Adultery: Trump Vs. Trump

Remember when Presidential candidate Donald Trump saw fit to haul out a panel of Bill Clinton’s sexual accusers to shame the ex-President’s wife less than two hours before he was to debate her?

Trump must have judged that his voters – Republicans, social conservatives and Christian evangelicals – would consider such tawdry extra-marital behavior disqualifying. (And let’s be clear: Hillary was the victim – not the adulterer!)

So, let’s see how Republicans, social conservatives and Christian evangelicals deal with someone who cheated on his wife (who had just delivered his son) with this woman…

And this woman…

Don’t hold your breath waiting for moral consistency.

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The Donald Jumps The Shark…

As of today, March 22, 2018, Donald Trump has jumped the shark.

I know that seems impossible.

220px-Fonzie_jumps_the_sharkEver since Fonzie took to water skis and jumped over a shark on a fifth-season episode of “Happy Days” in the fall of 1977 – “jumping the shark” has come to mean that moment when an enterprise has gone beyond belief, sanity or relevancy and soared into absurdity and inconsequence.

Then again, on second thought, I only wish today’s events had rendered Trump inconsequential.

Still, I can’t escape the feeling that The Donald has – given today’s events – jumped the genus selachimorpha.

Think about what we learned today. Just today. Just on this one, singular day.

And imagine if the President involved was not named Trump. (If his name was, perhaps Obama?) And yet, even though his name is Trump — it’s still incredible. (Though, perversely, all-too-credible — given that Trump is the guy involved.)

MI-BJ392_GALLEO_G_20110502182208Today we learned that…

The President’s lead attorney, John Dowd, has quit the legal team that’s defending Trump against Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It seems Dowd might have gotten upset that Trump just hired a new lawyer — a FOX News conspiracy hack named Joe Digenova. Or it could be because Trump just won’t listen to sound legal advice. Who knows? Chaos reigns.

636544528223527311-AP-GERMANY-SECURITY-CONFERENCE-97604626On this same day we learn that Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster is out – and right wing, war hawk, bull-goose-loony John Bolton is taking his place.

Are you psyched for war in North Korea and Iran? Did you love the Iraq War? If so, John Bolton is your man.

481314159.jpg.0So, how does Trump – who ran on his blistering critique of the war in Iraq as a huge mistake, now embrace one of the primary advocates of that mistaken war? Who knows? Chaos reigns.

And then there’s Trump’s opening salvo in a new trade war with China. Today, The Donald announced tariffs directed at China that prompted the Dow-Jones Index to plummet 724 points.

Trump’s tariff announcement and subsequent Dow plunge would normally be the big news of the day. In fact, any of these stories would’ve been the major headline of the month in any other presidential administration.

But not in Donnie’s dystopian dynasty…

Somehow — perhaps through his mad, calculating, perverse subgenius — Trump managed to bury what would surely have been the biggest scandal of any prior Presidency.

nn_kwe_trump_stormy_daniels_180320_1920x1080.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Playboy centerfold Karen MacDougal appeared on CNN today.

She spoke to Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview and detailed a year-long sexual affair she had with Trump in the very same year that Donnie’s wife Melania gave birth to their son – and the same year he was also carrying on with Stormy Daniels.

All this madness in just one day.

Our national head is spinning.

And it isn’t event Stormy Sunday yet.49F3553000000578-5482961-Donald_Trump_and_porn_Stormy_Daniels_aka_Stephanie_Clifford_pose-a-102_1520614068866

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My PyeongChang Diary (Part 8)

My final full day in South Korea was a busy one that would take me from our hotel in Phoenix Snow Park to the Olympic International Broadcast Center, back to Phoenix Park – and on to the Jinbu Station: destination Gangneung.


I begin my day at 8:00 AM at the International Broadcast Center, about an hour away from Phoenix Park, depending on traffic. On this day, as the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are wrapping up, there’s no traffic. The IBC is a massive structure, built for the Games, which houses the central broadcast operations for NBC — and all the other networks covering the Games.


When I first arrived at this facility nearly a month ago (to get a bit of pre-Olympic tech training), it was a bustling hive of human activity. Not today. Aside from a few final events and the Closing Ceremony, the Games are at a close — and so is the IBC.  We’ve come to deliver our 15-minute feature “20 Years of Olympic Snowboarding” — scheduled to air before the Closing Ceremony.


Here’s the edit bay we’ve been assigned to so we can listen to the final audio mix, make any last-minute tweaks, do some color adjustments — and prep the sequence to roll-in on air. This is a luxury mansion compared to the metal box we’ve been working in for the past month.


Likewise, the NBC commissary at the IBC is a 5-star restaurant compared to our “Kimteen” at Phoenix Park. I got a quality breakfast here to start what would be a long, adventurous day.


NBC is obviously (and deservedly) proud of its Olympic broadcasting history. I’m honored to be even a small part of such a fine tradition. As jobs go, this gig was one of the coolest ever!


Here’s the view outside the IBC. I’ve reviewed the audio mix for our feature — and now it’s up to our editor, Kevin, who knows the NBC ropes. I’m going back to my hotel to meet our executive producer and join him for the rest of my last full day on a journey to the east coast of South Korea.


First, I’ll have to determine which of these shuttles will take me back to Phoenix Park. The drivers speak very little English and I can’t read any Korean, so it won’t be a cinch.


Luckily, I find the right bus. These are no ordinary rides: they’re all tricked out. Every driver seems to have his own decorating style: lots of beads, fabrics and vibrant colors….


…and, of course, CURLING on the shuttle’s TV screen. Koreans seem to love curling just as much as Canadians. I’ve seen more curling than any other sport — and I’m COVERING snowboarding!


After I get back to our hotel, my executive producer, David, and I take a half-hour taxi ride to Jinbu Station — a brand spanking new train hub built to facilitate Olympic traffic.


We purchase out tickets to Gangneung from one of these competent young men. The process is very efficient — and tickets are not that expensive. Our train leaves in 15 minutes. So far, so good.


Here I am on the platform at Jinbu Station, awaiting the train to Gangneung. Will our journey be worth the effort? After a month confined to our Phoenix Snow Park compound — will we finally enjoy a legitimate Korean cultural experience? Our hopes run high.


Of course, like my bright, wonderful grandson — and my dear father before me — I love trains. So, just the sight of these freshly-laid tracks and the tunnel looming ahead fill me with anticipation.


And then — it’s here! Our train! And what a beauty it is. Check it out, Declan. Have you ever seen a cooler, sleeker train? I think I’m gonna love this trip.


We’ve got tickets for Car #6. But first, we’ve got to let the disembarking passengers off.


Here’s my boon traveling companion in his seat — ready for our ride to the coast. This journey was his idea. He has a lot of very good ideas.


Our train ride from Jinbu Station to Gangneung takes less than an hour. Here’s the inside of the terminal at Gangneung. As I said before — so far, so good.


David outside the Gangneung Station. Our plan is to take a tour bus, see the sights, find some tasty, authentic Korean food — and have a true Korean cultural experience.


The Koreans are definitely INTO these Olympics. They line up to have their photos snapped in front of the Olympic rings — flanked by the PyeonChang 2018 mascots.


Across the street from the train station, we find a “pop-up” cultural festival in what looks like a huge plastic tent– featuring everything from high-end cosmetics to hand-dripped coffee. Yes, there are Korean hipsters. And they LOVE their coffee.

23 a copy

Right next to the hipsters serving artisan coffees — these ladies in traditional garb serve tea.

Moving on, we discover a traditional Korean market — and encounter these drum and dance performers getting ready to do their thing. Looks like we’re about to have a real cultural experience…


By the way, Gangneung is a real city. After a month in the remote resort town of Phoenix Park, it’s exhilarating to be in the mix with so many Koreans in an urban environment.


Then we hit the cultural jackpot: this traditional Korean market is about six blocks long and four blocks deep. And there are very few tourists. This is the heart and soul of Gangneung.


Here’s a typical stall at the market. I don’t know what any of this stuff is. But David and I are  getting very hungry just looking at it all.

I don’t what this woman was cooking — but just the sound and smell of this boiling pot was exciting. Besides, I thought I glimpsed garlic — and that’s enough for me!


We stopped at the stall on the right and sampled these skewers in a brown sauce.  Delicious. We would later learn that they were some kind of buckwheat noodle in a spicy fish sauce.

Those who know me know I’d never eat whatever is swimming around in this pot. (Eeels?) But, once again, it was clear that we were deep into real Korean culture now. Next, we’d go EVEN deeper…


That’s right, folks. You’re looking at boiled ox head. We stumbled on a side street with four boiled ox head establishments in a row. The smell was powerful — the setting was steamy and dramatic. And the taste? Some things are best left a mystery.


After our trip down Boiled Ox Head Lane, we ran into these helpful ladies, there to provide information to tourists. They spoke quite a bit of English — and  guided us to a local restaurant.


Not only did our helpful trio lead us to a great, authentic Korean restaurant — they brokered our meal with the proprietor. The haggling went on for about 10 minutes. We were REALLY having an authentic Korean experience now.


Once our menu was determined, the service was fast and attentive. We were the only non-Koreans in the place: just what we wanted.


Here’s our main course. All these veggies and lean beef boil down into a sweet and savory stew, cooked right at our table by the restaurant staff.


It may look like we just ate everything in the restaurant — but the Koreans like to serve a lot of sides: kimchee, rice, soy bean paste (wonderful!) and many other spicy vegetables. It’s glorious. Washed down with beer. (I’ve learned to abandon the white wine thing in Korea.) A wholly satisfying end to our Korean cultural journey. And to our 2018 Olympic adventure. 고맙습니다




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A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall…

R-2057737-1261406197.jpegWe modern, sophisticated, educated folk tend to dismiss the idea of prophets: people who can see the future and comment on what’s coming.

But give a listen to this song by Bob Dylan – who was just 22-years old when “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” was released on May 27, 1963 — on the album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Freewheelin’? Not on this song.

Bob Dylan may well be the greatest poet writing in the English language since Shakespeare. Listen to his song – and read the lyrics. I will say no more.

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son
And where have you been, my darling young one
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
And what did you see, my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Recall these lines – and think about them. This was a young man, barely an adult in the early 1960’s, and he saw – and sang about – these images…

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’

Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’

I met a white man who walked a black dog

I met a young woman whose body was burning

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten

Where black is the color, where none is the number

How could such a young man see the future (and his present) so clearly?

Now, tell me there’s no such thing as prophecy…




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Parkland, Revolution & Gun Control

2a-678x381Okay, so I’m confused. Let’s review…

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads…

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”2ndAmendment

As a student of English, I appreciate the specificity of the language – and the importance of punctuation. You can’t separate a parenthetical clause from the body of a sentence and reinterpret the meaning of the sentence to suit your ideology.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

gun_lawsThe Framers — our esteemed Founding Fathers – were clearly concerned (fresh from a Revolutionary War against Britain) that we have a well-drilled local militia ready to take the field and battle against foreign aggressors. Citizen soldiers (the famous Minutemen) were therefore, armed, drilled, and prepared to face foreign armies.

But foreign invasion is simply NOT a concern today. (Unless it’s a Russian-style cyber invasion.)

banner.revSo, why do we Americans allow civilians to own military-style semi-automatic weapons? (Automatic — if you factor in bump-stocks.) Are the NRA-loving folks armed with such high-powered weapons members of a “well regulated Militia?”

I think NOT.

2nd-amendment-gun-rifle-right-to-bear-arms-pro-gun-t-shirtsSo, given that Our Founders were Englishmen (or, at least, descendants of English speakers) versed in the King’s English, they could not have envisioned the situation we confront today: untold thousands of high-powered weapons in the hands of paranoid people who aren’t members of a “well regulated Militia.”

Sorry, Wayne LaPierre, I call your bullshit. And so do the student survivors of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Like Australia – and all the other civilized countries in the world, we cannot accept mass shootings in our schools — or Country Music concerts — or anywhere else.color-Sec-amend-NRA

It’s time for effective gun control!


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My PyeongChang Diary (Part 7)

Those who know me know that I like meat. I’m an unrepentant carnivore.

26So, naturally, I have spent much of the scant recreational time I have during the Olympic Games in search of the best Korean barbeque available in the PyeongChang area.

Living in Los Angeles, I’m acquainted with the tradition of Korean barbeque – but I figured that, being in the motherland, I could treat myself to the very best. My first two attempts at local Korean BBQ dining were good – but neither was a meat-eater’s home run.

1aAnd then, last night, I found — and enjoyed — Korean BBQ heaven.

Our cameraman Corey found the place. It was a 20-minute cab ride from our Phoenix Park hotel – but we were hungry for adventure (and barbequed beef) so we were down for the excursion.

What follows is a pictorial progression through a beef lover’s Korean BBQ pilgrimage. Vegan’s need not apply…


This is the downstairs dining area. You’ll note that there are only Koreans here at this point in the evening. That is absolutely a good sign. We’ve come to the right place.

5This night was Korean Lunar New Year. And the South Koreans were enjoying one of their biggest annual holidays. (See Vietnam’s Tet.) Does the Tet Offensive ring a bell?

We didn’t realize it when we set out, but the restaurant would get very, very busy — and we would have to wait a while to be seated, unlike these folks who shared a special Asian room, with no chairs.

(No shoes, please.)

After dinner, we’d be unable to get a cab ride home because of the busy holiday, but that’s another matter.

The whole evening took 5 hours. But, all in all, it was well worth it!


The first step in traditional Korean Barbecue is to visit the butcher and buy your cuts of meat.


This woman knows her meat. She explained that the steer we’d be eating was raised organically, with no hormones, grass fed — and A #1. She was not bullshitting.

We bought our beef BEFORE we cooked it. That’s the way it goes. You buy your meat first, then you get seated — and your drinks and everything else are billed later. Meat is Job #1.

With cameraman Corey in the lead, we hauled out cuts of beef to the upstairs dining room after a 20-minute wait. We were famished — but we anticipated beefy, tasty, spicy joy in our near future.


The upstairs dining room. It’s getting busy. The meat is about to get cooking…


Unlike our cold, steel and glass hotel in Phoenix Park, this Korean BBQ place features warm wood and delightful crystal chandeliers — which we would later learn are from the United States!


Seated across the table from me are my AP, Agatha, and my EP, David. We’re all hungry.


First come the condiments: onions, garlic, chili paste, peppers, sea salt & other culinary joys.


Next, they fire up the tabletop grill. The main meat-lovers event is about to go down…


As the meat grills, you combine ingredients into your bowl — in my case, chili paste, peppers, onions and garlic — so you can plunge your beef bits deep into this spicy heaven.

Next, Corey pulls down the exhaust fan. Otherwise, we’ll all be asphyxiated….


Our waiter provides some assistance. Everyone is helpful. They all want us to have a great time.


As our first beef course sears on the grill, our crew poses for a pre-meal photo. We’ve all been working hard — and we’re eager for a great meal. Luckily, David & Corey are Korean BBQ experts.

Corey took over as grillmaster. For those of you who know me from Greek Easter — you can appreciate how much I respect Corey’s Korean BBQ chops!


Each cut of beef was better than the next — and the last course was the best of all…

Corey was far too modest. His grilling of that last fabulous cut of beef was superb. But our meal was not yet complete. Corey had another great idea…


At Corey’s suggestion we ordered this. Somehow, all of this tasty goodness boiled down into an incredible, sweet beef and veggie soup.


And finally, here’s our host. Jean went to college and spent a lot of time in Los Angeles (as have a lot of educated South Koreans we’re met). She returned to South Korea a year ago  and started running this restaurant — recognized on Trip Advisor as the best in PyeongChang.

I’m awarding her an Winter Olympic Gold Medal for the Best Korean BBQ.

All hail, Jean!


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My PyeongChang Diary (Part 6)

It’s Valentine’s Day here in PyeongChang, South Korea (though not in the U.S. quite yet) – and I began the day hoping it would turn out to be a love fest for Shaun White, the greatest Olympic snowboarder who ever dropped into a 22-foot halfpipe.

I could tell right away that the tempo of movement and people and energy here at our Phoenix Snow Park venue had ticked up noticeably from previous days.2

3The view from just outside our edit bay showed that folks were starting to head toward the halfpipe to see if Shaun White could win his third gold medal in four ties. Or whether his Japanese rival, Ayumu Hirano, would carry the day.

Or who knows? Maybe some dark horse rider — perhaps one of the other three young American boarders who qualified for the finals — would surprise us all and snatch the gold medal from the favorites.

4I tramped through the snow toward the halfpipe, negotiating the crowds that had come to share in the excitement – and to be present when Winter Olympic history might be made.

It’s good to be a credentialed member of the press. You get to pass through your own entrance, and skip the lines to a degree.

But, even with credentials, there are times when you’re packed in with the fans. And that’s cool, too. You can feel the buzz.

Small wonder. People have traveled from all over the world to be a part of this day. This event. This moment.6

9I managed to skip the longest section of the line and take an express route to the pipe – passing a Korean band that must have just played to warm up the crowd. There’s always a musical performance before these events. I wished I had gotten to the venue in time to see these guys do what they do.

Arriving at the base of the halfpipe, the size of the crowd was large – and growing. This was clearly the biggest live audience I’ve yet seen at our venue. They all know that Shaun White is in the house. And something cool might be happening.1011

Here’s the halfpipe. If Shaun’s on today – he’s going to write the greatest chapter in the history of Olympic snowboarding in that pipe. Or, maybe he won’t. After all, he finished fourth at Sochi in 2014, just missing the medal podium.Flags


The people massing at the foot of the halfpipe are an international combination of tourists, athletes and rabid sports fans from around the globe. They come ready to cheer on their national teams — but they appreciate every Olympian’s effort. You really do feel that world peace is possible when in you’re in a group like this. Which may also be part of why these people are here.

CrewAfter the first run, I spotted my camera crew posted on an overlook above the crowd.

Taking advantage of my trusty press credentials yet again, I joined my talented cameraman, Corey, and my excellent associate producer, Agatha, on their perch to witness the final two runs of the finals.25

red gerard gold_1518317350621.png_12905470_ver1.0.jpgIn these finals, the 12 riders get 3 runs. The best score in any of those runs is the one that counts.

Shaun White threw down a great first run, which put him at the top of the leader board. Then Ayumu Hirano posted a score that knocked Shaun down to #2.


Ayumu Hirano in action in his 2nd run in the PyeongChang halfpipe .

Soon after Ayumu Hirano took the lead, in Shaun’s second run, the Shaun White Coronation Express went off the rails.

27You may not have been able to see it in that video – but the sound of the crowd surely clued you in to the fact that Shaun wiped out mid-run. He would need a clean, stellar third run to best Ayumu Hirano for the gold.

Hirano fell in his third run – and was thus unable to improve upon his lead over Shaun White. To a killer competitor like Shaun, that’s putting blood in the water for a halpipe-eating shark. Here’s my view of Shaun White’s final run of the competition.

imageThat was it. Last ride of the day. Best score of the day. Step up, Mr. White, and accept your third Olympic Gold Medal.

After witnessing that legendary Olympic moment, I was peckish. Luckily, the NBC commissary is not far from the halfpipe, so within minutes I was treated to this…IMG_6209

IMG_6211A Valentine’s Day party!

It always feels like we’re on some far-flung military base and they’re trying to remind us of the comforts and traditions we enjoyed back home.

It’s nice though.

Here’s to all my darling girls: Maura, Emilia, Eva – and most especially, Victoria! I miss you all.


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