‘Twas the Year Before the Election

‘Twas a year before the election, when all through the states,
Several candidates were blathering through all the debates.
The caucuses were all scheduled, from here to over there,
In hopes that eventually, someone would care.

With questions about health care, guns, and email,
We groaned as we watched them bluster and fail.
We had settled in for a long winter’s nap.
Because we’d already had too much of their crap.

When up here in Vermont, there arose such a clatter,
We turned on the TV to see what was the matter.

Away from FoxNews, we flew like a flash,
Clicked to CNBC, where they were talking about cash.
Then on to WCAX where we usually watch the news,
And continued to groan at that whacko Ted Cruz.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a gruff white-haired man, who gave us reason to cheer.
He was a politician who was no ordinary attorney.
A democratic socialist with the first name of Bernie.

With no love for Wall Street, and paid family care,
He really was a breath of fresh air.
Far different than Jeb Bush, Christie and Cruz.
From Trump, Rubio, Carson, and Hillary too.

Tho it’s hard to imagine him negotiating with Merkel,
Or facing the Syrians and Putin, that jerk-l.
It’s good that he’s challenging the bankers and Fed.
It helps give our economy a little more cred.

But in 2016, as the election grows near,
We realize that our one greatest fear …
Is that the GOP will choose that man Trump.
Who’s only one letter removed from a ‘rump.’

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How the Bankers Stole Christmas

I wrote this in December 2008. It feels like time to repost it.

* * *

Every You down in You-ville
Liked Christmas a lot.
And the Bankers did too — in New York and Charlotte.

The Bankers loved Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
You can ask why. Everyone knows the reason.
It was gift cards and sweaters and HD TVs
American Girl dolls and new shoes and Nintendo Wiis.

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that everyone’s credit limit was too tall.

But, no matter the reason, the gift cards or shoes.
Weeks before Christmas, the Bankers began hating the Yous.
Staring down from their offices with nervous wan smiles
At the vacant shop windows and empty store aisles.
But every You down in You-ville couldn’t even afford lunch
From debt load and foreclosure and the big credit crunch.

It happened back in September,
If you will remember …

After years of prosperity, the economy tanked.
And now this austerity, it just really stank.
For 28 years, they’d been on a roll.
Now the Yous one by one were living on the dole.

“They’re not filling the stores!” the Bankers snarled with a sneer.
“We’ll never stay liquid. That much is clear.”
Then they growled as they watched the DOW Jones keep on dropping.
“We must find a way to keep them all shopping!”

But how?

Then the Bankers got an idea!
An awful idea
The Bankers got a wonderful awful idea!

“We know just what to do!” they laughed with great glee.
And they boarded their jets and flew to D.C.
And as they walked into Congress, they knew they’d receive
An unprecedented 700 billion dollar reprieve.

“Help us!” they said in a loud chorus of rings,
“For we are the most awesome of the financial kings!”

They reminded Congress, “to give us free rein!
To regulate us now would be completely insane.
We can bring the DOW back to its previous bubble
It’s just those stupid Yous who are in all this trouble.”

Then, they loaded their pockets with taxpayer money.
And flew off to where the climate was sunny.
They would eat escargot in the restaurants of Paris
And fly private jets to the beaches of Nevis.

But then as the Bankers sat down and gloated
Their overstuffed egos distended and bloated.
The Yous stood watch as the DOW continued down
And their homes were foreclosed in their very own town.

The Bank had taken their houses and credit.
For 28 years, the government had let it.
Secondary derivatives and subprime mortgage rates.
And credit default swaps had sealed the Yous’ fates.

All through the fall, throughout the long days
All the Yous felt robbed of their 401(k)s.
They sold all they could–a stock market unloading.
But as Christmas approached, there was a sense of foreboding.

With no credit to buy and no money to spend
The Yous would be starting a new Christmas trend.
They’d make and they’d bake and they’d learn to buy less
Until the new President could get them out of this mess.

For Christmas would come, just without cash
It would come without packaging that went in the trash.
It would come without presents, without ribbons and wrappings
Without tags and tinsel and trimmings and trappings.

Then the Yous thought of something really quite daring.
Maybe Christmas, they thought, is about more than sharing.
The holidays, perhaps, are more about caring.

As Christmas drew near, the Yous felt in good cheer
And focused their hopes on the New Year.

And hope, the Yous realized, the tall and the small,
Could be the very best Christmas present of all.

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As USA Swimming gears up for the 2015 world championships, meet Simone Manuel …


SANTA CLARA, CA - JUNE 20:  Simone Manuel dives in for the women's 100 meter freestyle final during the 2014 Arena Grand Prix of Santa Clara at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on June 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARA, CA – JUNE 20: Simone Manuel dives in for the women’s 100 meter freestyle final during the 2014 Arena Grand Prix of Santa Clara at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on June 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Author Event at the Rutland Library – April 25, 2015

If you’d like to buy a signed copy of Deluge, I’ll be at the Rutland Library on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 1-5 p.m. for an Author Event.


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2014-2015 is Banner Season for U.S. Skiers & Snowboarders


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Lindsey Vonn: On Her New Trophy Cabinet & Breaking More Records

Lindsey Vonn returned to world cup competition this season after almost two years away. And she’s ending the season having earned 8 more World Cup victories, a sixth world championship medal, and two more crystal globes to her collection. She now has 19—four large globes for the overall title and 15 smaller globes for overall wins in downhill, super-g, and combined.

So where does Vonn stash all this lead crystal, made by Bavarian glassblower, JOSKA Kristall?

Some of her globes are still in their hard-shell cases. But when Vonn returns to her home in Vail this spring, she will put all 19 into a new trophy cabinet that she had built over her fireplace.

“There’s place for 23 [crystal globes], so if I win more than that, I’ll have to build a new one,” she said by phone from Meribel, France, host to World Cup Finals this season. “I think that will suffice.”

Why will 23 suffice?

That’s just the way the display lights fit above her fireplace, she said. She could either commission a case for 17 or 23.

“I said 23, make it bigger.” She then added that the trophy case can be made even larger if needed.

With 19 overall titles, Vonn tied Ingemar Stenmark for the most won by one athlete. But until yesterday, she did not know that she was close to the alpine legend’s record. When she realized what would happen if she won the overall super-g title (in a tight race with Austrian Anna Fenninger), Vonn realized that it would be “a pretty amazing accomplishment to equal his record.”

“Ingemar is an amazing legend in our sport, someone I’ve always idolized,” she said. “He seems like someone who’s not attainable, all of his records are just not attainable. To be able to be at the same level as he is, in at least one of his many categories that he has the record, is pretty incredible.”

But asked if she is shooting for his other major record — 86 World Cup wins — Vonn demurred. To win 19 more World Cup races (she already has 67 wins), Vonn would need to win seven more next year, seven the year after, and six in the 2018 Olympic year (she has stated that she will compete at least through the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea).

Vonn, now age 30, won eight World Cups this year. The most she has ever won in one season is 12 (during winter 2011/2012), and she has won at least six every year since 2007/2008 (excluding 2014, which she sat out while recovering from two knee surgeries).

“Mathematically, it’s definitely possible,” she said. “But that’s a lot easier said than done.”

Vonn is trying to keep record-breaking out of her goal setting. She admitted that thinking about breaking Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record of 62 World Cup wins (the most of any woman until Vonn broke it in January) was one of her “faults.” She became aware of Moser-Proell’s record when she hit 55 wins in 2013 — shortly before her devastating crash at the 2013 world championships. (Incidentally, Moser-Proell only won 16 overall World Cup titles.)

“Going forward, I need to not think about those things and just focus on the skiing,” she said. “It always seems to bring good things.”

Like lots of glittery crystal to place over the fireplace.

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Mikaela Shiffrin: From one breakthrough to the next

“I’m hoping that each year is going to be a breakthrough year in some aspect of my skiing,” the Olympic slalom gold medalist said recently. “It just keeps coming at me.”


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