Blue America lives in fear

          Women marched to be clear     
          they are not politically blind
          oh, your helter-skelter mind

          You sit in your Oval Office
          America watches and listens
          to your delusions of which
          Donald, Blue America lives in fear
          oh, your helter-skelter mind

          ( This villanelle was composed in January, 2017)

          

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TEAMSTERS DIRTY TRICKS

         The easiest way to win an election in a Teamsters local is to bring internal union charges against a potential opponent. The local’s executive board sits in judgement of the accused with a guilty verdict effectively eliminating him/her from the election.
          The incumbent officers of New York Teamsters Local 804 have a compelling reason to block Tim Sylvester from running for reelection as president of the local next year.
          Sylvester, a close ally of the late Ron Carey, won the presidency of Local 804 in 2009 and was reelected in 2012. He was ousted from that office by just 70 votes in 2015 after he had announced he was running for general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters  on the Teamsters United slate against incumbent James P. Hoffa.
          As a result of losing Local 804’s presidency, Sylvester switched his candidacy to general secretary-treasurer enabling Fred Zuckerman to become Teamsters United's presidential candidate. In last year’s election, Local 804 members gave Teamster United a smashing victory over Hoffa by a vote of 1835 to 295--a margin of 1,540 votes.
          That 1,540 vote margin must have sent chills through the Local 804 incumbents, who won their 70-vote victory over Sylvester with the help of the Hoffa forces.
          Local 804’s officers, who will sit in judgement, have charged Sylvester with embezzlement for cashing in his accrued vacation when he departed as the local’s president, which Teamsters United contends is a common and permissible practice..
          Teamsters United has branded the charges as baseless, “a political smear campaign by Hoffa and the Local 804 officers who do his bidding.”
          The Teamsters court-appointed Independent Investigations Officer would do well to examine whether the charges against Sylvester are valid or politically-motivated and whether the Hoffa forces played a role in bringing them. Stealing an election is just as serious--perhaps more--as looting a union treasury or pension fund.

          

Monday, January 2, 2017

TRUMPETTS, a poem

          Lying doesn’t matter
          duplicity is acceptable
          exploitation is okay
          sexism is amusing
          bragging is understandable
          hubris is cheered

          Trumpetts is
          an artificial word
          to describe
          abominable beings
          who form
          the Trumpian core

          Keep America
          considerate
          not gross
          the cultured coasts
          should always
          dominate America