Culture War Scene 5

“Hey Buddy. How are you feeling today? Have some of Maureen’s sourdough pancakes. That will keep you going”

“I am ok Junior. Going back to the city, back to work.”

“Me too Bud, back to the barn to make more cabinets for the rich people.”

“That’s the way it is kid. That’s life. Pull your weight.”

“ I am tired talking about all this political shit Buddy. We are not getting anywhere. Everybody believes what they want to believe. People don’t change their minds very easily.”

“Good thing too Junior or we would all be Commies like you! Ha Ha Ha!”

“Listen to this Buddy. One of the smartest guys around here, a teacher, thinks the world is flat! He thinks Neil Armstrong didn’t go to the moon, that it was all done in a TV studio.

“Like you said, Junior, people will believe anything and everything. Like UFO’s why do they always land in Leroy land? I will believe it when they land in Harvard Square. But how about you Junior, you claim to be a Catholic. How can a Catholic be a Communist? There’s a good one!”

Culture War Scene 4

“Tell me this Buddy; I don’t get why you right wingers hate the Clintons, especially Hillary. I could never understand that. All I see is that she did her best to help the average American, studied hard, worked hard, been a public servant her whole life.”

“Let me clue you in Junior. They took her law license away because she lied under oath. They did the same to Michelle Obama, another low life. The Clinton Foundation is a criminal organization, Junior. Read about it.”

“Is that really true Buddy? Why would they have to lie or be a criminal organization? They have plenty of money and fame.”

“Greed Junior. Greed.”

“I think they hated her from the time she said she didn’t want to stay home and bake cookies. After that most of the women and chauvinists hated her.”

“There is more to it than that Junior. Read up about it.”

“I remember a blurb I saw when she was running for president. It said Kentucky Fried Chicken was offering a “Hillary Special” two fat thighs and a left wing.”

“That’s about right Junior.”

“I was going to ask you about QAnon but I think that is too much even for you. Am I right?”

“Since the election I haven’t watched any news including Fox News. I just read and see some shows about World War II. I am reading a book by Bill O’Reilly now. In fact, I just put it down. I have read a lot of his books. He should win the Nobel Prize!”

Culture War Scene 3


“What do you think about all this Black Lives Matter Bullshit Junior. To me it is just an excuse for them to get some TVs and other stuff they like by looting.”

“Buddy, the police murdered George Floyd. There was no excuse for that and they caught it all on film. How do you think you would feel if you were black and got picked up by the police? You would be pissing in your pants. I know I would.”

“George Floyd has a criminal record since forever. He was stopped or arrested at least nineteen times including aggravated assault in a home invasion. Nice guy.  He is one of their heroes if that gives you an idea about them.”

 “Them” are African Americans who have been in America longer than almost anybody other than the Native Americans.”

“Call them anything you want Junior. I call them niggers.”

“I remember you told me “Niggers are proof that Indians fucked buffalos.” I was only a kid at the time but even then,  I struggled with the biology part. Honestly Buddy, my idea is that America can never heal itself and come together until it acknowledges its 400 years of slavery and its campaign of genocide against the Native American people. These are facts that can’t be swept away and keep the country from moving forward in a positive, compassionate way.”

“You sound like a Caspar Milk toast  Junior. Let them get over it and do what they are supposed to do: be responsible citizens, work hard, and take care of their families like decent people.”

“How about the native people Buddy? I don’t know what you call them but they are the original people here going back at least 1500 years. There were about 10,000,000 million here when Columbus stumbled onto the new world, new for him anyway. By 1900 there were about 300,000.”

“Like I told you Junior it is because they were fucking buffalos, Ha Ha Ha!”

“ Buddy, the truth is that the rapacious type- A -pig -fuckers from Europe came over to kill them and take their land. The dirty bastards gave them blankets with smallpox virus to which they had no immunity. They died like flies. And the merciless bastards killed millions of buffaloes just for fun and knowing that the plains Indians depended on them. And who is the guy today who exemplifies that selfish ego driven crap? It is former president fat ass. I don’t even want to mention his name.”

“ I feel sorry for you Junior. What have you been smoking? This is life! Whoever is stronger kicks the ass of the other guy. Didn’t Darwin say something about that: “The strong live; the weak die.”

Culture War Scene 2

“Nobody believes anything anymore  Buddy. A lot of people think the virus is a Hoax. Some close people of mine won’t take the vaccine. A friend who has a PHD in psychology thinks Bill Gates will implant a chip in the vaccine to track and control people. He is part of the illuminati and connected to the Rothschilds who control the world. I am serious.”

“You know Junior, I am an expert on World War II. I believe in the values of the greatest generation. Nothing will change that for me.”

“Sure Buddy, who can go against that? But fighting for the country we’ve got now? No way. Democracy is a total failure. It broke about twenty years ago, maybe about the time of Reagan when the two parties became like two separate tribes, only caring about victory for their side. What would the current Republicans say about Eisenhower today, the guy who said, “Beware the military industrial complex.” We are the arms suppliers of the world and reap the consequences of that in the blood of our soldiers while the businessmen make money. That’s how I see it.”

“Capitalism depends on people making money.  Look what happened in Russia. Without the incentive to make money there is no motivation. Their system collapsed.”

“Buddy, the Chinese have figured it out better. They have a strong central government but allow free enterprise to a certain extent. There are a lot of wealthy people there now. But let’s talk about something else Buddy. Let me ask you this: How is it that China was able to stop the virus dead in its tracks, almost, and the USA couldn’t do it? Nobody wants to look at that, almost 600,000 dead now. When shit for brains was saying it was “all under control” and “not a problem” and claiming to be a “wartime president” ( I think he liked that idea) I asked “Can a wartime president be convicted of war crimes?” At that point there were almost 300,00 dead.”

“ Junior! It’s the Commies’ fault. Kung Flu! The China virus. Don’t forget that!

“So what Buddy! Once it is out of the box there it is and has to be delt with no matter where it came from. What to do now is the question rather than spending a lot of time on the blame game.”

“Junior, do you know those fuckers eat anything that moves. There is a saying, “If the sun shines on its back the Chinese will eat it.” Did you see the pictures of that disgusting market. My daughter almost threw up when she saw those cats, bats, dogs, snakes, rats and all kinds of poor animals in cages getting ready for the knife. What a disgrace!”

“I have to agree with you on that one Buddy. To me this Covid 19 thing is the revenge of nature. A lot of people think that too. How much can we fuck up the environment and think nothing will happen as a consequence? The Native American people have the right idea about how we are all connected, all part of a web of life. Everything depends on everything else.”

Culture War Scene 1


Buddy: “Hey Maureen, what’s the holdup with the pancakes? Get your ass over here and at least warm up our coffee.”

Junior: “You can’t talk like that Buddy. Come on!”

Buddy: “Relax limp dick. Didn’t you ever hear of Italian foreplay? “Hey Marie get over here!” Ha Ha Ha. Maureen is ok. She is used to it. The only reason this dump has any business is all the men sitting at the counter looking at her ass making pancakes.”

Junior: “Maybe so Frank but didn’t you ever hear of women’s lib and what is appropriate and so forth? Sexual harassment?”

Buddy: “You commies better watch your ass or we will round you up and send you to Guantanamo.”

 Junior: “Take it easy Buddy. I thought this was a free country. You can say what you want, first amendment and all that.”

“Maybe but it has gone too far Junior: Black Lives Matter bullshit, homo marriage, men becoming women. What will be next?”

“It’s not 1950 anymore Buddy, sorry to tell you. The world has changed and still changing more. You can’t stop history. It is like a big wave. You either go with it or you drown.”

“When we were kids, we could say the Lord’s Prayer in school, the Pledge of Allegiance: One nation under God. The Libs won’t let that happen now.”

 “Like I said Buddy, “The Times They are a Changin” to  quote Bob Dylan. How right he was and never more than now when it is all happening so fast.”

“Trump was trying to get us back to core American values. What a fine man he is.”

“How can you say that Buddy? It amazes me that people can’t see him for what he is, an ego-driven liar who only thinks about himself. He represents everything that is wrong with America and the American system.”

“I could say the same thing to you Junior. How can you not see that he has the best interests of the country at heart. America first!”

“We don’t live in the world by ourself Buddy. We all are in it together. If we don’t understand that, we really are doomed. Nothing will make it more clear than the consequences to the environment happening now. It is sure to get worse every year.”

“Don’t panic Junior. There are more fish off Montauk than ever and the water in the Sound is cleaner than it has ever been in our lifetime.”

“Yeah, maybe Buddy, but if you look at the bigger picture it is not so pretty.”

“A Commie like you probably thinks China is better. They are the biggest polluters in the world.”

“They have lifted millions of people out of poverty since 1949, millions. Definitely it wasn’t easy and a lot of people suffered. But they did it and part of how they did it has to do with the pollution you mentioned. Energy, factories, jobs, pollution, like that. Now they are focusing on cleaning up the environment. They realize they have to do it.”

“You can’t believe anything they say Junior. It is all controlled. Nobody knows what is going on there.”

The Lonely Cafe

           In the Catskill Mountains, in a tiny valley between two steep hills, there is a small café on a flat spot next to the road. I refer to it as The Lonely Café. In the morning Maureen and Clara serve sourdough pancakes to hard working men who grub out a living in the hardscrabble area. But not all are local. Some others have their breakfast there from time to time.

          The Lonely Cafe is only a couple of hours from New York City and people come up to visit the famous health spa and fat farm in the town, or to fish, or to spend time at their second homes in the country. Every morning I start my day there reading the paper at a corner table and listening to conversations.