Wherein My Personal Blogosphere Expands Via a Fun Exchange With a Super New Acquaintance

I’ve often said that I’m one happy blogger: I love to write and to research new topics; I’m grateful for your feedback; and—this was one aspect of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but is becoming one of the most valuable—I feel personally enriched by meeting so many extraordinary, talented people from all over the world.

The most recent is Judy Dykstra-Brown, a poet, writer, artist, and lecturer who blogs at Life Lessons. She’s a prolific blogger, posting something—sometimes several things—every day. That energy alone boggles my once-or-at-most-twice-weekly blogger mind!

My virtual meeting with Judy occurred in a manner that frequently happens among bloggers. As about 30% of my subscribers aren’t bloggers, I hope you WP folks will bear with me while I explain this process—very briefly.

Judy clicked on “like” concerning a comment I’d made on someone else’s blog. That triggered a WP email informing me of her action and citing some of her posts that I might find of interest. Intrigued, I visited her site. 

It’s a treasure trove, as you can imagine from the versatility I note above. I immediately knew I wanted to see more, so I clicked on “follow” and became one of her more than 5000 subscribers.

I was drawn to a funny little poem she’d written, which—as is often the case—fueled my own creativity. I responded in verse, and Judy then began to follow me. She also graciously reblogged one of my posts, a poem I’d titled “Chaos in America…BUT…We Can End It!” 

(An aside: The poem was written as a near-acrostic, in which the first letter of each line, viewed vertically, clearly spelled out the title. However, that little attempt at cleverness required indenting parts of the longer lines—formatting that apparently became lost when I had system problems and my WP advisors told me I needed a new menu. I didn’t realize the impact of the change until I saw the post again, lines now awry, with Judy’s reblog. The fix involves html, which is not my native language…so it may not happen soon. If you choose to read the poem, please note the bolded first letters.) 

Anyway, we had such fun with our first meeting that I thought I’d share with you Judy’s poem, my verse response, and our subsequent exchange.

Judy’s poem:

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Image courtesy of flickr.com

Piscine Phobia

I don’t eat salmon, don’t eat flounder.
I prefer my protein rounder—
chicken, roasts or food like that.
Fish is too fishy and too flat.

Tuna mixed with soup and noodle
I despise kit and caboodle!
Nothing could persuade me that
I should eat food fit for a cat.

I won’t eat food grown in a swamp,
so crabs and clams I never chomp.
No protein caught by motor boat
will ever pass my teeth and throat.

When dinner parties serve up chowder
I’m likely to just take a powder.
I simply can’t take the suspense
of what fish lurks in soup so dense.

So if you want to plan a treat
that I will find the nerve to eat,
once again, I must repeat,
forget the lobster. Give me meat!

And my comment:

“Give me meat,” the woman pleads,
But I must turn aside:
A bloody steak, a fatty slab
Will make my gorge uprise.

“No mammals” is my credo;
I find it tough enough
To eat a little Nemo
From seas serene or rough.

I used to love my bacon,
But now a baby pig
Reminds me I’m more comfortable
Just chewing on a fig.

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Image courtesy of needpix.com.

Judy’s response:

Touche!!! Ha. It takes all kinds of us in this world, right?

And mine:

It does indeed. And if we could all accept and embrace our differences with good humor, what a lovely world it could be!

————————

When I asked Judy if she was OK with my printing the above on my blog, she said, “Of course, you are most welcome to…It was a fun interchange. I predict future ones as well.”

I’ve written about inspirational people. After reading Judy’s bio. on her blog and information about the books she’s written, I’ve concluded that she’s clearly one of them. 

So with regard to future fun interchanges, the pleasure will certainly be mine!

Annie

Is There Anything Funny About the Coronavirus Pandemic?

How about this?

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I understand this cartoon appeared on FaceBook. If anyone knows the originator, I would love to give him/her credit.

I dedicate this post to my late friend Peter, who said–under the worst possible circumstances for him–

“Remember to laugh!”

Annie

UPDATE: I’m pretty sure we’ve located the creator. Thanks to a tip from my ace researcher friend Fran Kaufman, who also sent me the cartoon, I journeyed from a Twitter thread to FaceBook, eventually finding a message from a woman named Susan Madsen stating the following:

“MY SISTER ALICE MADSEN drew this. It’s HER Original work!”

So thank you, Fran, and Brava, Alice Madsen! Your work brought a whimsical touch of humor to many people who sorely needed it.

 

Outside My Window…

Our Goldfinches

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Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

A portent of spring,
Still garbed in winter’s drab gray
They crowd the feeder—
Six at a time, reserving each perch.

Not vertically challenged,
They cling firmly by strong claws
On the feeder specially designed
For their idiosyncratic lifestyle

Hanging there, heads downward,
They sate themselves while
Performing an avian gymnast’s feat.

And then they’re gone
Back to the bushes
Back to anonymity
Their dining interrupted by forces
Invisible to us.

We can nourish them,
We can admire them,
But we cannot keep them safe.
For that, they rely on their instincts…
And on each other.

 

Our Squirrels

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Image courtesy of flickr.com

What do you do with half an egg?
Unable to digest the yolk
I place it, boiled, on the window sill.

One squirrel, small and thin,
Has caught our eye
He races to it,
Beating out a larger interloper.

Then, quite full of egg and self
He chases the interloper to the yard,
Where he boasts his conquest
By mounting her,
Oblivious to the male cliche
Evoked by his ardor.

Continue reading “Outside My Window…”

A Substitute Rant–

The WordPress Happiness Engineers are cheery;
They respond as best they can.

But a SNAFU is making me weary;
What you’re reading is not what I’d planned…

The stats say Saturday, 11 AM
Is when most of you visit my site;

So I worked my little tail off, man oh man
And completed my post last night.

But the morning brought a fearsome view:
The text and images were gone–

First from computer they said adieu,
Then vanished from my phone.

The Happiness Engineers are on my case;
I should hear in the days ahead.

So please keep an eye out as they retrace
A post that I hope ain’t dead.

The title from the original piece
Is all that remains from it now.

A part of it applies to this ditty, at least:
Am I on a rant? And how!

Annie

PS: As the saying goes: “Watch this space!”…please.

 

And Now a Word From Our…

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Courtesy of BlueDiamondGallery.com

Sponsor? I have no sponsor, and my accountant says that’s a problem because it also means I have no blogging income. Thus, after a year of blogging and accurately filling out the appropriate Schedule C form itemizing the costs I incur in this endeavor, I am in serious danger of slipping to the wrong side of the law.

According to my accountant, I will no longer be able to take those vast deductions, which could possibly reach all the way into the stratosphere of triple digits. 

I find it offensive to tell the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that I’m retired; it’s also not true. So I am seeking suggestions and guidance from my virtual friends in the blogging community who do monetize your blogs—or from anyone else with good, non-larcenous ideas. How do I make some money from this effort and allay my CPA’s concerns? 

It needn’t be a fortune, obviously. I love what I’m doing and will continue even if I don’t resolve this dilemma.

Blogging provides the ideal format for fulfilling my strong writer’s itch. As I’ve noted before, I am one happy blogger. But it would be quite nice to be able to cover my costs and then have a bit more to add to the retirement nutshell.

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I certainly do not intend to deny the IRS folks any monies due to the government. Still, my accountant is a straight arrow, a cautious soul, and she wants to make sure that if we’re audited, everything is copacetic. Apparently, she sees Annie’s Schedule C as a red flag. 

I’m not sure why she thinks the IRS would zero in on me, as they are no longer auditing billionaires—or nearly anyone else (except, of course, the President, which is the reason he can’t possibly show us his tax returns, even though the entire accounting world has said that’s a bogus excuse). Anyway, this post isn’t about income inequality, which I’ve addressed before and will again.

I find this IRS concern a bit annoying. I am a bona fide blogger with the statistics to prove it. I spend a good deal of time on my posts. I do a fair amount of research, and I like to print out articles so I can underline the points I want to include.

And the toner—wow, my printer eats through that stuff as if it were cotton candy. (Bad simile: cotton candy is definitely not something one wants anywhere near a printer!) 

And then there are the WordPress and domain fees, the fee for the relatively new special address that I use as my contact email but have been afraid to switch to elsewhere for fear of generating a techie snafu that would lose you all, and the occasional book I buy to further my research. 

Here’s where I need your help. I’ve read a number of articles about monetizing blogs, and the most prevalent way appears to be via WordPress AdWords. It seems that’s what many of the bloggers whose sites I frequent use. 

As I see it, one problem is that once you sign on with them, you are at the mercy of the bidders who buy their space.

Most of the time that wouldn’t be a problem for me; I wouldn’t mind a single discreet ad following the statement: “This post is ad-supported.” I’m not bothered by ads for Motley Fool, Wayfair, or AARP, which have all proliferated from time to time. 

But for a while, there was a gastroenterologist whose photo of a piece of intestine, cilia upright, was everywhere, and I found that picture odious.

Oops: I just got some key and slightly creepy information from a very smart techie relative who knows about such things.

Apparently, the ads you and I see are different: these ads are targeted to what the advertisers know about us.

So those of you who have never searched for anything gastro-related have probably been spared the intestinal cilia ads that inundated me for weeks.

Sometimes there are several ads breaking up the text; I would prefer that not be the case with my pearly prose.

If you use AdWords, what do you think? I’m not asking for your finances, of course–simply whether based on your experience, would you recommend this method to me?

Or do any of you use other approaches? I’ve rejected ideas that will require me to seek money from my readers; why would you want to pay for stuff you’ve been getting for free? (If I ever collect my posts into a volume or two, I may reexamine that conclusion.)

I eagerly await your responses. The end of the year approaches, as I have been procrastinating about this matter for months.

It seems appropriate (I’m not sure why) to end my request with a haiku:

Incandescent goal
Blogging fuels both head and heart
Bureaucracy bites

Annie

PLEASE NOTE: I had a tech snafu that whisked away my Comments box. It’s now back, so I hope if you’re revisiting, you’ll respond to my query–or say anything else you care to about this post. Thanks–and sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: Many thanks to those who offered suggestions. I’ve decided to keep things as they are–absorbing the costs of continuing the blogging I love, and accepting the fact that in the eyes of the IRS, I am simply “retired.” So be it.

The Drabble Liked My Dabbling!

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I am a fairly verbose writer who’s long been wedded to my nonfiction status and believed myself incapable of writing fiction.

But on just my second try, my bite-sized piece of fiction has been accepted by The Drabble, a blog featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of 100 words or fewer. That’s quite nice, so I’d like to tell you about it.

The story began a few months ago, when I’d been blogging for just about a year. Suddenly, a strange black ink blot sort of thing appeared in my email. Some of you may recognize it, as it inspired my first Drabble effort, titled “What Is…?,” published here on July 1.

That ink blot, which I find ominous, is The Drabble avatar. They’re kinda mysterious there, so I’m not sure who’s behind The Drabble. Whoever he/she/they are (I’ll go with “they”), they had “liked” two of my lengthy nonfiction pieces.

I looked them up, and I then learned from other sources about the fascinating literary history of the drabble (going back to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and including a foray by Monty Python, as I explained here, in the Note beneath “What Is…?”). So I decided to try. 

I sent “What Is…?” to The Drabble and, true to their word, they responded within a month. That one didn’t work for them, but they encouraged me to try again. 

This effort occurred just as I was becoming aware (in a “Duh!” moment) that I was surrounded by short fiction. Indeed, “flash fiction”—brief little stories—are all the rage in the blogosphere.

I’ve since also become acquainted with fictional “prompts” that offer writers the challenge of weaving tales around individual words, photos, or maxims, with story limits set at 25 words, 37 words, and the like.

I’ve never tried one, but people seem to enjoy composing them. Turns out there are oodles of writers conjuring lots and lots of teensy tales—many of them very good.

And here I must mention Tetiana and Tony, who blog together as “Unbolt Me” and surely take the virtual prize: they often write stories that are six words long. As I suggested to them in a comment, six-word stories seem to me like hijacked haiku and come dangerously close to being a blank page. Yet they do it–provocatively!

I now see that there are even prompts for six-worders,  and the prolific Fandango, who’s full of fun and ingenuity, frequently responds to those. There are undoubtedly many others dabbling diminutively whose talents I haven’t yet had the pleasure to discover.

But I digress. I published my second short fictional post on my blog in August and called it “The Limitation of Limits.” It is actually a satire on the genre.

Fortunately, The Drabble folks have a sense of humor because they informed me a few days ago that they’d accepted it for publication, and it would appear that very afternoon. 

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Again true to their word, it did appear. For one day “The Limitation of Limits” was the most prominent Drabble on their post.

Each day, a newly featured Drabble assumes that premium real estate. So if you check out my Drabble there, you now have to look under “Older Posts.” (It’s dated October 31, 2019.) And if you like it, please feel free to click Like—and comment if you so choose. Here’s the link.

The Drabble printed my original post verbatim, albeit with a different illustration from mine (above), and the descriptor I provided:

“After decades writing what others asked of me, I am thrilled to have the freedom to follow my curiosity wherever it takes me. Not incidentally, I’ve always wanted my words to change the world—preferably for the better!” – the writer

Thanks to all of you for your continuing support through thick prose, thin fiction—and a smattering of poetry. Who knows what’ll spring up here next? I certainly don’t, though I have some ideas and works in progress. Last week it was my confessions of beetlecide (concluding with my first haiku).

I try to stay true to my self-imposed mission–and hope you think I hit the mark more often than not: to encourage “Dialogue to Inform, Enlighten, and/or Amuse You and Me.” Stay tuned…

Annie

 

OMG! What Would Albert Schweitzer Have Said?

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This is not my victim.

Last night, I committed premeditated Murder One.

Specifically, it was beetlecide. Doing so was not my first preference. If a nearby window had been open, I would happily have deposited the little being where it belonged. That is my normal modus operandi.

Albert Schweitzer had an influence. Schweitzer, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life,” reportedly believed that

“The ethical person goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything that is living; he doesn’t tear leaves from trees or step on insects…”

But this particular insect was wending its way along the parameters of a plastic bag to the left of my bedroom bureau—where I keep an untidy, in fact helter-skelterly overflowing mountain of such stuff to recycle as liners in our wastebaskets.

The fact that it (the beetle) was in an area so close to my bed raised the stakes vis-a-vis its imminent fate. Bedbugs would have been terrible, but bed beetle was not, to my mind, much better.

So while the beetle clung to the edge of the plastic bag, I carried it into the bathroom, where I committed it to an untimely watery death. At least I think I did. But who knows?

Lacking an entomology background, I couldn’t do an adequate I.D. It might be (present tense) a water beetle, in which case it could be gleefully swirling in the toilet eddies, soon to reascend—and possibly head straight toward my bed. It might even, next time, be accompanied by some compadres. So many tiny legs, marching in unison…

Still, I felt hypocritical. Last week, my post quoted the great spiritual leader Ram Dass about loving those one protests against as much as one loves oneself. Perhaps the beetle was lovingly calling my attention to those dreadful plastic bags—showing me that they had no place in my home—even if reused:

“Remember the post you wrote about climate change recently, Annie? Do you realize what damage you’re doing with all that plastic?”

(Wise emissaries show up in odd forms sometimes, don’t you think?)

And what did I do? I did not return its love. I did not even think of its possible message until it was too late. Instead, I used that pernicious plastic bag to transport it to what at best was a locale it hadn’t chosen to visit at that time. 

Where was the lovingkindness that’s so central to my mindfulness experience? I take it very seriously. And yet, without a backward glance, I had flushed it down the toilet. (To my regret, the ambiguous “it” in the previous sentence is both literal and metaphorical.)

Perhaps Ram Dass will forgive me? But I don’t think Albert Schweitzer would. As to my Inner Critic, the voice in one’s head that we imperfect mindfulness meditators know we must accommodate and not fight against or dwell upon—well, let’s just say we’re negotiating.

Alas, I just looked up a photo of a water beetle. No resemblance. Hence, my act was irretrievable. So the least I can do is create a memorial.

Haiku for a Dead Beetle

Merely existing
Luminescence and strangeness
Undeserving end

Annie

Doggone It! Where’s My Doggie?

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I am severely dog-deprived. I smile at every canine within yards of me and pat any whose companion humans give me permission.

Today I accidentally happened upon a blog post someone wrote about the loss of her pup.  She included a video of him, in his prime, singing what she assured us was “Happy Birthday to You.” It made me weep.

My grandnephew and his fiancée have a dog that might well have been a disaster. Much to our dismay, they acquired him from a pet store, where he’d spent the first six months of his life in a crate.

But he is now a wonderful, lovable mush, nicely trained, and I would dognap him in a millisecond if I could get away with it. 

I’ve heard that rescued dogs are aware of their good fortune and express their gratitude with good humor and special devotion. I don’t know whether there’s science behind this claim, but I choose to believe it.

(I’ve learned, though, that there are clear exceptions. Please bear with me here.)

I do have two wonderful granddogs, as well as a lovely grandcat, but they are not within the daily/hourly stroke-and-cuddle distance necessary for my fixation.  

Are you wondering why I don’t have a dog? My husband, himself a dog aficionado, is emphatic that our fourth dog was our last. To some extent, this is a body-clock-based dispute. He is an early riser who hits the gym daily before 7 am. I am, well, not. 

He maintains that adding the walking and feeding of a dog to his morning routine simply isn’t feasible. I have promised I would arise early, care for this soon-to-be-beloved being, and go back to sleep.

Although he is not seriously hard of hearing, this affirmation has fallen on deaf ears.

In fact, his resistance is based, at least in part, on our experiences with dog #4—a caramel-colored rescue shipped up from the Carolinas that had the sweetest face and warm brown eyes.

But we ignored what we later realized was a warning sign from our first meeting with Lexi. She was fine with me, but she barked at my husband—a lot. 

The adoption folks assured us it was because of his hat. He removed it. She persisted.

Nevertheless, we were both determined to find a furry companion two years after the loss of our treasured Vic—a collie-shepherd gentle giant—also a rescue, a dog we knew at the outset was ours. Or he knew and chose us: as we walked by his wire enclosure,  he stood up on his hind legs and wrapped his arms, that is forelegs, around us, holding tight with his paws. 

In retrospect, we should have compared that scene with our introduction to Lexi. In retrospect, we should have done a lot of things differently. In retrospect, we should have said, “Sorry; this isn’t the dog for us.”

Instead, we took Lexi home, and thus began 5 months of hell and thousands of dollars spent on training—lots and lots of training, beds (she shredded them), toys (she destroyed them), the best quality food to make sure she got all her nutrients.

We tried a variety of leads and leashes to see what might gently but effectively restrain her from taking off after squirrels on the multiple daily walks we gave her to ensure she used up enough energy to settle down. 

And then there was the dog park visit when my daughter—a professional dog trainer—and her husband were in town visiting and trying to help. Free to roam off the leash, Lexi instead attacked my son-in-law’s brand-new coat, tearing a large gash that was unmendable.

She terrorized our poor cat, who’d been Vic’s best friend. (I’ve written about their relationship previously.) That meant we had to keep Lexi and the cat apart with all sorts of gates and other paraphernalia.

Oh, yes—another thing. Although her papers stated that she’d been spayed, the rescue service representative told us she couldn’t find the scar. But no worries: if Lexi were to go into heat, they would cover the costs of subsequently spaying her. So it wasn’t a complete surprise…

We then had to be on the lookout for the neighborhood rakes that were drawn to Lexi’s newly acquired aphrodisia perfume. Here, the elements were not in our favor.

Although we had a fenced-in yard, it was a rough winter, and an enormous snow pile provided just the boost Lexi needed to scale the fence. Solution: quickly surrounding the yard with a much higher fence. Ka-ching! Add that to the toll on our daughters’ inheritances.

Once Lexi’s heat period was over, the spaying occurred—followed, of course, by the large plastic cone she had to wear around her neck to prevent her from tearing the stitches. Just another source of misery for her and for us.

But the issue that makes me understand my husband’s resistance most clearly was the “game” that Lexi ultimately invented.

For several nights, as we were having dinner, she walked around the table to my husband’s chair, pushed her adorable snout through the open slats, and nipped his behind. She then slowly walk away, seemingly very pleased with herself. Our remedy was to isolate her in part of the kitchen, an act that increased her frustration.

Lexi was not without redeeming social values. She was extremely quick to learn commands (except in the presence of squirrels), and she loved scavenger hunts for treats, which she readily found wherever we hid them. 

Despite her charms, why we put up with all this for so long escapes me now. But we were dog people: we figured eventually we’d get it right. When our dog-training daughter said sympathetically, “You’ve done everything you could,” we knew what our next steps had to be. 

The rescue service found a foster home for Lexi, and we drove her there with considerable sadness. During the long drive to a rural area, I sat with her in the back seat, a bit teary as she placed her head in my lap and looked up at me with those lovely, expressive eyes.

We left her with a family that had several other dogs and children and wide open spaces where she could run around. She didn’t look back as we drove away.

We recognized, at long last, that Lexi and we were simply not a good fit. She needed a more active life and more diverse companionship than we could provide.  We hope she eventually found both in what the animal rescue community calls a “forever home.”

I have a friend with a connection to a group that places German Shepherds. These are wonderful dogs but they’ve failed guide dog training for some reason that would not prevent them from being fine pets. 

I am waiting for the right moment to broach this possible source of the dog of my dreams to my husband. Do you think he’ll bite?

Annie

Quarks ‘n’ Genes (Some Subatomic, Electronic, and Molecular Musings)

 

 

[Note: As this is Labor Day Weekend, my brain is taking a holiday from blogging, and I am reaching back into my personal archives for a poem I wrote nearly two decades ago.]

************

I’m trying to fathom this wondrous new world
Of black holes revealed and of wormholes uncurled,
Of hyperspace, cyberspace, space here and there,
Of DNA fingerprints gleaned from a hair.

The pace of discovery moves with such speed,
I’m filled with uncertainty how to proceed;
My questions hang low in the particled air:
In the tenth dimension, just what shall I wear?

If the Internet takes me to places abroad,
Can I get past Ohio on 1200 baud?
Will stop bit and bytes move me well on my way…
Or maybe a megahertz, rented by day?

If matter’s reduced to equations quite neat,
Will philosophers fold up their tents in defeat?
If life is explained by the genetic code,
Are love and free will merely bumps on the road?

I’d rather a vision with chaos and clutter,
A messier cosmos would not make me shudder,
The magic of randomness governed by chance
Leaves more room for wonder…and awe…and romance.

************
Do you find this a fun backward look—or merely dated doggerel? Actually, I think if we’ve learned anything in the past couple of decades, it’s that everything is more complicated than was initially proposed. No worries about putting philosophers out of business any time soon.

And in truth, I’m having a harder time celebrating chaos and clutter and a messier cosmos in 2019, when we seem to be surrounded by an overabundance thereof.

But perhaps (mindfully speaking), that’s even more reason for us to seek out wonder…and awe…and romance!

Enjoy the long weekend. And if you’re reading this in a non-Labor Day country, just enjoy!

Annie

23&WE: The Democrats Debate (With apologies to Chaucer for imperfectly borrowing his rhyme scheme)

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From The New York Times:

“Two nights, four hours, so, so many candidates: the first Democratic presidential debates will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. A former vice president on stage with a self-help author. Three female candidates on one night, three female candidates the next — more than have ever been on the debate stage at once. A 37-year-old squaring off against two septuagenarians.”

******

Now listen, friends, as I unveil the chorus
Of those I’m calling 23&WE.
We’re not discussing folks who came before us;
It’s those who say what this country should be
And how they’ll make enough of us agree.
They’re poised to set out from the starting gate,
And one of them may well decide our fate.

How do they call attention to their vision
And talents that will make them best to lead?
So many voters now voice skepticism
Re: turning those fine words to solid deeds
To build a worthwhile new American creed
That knits together vastly different types
Of folks who harbor vastly different gripes.

The polls agree the leader’s now Joe Biden,
A man well known who was a fine VP.
Experienced in world affairs, he’s ridin’
On hopes he’ll bring us back to normalcy
And thus is safe to take down Covfeve.
But some say Uncle Joe is just too dated,
And can’t forget Anita Hill deflated.

There’s Bernie S., who never seems to waver;
In 40 years he hasn’t turned the page.
He’s moved the Dems on issues gaining favor:
Medicare for all; a $15 wage.
But others now are acting on that stage.
A Democratic Socialist with pride,
If he falters, would he just step aside?

Someone to watch, the pundits say, is Warren,
On each issue she has a plan, for sure.
An ultra-millionaire’s tax could be transformin’
With free child care for all and so much more.
For inequality she has a cure.
But will pro-banker, moneyed folks resist,
Despite her self-description: “capitalist”?

One candidate whose fame has come quite quickly
Is South Bend, Indiana’s Mayor Pete
(Trying to rhyme his last name is quite tricky)
His scholar/military resume is neat,
But politically he fits into a tweet.
Still, he has generational appeal
And messaging that sounds both wise and real.

Kamala Harris, tough in prosecuting
Won plaudits for her querying Bill Barr.
She says in office she’d be executing
Punishments for employers who’re sub-par
In the male/female equity pay bar.
A woman of color, bona fides deep,
She’s on a lot of short lists for the Veep.

Amid the current tones of acrimony,
Cory Booker’s words sound so very nice.
He talks of love, civic grace, and harmony
And exhorts men to protect women’s rights.
And cares a lot to end our urban blights.
This Rhodes Scholar who’s certainly no fool
Has Wall Street ties and supports charter schools.

Amy Klobuchar is praised quite highly
Across the aisles in a once true blue state
She’s also known to view events quite wryly,
And humor’s in too short supply of late.
Some feel her plans don’t carry enough weight.
But one’s important, not just symbolically:
Her push for statehood for Washington, DC.

Beto leapt to fame by losing narrowly;
In Texas that was seen as quite a feat.
His campaign started off quite powerfully
And then began to lose a bit of heat,
Though he engages each voter he’ll meet.
His message is important as can be:
Immigration: with “respect and dignity.”

I’ve long thought that the job of governor
Makes President a ready move to make.
There’s Hickenlooper, Inslee, and another:
Steve Bullock, who will miss next week’s debate.
Each has records touted as first-rate.
And each has worked to combat climate change
With Inslee’s speech most often in this range.

It’s time, say many Dems, to crack that ceiling
Re: healthcare, equity, diversity,
To all these goals the party is appealing
And I believe that voters sensibly
Will weigh their thoughts while seeking to agree
And try to find which candidate’s around
Who’s most likely to find that common ground.

I see I’m in trouble here numerically,
And fear my rhyme is starting to grow weak.
I’ve gone through less than half the twenty-three.
There’s still a dozen more of whom to speak,
And showtime’s coming middle of next week.
But since to verses’ end you’ve still held tight,
You’ll find all contenders’ pitches through this site.

******

I clearly gave only the briefest attention to the candidates I covered, and none at all to the rest. Here is how they present themselves to voters:

  1. Joe Biden: JoeBiden.com
  2. Bernie Sanders: BernieSanders.com
  3. Elizabeth Warren: ElizabethWarren.com
  4. Kamala Harris: KamalaHarris.org
  5. Pete Buttigieg: PeteForAmerica.com
  6. Cory Booker: CoryBooker.com
  7. Beto O’Rourke: BetoOrourke.com
  8. Amy Klobuchar: Amy-Klobuchar.com
  9. Andrew Yang: yang2020.com
  10. Jay Inslee: JayInslee.com
  11. Julian Castro: JulianForTheFuture.com
  12. Tulsi Gabbard: tulsi2020.com
  13. Kirsten Gillibrand: 2020.KirstenGillibrand.com
  14. Marianne Williamson: marianne2020.com
  15. John Delaney: JohnKDelaney.com
  16. Tim Ryan: TimRyanForAmerica.com
  17. John Hickenlooper: hickenlooper.com
  18. Bill de Blasio: BilldeBlasio.com
  19. Steve Bullock: SteveBullock.com
  20. Michael Bennet: MichaelBennet.com
  21. Eric Smalwell: EricSwalwell.com
  22. Seth Moulton: SethMoulton.com
  23. Wayne Messan: WayneForAmerica.com

I know it’s early, but if you’re committed to the idea that we need new leadership in 2020, these debates are important in winnowing the field, and you may find yourself wanting to support someone who hasn’t yet gained much public attention.

So I hope you’ll watch the debates, review the candidates’ positions as they state them on their web sites, and support the candidate(s) of your choice. Small donations will be vital for qualifying for subsequent debates, so please consider even minimal financial support of candidates as well.

FIRST DEBATES: JUNE 26, JUNE 27 ON NBC, MSNBC, AND TELEMUNDO

Annie