The autumn winds have blown through. Here are some of the things they have blown out, and in.
The hot and humid summer days have vanished, as have the interminable summer re-runs as evidenced by a bold N next to tv guide listings .
Corn, peaches, and most berries, those glorious products of summer's bounty, are gone from farmers’ markets, replaced by squashes, sweet potatoes, and apples.
Daylight saving time will exit next week, taking an hour of light from our day.
Sidewalk cafes, our city's little bit of Paris, are no more--their tables and chairs stacked away until next spring.
Change Is in the Air
The winds of autumn have carried out John Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives and carried in Paul Ryan. An improvement? Who knows?
When the phenomenen known as Kim Davis stood in the path of the autumn winds, there was a tug of war. It's not clear yet who won. The media frenzy over this blowsy, bigoted county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky began following the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the right to marriage is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment. Davis refused to grant the licenses, stating that doing so would run counter to her religious beliefs. Interesting, since her beliefs allow for adultery and having children out of wedlock. But no one has ever accused Davis of consistency. After spending five highly publicized days in jail for contempt of court, she has returned to work. While she has not interfered with deputies who were complying with the court order, she did alter the licenses so they did not include her name.
The media was all over her claim that she had a private audience with Pope Francis, during which he embraced her and told her to stay strong. Kim, Kim, Kim! There was no private audience, no embrace, and no private message. She stood among a cast of--well, dozens--and the Pope had no idea who she was.
History buffs know that when Henry II, King of England in the 12th century, became so frustrated by the constant "meddling" of Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury, he asked, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" The king's outrage inspired four knights to go to Canterbury on December 29, 1170, enter the Cathedral in the middle of a service, draw their swords, and split Beckett's skull. Now, I'm not advocating that a vigilante group advance on Davis with swords drawn, but I do wish the winds of autumn would blow her away somewhere--anywhere--like that haven for other has-beens and wanna' be's-- "Dancing with the Stars." The latest news is that she has been given a book deal. Since she is not known for her literary skills, who will write it? And who will read it? Scratch that last question. Given her bevy of dedicated followers, no doubt someone will.
Politics in the Wind: To Be(lieve) or not to Be(lieve)
The autumn winds have whipped up a maelstrom among politicians vying to receive their party’s presidential nomination, each spewing outrageous lies to attract attention. In Tribune reporter Rex Huppke’s words, “ Lying has become the new honesty.” Republican hopeful Donald Trump gets an Academy Award nomination for best liar. First, he lied by calling Mexican immigrants rapists, thieves, and murderers. While he never recanted the lie, he did allow that some Mexicans were good people who loved him. He repeatedly demeaned women and their place in contemporary politics. In the first debate among Republican candidates, he called Carly Fiorina, a rival candidate, ugly. “Look at that face,” he smirked. “Would you vote for that?” But in the very next debate, he said he thought she was beautiful. Then, he proclaimed how much he loved women. So which is it, Donald? He has also promised to build "things" and do "stuff" that will amaze the world. As yet, he has failed to specify what "things" and what"stuff."
Blowing in the autumn wind is presidential hopeful, Carly Fiorina. Ms. Fiorina got a seat at the big boys’ table in the last Republican debate and established herself as a viable member of the Liar’s Club by proclaiming her business acumen as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (under her, HP’s stock plunged 52 percent) and touting her acquisition of Compaq for H-P (a colossal mistake she called a marketing coup.) She saved her biggest lie for a speech in which she described a scene in a video about Planned Parenthood that purported to show medical professionals keeping a fully formed fetus alive in order to harvest its brain. There is no such footage. Even when confronted by fact checkers that the video never existed, Fiorina refused to back down, swearing she had seen the footage and that not only were the fact checkers wrong, they were trying to attack the authenticity of the video. The fact checkers were not wrong. The videotape does not exist. But that doesn’t stop Fiorina’s crusade to defund Planned Parenthood. She’s riding that pony as long as she can stretch out her 15 minutes.
I’m not a scientist, but…
Swirling among the detritus of the autumn winds is Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican presidential candidate who has spent most of his distinguished professional career as a man of science, but who has now resorted to making preposterous statements in order to appeal to the far right faction of the party. He has denied climate change, saying “I know there are a lot of people who cite ‘overwhelming science,’ but then when you ask them to show the overwhelming science, they never can show it. There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused. There’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on." After the Oregon shooting, he said that the victims should not have stood by and allowed themselves to be shot. They should have rushed headlong into the shooter and stopped the killing. He suggested that if Holocaust victims had possessed guns, they could have prevented the genocide. Oh yes, Hitler certainly would have allowed Jews to purchase weapons. He compared the Affordable Care Act to slavery, called President Obama a psychopath, and spoke of a nonexistent pact among said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Time for autumn winds to do their stuff.
Ghost, and Ghouls, and the Cubs
On October 31, the winds will again blow in the lost world of Weissadoon.
Once a year. Weissadoon appears out of the autumn haze, and Old Town neighbors, transformed into ghouls and goblins, walk through the gate on Menomonee into a fantasy world. Steve and company greet us, ply us with magic potions, and allow us to revel far into the night--until the winds blow us back into the mists from which we came.
October winds blew in the resurgence of the Chicago Cubs who, led by a group of young phenoms, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a one-off that sent them to the divisional finals against the St. Louis Cardinals. They became a viable contender to go to the World Series. Sadly, the New York Mets prevented that meeting. But, as my friend, and Number One Cubs fan, Phil Grinstead said, “Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it won’t.” Maybe next year, Phil.
This time we almost made the pieces fit, didn't we?
This time we almost made some sense of it, didn't we?...
And this time we almost made that long, hard climb.
Didn't we almost make it this time.
Soon, the autumn winds will bow to the onslaught of winter, and who knows what the snowstorms will blow in—or out.
Filed under: Living in Interesting Times