Summer Lemonade- Life Learnings

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Life Learnings

by David Brooks
reprinted NY Times

We’re inspired by the legendary tech journalist Kevin Kelly,
who, for his 68th, 69th, and 70th birthdays
shared his life learnings on his Technium blog.

Here are five of his best

Anything you say before the word “but” does not count.

The thing that made you weird as a kid
could make you great as an adult.

It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse.

Denying or deflecting a compliment is rude.
Accept it with thanks.

Ignore what they’re thinking of you
because they’re not thinking of you.

Here’s a few more from friends / D. Brooks

Job interviews are not really about you.
They are about the employer’s needs and how you can fill them.

If you can’t make up your mind between two options, flip a coin.
Don’t decide based on which side of the coin came up.
Decide based on your emotional reaction to which side came up.

Marriage is a lifetime conversation.
Marry someone you want to talk with for the rest of your life.

If you’re giving a speech, be vulnerable.
Fall on the audience and let them catch you. They will.

Never be furtive. If you’re doing something
you don’t want others to find out about, it’s probably wrong.

Never pass up an opportunity to hang out with musicians.

Dr. Vanilla

The above collection of playful insights brought to us by David Brooks and The New York Times allows us to celebrate language and brings to mind the great Bob Dylan and the reason why he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

As an edgy poet in the formative sixties, Dylan was a singer-songwriter who brought to light a darker side of American culture, seeming to channel a vision of who we might become, or worse, who we already are.

The eleven minute 1965 song Desolation Row epitomizes Dylan’s sociological genius. It’s length and the artist’s less than pleasing voice are beyond the attention span of most, but Desolation Row gives us paragraph after paragraph of poetry and tantalizing images, oftentimes surreal images that provide a hybrid of truth and warning, aimed at a society that in Dylan’s mind was terminally full of itself and inevitably lost … in my mind, the best poem of the twentieth century.

Desolation Row / Dylan

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning,
“You belong to Me I Believe.”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend
You’d better leave.”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row.

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortune-telling lady
Has taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody’s making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row.

Ophelia, she’s ‘neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row.

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
NOW, he looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row.

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They ARE trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on the penny whistle
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row.

Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
In a perfect image of a priest
They are spoon-feeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get outta here if you don’t know”
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row.

At midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row.

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting
“Which side are you on?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row.

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
About the time the door knob broke
When you asked me how I was doing
Or was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them from
Desolation Row.

Summer Lemonade – Robin Williams

Dexter King

Entertainment Critic

Robin Williams

July 21, 2022 – Today is Robin Williams’ birthday.
He would have been 71.
Can you imagine what a cool grandfather he’d be?

Just as Covid began to shut down the world as we knew it, The Lemonade Stand began as an e-mail in March of 2020. In an effort to navigate the sociological mess confronting us, further complicated by the previous four years of cartoon presidential leadership, the goal was ‘to make better use of our lemons’ by offering some homespun comic relief from our stable of writers.

Comic relief is a concept that is almost synonymous with the comedian/actor/social activist Robin Williams. On his birthday, The Lemonade Stand dedicates this issue to his immense talent and passion, a light in our dark reality whose vision we lost far too soon …

In the fifties, when I grew up on Long Island just outside the mega-experience of New York City, we had a television antenna on our roof which received three network stations. There were maybe ten hours of t.v. per day, if of course you had a television set.

I remember when this girl on my block bragged about having color t.v.. She captured every kid’s imagination because she could watch Bonanza, a feel-good men-in-charge cowboy western which was the first show in color ever broadcast on the airwaves. Believe me, Heide Perlman quickly had all the friends and men-in-charge she wanted.

By the mid-fifties, things began to expand exponentially by antenna, and basically out of nowhere, this hardly noticed yet reliable segment of broadcasting time emerged called late night television … it relied on broad stand-up comedy and interviewing famous guests. And as it expanded throughout the land, sharing ‘good night’ became a hot commodity as late night began to engrave itself as a needed and passive part of the day.

Late night television was true Americana … first of all, it made money out of real estate no one previously wanted. Secondly, signing off at eleven o’clock was simply moved to one o’clock, as we all continued to witness the American flag waving on a flagpole as the national anthem played.

I think the first time I stayed up that late as a child (with a babysitter who was bribing me), I wondered if I should stand up and put my hand over my heart as the music played.

In 1957, Jack Paar replaced Steve Allen on NBC’s The Tonight Show. Paar was an intelligent slightly eccentric figure who unlike Allen didn’t shy away from controversy. By 1962, Paar had worn out his welcome at NBC and this relative unknown called Johnny Carson was hired to replace him.

Johnny Carson became late night television, single-handedly capturing a coveted demographic that advertisers craved. Television watchers increasingly becoming willing to watch Johnny as they fell asleep each night, and little did anyone know at the time, that late-night television would become so fundamental to the American experience.

People in bed with each other, sharing something.
Hopefully shopping. Possibly second base or even a boink

… and no matter where you went in America,
everyone knew who Johnny was.

Johnny seldom gave unconditional support to anyone famous on his show. Although he seemed generous, he really wasn’t. He would give standard icons such as Bob Hope and George Burns their due respect, but the real meat for Carson, this former midwestern unknown, was welcoming an underdog entertainer … or if Carson were lucky that night, cherishing the unscripted and patently unexpected.

By the middle seventies, it became both business and a privilege to be on Late Night with Johnny Carson. Johnny ruled as the master, polite but in control, the pratfalls of life being his stand-up shtick, like his classic look of ‘What me?’ after he told a joke that bombed. And no matter who appeared on his show, in many ways Johnny sat behind his desk bigger than them all.

One notable exception to the rule was Robin Williams. I think Johnny truly loved spending time with this unique and spontaneous talent.

There were times that William’s idol, Santa Barbara’s Jonathan Winters, joined him on the show … acknowledged masters, the elite of comic relief, they clearly possessed an unlimited capacity for creativity … they were lit fuses as soon as they walked on stage, and Carson couldn’t get enough of them.

Following is an early 90’s video montage of mostly Robin Williams doing Johnny, occasionally joined by Jonathan Winters, as well as clips from David Letterman. With Robin Williams especially, Johnny is clearly in heaven as he can’t stop laughing. And without question, Williams shares himself as a brilliant, thoughtful, complex, and creative genius.

Sometimes we forget the interesting acting roles to which Williams gravitated, so I revisited Terry Gilliam’s 1991 Fisher King which Williams did with Jeff Bridges, a movie centering on homelessness and mass shootings – subjects sadly relevant today. In Fisher King, Williams is a survivor of a mass shooting and searches his subsequent insanity for the holy grail.

Or if you want to watch Williams in a feel-good family movie beyond the classic Mrs. Doubtfire, I’d suggest August Rush which offers a Dickens/Oliver Twist touch.

So on his birthday, as we think back about this person who employed so much effort to make us laugh, you may not know this final fact about Robin Williams – further analysis determined that Williams died from a severe case of a disease called Lewy body dementia which has more than 40 symptoms that can randomly appear and disappear.

These symptoms include impaired thinking, fluctuations in attention, problems with movement, visual hallucinations, sleep disorders, behavioral and mood issues, and changes in bodily functions. It often took days to bring him out of its tenacious grip.

During the last months of his life, his wife called him a man on fire. In some ways, he’d always been a man on fire consumed as he was with social issues and the need, the obsession to entertain. Happy birthday, Robin. We miss you.

Be sure to get as far as the discussion about Clarence Thomas’s
nomination as Supreme Court Justice and Williams’
comments on the future of Roe Wade.

Dr. Vanilla / Robin Williams

I’m a Man on Fire
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes


“Man On Fire”

I’m a man on fire
Walking through your street
With one guitar
And two dancing feet
Only one desire
That’s left in me
I want the whole damn world
To come dance with me

Ohhhhhhhh

Come dance with me
Over murder and pain
Come and set you free
Over heartache and shame

I wanna see our bodies burning like the old big sun
I wanna know what we’ve been learning and learning from

Everybody want safety
Everybody want comfort
Everybody want certain
Everybody but me

I’m a man on fire
Walking down your street
With one guitar
And two dancing feet
Only one desire
That’s left in me
I want the whole damn world
To come and dance with me

Yay, yay. Come dance with me
Over heartache and rage
Come set us free
Over panic and strange

I wanna see our bodies burning like the old big sun
I wanna know what we’ve been learning and learning from

Everybody want romance
Everybody want safety
Everybody want comfort
Everybody but me

I’m a man on fire
Walking down your street
With one guitar
And two dancing feet
Only one desire
That’s still in me
I want the whole damn world
To come and dance with me

Summer Lemonade – Happy July 4

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The thoughtful people of the Texas Republican party issued its 2022 platform designed to reflect God, Guns, and White-Out. In case you missed it.

2022 Texas Republican Platform

Reject “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election”
Abolish the constitutional power to levy income taxes
Reject the Equal Rights Amendment
End all gun safety measures
Abolish the Federal Reserve
Abolish the Department of Education
Arm teachers
Return Christianity to schools and government
Affirm that homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice
End gay marriage
Withdraw from the United Nations
Withdraw from the World Health Organization

** Call for a vote for the people of Texas to determine
“Whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status
as an independent nation.” 
**

Hi everyone, Hermione here … having a good summer?

I say go for it Texas – be your own country, go all right wing nut, and while we’re at it, lets’s add a few other states to your master plan as well – Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Florida come to mind. I mean go for it all, oh noble and wise longhorns … you have your own grid and we all saw how that worked out. No corruption or incompetence there, you know, being non-Federal and all.

Do you really believe that independence is the God-given right of everyone? After you talk to women about that, once you secede and move the capitol to Waco which I suggest you rename Wacko, will you allow Austin to secede from Texas and become independent as well?

What about what you teach in your schools – will you rewrite the history of the Alamo so Jesus wins? As you become an independent oil-savvy nation, will you join OPEC? Are the rumors true that after independence, you want to buy Mexico because it costs less than you expected?

In case you do secede, here are a few new planks to consider –

** Guns for Peace swap – submit a handgun/get an AR 15
** People who own land get one and a half votes
** Pass the “Suck It Up Initiative” – outlaw divorce
** Yearly re-registering during Jesus Week to qualify for voting
** Award medals to Uvalde police for protecting each other
** Finance a (wall) hanging of Nancy Pelosi in the State Senate
** Outlaw all contraception except chastity belts
** Ban foreign languages
** Elect Clarence Thomas president of Texas

Summer Lemonade – Happy July 4

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The thoughtful people of the Texas Republican party issued its 2022 platform designed to reflect God, Guns, and White-Out. In case you missed it.

2022 Texas Republican Platform

Reject “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election”
Abolish the constitutional power to levy income taxes
Reject the Equal Rights Amendment
End all gun safety measures
Abolish the Federal Reserve
Abolish the Department of Education
Arm teachers
Return Christianity to schools and government
Affirm that homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice
End gay marriage
Withdraw from the United Nations
Withdraw from the World Health Organization

** Call for a vote for the people of Texas to determine
“Whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status
as an independent nation.” 
**

Hi everyone, Hermione here … having a good summer?

I say go for it Texas – be your own country, go all right wing nut, and while we’re at it, lets’s add a few other states to your master plan as well – Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Florida come to mind. I mean go for it all, oh noble and wise longhorns … you have your own grid and we all saw how that worked out. No corruption or incompetence there, you know, being non-Federal and all.

Do you really believe that independence is the God-given right of everyone? After you talk to women about that, once you secede and move the capitol to Waco which I suggest you rename Wacko, will you allow Austin to secede from Texas and become independent as well?

What about what you teach in your schools – will you rewrite the history of the Alamo so Jesus wins? As you become an independent oil-savvy nation, will you join OPEC? Are the rumors true that after independence, you want to buy Mexico because it costs less than you expected?

In case you do secede, here are a few new planks to consider –

** Guns for Peace swap – submit a handgun/get an AR 15
** People who own land get one and a half votes
** Pass the “Suck It Up Initiative” – outlaw divorce
** Yearly re-registering during Jesus Week to qualify for voting
** Award medals to Uvalde police for protecting each other
** Finance a (wall) hanging of Nancy Pelosi in the State Senate
** Outlaw all contraception except chastity belts
** Ban foreign languages
** Elect Clarence Thomas president of Texas

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The Merrick Garland Conundrum
by Jack Goldsmith / NY Times

The evidence gathered by the Jan. 6 committee and in some of the federal cases against those involved in the Capitol attack pose for Attorney General Merrick Garland one of the most consequential questions that any attorney general has ever faced: Should the United States indict former President Donald Trump?

The basic allegations against Mr. Trump are well known. In disregard of advice by many of his closest aides, including Attorney General William Barr, he falsely claimed that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and stolen; he pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes for Joe Biden during the electoral count in Congress on Jan. 6; and he riled up a mob, directed it to the Capitol and refused for a time to take steps to stop the ensuing violence.

To indict Mr. Trump for these and other acts, Mr. Garland must make three decisions, each more difficult than the previous, and none of which has an obvious answer.

First, he must determine whether the decision to indict Mr. Trump is his to make. If Mr. Garland decides that a criminal investigation of Mr. Trump is warranted, Justice Department regulations require him to appoint a special counsel if the investigation presents a conflict of interest for the department and if Mr. Garland believes such an appointment would be in the public interest.

The department arguably faces a conflict of interest. Mr. Trump is a political adversary of Mr. Garland’s boss, President Biden. Mr. Trump is also Mr. Biden’s likeliest political opponent in the 2024 presidential election. Mr. Garland’s judgments impact the political fate of Mr. Biden and his own possible tenure in office.

The appearance of a conflict sharpened when Mr. Biden reportedly told his inner circle that Mr. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, and complained about Mr. Garland’s dawdling on the matter.

Even if conflicted, Mr. Garland could keep full control over Mr. Trump’s legal fate if he believes that a special counsel would not serve the public interest. Some will argue that the public interest in a fair-minded prosecution would best be served by appointment of a quasi-independent special counsel, perhaps one who is a member of Mr. Trump’s party.

But no matter who leads it, a criminal investigation of Mr. Trump would occur in a polarized political environment and overheated media environment. In this context, Mr. Garland could legitimately conclude that the public interest demands that the Trump matter be guided by the politically accountable person whom the Senate confirmed in 2021 by a vote of 70-30.

If Mr. Garland opens a Trump investigation and keeps the case — decisions he might already have made — the second issue is whether he has adequate evidence to indict Mr. Trump. The basic question here is whether, in the words of Justice Department guidelines, Mr. Trump’s acts constitute a federal offense and “the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.”

These will be hard conclusions for Mr. Garland to reach. He would have to believe that the department could probably convince a unanimous jury that Mr. Trump committed crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Garland cannot rest this judgment on the Jan. 6 committee’s one-sided factual recitations or legal contentions.

Nor can he put much stock in a ruling by a federal judge who, in a civil subpoena dispute — a process that requires a significantly lower standard of proof to prevail than in a criminal trial — concluded that Mr. Trump (who was not represented) “more likely than not” committed a crime related to Jan. 6.

Instead, Mr. Garland must assess how any charges against Mr. Trump would fare in an adversarial criminal proceeding administered by an independent judge, where Mr. Trump’s lawyers will contest the government’s factual and legal contentions, tell his side of events, raise many defenses and appeal every important adverse legal decision to the Supreme Court.

The two most frequently mentioned crimes Mr. Trump may have committed are the corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding (the Jan. 6 vote count) and conspiracy to defraud the United states (in working to overturn election results). Many have noted that Mr. Trump can plausibly defend these charges by arguing that he lacked criminal intent because he truly believed that massive voter fraud had taken place.

Mr. Trump would also claim that key elements of his supposedly criminal actions — his interpretations of the law, his pressure on Mr. Pence, his delay in responding to the Capitol breach and more — were exercises of his constitutional prerogatives as chief executive.

Mr. Garland would need to assess how these legally powerful claims inform the applicability of criminal laws to Mr. Trump’s actions in what would be the first criminal trial of a president. He would also consider the adverse implications of a Trump prosecution for more virtuous future presidents.

If Mr. Garland concludes that Mr. Trump has committed convictable crimes, he would face the third and hardest decision: whether the national interest would be served by prosecuting Mr. Trump. This is not a question that lawyerly analysis alone can resolve. It is a judgment call about the nature, and fate, of our democracy.

A failure to indict Mr. Trump in these circumstances would imply that a president — who cannot be indicted while in office — is literally above the law, in defiance of the very notion of constitutional government.

It would encourage lawlessness by future presidents, none more so than Mr. Trump should he win the next election. By contrast, the rule of law would be vindicated by a Trump conviction. And it might be enhanced by a full judicial airing of Mr. Trump’s possible crimes in office, even if it ultimately fails.

And yet Mr. Garland cannot be sanguine that a Trump prosecution would promote national reconciliation or enhance confidence in American justice. Indicting a past and possible future political adversary of the current president would be a cataclysmic event from which the nation would not soon recover.

It would be seen by many as politicized retribution. The prosecution would take many years to conclude; would last through, and deeply impact, the next election; and would leave Mr. Trump’s ultimate fate to the next administration, which could be headed by Mr. Trump.

Along the way, the prosecution would further enflame our already-blazing partisan acrimony; consume the rest of Mr. Biden’s term; embolden, and possibly politically enhance, Mr. Trump; and threaten to set off tit-for-tat recriminations across presidential administrations.

The prosecution thus might jeopardize Mr. Garland’s cherished aim to restore norms of Justice Department “independence and integrity”  even if he prosecutes Mr. Trump in the service of those norms. And if the prosecution fails, many will conclude that the country and the rule of law suffered tremendous pain for naught.

Mr. Garland’s decisions will be deeply controversial and have consequences beyond his lifetime. It is easy to understand, contrary to his many critics, why he is gathering as much information as possible — including what has emerged from the Jan. 6 committee and the prosecution of the higher-ups involved in the Capitol breach — before making these momentous judgments.

Mr. Goldsmith served in the George W. Bush administration as an assistant attorney general, office of legal counsel, and as special counsel to the general counsel of the Department of Defense.

Dr. Vanilla / Vintage Summer Songs

Girls In Their Summer Clothes / Springsteen

It’s Summertime / The Jamies
Boomtown / Some Dude

happy birthday Dennis

Summer Lemonade – Summer Solstice

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

In case you missed the Santa Barbara Solstice parade, I hope you have a parade in your future. Long ago, I enjoyed the privilege to be on the Solstice board in the 70’s and early 80’s, with the local musical talent already in place – Jim Messina connected the event with top-grade local talent like Kenny Loggins, Jackson Brown, and Bonnie Raitt, who performed for free at the end of the parade.

The idea was to bring geographical and cultural blocks of Santa Barbara together. Neighbors and groups with common interests making their own toys, crafting their collective vision, then parading and flaunting it. An everyperson-peacock parade without shame.

Consequently, the originators produced a parade that included the sidelines, where the audience would join in. The founder, Michael Gonzalez was gay in a time (you have no idea) when it was extremely difficult to be so. He once quipped to me that at the beginning of his quest, “I thought of parading down State Street in a closet.”

Michael died of Aids in the early nineties and never witnessed the ongoing ten block spectacle it became. The experience combines exhibitionism with sideline participation. Just about everyone gets noticed … if they want to – Hermione

Summer Lemonade – In Case You Missed It

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

As we all look for more positive news, the Lemonade Stand returns to a more uplifting subject, the wedding ceremony. One of our writers enjoys the privilege of officiating this rite of passage, and today, the ceremony he uses is the first In Case You Missed It piece of the summer – Hermione

The Wedding Ceremony

There are many mysteries that are bigger than us all – is there more than one life to live? How does pain turn into laughter? Why are promises so easy to make and so hard to keep?

There are other mysteries we are eventually capable of solving – how to love and be loved, how to forgive and move on, who is in charge of what … and if being in charge really matters.

Yet the mystery that unites us all today is one of the most engaging of all. How do two people – strangers – come to love each other and be married? How do two families sometimes from separate parts of the world come to merge their blood and their dreams? How does the Universe turn, to allow such unlikeliness to unfold?

This much is clear – we are all somebody’s children, and as such we have access to knowing what it is like to be small. To be afraid of the dark and of the unknown … to be afraid of being alone.

And this much is also clear – these two people who wish to marry traveled the unknown to get here, and after this day of celebration and dancing, of good food and sacred ritual, they will once again travel the unknown, but this time they will travel together – the unknown of bodies changing, the unknown of a family growing … the unknown and passage of moving beyond ourselves.

And these fellow travelers will have our blessing because we are here to honor their rite of passage and to declare that we truly love them. This day of their marriage will always be a day of joy and celebration in our hearts, and may they always find love in their union and journey.

And to these two families merging as one, may I simply say this – you are the parents and brothers and sisters of both, and you now share a new bond in the deepest sense of the word. You will share the same blood and drink the same wine. You will eat the same bread and embrace the same spirit. You will laugh and cry and dream and hope together, and the center of this communion is alive today in the body of your love and commitment.

                                             The  Offering

The Universe turned to bring two people closer, it turned to witness the moon in a star-filled darkness coming to dance before the sun … it turned to honor a dawn finding its way into the light, the image of two people offering their love.

And so this couple standing before us turns to each other to make their vow – vowing to honor life with their honesty and to respect love with their devotion, vowing to understand and nourish the family and soil from which everything grows.

And today, the Universe and this sacred marriage which emerges from its spirit, includes us all in its gift of light, bringing two separate worlds and families together, turning and traveling through space to allow their love to unfold.

Personal Vows

Ring Ceremony

I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.
Receive this ring as a token of wedded love.

With the authority vested in me by The Internet,
I now pronounce you …

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Speaking of relationships, one size does not fit all

By Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno / reprinted NY Times

TOKYO — In almost every way, Akihiko Kondo is an ordinary Japanese man. He’s pleasant and easy to talk to. He has friends and a steady job and wears a suit and tie to work. There’s just one exception: Mr. Kondo is married to a fictional character.

His beloved, Hatsune Miku, is a turquoise-haired, computer-synthesized doll. After a decade-long relationship, one that Mr. Kondo says pulled him out of a deep depression, he held a small, unofficial wedding ceremony in Tokyo in 2018. Miku, wore white, and Akihiko Kondo a matching tuxedo.

In Miku, Mr. Kondo has found love, inspiration and solace, he says. He and Miku sleep and watch movies together. Sometimes, they sneak off on romantic getaways, posting photos on Instagram.

Mr. Kondo, 38, knows that people think it’s strange, even harmful. He knows that some — possibly those reading this article — hope he’ll grow out of it. And, yes, he knows that Miku isn’t real. But he says his feelings for her are. Mr. Kondo adds he plans to be faithful to Miku until he dies.

Mr. Kondo is one of thousands of people in Japan who have entered into unofficial marriages with fictional characters in recent decades, served by a vast industry aimed at satisfying the every whim of a fervent fan culture. Tens of thousands more around the globe have joined online groups where they discuss their commitment to characters from anime, manga and video games.

For some, the relationships are just for a laugh. Mr. Kondo, however, has long known that he didn’t want a human partner. Partly, it was because he rejected the rigid expectations of Japanese family life. But mostly, it was because he had always felt an intense — and, even to himself, inexplicable — attraction to fictional characters.

Accepting his feelings was hard at first. But life with Miku, he argues, has advantages over being with a human partner: She’s always there for him, she’ll never betray him, and he’ll never have to see her get ill or die.

Mr. Kondo sees himself as part of a growing movement of people who identify as “fictosexuals.” That’s partly what has motivated him to publicize his wedding and to sit for awkward interviews with news media around the globe.

He wants the world to know that people like him are out there and, with advances in artificial intelligence and robotics allowing for more profound interactions with the inanimate, that their numbers are likely to increase.

Pretend people, true feelings

It’s not unusual for a work of art to provoke real emotions — anger, sorrow, joy — and the phenomenon of desiring the fictional is not unique to Japan.

But the idea that fictional characters can inspire real affection or even love may well have reached its highest expression in modern Japan, where the sentiment has given rise to a highly visible subculture and become the basis for a thriving industry. “When we’re together, she makes me smile,” Mr. Kondo said in a recent interview. “In that sense, she’s real.”

The products for women are especially extensive. Fans can buy love letters from their crushes, reproductions of their clothes and even scents meant to evoke their presence. Hotels offer special packages, featuring spa treatments and elaborate meals, for people celebrating their favorite character’s birthday. And on social media, people post photos, art and mash notes promoting their “oshi” — a term widely used by Japanese fans to describe the objects of their affection.

For some, the relationships represent a rejection of the entrenched “breadwinner-housewife” model of marriage in Japan, said Agnès Giard, a researcher at the University of Paris Nanterre who has extensively studied fictional marriages.

“To the general public, it seems indeed foolish to spend money, time and energy on someone who is not even alive,” Dr. Giard said. “But for character lovers, this practice is seen as essential. It makes them feel alive, happy, useful and part of a movement with higher goals in life.”

While Mr. Kondo’s relationship with Miku is still not accepted by his family, it has opened other doors for him. In 2019, he was invited to join a symposium at Kyoto University to speak about his relationship. He traveled there with a new life-size doll of Miku he recently had commissioned. His talk ended in humor with what he believes are additional advantages of fictional marriage.

Always on time
Doesn’t mind waiting
Low-cost healthcare coverage
Can be disassembled

As any Jewish mother would be prone to say, “what’s there not to like?” … though it does present the question what would a grandkid look like?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Most of what I really needed to know about how to live,
and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain,
but right there in the sand box at nursery school.”  

Robert Fulghum

Share everything
Play fair
Don’t hit people 
Put things back where you found them 
Clean up your own mess 
Don’t take things that aren’t yours 
Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody 
Wash your hands before you eat 
Flush 
Take a nap every afternoon 
When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together

Hermione Luck – How Dare We?

How dare we tell other countries how to deal with their citizens? How dare we claim to be special, godly, and stamp ourselves as leaders of the free world? Free to do what? Kill each other? Is it my imagination or is there a mass killing every week, seemingly every day with some kind of an assault rifle?

Two hours after the Uvalde, Texas execution of grade school children and their teachers, instead of talking basketball in the setting of prime-time play-offs, Golden State Warrior coach Steve Kerr valiantly found fault with his nation –

“Eighty-five miles from here, fourteen children, maybe more, lost their lives today … and there are fifty senators who would rather hold onto power than do something about this”, pleaded Kerr, referring to the Mitch McConnell Republicans and their Faustian bargain with the N.R.A..

Kerr has bona fide credentials when it comes to mass murder. In 1984 as president of American University in Lebanon, his father was among those assassinated in a political attack leaving a grieving son behind to personally deal with gun violence.

Here are my thoughts … when Governor Abbott of Texas first reported that a handgun was used, I thought to myself, that would be interesting – a mass shooter who could look each person in the eye when he shot his victim, bullet by bullet.

In this very weird and uniquely American way, mass killings and the cowardly use of assault rifles aren’t usually personal when it comes to the victims. Most likely, the executioner (almost always a he) isn’t executing these victims he doesn’t know, he’s executing the world around him, he’s executing the rest of us.

Then we hear McConnell and others say it’s not the gun, it’s the person. Sure Mitch, except for the fact that 30% of America is depressed. Or over-medicated. Or bipolar. Probably way more than 30%. Is that the Russian roulette we’re willing to play?

So where does that leave us? This week in America, nineteen children and their teachers were executed with an assault rifle, and on the same day, the Russians massively bombed eastern Ukraine and eight people were killed, twelve were injured.

Please tell me, what is the difference between bombs and assault rifles? Don’t they both employ the same ole’ ‘no one looking anyone in the eye’ kind of cowardly murder? And what’s the next step when it comes to weapons available to eighteen-year-olds? Will it all wind up in the lap of the Supreme Court?

And what will these supposed highly intelligent protectors of an 18th century Constitution that protected the right to use muskets, what will they do when some Marjorie Taylor Greene lunatic proposes upping the ante with the right to bear bombs?

You know, so we can all protect ourselves from the evils of government. Isn’t that why every citizen needs all of that firepower? I wonder what Clarence Thomas would say?

The right to bear bombs.
Have a great summer.  

Hermione

New Lemonade – The La La Award

Letter to our Readers

In a world that exists with so much to give, yet considers taking as the smarter play, the ’21-’22 season of The Lemonade Stand concludes with the presentation of its initial La La Award. Three more summer editions will be issued on Jun 15, Jul 15, and Aug 15 … at that point, we will decide if we will engage in a ’22-’23 season.

The La La Lemon is a comic relief award that reflects the need for our culture to laugh at itself. Few comedians exemplify this ability better than Larry David who first came to our attention writing for Seinfeld, and in that series, was the prototype for the George Costanza character.

Finding a home in the self-important world of progressive America, David’s current HBO series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, is now in its eleventh season as it showcases Larry’s disappointment in almost everyone he knows, as well as his general inability to co-exist in a world that often cuts in line.

Have a great summer – Hermione

Larry’s Rules

The First Annual Lemonade Comic Relief Award

🍋

The La La

🏆

April 17, 2022

To Larry David’s agent:

On behalf of The Lemonade Stand, a blog with more than one hundred followers including pets, we are honored to inform Mr. David that he is the recipient of the very first annual Lemonade Comic Relief Award, the soon-coveted La La.

The name La La was inspired by the character of L.A. Larry in Curb Your Enthusiasm, a man who somehow balances himself awkwardly on that thin line between sincere confrontation and being totally insulting. 

In a time of pandemic, Curb has provided comic relief to so many with its quirky skinny walk into the kvetching world of a successful L.A. Larry as opposed to the despairing world of an aimless N.Y. George. Mr. David’s awards include

A La La Lemon Statuette – if undesired, bought back for $10.95.

A Lemonade Book – crypto worth >$65,411 or a pet rock

We’d love to have a ceremony with an acceptance speech from Mr. David, and we ask that his speech be no longer than two to five minutes, please. Our ceremony guidelines include no crying or slapping anyone in the face. We look forward to his response.

Hermione Luck /publisher

*** ENTERTAINER LARRY DAVID THREATENS TO SUE THE LEMONADE STAND ***

Certified letter from Larry David received 4/26/2022

To whomever and whatever lemon is on duty:

I understand that I’m supposed to be flattered by this Comic Relief Award, which has about the same impact on me as the time I was told “you’re handsome” by a drunk person at the Santa Monica Pier, who then asked me if I’d pick him up off the ground.

Flattery is getting an Oscar maybe, or perhaps an Emmy or a Yiddy (the Yiddish Tony), but a Lemon? Let me make it clear to whoever is in charge at your Lemonade Stand – I shall not, I do not want your award. Nor do I want some La La trophy to be named after me in perpetuity. I have contacted my lawyers to proceed with serious litigation if you do not cease and desist – Larry David

*** Lemonade reply to Larry David // 5/1/2022 ***

Dear Mr. David,

On behalf of the entire Lemonade staff and our many readers, we find ourselves disappointed that you consider our award to be insulting. Although we’d prefer a more personal presentation to you at a time and place of your choice, we also have no problem with someone receiving your award in absentia. Like maybe fellow Curb co-stars Ted Danson or JB Smoove.

May we assure you, we are not looking for publicity. If none of this is satisfactory, we will be happy to mail the La La and the original Lemonade book.

Hermione Luck

*** Larry David reply // 5/10/2022 ***

Lemonade People –

Tell me, what am I supposed to do with a trophy of a lemon? And you want me to give a two-to-five-minute acceptance speech? I’d rather have my fingernails removed and pasted to my forehead.

What kind of farkakte name is L.A. Larry anyway? It makes me sound like a pimp or a used car salesman. Actually, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a pimp, I think I’d make a very good pimp, but a used car salesman is insulting.

I mean, didn’t we have enough of the La La concept a few years ago and take their Oscar back? You Lemonade people are behind the curve – giving a La La award, it’s like crypto, it’ll never go far. And forget about Ted Danson or JB. They have absolutely no interest or time unless you include strippers – Larry David

*** Lemonade reply // 5/12/2022 ***

Dear Mr. David,

We get it about Ted Danson and JB Smoove. Again, we’re not looking for publicity, we just want to present our award. Look, Larry, we know where you live … one way or another, you’re getting the fu#king lemon.

There is also a consistent rumor going around La La Land that one of your producers wants to use this award and lawsuit as content for a new Curb episode. We will not stand in your way.

The Lemonade People

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Dexter King

Lemonade Entertainment Critic

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We at Lemonade do hope that Larry David will change his mind and accept our very first La La, and that his speech reflects the faith that so many of us have in him.

We don’t want to put too much pressure on Mr. David, but if indeed he accepts the Lemon, we’d like to inspire his speech by also announcing that this year we are awarding a posthumous La La for the best acceptance speech ever given at the Academy Awards … to another Larry.

When Hollywood Had Class

presenter: Cary Grant // recipient: Laurence ‘Larry’ Olivier

before the era of Will Smith



kRIS Krankle – Will Smith

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kRIS Krankle

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women

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An interesting discussion transpired at our most recent MILDEW meeting about Will Smith and his behavior at the Oscars – one of our regulars, Rico, started the ball rolling by saying “That was a girl slap.” Rico owns an Italian meat store near our house and always gives us a discount so I listen to whatever he says.

“It was absolutely no balls the way I see it,” Rico claimed. “I mean if that’s my wife, you all know my wife Anastasia – need I say more? – and she looks over at me and gives me the stink eye, you know where she’s lookin’ at me like do I want to ever eat dinner again, I’m going up there and take the guy out, that’s what I’d do. The dude was a wimp with that slap.”

First of all, I’m pretty sure nobody in group watched the actual academy awards, unless maybe ESPN was blacked out. I assume some of them probably saw news clips or listened to conversation at lunch. Yet all of them seemed to know what happened and were determined to have an opinion, which I have to say is unusual for our group.

“I’d go further. I’d cut off his particulars.” This was Alan talking in Alan code that at five foot one and a half since he was eleven, he was a fierce warrior and he’d cut off Chris Rock’s balls. Alan was famous in group for standing up for the woman he loved even though he’s never dated.

That is when JuJu who’s been in the group for two years asked Alan, “What you gonna do with those balls? I mean, if you ever go crazy, and most of us think you already crazy Alan, you got a pair of balls, they hot, and now what you gonna do with ‘em? Believe me, I could sell ‘em in two seconds.” JuJu is an aspiring entrepreneur.

One of the quieter voices in the group, Barney, had this to say – “I don’t know … security asked Will Smith to leave after the incident, and he didn’t. What does he think, that’s he’s Putin or something?” That’s as close as we came to talking about Ukraine. Discuss the slap or Ukraine, only in America.

Everyone that night seemed to have a strong opinion. Me? What do I think? I mean Will Smith knows that Chris Rock is a comedian, right? This wasn’t malicious gossip or anything, more a comedian flirting with the edge. Isn’t that what they do? And speaking of doing something, Jaden Smith twitted “That’s the way we do it.” I’m not sure, but that doesn’t seem to come under the category of great parenting.

There were thirteen of us Wednesday night, and I’d say all in all, although there were comments about how much crapola black women have put up with, most of us leaned towards the comedian’s questionable taste and Will Smith’s undeniable guilt. There was also a point of view that no one had seemed to consider … of course, it had to be Lorenzo.

Lorenzo is gay who’s been coming to MILDEW for two months now. He’s from Waco, Texas, and to be honest I’ve always been afraid of people from Waco, Texas … for one, when I was a kid, my family loved to pronounce it Wacko, as if we were lucky not to be living there. And secondly, well, Texas appears to be a few marbles short in the human rights department.

So at the end of the group, after our therapist made each of us define the word masculinity, Lorenzo tells us before we got up to leave, “The way I see it, you have the wrong villain my friends. In my book, Chris Rock is a mere player, a minstrel perhaps, a clown, a clown in a Shakespearean drama.

“And Will Smith plays the role of the classic dupe, the husband trying to prove himself even though it’s too late. His wife already had ‘an entanglement’ as she called it with one of her son’s friends. The man has been reduced in size for a long time now. The way I see it, it was the diva who pulled the strings in this drama.”

Arnie yelled out, I love Arnie, “What the fu*k does that all mean, Lorenzo?” Lorenzo stood up and started to put on his coat.

“It means, Arnie, that the man we saw stalk the stage was simply a weak man trying to prove himself. I have a friend in Hollywood, a producer who has stories about a lot of people, especially the divas, like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez. Apparently, Kardashian is very professional and easy to work with, Lopez walks around with a stick up her ass, but Pinkett-Smith is downright scary – cold, calculating, obsessively ambitious, and chronically dismissive.”

Lorenzo summed it up this way – “What he did, Will Smith, what he did was wrong. More than wrong, so much was wrong – not leaving when asked to leave, taking the spotlight away from so many, using his acceptance speech to try to exonerate himself, all of it. It was Trumpian.

“But whatever your opinion, my fellow Mildew men, consider that Mr. Smith is already serving his sentence. Just pause and be glad you don’t live on Planet Jada.” Lorenzo buttoned up his coat and ended with his signature smile and “Meow.” 

Lorenzo may be right, but I’m a simple man and I do best with simple answers. Did Will Smith hit Chris Rock or did Jada? Would this all be a different story if Jada got up and slapped the comedian? All I know is this – it’s Hollywood, so who knows what really goes on, what’s real, what’s fake? I’m so glad I can just go home and shut the door – kRIS

Amy Lighthouse – Eggplant Parmesan

Amy’s Guide to Staying In

Amy Lighthouse is a self-described over-achiever, who worked at Snapchat and Apple before going into venture capital. During the initial Covid onslaught, she wrote for The Lemonade Stand offering strategies of how to cope with quarantine and staying in. Her recipes and cable television suggestions have boosted the spirits of numerous households who credit Amy with keeping a number of families from harming each other.

Eggplant Parmesan

PREP TIME. 1 hour

COOK TIME. 2 hours

SERVES  6

Ingredients and grocery list
  • Eggplant
  • 3 pounds eggplant (Choose the large variety. Make sure they are firm and smooth. Also, choose male eggplants. They have fewer seeds and have a rounder, smoother bottom)
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt
  • generous amounts of olive oil
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/2 pound buffalo-milk mozzarella (if the balls are small, get two)
  • Sauce
  • 2 28 ounces cans of San Marzano (any brand is fine) canned whole peeled tomatoes (add another can if you want extra sauce left over)
  • cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • enough olive oil to cover the pan
Directions

Peel the eggplant and slice long ways into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle each layer with salt and place into a colander, overlapping and salting as you go. Each slice should be salted. After you fill the colander, place a plate on top and weight it with a heavy pan or a tea kettle filled with water. Let the eggplant sweat for 30 minutes or more.

  • While the eggplant sweats, make the sauce.
  • Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and let it cook until is sizzles (do not brown the garlic).
  • Add the canned whole tomatoes and their juice and salt.
  • Stir and chop coarsely using a potato masher or two knives chopping crossways. Lower the heat and simmeruntil reduced by almost half.
  • Remove the eggplant from the colander and thoroughly pat dry each slice.
  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet or two with olive oil.
  • Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off any excess. Place on the baking sheets and drizzle the each slice with olive oil. Bake until brown on one side (about 15 minutes or so) and tun over and brown the other side. Repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant.
  • Using a 7×11 baking dish (I like ceramic or earthenware, but you can use stainless steel as well), spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and layer the eggplant until it completely covers the bottom (it’s like a puzzle!).
  • Sprinkle generously with the grated parmigiano-reggiano. Add another layer of sauce and then the eggplant. Continue to build the layers until you are about two layers from the top, then add a single layer of sliced mozzarella. Finish with a couple more layers of eggplant, sauce, and parmesan. Finish the top with parmesan.
  • Bake on the upper third of a 400 degree oven. Check it after it’s been in the oven for 20 minutes. You may find that it throws off more liquid as it bakes. If so, press down on the eggplant and draw off any excess liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes or so. Let stand for a good 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

Dr. Vanilla

   Make a Better World To Live In

Tata Vega and Judith Hill