It’s Friday night and Fred, Frank, Tom, and Ted are drinking beer with their regular friends at the Hullahoo bar, talking about the issues of the Me Too Movement. Cindy sitting across from Frank yells, “Me 2 is taking over boys. It’s role reversal. You better take notice.”
“Scary, Cindy, I did,” Frank says. “I stopped dating for fear of being broadsided or perhaps even castrated.”
“Right,” Ted added. “Broads do that nowadays. What are we going to do about love?”
“You guys are all babes in the woods,” Marlene scoffs. “Me 2 wants real men that do not assault or belittle women like calling us broads.”
“Oh yeah?” howls Frank. “You mean those real men with their naked torsos trunked on romance novels?”
“All written by women, including erotica,” Ted adds. “The three Ls: Love, lust, and lasciviousness. Are they also members of the Me 2 movement?”
“You’re hallucinating,” Marlene’s friend Melissa says. “Me 2 women have their own sense of self-esteem, even if they write erotica.”
“Ha, ha,” laughs Fred. “If I write an erotica novel, I’ll be called a pervert and if you do it, it’s called art. Call that a double standard.”
“When I walk the corridors in my office,” Ted says, “I look straight ahead now and say nothing anymore to the girls passing for fear of being accused of sexual harassment.”
“I won’t open the door for any woman anymore either,” Tom says. “For fear of being told off that she can do that herself. And when I am in the elevator, I won’t even try to let the woman exit first. I rather travel up or down to the next floor. For fear of being told that I’m making inappropriate advances.”
“Me 2 is a serious movement,” Cindy buts in. “You guys shouldn’t make fun of it. It responds to a longtime abuse of women in the workplace or domestic violence, and nobody did a damn thing about it. Thanks to the Me 2 Movement they do now.”
“We’re not denying that, Cindy,” Fred argues. “To the contrary, we agree and I personally am glad that this screwy matter has been put in the limelight. But Me 2 has thrown a wrench into the courting ritual. It’s like lighting a firecracker on the Notre Dame square with all this social media hype. Ever seen male pigeons pursuing female pigeons? Aren’t you guys denying nature’s procreative role?”
“Humans are rational people, animals are not,” Melissa says, raising her voice. “Men have been denying female rights for far too long.”
“You say,” Frank exclaims. “What about those female empresses that sent their lovers to the gallows?”
“Kathryn Dunoova, that French movie star, also said Me 2 had gone too far,” Tom says. “You’re throwing your loverboy away with the bathwater.”
“It’s Catherine Deneuve, you butthead,” called out Emily from the other side of the counter. She pretended she could speak French. “She later apologized for critiquing Me 2.”
“Okay,” Tom responds. “Maybe she did. But she and some ninety-nine other famous French women said the usual male courting rituals shouldn’t be called sexual harassment, and that’s what’s happening here in the US. It’s killing our romance. I guess French women are different from their American species. I’ll be moving to Paris.”
“I was going to propose tomorrow at the top of the Empire building,” Ted announces. “But for fear of being laughed at I may just as well throw myself over the railing.”
“Why should you guys have the exclusive right to propose?” Emily wonders. “Why can’t I propose? Waiting for someone nice to propose is very frustrating for women.”
“I’m sure that most of us men were already proposed to in bed by our girlfriends after our cummy, whispering let’s get married,” Frank says. “Most of us would be too embarrassed to say ‘no.’ So Emily, get your act together.”
“Would you like me to try?” Emily asks, her eyes full of seduction.
“Are you proposing?” Frank asks, among loud laughter.
Emily comes around, pushing his friend Fred off his seat and sits next to Frank. “Yes, I am,” she says. “Pay me a drink to seal it.”
The Hullahoo friends raise their glasses, cheering, “Long live Me 2!”
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You may remember the blog on MICE AND ICE: https://www.johnschwartzauthor.com/enchante-mice-ice/
Well, Miceans Maxie and Maxine came back after having been deported last year. The worlds they lived in were hard and unforgiving, they said. No food and shelter for kids, and lots of neighborhood cats and pray-birds out there to kill or mistreat them. So they sneaked in illegally, even borrowed kids, those little creatures with those dreaming tear-jerking eyes that make your heart turn mushy when they look at you, especially on TV. They were asking for a space in our home.
ENCHANTÉ consulted an outsider to come to grips with this invasion: Mars Man. You may remember him, that Marsian face which turns ‘human’ when he lands in a Nebraska cornfield close to Omaha to have TV interviews with his earthly wife Kathryn, an adorable and much-loved anchor at Omaha TV. One of his appearances on ENCANTÉ was in 2016 – https://www.johnschwartzauthor.com/mars-mans-tv-economy-stupid-stupid-economy/.
Mars – his first name – gladly returned to Earth to report for his weekly Mars City TV “Mother Earth’s Weekly Squirms” show on the high-profile Miceans approaching the US and the similarity of this event with the continuing efforts of Mother Earth attempting to invade Mars. Kathryn did not waste any time and scheduled him for an interview on the border issue just a few hours after he landed in the Omaha cornfield with Space Scooter One.
He had hardly the time to morph into his earthly body and a Balenciaga outfit.
Kathryn had invited Ted and Frank from the Washington, D.C. Bureau to join in the discussion.
Kathryn launches her show, OMAHA’S WORLD TODAY, with a quick re-introduction of Mars Man, Ted, and Frank. She asks Mars to reflect on the oncoming Miceans invasion from a Mars point of view.
“Kathryn, thank you so much for this important question. We have discussed this before in other forums, but clearly, this is of immediate relevance to Mars. Like everybody on Mother Earth, we hold our planet and our sacred homes dearly. We do not tolerate strange invaders. Any time when a rover or other earthly space unit dawns on Mars and lets mice lose to test our living space, our alarm systems go off and we are ready to defend ourselves. We use appropriate baits and traps and those rovers – you call them rodents here – usually get worn out pretty fast and disappear in a remote ditch somewhere.”
“But what if NASA sends a few thousand rovers to Mars?” asks Frank. “What would you do?”
“It’s insane to even think that’s possible, but we would mobilize a whole army of MICE controllers to chase them back into space. MICE stands for “Mars Invasion Control Entity.”
“We have exactly the same name for it,” Ted exclaims. “Does your president need congressional approval for that?” Ted has no clue of Marsian politics.
“We have a supreme leader, “Mars Man lectures. “He or she emanates from the majority political party. Mars has three parties, the Jupiterians, much like your Libertarians; the
“So your supreme leader would mobilize the army to stop a caravan of mice on earth?” asks Kathryn.
“Exactly. You call your MICE police and get them out, despite their doe-eyed kids, put up barb or bob wire because those kids grow up fast, multiply fast, ruin your home and turn your people into endangered species before you know it. Like what we would do on Mars: turn them back with all your might.”
“Would your Venetians agree with that?” wonders Ted.
“Most likely not, they love your type of
“Once we find our home is no longer ours because the
“You must take action,” Mars Man says. “Even if you are not Republican. Just to save your home from those nasty droppings, loud gnawing, and demolition of wires and cables in your attic.”
Also, to save your kids from dangerous diseases, and to keep your sanity and healthy sleep.”
“But to play the devil’s advocate, what about those poor
“Sure,” Mars Man says. “And soon they’ll want more space in your house, skid through your bedroom with their many kids in their wake, and ask for house-membership and your money to buy more cheese, peanut butter, marshmallows and other drugs free of traps.”
“Why would your Venetians let them in then?” asks Frank.
“To get more votes, beat the
“Gee, that sounds so much like us on Mother Earth,” Ted observes. “It must be an alien habit turned earthly.”
“And next they claim citizenship of your attic,” Mars Man warns. “Kathryn knows, but she does not want to admit it openly. She’s afraid that the Miceans will attack her under the table in a restaurant, saying she is racist.”
“I have just texted my wife we are installing a deep-rooted fence around our yard,” Ted announces. “Our neighbors objected when I explored the idea with them because they found it racist. I told them they could have all the
“We will do the same,” Frank says. “I have a team to plug all the holes around the house and put bab wire at the edges of our the lawn. No more friendly welcome signs. It will also keep my in-laws at bay.”
“That’s the issue,” finalizes Kathryn. “The
The show closes and the tweets run amok. Maxi and Maxine were deported once more, with their offspring. But the authorities expect them back,
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Looking at today’s TV news, I felt inclined to repeat a column of last June
We are back with Tom and Fred, this time invited by World Wide Network to form a panel on important daily political matters.
“Fred, how are we going to do this?”
“Simple, Tom, you make a point and I make a counterpoint. We never agree because the opposite side must always be right, whatever side you are on.”
“But if I agree with you because you make more sense, why shouldn’t I say so?”
“Because you get fired if you do. It’s like a sports game, boy. You’re not supposed to kick the ball into your own goal. You must kick me as hard as you can, regardless of whether I’m right.”
“But isn’t that ridiculous? If I make sense, you wouldn’t agree with me?”
“Of course not. That’s how it works. You have fans on your side, and I have fans on mine. Each side wants the other to lose as badly as possible. Scorched Earth. That’s politics. It’s a sports game, the American way. Each side gets paid for making crushing opposite points. Otherwise, the viewers get bored.”
“Which side are you on?”
“The opposite of yours.”
“But which is it, left or right?”
“If you show me yours, I show you mine.”
“But does WWN not want to know first what yours is?”
“They will only tell me if they’ve seen yours first.”
“Can we switch panes when you like mine better?”
“For the viewer, left of the anchor is right, and right of the anchor is left. Don’t confuse people. They want to see which side you’re on.”
“What side is the anchor on?”
“Tom, don’t be stupid. It’s WWN that pays their salary. They talk WWN’s side.”
“How much do they pay?”
“The more they like yours or mine, the more they pay you or me.”
“Do they give equal time?”
“They may or may not. If you crush me or them, they may let me pay back twice.”
“Geez, Fred, this is really like Monday Night Football without referees or line backers.”
“It is, or more like national wrestling or kick boxing, male or female.”
“So this is how people in Congress live?”
“And what tax payers pay for. Your tax money is like buying tickets for the games. And to beat up each other in the streets if you lose.”
“What about those election slogans then, stronger together or America first?”
“Well, Tom, those are essentially sports terms. The political teams fight it out, either to show they’re stronger than the other, or to become first.”
“So we must fight it out on TV too?”
“Sure, if you want to get paid. Not physically, of course, like that guy in Montana, but by blabbing better and faster than your opponent, while keeping a straight but very false smile, as if you are the friendliest bastard or bitch ever.”
“Do we train for this before we start?”
“Don’t have to. Just look at today’s TV and you get the message.”
“Which side do I chose?”
“Just wait which side the anchor puts you. Then, whatever he or she wants you to comment on, you take the left or right side of his/her point of view. The truth does not matter. Nobody knows what that is anymore anyway.”
“But I don’t know in traffic sometimes what left or right is.”
“Doesn’t matter, as long as you take the opposite side. You’re insured by the media.”
“Fred, I’m going to sign up and hate you.”
“Me too, Tom, I hate you already.”
We entered Bangladesh airspace on New Year’s day of 1980 for a four-year World Bank posting assignment, with son David (4 1/2) and daughter Samantha ( 2 1/2). From the air, the territory looked like water all over. The Biman Airways pilot came from his cockpit in his white robe, kneeled down, and bowed toward Mecca for his morning prayer. We hoped the first officer would keep the shaking aircraft steady.
Flying over, we saw rice field after rice field and more water.
The outskirts of Dhaka looked like an extensive garden. But when we landed, all hell broke loose: hordes of Bangladeshi young men offering their services. Our first experience with an overpopulated country where everybody is fighting for a dime (or Taka, the Bangladeshi money). Fortunately, World Bank staff had come to receive us and guide us through diplomatic immigration while our suitcases were loaded on a huge heap outside on an uncovered platform (nowadays that has all been substantially modernized!).
We were put up in
At night, with the full moon, the backyard was a dream come true for a Dutchman grown up amidst oaks and beeches. For Joy, hailing from Caribbean Guyana, it just felt like home.
During weekends, especially in December when the weather was dry with warm subtropical temperatures during the day, cool at night, the yard was a wonderful place for our kids and their many friends to have party fun. Below, Joy cutting another birthday cake, with head servant Paul looking on.
The kids enjoyed themselves. Our children grew up in a ‘multicultural’ environment.
Dave and Sam on the left, with their Montessori teacher Mrs. De Souza in the background and top right, Dave’s math teacher.
Striking features of Bangladesh were its ships on the broad rivers!
My portfolio concerned industry, energy,
We traveled monthly with a group of local donor representatives to Ashuganj in a diesel-powered train through the flat land covered with rice fields and small rural villages to supervise construction progress and solve project issues. Below is a picture taken from the train window, representative of the Bangladeshi flat land scenery.
Next came a natural gas drilling project (needed to feed the fertilizer company), a very
Because of the distances and weak road connections, many of my energy trips needed to be carried out by helicopter, which also provided a thrilling opportunity to see the country from the air.
I also followed American entrepreneurs involved in oil production and visited their projects. See below one of the rigs I visited.
Below the proud Bangladeshi Energy officials, hoping for a break to help their poor and overpopulated country (100 million+ at the time I was there, now grown to 160 million!, the country with the highest population density of the world. The majority is Muslim.) The fellow in the orange shirt was an American oil man.
Other field trips were carried out by road (with local office drivers, who were very good). There we met workers hacking bricks from clay, dried in the sun, and then pulverizing the bricks again for gravel, depending on the construction needs.
Two solutions: go back home or cross in a little boat, and continue with another vehicle waiting across the ditch, which we did and which landed us in a welcoming village with doe-eyed beauties.
They smiled at us when we left, after having handed them a few hundred Takas for posing on the picture.
After four years and many adventures, our two kids had grown up nicely. Here they are, in our backyard, in front of the poinsettia, with bikes we got for them on our R&R trips to Bangkok.
And farewell it is, to two of our closest friends, the two of us (Joy extreme left, me extreme right) with Jim Curry, Deputy Chancellor of the Canadian Embassy and his wife, Cynthia, who also hailed from Guyana!
Next: our travels to India.