Weary Pilgrim - Indian Winter
I keep putting my turtlenecks into a storage closet for the summer, only to trudge back in there and haul one out every week or two. Why can’t climate change mean 70 degrees and sunny all the time? In the hopes of banishing this nasty, brutish and long streak of gray, windy, and dreary drizzle, let’s all hold a pity party for ourselves. We’ll get all our really bad feelings out and hold them up for all the world to see, and then we can put them away for what may turn out to be the best summer of our lives. See, I feel better already.
First, let’s talk about the Russki’s. A friend sent me the following joke: Vladimir Putin is pacing around the Kremlin at 3am one night when the ghost of Stalin appears to him. Stalin says to Putin "What's bothering you?' Putin answers 'I want to be remembered as a giant in Russian history like you are, but I don't know what to do.' Stalin laughs and says 'That's easy. First, you have to paint the Kremlin blue. Then you have to poison everybody close to you, including your wife and children.' Putin ponders this for a long moment, then says 'Why blue?’ To understand Putin further, I think you need to rewind the clock a bit and recall the bizarre episode of sport’s skullduggery when Robert Kraft punked out the entire city of Hartford, Connecticut. In 1999 Kraft was looking for a new stadium deal. Massachusetts was playing hard-to-get, so Kraft signed an agreement with the city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut to move the Patriots there. The deal included a 100 million dollar stadium for Kraft. Free. Connecticut went nuts - finally a pro sports team of their own. The powers-that-used-to-be in Massachusetts went through a change of heart - they offered the Pats a 72 million dollar advance allied with the balance of financing necessary to build what became known as Gilette Stadium - the Krafts availed themselves of a last-minute ‘out’ clause with Hartford, received a new stadium in Foxboro that was essentially free, and established themselves as premier players in the world of ‘gotcha’ and ‘last man standing and not in prison wins’ acceptable business practices. So fast forward to 2005. Robert Kraft is visiting Putin in Russia. Putin professes to admire Kraft’s Super Bowl ring, Kraft lets him put it on, and Putin turns around and walks out. With the ring. Which he kept. Kraft claims the White House later urged him to tell everyone the ring was actually a gift, this to avoid embarrassment. Embarrassment to whom is a subject much debated. Not by me. Putin made Kraft his punk. I bet he takes that ring out every night, and does a Golum on it. ‘Precious’ indeed. If Kraft can make a fool of an entire state, Putin is using Kraft for a tackling dummy. Once the game starts, he intends to make fools of us all. How? We are sick of sending our young men and women off to fight ill-considered battles in dreary corners of the world. For about thirty seconds of chuckles when Saddam Hussein fell, we have been visited with many, many years of misery trying to figure out how to deal with the governments and peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan. This week’s news about the sufferings of our Veterans reminds us that the cost of these wars is never-ending. And I’m not even talking about the dollars cost. Which our grandchildren really don’t want to pay. Putin knows this. He knows that we just don’t want to send our boys and girls there to defend a government we haven’t given three figs about for the last thirty years. And I’ll ask you again - who can remember what the hell NATO even stands for? There is an even more uncomfortable reason we would like to sweep this whole Ukraine thing under the rug. The Baby-boomers have been waiting to retire for a while now - the crash of ’08 put a lot of things off. If we think the market might tank because of a war in Ukraine, how brave are we going to be in standing up to a man who prides himself on being a thief who insists on posing with his shirt off? We might despise him, but does that mean we have to throw our next generation into harm’s way just to defend a country most of us know little about? At this point most of us are not too thrilled about letting this weasel have his way, but that’s what we are doing. Simply put, we have too many jerks to get this bent out of shape about any one. So far. In other news, Barbara Walters is retiring. Again. I find this remarkable because, by a curious twist of fate, I performed on the Today Show for Barbara Walters’ last appearance on that show, which was in fact referred to as her retirement show. In 1976. That would be 38 years ago. (It was the Bicentennial Year, they were shooting on the Boston Common, and Jeanie Stahl and I got the call to show up and add a little local flavor - we basically just stood there and sang a lot ). I mention this because I kept thinking she HAD retired, and this woman on the air all these years was, like, her daughter. Or Grand-daughter. I think maybe at some point the producers of the networks called the spaceship and said, “Keep Barbara. This clone is getting better ratings than she ever had - and her batteries are AMAZING. “ I just hope Putin doesn’t get the name of her plastic surgeon. I’m looking for this guy to self-destruct in a few years, and if she starts sharing her secrets with him, he’ll be in re-runs forever. I would also like to point out that, when I started writing this, it was windy, gray, and about 40 outside. As of this paragraph, it’s 75 and sunny, and yes, it’s the same day I started. I wish to take full credit for this. You can thank me later.