Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Audiobook Recommendation

March 28, 2020
   Want something educational and entertaining to do while you are social distancing at home due to the coronavirus pandemic? Order the just released audiobook Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living, a book of mine for adults, published a couple of years ago in hard copy, that is full of fanciful characters who use a special critical thinking approach to successfully battle personal problems, mishaps, and mayhem. It’s the perfect listen for times like these.
You can get the audiobook at:
https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Fairy-Tales-Everyday-Living/dp/B086GLVJG5/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

A Virus Walks into a Bar

March 25, 2020

This piece was submitted to a Dramatists Guild micro-play contest.

A Virus Walks into a Bar

By Martin H. Levinson

Setting: A bar with two actors seated at least six feet apart from each other

A Coronavirus

Wherever I go people don’t want to get within six feet of me and they say all sorts of nasty things that hurt my feelings. It makes me sick.

A Corona Drinker

But you’re making people sick, that’s why they’re dissing you.

Coronavirus

They should be dissing themselves. I wasn’t the one who created a wild animal market in China that led to a pandemic.

Corona Drinker

That’s true, but did you have to latch on to people in such a virulent way? Couldn’t you have simply stayed in China?

Coronavirus

I could have and I would have if I hadn’t been transported out. I didn’t want to cause a contagion. You guys caused it by gallivanting all around the world.

Corona Drinker

So you think germs don’t kill people, people kill people?

Coronavirus

I didn’t deny reality and provide inadequate testing to people. Your national leaders did that.

Corona Drinker

Interesting take. We have met the enemy, and they are us.

 

 

 

Taking a Shot at Loyalty

November 25, 2019

This piece was published in The Satirist on November 18, 2019

Taking a Shot at Loyalty

By Martin H. Levinson

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any voters. While that statement may not have been completely accurate—e.g., if the person Trump shot was one of his followers and that person died he would not be able to vote for Trump—the declaration sounds basically right to me, as the president’s supporters just love the Donald. (The smart money says that love will be manifested next year when the US Senate acquits the president of impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives.) Anyway, what’s the big deal if a president shoots someone on Fifth Avenue?

Fifth Avenue is a very busy thoroughfare that is typically packed with well-heeled people who, rather than pay their fair share of taxes to keep our country going, spend their time dashing in and out of trendy stores buying expensive things they don’t need. You’d think Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders aficionados wouldn’t mind if a few of those one-percenters were knocked off by a righteous American president. And most New Yorkers know it’s extremely difficult to walk up and down Fifth Avenue with all the folks on the sidewalk there. If the president shot one or two of them it would probably discourage pedestrian traffic on Fifth Avenue, which would make it easier for individuals who don’t scare all that easy to perambulate along Fifth.

If the president shoots someone on Fifth Avenue, should he be prosecuted for it? I certainly don’t think so and neither does William Consovoy, a Trump attorney, who argued in federal court that a president should not have to defend himself before local authorities for any crimes he commits while in office. Hey, if local authorities were allowed to prosecute a sitting president then district attorneys in places where a president was unpopular might have him arraigned for all kinds of stupid stuff like jaywalking, littering, or creating a public nuisance for asking his supporters to rough up hecklers during campaign speeches. Do we really want a president to have to sit behind bars for things like crossing against the light, tossing a piece of paper on the floor, or requesting that his followers beat the crap out of those who should know better than to express their opinions when no one wants to hear them?

Some people say the president shouldn’t be above the law and if he commits a crime he should be punished for it. These people are clearly unbalanced. If everyone who committed a crime was prosecuted for their offenses more than half the folks in this nation would be rotting in a jail cell. And it’s a recognized norm in American society that people with money and influence get special treatment from the criminal justice system. The law may be blind but judges tend to be clear-eyed about what they have to do to remain on the bench.

But guess what, the whole idea of holding Trump accountable if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue has become moot, as Trump has recently changed his primary residence to Florida. This means if Trump is thinking of shooting someone it will most likely be done in the Sunshine State, where people shoot people all the time and no one cares about it. “Stand your ground” laws actually encourage such behavior.

If the president wants to show the world how loyal his supporters are, rather than saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, he should say he could do the same if he came out for gun control. I don’t think his think his base, who worship the ground Trump’s bone spurs walk on, would desert him if he did that. They’ve got lots of guns already to make liberal heads explode and those without guns can rely on FOX-TV to do the job. Alternatively, he could say that he could sell the country to Russia, tell Southern lawmakers not to restrict black voting rights, argue against the death penalty, and say education is a good thing, and he still wouldn’t lose any voters. Well, maybe not the last one.

Welcome to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library

November 25, 2019

This piece was published in The Satirist on October 5, 2019

Welcome to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library 

By Martin H. Levinson

(The year is 2021, or if the Democrats go down to defeat in the 2020 presidential election, 2025.)

Welcome to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library located in the lobby of Trump Tower Moscow right next to Comrade Mitch McConnell’s Vodka Bar. To make your visit more pleasant and productive, the following is a brief description of some of the rooms and attractions inside the building, as well as information on how to obtain a substantial discount on Mar-a-Lago membership.

The Pantheon of Outstanding Political Appointees: This room contains portraits of Michael Flynn, Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, Jeff Sessions, Anthony Scaramucci, Ryan Zinke, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer and other notable Trump Administration officials who were either indicted or forced to leave their jobs. Next to their visages are short accounts of the questionable behavior they engaged in while working for the government as well as ballots where you can rate each individual on a head explosion scale that goes from unbelievably great to amazingly, astoundingly, mind-bogglingly great. Photos may not be taken in this room but after viewing the portraits you may take antidepressant medication if you have it with you.

The Hall of Tweets: This area contains prominent tweets issued by DJT, many of them when he was in the Oval or on an oval. Such tweets include Trump telling Kim Jong-un that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim’s, Trump’s tweet commenting on the 2018 Congressional midterm elections, which resulted in a 40 seat pickup for the democrats, that reads, “Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night,” and the famous “covfefe” tweet that baffled the entire internet and pretty much every human being on the planet.

The Deal Killing Room: This part of the library contains descriptions of deals the president killed (e.g., the Iran deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Change Accord) or modified (e.g., renaming NAFTA as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) to tarnish President Obama’s legacy. The room specially features a video collage showing the president’s Herculean efforts over many months imploring Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act and the refusal of the Supreme Court to be an accessory to that murder.

The Walls-R-Us Annex: You will need a passport or a valid American visa to enter this wing, which contains photographs of walls from all over the world whose purpose is or was to keep others out. These photos include shots of the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, the Wall on the West Bank in Israel, and the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. Pink Floyd’s 1979 iconic song The Wall, which has a line in it that says, “We don’t need no education,” provides background music for this exhibit, which Mexico was asked to pay for. They declined that request but happily the president’s base crowdsourced the expense.

            The Trump Tower Escalator: Take a ride on this replica of the Trump Tower escalator, which brings to mind the conveyance that Donald Trump descended on in 2016 before walking on to a podium and announcing his presidential candidacy. On the way down you will see footage from the Access Hollywood tape where DJT talks about grabbing women by the pussy, campaign rallies with crowds yelling “Lock Her Up,” and shocked and frightened expressions from Hillary Clinton supporters and the majority of the American public as well as people in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, North America, the Arctic, and the Antarctic who watched in horror and utter amazement as the presidential election results rolled in on the night of November 8. 2016.

The Putin Portico: This ruby-red entryway features fifty Fabergè eggs detailed with enameled portraits of Donald Trump’s family and an eight thousand square-foot mural showing Russian hackers at work on their computers. The portico, designed by Robert Mueller, had no collusion in its construction and Attorney General William Barr has also claimed there was no obstruction. Restrooms are located immediately to the right of the portico, next to the statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and some very fine white nationalists who demonstrated in Charlottesville in 2017.

The Mar-a-Lago Special Membership Deal Arcade and Gift Shop: Donald Trump used Mar-a-Lago as the “Southern White House” and now that he’s left office he has arranged for visitors to the Trump Presidential Library to receive a substantial discount on membership there. Today, and today only, if you present your admission ticket to any of the very handsome men or truly gorgeous women sitting at the mahogany-finished pine desks that line this faux gold-leafed arcade you will receive a quarter-percent discount off the ten million dollar annual Mar-a-Lago membership fee and a chance to play golf with former president Trump if you enter your name in a special drawing that is held each week on Fox & Friends (Russian edition). Please note, if you are chosen to play golf with Mr. Trump, he keeps score and guests buy lunch.

If you’re not in the market for a Mar-a-Lago membership you may want to spend your extra rubles at the gift shop on a facsimile of the personal, gold-plated toilet Donald Trump uses when he spends time in his condominium on the 819th floor of this building. The gift shop also sells Ivanka Trump’s specially formulated beluga caviar skin cream (a distinct beauty product that can be applied to the skin or eaten), Republican Senator nesting dolls (each one smaller than the other), and Momma Putin’s frieze-dried borscht. As you exit the gift shop, don’t forget to give the Monument to the Unknown Pussy a rub for good luck.

 

That Dick . . . Cheney

December 27, 2018

My poem below, “That Dick . . .  Cheney,” was inspired by the just released movie Vice.

 

During the nineteen-sixties

he supported the Vietnam War.

And to show his support and backing,

five draft deferments he applied for.

 

When asked about those deferments

in nineteen eighty-nine.

He said he would have liked to serve

but was busy at the time.

 

During the nineteen-eighties, as a

Wyoming Congressional fella, he voted

no to Head Start, a holiday for Doctor King,

and a decree to free Nelson Mandela.

 

Though he spoke like a hawk when he

served Papa Bush as Secretary of Defense,

he cut military budgets and downsized our forces,

which when Clinton did it got him incensed.

 

After leaving Defense he opted for wealth

becoming Halliburton’s CEO.

And with his Pentagon old-boy connections

he set the firm’s stock all aglow.

 

But making money was not enough

for a man who relished power.

He was elected to be vice president

and our nation would rue the hour.

 

Following 9/11 he swore

Al-Qaeda was linked to Iraq.

He affirmed that conviction with vigor

though intelligence said unsure fact.

 

He was a fast and firm supporter

of fighting in Mesopotamia.

And a staunch defender of torture

that became somewhat of a mania.

 

While hunting quail in Texas

he shot a friend of his in the face.

He reported the incident the next day

so his alcohol levels couldn’t be traced.

 

In 2012 he published a memoir

with the catchy title My Time.

It was panned by numerous critics

who said it didn’t contain Cheney’s crimes.

 

In screwing the public and screwing the state

the man has been clever and quick.

In his memoir he screwed with his legacy,

which is what you’d expect from a dick.

 

New Book: Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living

November 15, 2018

I just published my latest book Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living: Revised Second Edition, which shows how one’s life can be improved through the use of general semantics. The book can be purchased at: https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Fairy-Tales-Everyday-Living-ebook/dp/B07J3NQR1N

Below is an Amazon review of it.

This book offers practical advice on topics such as sound thinking, overcoming indecisiveness, stress reduction, emotional self-management, and getting along better with others. The stories are educational and informative and the illustrations that accompany them are a lot of fun. Highly recommended!

If

August 28, 2018

A poem by me

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

 

If Osama Bin Laden had just written poems

he would not have been killed in his Abbottabad home.

 

If Michael Flynn’s ambition was penning great odes

then prison would not be his future abode.

 

If Donald J Trump had been ballad-obsessed

he would not have had time to lie and oppress.

 

If George W. Bush had lived for villanelles

Our nation’s foreign policy might not have gone to hell.

 

If Roy Moore’s first love was scripting sestinas

he might have avoided the scandal arena.

 

If Vladimir Putin had focused on rhymes

he would have been too busy to instigate crimes.

 

The lesson for all is plain to see

to stay out of trouble write poetry.

 

 

Call for Papers

April 9, 2018

Language and Meaning in the 21st Century

Sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics

Co-Sponsored by the

New York Society for General Semantics

Media Ecology Association

October 26-28, 2018

Princeton Club

15 West 43rd Street

New York, New York

Featuring the 66th Annual

Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture

to be delivered by

Diane Ackerman

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us

Send papers, proposals, and inquiries by September 15, 2018 to

mandklevin@aol.com

or contact

Martin H. Levinson, President of the Institute of General Semantics

c/o Institute of General Semantics, 72-11 Austin Street #233

Forest Hills, New York 11375

212.729.7973 (voice) / 718.793.2527 (fax)

 

The Business of Love

March 30, 2018

By Martin H. Levinson

 

My love for you is like an

IPO yearning to gain traction,

a center of excellence,

an industry model hoping

to make inroads against

your pushback, your reluctance

to roll out your affections and

operationalize a paradigm shift

in your core-caring competencies

to allow a white knight to bring

to the table seamless adoration

and customer service dedication

to disambiguate your every desire,

set the night on fire, and make the

best damn omelet you’ve ever tasted

when we ramp up in the morning.

 

A 21st Century Cri de Coeur

March 22, 2018

By Martin H. Levinson

 

I thought forever my existence

would be the same / that I was

a player in a predictable game /

but some things have happened

that’s given me pause / Margie has

left me for a guy named Claude /

my work at the factory’s gone up in

smoke / automation has made my

job a joke / my landlord said that

he wants me out / the building’s

gone co-op / what’s that all about? /

It seems you can’t count on things

to stay the course / life’s not like

still water / but a bucking horse.