There it is: Q2 GDP growth at 3.7%, reports the Commerce Department. That's a smackdown on the estimated 2.3% growth. Here is the deconstruction in The Wall Street Journal.
America is great. Obviously.
We have lots to feel good about ourselves. A Baby Boomer who won't allow any clichés in what I ghostwrite for clients, I am tempted to compulsively mouth 'em. Yeah, Two Chickens In Every Pot, Let The Good Times Roll, Happy Days Are Here Again.
The implications for this amazing growth are, well, huge.
At the top of the list is if the momentum in the Donald Trump Campaign will hold up?. Its meme is making America great again. But that's already been achieved. I can already hear the hissing sound from a deflating hot air balloon.
Shakespeare (maybe a humanities degree is worth something) hammered in his dramas that the crowd is fickle. Loyalists can quickly turn into a mob, both one at a time (et tu, Brutus) or collectively. The Trump supporters could migrate to those with more public policy experience. Me? The jury is still out on that one.
Another implication is that we consumers might spend more. The Halloween pop-up stores are already in the mall. That holiday could become the new Black Friday for retailers. Yes, I will bring top-shelf booze and food to the parties my pet companion is invited to. He's the social one in the family.
In addition, we ghostwriters/scriptwriters can cherry pick our clients, again. That means no more just-checking-out UpWork for whatever. LOL.
On UpWork, I bid $750 for researching and writing a complex long-form essay. The prospect offered me $45.00. Down with UpWork and similar global platforms which invite employers and clients who don't respect writers.
And, can we begin, just begin, considering buying a getaway? When the good times were previously rolling, I had purchased a cottage in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, 5 blocks from the ocean.
As the good times continued, I sold it for triple what I paid. Maybe if I try that again, here in the Southwest, I will again generate a windfall. It's fun to play around with money again, at least in our heads.
At Roanoke affiliate WDBJ, employees Alison Parker, Adam Ward and Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams are dead. Parker's and Ward's murders happened live on-air. Williams, the suspect, later has committed suicide. Here is coverage from USA Today.
We might label this tragedy yet another play-out of the Theatre of Rage and Resentment. The classic staging had been by James Holmes in a movie house. There is drama. There is an audience (pun intended.) There are "reviews" of the act by the media. There is fame. Yes, not only someone but a lot of people know your name.
In our now media-centric society this development is no surprise. The tormented mind has many templates how to orchestrate this drama. If media stopped the non-stop coverage, this particular kind of violence might stop.
The Theatre of Rage and Resentment used to happen in private. Members of the Silent and Baby Boomer generations recall the Christmases when the turkey was thrown against the dining room wall. That kind of trauma rarely ended in death. But it sure generated a lot of business for psychotherapists.
To this day, I lay very low on Christmas. I frame that as Turkey Phobia. For the 2014 holidays, my new neighbors in the Southwest and a group from church invited me to Christmas dinner. Instead the rescue dog and I hopped into the car and drove to the Pacific Ocean.
Donald Trump seems to have a good sense of what the media game. If elected president he can start to stop how media pre-sell the tickets to performances for the Theatre of Rage and Resentment.
Spinning in high-profile disasters is no longer acceptable. As public relations experts note in the situation of illegal lion-killer Walter Palmer, a "human" response is demanded.
His best bet probably is to make what is called a "living amend." That is, act in a way to showcase that he has realized the severity of the wrong and done something concrete to correct it. An example might be to fund a initiative to protect wildlife. The expense of doing that should strain his budget.
Celebrities and corporations must embrace the same ethos of the living amend. The spun mea culpa doesn't cut it. It's mere massaged rhetoric, not a human response.
If Bill Cosby is convicted in a court of law of sexual assault we demand a living amend. Maybe that could be to fund a foundation which helps victims of such misconduct heal.
The same goes for corporations. The routine apology and paying a fine aren't enough. That seems exactly why in the prosecution in the case of Stewart Parnell, former head of the Peanut Corporation of America, is demand a "pound of flesh" - that is a life sentence. It was his deliberate negligence in food safety procedures which resulted in deaths and injuries.
That's what a veterinarian in Seymour, Connecticut said to me. That was immediately following the "sudden death" of my animal companion Molly Mittens.
He had called me over from the examining table to show me a list of medications we could try. Therefore, I had taken my hand from her furry little body and stepped 3.5 feet away. She probably saw that as her one and only opportunity to die.
The vet later explained that there had been hardly a heartbeat when we had entered his examining room. For about 18 months she, like most small aging dogs, had struggled with congestive heart failure.
As Melissa Dahl writes in New York Magazine, I was among the pet parents who exploited medical science to prolong our pet children's lives. Yet, all the while, they were probably trying to figure out a way to signal us with love that they needed to hit the road, jack.
I had spend thousands of dollars not allowing feline Sarah and canine Nicole to pass on. Likely the most unselfish acts I ever perform was going to those 24-hour emergency clinics during the night and letting them pass over. I got it: They shouldn't have to spend another day not capable of enjoying their lives.
Why do we hang on? For me it was knowing how awful the pet grief would be. It's irrelevant that there are other four-footers at home. The first holiday season after Molly Mittens passed on, I had to contact a pet medium. It was worth every penny. It wasn't until 7 years later that my friends could persuade me to adopt a rescue dog.
In Tucson, Arizona, I have joined a church which believes that our animal companions welcome us to the afterlife. For me, that possibility is far more attractive than having a human relative manage the transition. Again, I can feel whole.
The survivalists among us didn't filter the tragedy in Charleston through categories such as racism or gun control.
Instead, so many of us pulled down the drawbridge and filled the moat with alligators. Access to us and those we loved, including our dogs and cats, would be very limited. At any time, for no reason or some compelling reason, a Dylann Roof could murder us.
What Americans are known for - friendliness - could screech to a halt. Instead we could become as aloof as the stereotype of the villager in France or the elite on the upper east side of Manhattan.
Tonight, in my support group someone asked us for a ride. Not one of us stirred. "Too many nuts around," I thought to myself.
"There was a time when I was "a few sandwiches short for the picnic.'"
That's how the speaker at a support group described his past history of mental illness. Of course, the audience sprung to attention. The shift in mood was palpable.
What we scriptwriters have to do is coach clients to veer away from boring phrasing. There is nothing to be gained and an audience to lose by sticking with sanitized clichés for describing what's unpleasant in human existence.
At an open 12-step speaker meeting, the woman giving her story avoided platitudes. She could have referred to the group as a "fellowship" or "community." Instead she provided an example, with colorful language.
"It was the first Christmas season after my best buddy, Snowball the cat, had gone to that Great Fancy Feast in the sky. I kept looking at the package store across the alley and at the phone. Then in the alley was a cloud of dust. In rode the posse. There were Sybil, my sponsor, Karen, the counselor from rehab, my daughter, Nell, and a furry entity in a carrier. I named the furry guy ..."
That image of a posse is now that speaker's signature.
Where does color in language come from? From listening to ordinary people talking. As my friends struggled carting my stuff into my first apartment in the Southwest, a neighbor shook her head, observing, "Funerals and moving. Worst things in life." That lightened everything.
Over-reach, along with over-exposure. The Pope Francis brand has been taking more and more dings lately.
Conservatives who are Roman Catholics, for example, have been becoming quite irritated at his stances about issues ranging from climate change to the evils of traditional capitalism.
Add to that powerful and influential group we pet parents. The Pope has castigated us for spending too much money and lavishing too much affection on our four-footed children. How dare he.
A meme which has been emerging for a while among us progressives is that human beings tend to be over-valued and animals under-valued. Would Pope Francis be open enough to even consider that? If not, he could go down in history as out-of-touch.
The Tucson Mall in Arizona is one of those vestiges of Norman Rockwell times. Everyone is friendly. Prices are affordable. And most of the stores there welcome our four-footed children. Last Christmas I purchased all my gift cards there.
Next holiday season it will be different. One store my dog, Lily of the Valley, and myself won't be purchasing at is World Market. A shocker: Yesterday, the clerk at check-out demanded ID with my credit card. That has never occurred in neighboring stores.
"It's in the car," I told the clerk. I still had to trot out in the sun and get it.
In addition, I asked an employee to help select for me a wine in a certain price range. The price he quoted was several dollars less than what was scanned from the barcode. Another turnoff. But I was in a rush. I didn't have time to return to the aisles to begin from scratch.
I asked the name of the manager. His name, I was told, is Richard. Well, Richard, I invite you to review your store policies and the knowledge employees have about prices. Lily and I are finished with World Market.
The job offer was enticing. But, before I could take on the long hours and travel I searched for the right dog nanny for rescue canine, Lily of the Valley. Once I found her, and it was right in my residential complex, I gave her a sign-on bonus and paid the first month on its first day.
I needed to know Lily, who like so many rescues had issues, would continue to thrive. In the 18 months we had been together, he had stopped biting, wetting the couch, pooping behind it, and going on hunger strikes. Otherwise, I couldn't focus on work and be angst-free during the related socializing.
Well, maybe it was a pet parent's prayer or nightmare. This Sunday, a day off, Lily of the Valley indicated he missed his nanny. He seems to prefer the action there versus what my lifestyle has to offer. Of course, I found an excuse to swing by her fun-place.
This Christmas, the dog nanny will vacation with us.
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