Headed West. Veering East.

  I published The Monks of Malibu as a Kindle eBook available exclusively on Amazon tin May 2022.

This is story of a young Buddhist monk waylaid in Los Angeles, California, on his first journey beyond a Himalayan meditation cave and of a movie industry gent known as The Monk.

What started in 2015 as an idea on a flight to L.A. became a book spanning five years and introducing characters from all walks of L.A. life who connect for good or evil. 

The Word Out Pre-Publication
I’m delighted to share a comment by Yasmin Gruss, a New York editor who pored over my contemporary fiction:

“This book is truly incredible. The way you allow dialogue to propel the plot is really impressive, and you do so with such skill. The ending really surprised me—clever, fun, playful.”

Yasmin Gruss recognized my intention to make this a story readers could buckle up to enjoy, even when mulling a disquieting trend in American society. My beta readers made similar positive comments in their reviews.  This contemporary fiction is set along the incomparable Southern California coast and populated by dreamers, schemers, drifters, creative types, spiritual types, behind-the-movies bean counters and the invisible serving among us.  Click Look Inside to preview the book. The Monks of Malibu is an eBook readable on a variety of devices. Make it a part of your light summer reading!
About The Monks of Malibu eBook Cover

     Reggie Morrisey

Upon my first glance at the Santa Monica Mountains, looking up from a beach blanket at Malibu, I sat at water’s edge and sketched the scene. Having driven over those mountains via a canyon road, hands gripping the steering wheel, humming Vivaldi, I was captive to the terrain. Spring flowers dotted the hillsides, houses perched on the edge defied gravity as any California dreamer defies fate by being there. I painted watercolor versions of that sketch in the manner of a Tiffany stained-glass window, saving this image as Malibu Pumped. See it and my other California paintings on the reggiemorrisey.com Sketchy page.
Author’s Note
The Monks of Malibu is different from my satirical, four-part serial Future Schmaltz, a sci-fi also published in 2022. Same author—different universe. After visiting Malibu, check out Book I,II. II and IV of Future Schmaltz. Visit Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/reggie_morrisey Learn more on Twitter @ReggieFiction 

Veering East in 2024

Since 2022, I have been writing a contemporary novel and its sequel. Book I received the attention of beta readers. On January 8th of 2024, the sequel sailed off to the same readers. This year, a proofreader will be eyeing Book I. Both books take place in New York and abroad. The main character is pretty famous in Book I and pretty wealthy in the sequel. Like The Monks of Malibu, the idea for the story came to me on a plane flight, in this case when returning from France. 

The Truth Is in the Stars

George Bernard Shaw said, “If you want to tell readers the truth, you better make them laugh, or they’ll kill you.”

Bulletin: Merry Wilson, a fellow author and Florida resident, read my eBook serial Future Schmaltz – A Quartet published on Amazon Kindle just shy of a month ago.

Full disclosure: Before the pandemic, Merry and I exchanged “Namaste” greetings in yoga classes at our local YMCA. She sent gracious emails in response to blogs I wrote into 2021. I was thrilled Merry wrote the first review of Future Schmaltz. Here it is:

M. R. Wilson 5.0 out of 5 stars Something new for science fiction lovers…Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2022…but so much more…

Set in a disturbingly not-too-distant future, FUTURE SCHMALTZ: A QUARTET offers a bleak new world. Earth’s atmosphere is toxic; the planet is habitable only underground, undersea, in orbiting satellites and on the moon.

To save the human species, a far-right society under the Second Timely Reformation creates a breed of super humans via artificial means. Religion persists. Sciences progresses. Hate simmers. Despair erupts.

While the four books are social satire brimming with dry, often unexpected humor and irony, love and lust, courage and heroism, they are also poignantly sad. Future Schmaltz is a call to action for individuals and corporations against climate change, a plea for environmental and social justice.

These books have gotten hold of me. How much longer will I be able to breathe deeply of clean air during walks at my favorite park? Marvel at flora and fauna, rejoice in the sprouting of a honeydew melon seed? Food is abundant. I want for nothing.

But for how long?

The technology exits right now to rescue the planet and its inhabitants from Morrisey’s future. Surely rationality will overcome greed.

But what if it doesn’t?

Reggie Morrisey, 2022

Author’s Note: How chilling to read the words, “Morrisey’s future.”
Yet, Future Schmaltz is the eyewitness account my characters presented to me from the days ahead.
I’m reporting from the scene, a habit I formed in the last century.
Anyone can do this. Just step outside in the days ahead.


Drum Roll, Please!

As new as 2022!

Greetings! Confirming Reggie Morrisey writes fiction with the Amazon eBook publication of Future Schmaltz, A Quartet with Seasons’ Greetings From Tomorrow.

Readers can uncover the Future Schmaltz big picture in four eBooks. As the title suggests, this is a sentimental telling of the catastrophes heading for the planet and its 7.7 billion inhabitants. If only we could stop the careening toward an unthinkable outcome. Serious people try. For distracted us, everyday concerns prove all-consuming compared to the unraveling of all Earth life. We’ll think about it tomorrow.

In Book I of Future Schmaltz, the Second Timely Reformation is in full swing and Earth besieged by predictable disasters. People in power embark on a mission to create a breed of humans that can live on the planet.

The characters in Future Schmaltz are more like us than we might prefer. We recognize them in their coping and escape. In the end, we may empathize enough to want more than their fate, even rally around the planet.

Reggie Morrisey, 2022

Introductory Offer: The eBook Future Schmaltz, Book I is priced at $.99.  Each of the other three books is priced at $2.99. Read on “for a song.”

Visit Reggie Morrisey’s Amazon page:

Author Bio You are reading the blog on the reggiemorrisey.com website established in 2008. See the About page to learn about her nonfiction career, fiction short stories and poetry. Follow the author on Twitter @ReggieFiction, an account opened in 2022 and devoted to the world of words, or Twitter @reggie_morrisey.

What Counts

I smiled at a baby girl in Trader Joe’s market on May 20, 2021: my first mask less, face-to-face contact with an unidentified fellow human since March 2020.

At about a year old and sitting tall in the cart, she was game on, giggling and squealing at my attention. I told her dad, a tall man in dread locks and still masked, (presumably not yet vaccinated against COVID-19) of my delight. He took my interest in stride, making me suspect I was not the only vaccinated stranger going Ga-Ga over his precious child.  

I wonder about the developmental effects on infants of a year without smiles and figure scientists have launched their studies. As our shopping carts advanced from Dairy to Produce, this rolling bundle of joy squealed each time our eyes met. Marvelous as it felt, I turned down an aisle, and we did not meet again.

The encounter reflects how I've felt since March 2015 whenever readers let me know the words I've written touched them. At Blog #100, it’s time to turn a corner, move to the next aisle, content with exchanges as they happened and with what’s to come. I’ll smile when I recall you.

Moving Right Along

Since the summer of 2020 when I activated a Twitter account to campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket, I’ve come to appreciate the decent humans who abound across social media and have something enlightening to say. Several are self-described "resisters" to the debacle of 2016 to 2020, not yet at ease as rightwing extremists muscle the Republican Party to back a vanquished president. 

Most days on Twitter, I seek posted images of the world's colorful birds. Cat and dog videos amuse. Views of the planet, flowers, architecture always eased the isolating effects of the lockdown. Several Twitter people are funny. Pun-master Doc inspired a way to connect in Yo, Grammy  joke exchanges with my grandchildren. Kind people blunt the anxiety over ongoing attempts to topple our democracy. So pervasive is the sense of foreboding, I am reminded of the verse I wrote when the sky fell:

For the Life of Me 

by Reggie Morrisey

I can’t write that poem,
the post-election ode
to Madame President.
November 9th
stands in the way.
All that Middle American hate
is here to stay.
The lies have it.

If they forgot
the war of 2003
and Great Recession,
how can they fear their
Civil War plunder?
What delusions this crowd
operates under.

A failed billionaire
upends the orb.
As if caring a whit for them.
A lower primate
hulks to the White House,
and we must let him settle in.

Bare-knuckled Republicans …
in charge again.

Is It Safe Out There?

Having heard Twitter is full of crazed MAGA-types, I've been spared their attention and do not tweak noses. Despite identifying myself as the wife of Vincent Mancuso and displaying his paintings on my profile page, a few odd fellows sent me direct messages (I did not open). Bitcoin agents lumbered aboard as followers, then jumped ship. Lost souls comment like ghosts in George Saunders Lincoln in the Bardo.

Since August, if I tweeted or retweeted and received a Notification of a Like, I thought, "Well, that was nice." It didn't occur to me until January to explore the Twitter Analytics where I discovered Impressions, a tally of the times a tweet was seen in that universe. I'm happy to share ideas with thousands of like-minded people, some who've opted to follow my posts.

The Point

A few people tweet their aim to grow the numbers of their followers into thousands, if not millions. I hadn't noticed them expressing any ideas or views, just asking to add follower, so I am bewildered.

Like the Sesame Street's black-caped Count, I'm into counting. Even wrote a poem about it: But Who's Counting?  I count laps I swim. In the past, I gleefully counted earned vacation days. The word-count for six years of blogs is 62,650-ish. We humans add and subtract all the time.

One anomaly: Surveyed Republicans refuse to count the seven million more votes (80,033,996 total) the Biden-Harris ticket got in 2020 or the 60 failed court cases contesting that win, each tossed as fast as it arrived. The party is hellbent on ballot recounts - to win. Bewildering.

This month, curiosity led me to open an Instagram account, joining 1,084 billion users worldwide. I recommend the platform as a feast for your eyes and rest from the tumult. My involvement will consists of posts of  Vince's Earth Portraits.

Vincent Mancuso & Reggie Morrisey

Grazie, Mio Marito

Vince has my gratitude for sharing his Earth Portraits here since 2015. I look forward to posting on Instagram so more people will become acquainted with his body of work. Thank you, readers, for approaching my blogs with your game on.

Since Instagram only allows posts via cell phone, and I create graphics online, I'm researching how to post such graphics from the phone. Have yet to crack the code. Assume user error. When I do post, it will be the beautiful and serene. I'll leave my words of resistance to Twitter until 2022.  


Signing Off Blogging

Please continue to visit http://www.reggiemorriey.com for poetry and prose and the Gallery of Ed Morrisey Art honoring my late brother.

 I also welcome you to follow:

  • Twitter: @reggie_morrisey  
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oftwominds2/

Pretty Baby by Ed Morrisey

Many Hoops, Some Aflame

One April afternoon, I ventured to address three pieces of personal business. Way too ambitious, even for a woman born in the Year of the Dog. Yes, dogs know how to dig in and take pursuit. But, not all of us like to leap through hoops, some aflame.

Hoop #1

Respond to correspondence from Florida Sunpass, a 3-page Toll Enforcement Invoice: Due $3.50. Contains photo of my car passing through a deserted Cash Only $1 Toll Booth at 5:21 p.m. on 03/03/21. Nailed leaving Pass-a-Grille.

Issues to address:

  • No one was in the toll booth to accept the dollar bill I held out.
  • I canceled my Sunpass in 2020 when the pandemic kept me from going anywhere.
  • Calling Sunpass takes time – estimated 45 minutes – as the message repeats every 60 seconds urging a visit to the website.
  • Visiting the website wouldn’t help since I no longer have an account.

Outcome: Day #3 of calling, I reached Sunpass Rep Melody. She is blasé when I point out the booth was closed at rush hour. I could almost hear her filing her nails.  "Yes, we're closing all of them. It's all pay by camera." I say, "How does one know?" Melody says a sign clearly states it. Just this once, she'll give me a courtesy pass on $2.50 of the $3.50. I pay my $1.
Follow-up: On the way from Passe-a-Grille Beach to the St. Pete Beach toll booth where the whole thing started, I see no sign indicating the toll booth is empty. There might be a sign when you're already approaching the toll booth, but that's no help. Solution: Drive north through to Treasure Island and a no-toll bridge.

Hoop #2

Mortgage company correspondence requiring proof of condo flood insurance. This is an annual slog, my 15th year contacting the condo management firm to request fax of proof to mortgage company. Reply: this management company does not do this anymore. I get to do it. Emailed company that faxes mortgage companies. Confirmed the fax was sent. Brush hands of the matter and file my nails.

Outcome: Three weeks later received a second notice from mortgage company threatening charges for my own new flood insurance policy. Call confirms mortgage company got the fax. Told to expect a third letter to disregard the second letter. Sigh.

Hoop #3

AT&T cell phone billing error: My online visit shows I am auto-enrolled in plan as I understood it. Credit card shows I’m being billed for a previous plan. Making my third call since February 5 to a rep to correct it. Courteous Shea and Henry in Manila had said they fixed it. Not so. Rep Wilson in Manila says to go to the website and unenroll. Nope. I hang up. Wilson texts me a phone number to a rep who has the authority to refund me. But, I'm finished for the day. Called the number a week later. Was told to call another number for a person with the authority to refund. Right. Opted to see if April charge is correct. So far,  no April bill. I do have phone service.  Will the next hoop be in flames?

Here's the Deal

After four years of tumult, I am fine with the way President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris handle the country's business. I sleep nights. I no longer fear for our lives and for our grandchildren's future. There's much work to be done. Cannot cancel my subscriptions to The New York Times and Washington Post and leave caring to someone else.

But look at what I get to call hoops now. Minutia! Trivial! Folly! I sound like I should - Charlie Brown's grumpy neighbors. Wah. Wah.

Wait, I hear the condo mailboxes slamming shut. The USPS truck driving away. Time to check the mail.

April Is Poetry Month

In the spirit of the month, I share a 2016 poem about a smoldering hoop:

I Know From Whence I Speak

Got to figure two-three hours 
pacing the gray carpet tiles. 
Squinting under bright lights
as voices echo and
clash like cymbals.

It's your fate to wait.
To scan walls lined with 
tech gear and cell cases. 
Tug at tethered phones
locked on pedestals
with smudged faces.

Geeks speak of Two-for-One.
You buy in for Pay-As-You-Go.
First, wrestle your account 
from a flailing carrier and
mumble a fictional why.

Seize your secret number
on the very first try.
Feel a flutter, a thrill, 
set free and moving on.
               * * *

But the minutes
... tick ... off.
All is slow motion. 
Like a tween, you plead, "Can I just go?"
A geek peeks from a tablet and says,
"Um, no."

As he cracks a nutty electronic form,
the geek mutters, "Can't talk now" 
into a private phone.
You long to see the light of day.
"Dinner break?" you say.
"Almost done," he lies. "Stay."
                    * * *
First, there are data bytes to run
into your brand new groove.
You trail a meandering clerk
to install your top ten. 
Finally, you breathe, "Amen!" 

The new phone is so cool.
Off and Volume sides do fool.
But, new ringtones will turn a head. 
It's just buying a phone that you dread.

by Reggie Morrisey 

"Thumbs Up" by Ed Morrisey

Note: For more than half a century, my brother Ed and I lived 3,000 miles apart, connecting by phone. He created this statue of plaster and telephone wire, a gift for encouraging him in his art.

Visit my Poetry Reading Room and Listening Booth.

Puppy Sketch by Ed Morrisey

Odds and Ends

Since I posted my first blog in March 2015, life has been odd. Insert your descriptor to mark 2021's End of an Error. (Pun intended.)

Today, I find it easier to relax my guard long enough to joke and laugh; this as the Biden-Harris Administration vaccinates America and advances economic relief for the nation's nightmare and sets the world on its axis anew. Fortunately, I discovered the quips of a gent on Twitter whose handle is DOC and daytime modus operandi is posting clean humor suitable for all ages.

As the Luck of the Irish Would Have It

Some weekends ago, I started launching sneak pun attacks on my dearly missed, faraway grandchildren; a grandson soon to be 15 and a granddaughter soon to be 13. By way of warning, my pun texts begin with, "Yo." Many qualify as groaners, the likes of which my father lobbed my way when I was young. With his play on words, he taught me to think twice and love language.

My selection of DOC puns vary by category: Questions and Answers, Facts and Overheard comments. My granddaughter got into the swing of things and returns text volleys. Given a year confined to online learning and few outings with friends, I hope even a moment laughing distracts. You can experiment for yourself to see if it does. 

Note: My late brother Ed inherited the Morrisey humor gene. I dedicate this blog to him.  

Yo: Questions and Answers 

Question: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?
Answer: I don't know and I don't care.

Question: What do you call a hen who counts her own eggs?
Answer: A mathemachicken.

Question: Which knight invented the Round Table? 
Answer: Sir Cumference.

Question: What bird never knows the lyrics to a song?
Answer: A hummingbird.

Question: What do you call a line of men outside a shop waiting to have a haircut and shave?
Answer: A barber queue.

Question: What’s the tallest building in every town.
Answer: The library - it’s got the most stories.

Question: What did one tectonic plate say when he bumped into another tectonic plate?
Answer: Sorry, my fault.

Question: What lies on the ground 100 feet in the air?
Answer: A dead centipede.

Question: Why wouldn’t the shrimp share his treasure?
Answer: Because he was a little shellfish.

Question: What did Adam say to Eve on the 23rd December?  
Answer: It's Christmas Eve Eve, Eve.

Question: Why did the invisible man turn down the job offer?
Answer: He couldn’t see himself doing it.

Question: Why can’t humans hear a dog whistle?
Answer: Because dogs can’t whistle.

Question waiting  to be answered: If money doesn’t grow on trees, then why do banks have branches?

Yo: Facts

Fact: I remember the first time I saw a universal remote control. I thought, well this changes everything.

Fact: When you clean a vacuum cleaner, you are a vacuum cleaner.

Fact: Two artists had a fight. It ended in a draw.

Fact: A man was found guilty of overusing commas. The judge warned him to expect a really long sentence.

Fact: Starting your own garden is easy, but picking all of the vegetables? That’s the harvest part.

Fact: Ever try to eat a clock? It's time consuming.

Fact: It was hard getting over my addiction to the hokey pokey, but I’ve turned myself around.

Fact: A guy was getting hit by the same bicycle every day, day after day ... It was a vicious cycle.

Fact: Did you know that technically the overall goal of golf ... is to play less golf.

Fact: A ship carrying red paint collided with a ship carrying blue paint. Both crews ended up marooned.

Fact: I have a pen that can write underwater. It can also write other words too.

Fact: I ate a clown fish yesterday. It tasted funny.

Fact: I couldn’t understand why I saw corn every time I turned around. Then I realized it was stalking me!

Fact: When I was little my mom used to feed me alphabet soup, claiming I loved it. I didn’t really, she was just putting words in my mouth.

Yo: Overheard

Overheard: They laughed when I told them one day I would discover the secrets of invisibility. If they could see me now.

Overheard: In an effort to bridge the cultural gap with Hispanic friends, I’ve been saying muchos recently. It means a lot to them.

Overheard: I had a crazy dream that I weighed less than a thousandth of a gram. I was like 0mg!

Overhead: Want to buy a broken barometer? No pressure.

Overheard: I dropped my phone in the bath. Now it's syncing.

Overheard: My friend and I started a business where we weigh tiny objects. It’s a small-scale operation.

Overheard: Cop: I’m arresting you for illegally downloading the entire Wikipedia. Man: Wait! I can explain everything!

Overheard: Shout out to anyone who doesn’t know what the opposite of in is.

Overheard: Philosopher asked, "I wonder if Jellyfish are sad that there are no Peanut Butter fish."

Overheard: I needed a password eight characters long. So I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Overheard: If I had to rate our solar system, I’d give it one star.

Overheard: My first time using an elevator was an uplifting experience. The second time let me down.

Overheard: At my last job interview, I was asked what my greatest weakness was. I said, Honesty. The interviewer said. I don’t think honesty is a weakness. I replied, I don’t care what you think.

Okay, I'll Stop - Sort of

After catching your breath from chuckles and groans, consider advancing to these activities:

View my Gallery of Ed Morrisey Art

Listen to poems I wrote:

Knowledge I Stumbled Upon

The Ides of March



Happy Ends

Happy spring!

Happy shots in arms!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Pharrell William's Happy!

Laughing Cat by Ed Morrisey

What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?

In her blockbuster book, Dr. Mary Trump, Ph.D. sets out a case for loathing the influence of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale on her icy grandfather Fred and Uncle Donnie. Dr. Peale, a minister, proposed consciously determining one's life-operating principles, ushering in decades of self-help gurus.

Well might Mary Trump be repulsed. Her moneyed kin forged the tenets of Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking into mental weapons to bludgeon family members. The trained therapist witnessed how the Trump brand of compulsory positive thinking freed them to deny her father help as his addiction to alcohol led to his death and to slough off her namesake grandmother’s complaints about her pain-wracked body. I get it.

As Queens realtors, Trumps blocked people of color from upward mobility in predominantly white neighborhoods. A federal case against their redlining proved how far beyond the pale they were willing to go to undercut entire segments of society. Their actions did not smack of Peale positivity as much as racist George Wallace vigilantism.

From Healing to Tyranny

In 2021, we watched hordes of Americans stormed the United States Capitol. Convinced of the rightness of Uncle Donnie’s call to arms and their own revolutionary intentions, they attempted to force the Legislative Branch of government to stop counting votes from a fair election - to hang a U.S. Vice President and assassinate the Speaker of the House. These two people the mob would have eliminated represent the line of succession for the U.S Presidency. Recalcitrant Republicans poured fuel before and after the insurrection, denying Joseph Biden’s electoral vote legitimacy.

We eyewitnesses stumbling away from our screens also got to witness the lawful inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  Still, I look over my shoulder at mask-less faces in Florida. That 74 million citizens are open to more mayhem astounds. They carry a grudge manufactured by their rebel leader, not unlike losers of the last Civil War.  As a fractured family concluded on the Jerry Springer Show after their obligatory hair-pulling, kicking and slapping brawl: "Ain't no conversating."

Dr. Peale must be turning over at Quaker Hill Cemetery Pawling, New York. 

A Pity

The title of this blog harkens to What Have They've Done to My Song, Ma, a folk rock tune Melanie turned into a hit in 1971.

Among lyrics she wailed:

Look what they done to my brain, Ma.
Look what they done to my brain.
Well, they picked it like a chicken bone
And I think I’m half insane.

The pathological Trump dynasty donned familiar overpowering suits. Same as other dominant wealthy families wielding power over society without regard for the damage. Try Betsy DeVos on for size. Or the Koch brothers. Or the Mercers. All lavishly self-serving, they impose their version of truth - from overbearing religion to inequality in financial and justice systems to rightwing propaganda to warmongering. Trump’s family stands out for its pseudo everyman appeal. Taint so.

... Of What I Speak

What was once called The Center for Positive Thinking, opened by the Peale organization in 1988 in Pawling. As a freelancer in the last century, I was hired to write its visitor’s guide. Still have a copy of the glossy brochure in my files. (It is now called Peale History Center and Library and, like everything else, closed due to the pandemic).

In completing the assignment, I documented the contents of a room replicating Dr. Peale’s study at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, the Pawling library and the minister's marriage to prime-moving Ruth. After spending hours listening to scratchy taped sermons that dipped into 50 years of the Peale ministry, I interviewed the gentleman.

Dr. Peale was about 93-years-old.  He rose when I entered his office and showed a deference in our conversation that struck me as genuine - like the $20 tips he was known to leave waitresses under his empty coffee cup - this after inviting talk over the diner counter about their struggles.

Despite knowing how Mary Trump’s treacherous kin fashioned the pastor's positive thinking into a jackboot to stomp all comers, I reject the notion I was duped by Dr. Peale. I do stand more informed today about the wealthy influencers attached like barnacles to pop religious icons, corroding benign messages.  Think Billy Graham's dynasty. Think Newt Gingrich and his second (or third) wife - U.S. ambassador to the Vatican in Rome. Intrigues played out in Dr. Peale's Father Knows Best America and far back into Rome's church history. 

The Real Message

As Melanie sang: 

Wish I could find a good book to live in
Wish I could find a good book
Well, if I could find a real good book
I’d never have to come out and look
At what they done to my song

Republicans duped by this latest attempt to distort reality might heed the last word in the title The Power of Positive Thinking. We are required to think. Discern. Question a party line. Stop swallowing conspiracy theories whole.  Come out and look. As President Biden said, history requires, "enough of us" to stay tuned so we can move through an immediate catastrophe and achieve the future we envision. 

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking

Mary Trump's Too Much and Never Enough....

Artwork by Vincent Mancuso

Basket Case, Still Life by Vincent Mancuso

It All Adds Up

Among 18 Actually Good Things That Happened in 2020 highlighted in Huffington Post to open the New Year:

  •  … Crayola unveiled its most inclusive skin-tone crayons yet. The “Colors of the World” pack includes crayons that represent over 40 skin tones, according to Crayola’s CEO, “to advance inclusion within creativity and impact how kids express themselves.”
  • More Americans voted in the 2020 election — two-thirds of the voting eligible population, in fact — than in any other election in 120 years.
  • At least 50 women of color (including 46 Democrats) will serve in the next Congress … 

So ...

A numbers fan, I notice that one number, then another, adds up, and eventually I leap to a conclusion. The exercise suggests the illusion of control to plan for the year 2021, in this case to stay tuned in rather than revert to a complacency felt between 2008 and 2016 when adults were in charge of the country. Going forward, we all better stay alert to the lurking crazies who seek to undermine the new president and vice president.

Researching the future Democratic Party, I downloaded a 2020 audio book AOC: The Fearless Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and What It Means for America by Lynda Lopez. The answer appears in framed in mirrors. 

Contributor end-credits make clear the book is not so much about AOC but a collection of essays by 17 authors. Sparse on AOC’s biographical details, the musings echo the same refrains - as often as they point out the first-time congresswoman’s matte red lipstick. Seventeen people see themselves mirrored in AOC. Their voices blend - like chatter at a picnic as acquaintences arrive with homemade dishes. Mostly Latino female admirers of AOC lay out their life struggles for readers yet pull in one thread of the vibrant power broker.

So Relatable

I did find an insight about AOC. The week she left home to study at Boston University she lost her 48-year-old architect father to cancer. He told her to make him proud. That bend in her arc drew upon grit, resolve and intelligence. 

Having worked a summer as a coed waitress at a hip hangout, I shared AOC’s realization that customers looked down on servers - specifically on her as a bartender. And they find so many reasons to look down. Lowlifes — such as the never-again-to-be-quoted poseur who paid someone to take his college entrance exam — doubted AOC went to a decent college.

As a native New Yorker, I grasped how AOC’s parents’ move to a Westchester County suburb and away from The Bronx was meant to spare her a life hemmed in by the humbler ZIP code. It was their version of the American Dream. Their nightmare: her father's medical bills and her mother's battle to elude home foreclosure during the Great Recession.

So Driven 

AOC’s passion fighting for health care and against income inequality springs from a calamity shared by 41% of the population that went bankrupt in the mid-2000s. Even as America hustled into the Obama - Biden Administration's recovery, millennials cobbled out a living with gigs to pay college loans. Alarming 2020 threatened to wrestle millions of strivers to the ground again.

In late December, a TV commentator said if we allotted one second to name each person who died of COVID in 2020, it would take four days. Given the pandemic’s toll on the Black and Latino population, multitudes face grief and anxiety. Under such conditions, Senate Republicans who posture, self-righteously indifferent and cruel, compel a counter-force for change among populations that now have a voice in AOC and the so-called Squad made up of people of color.

Conclusion: The future stretches out like a child’s Crayola drawing of a world flush with 40 skin-tones. I hope that world welcomes a hand from those who have been coloring since it went Boom.

No Words for 2020

Clare H. Torry is a British singer who, in one recording studio take, performed The Great Gig in the Sky on Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.  As words cannot express, she speaks for 2020.

Note: See Gallery of Ed Morrisey Art 

Colored-pencil drawing by the late Ed Morrisey



It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
Mary Oliver

Beginning November  3, I detected my anxiety dialing down a notch. Each fresh morning, relief floods my being, assuring me the threat of annihilation we've experienced since November 2016 ended with the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. On November 7, Americans danced in the streets.

A month later I felt the anxiety dialing up. Republicans said nothing about thugs protesting at the home of Michigan Secretary of State as she decorated a Christmas tree with her four-year-old son. Hawks voiced no alarm as Trump loyalists commandeered the Pentagon. The G.O.P. urged denial election results. Legal scholar Lawrence Tribe wrote: “It had looked as though we dodged a bullet with Trump’s defeat. Turns out there were more in the gun.”

The GOP is not merely cowering until the Twitterer-in-Chief leaves office. It shelters a cabal brewing his drip, drip coup. Attorneys generals for 18 states took a sledgehammer to the law on the steps of the Supreme Court and 126 members of Congress signed on. Proud Boys roamed D.C. streets menacing hapless pedestrians. What does the radical right intend to do with the Republic they seem bent on destroying?  

Writing a Wrong

I have yet to decide if I'm on Twitter or Fritter appealing to Georgians to flip the U.S. Senate by electing Jon Ossoff and Rev. Warnock. My sidekick of 30 years, Vincent Mancuso, handwrites postcards to Georgia voters and permits use of his art images in my campaigning tweets. Georgia, which ranks 42nd of 50 states in the poverty rate, deserves a fair shake and the U.S. economy a stimulus for all struggling citizens.  

If Stepford Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue prevail in their perverted American Dream of sweeping up all the marbles while reportedly profiting from shares in manufacturing body bags, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will still soldier on. This household will join the campaign to retire Senator Marco Rubio in 2022, leaving him time to reflect on the bible he quotes while disdaining the poor and downtrodden. 

Creation Inspires

 Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.  
Mary Oliver

In the midst of 2020 comes an unveiling of a model of one human cell. It is billed as:

"The most detailed model of one human cell to date, obtained using x-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryoelectron microscopy data sets...  Transformation of the Cellular Landscape through a Eukaryotic Cell, by Evan Ingersoll Ingersoll Gael McGill ~ Digizyme's Custom Maya Molecular Software Biología Al Instante"

Scientists portray one intricate cell among 37.2 trillion that constitute a human being. Turns out we are gorgeous to the core!

Gorgeous is as gorgeous does:


President Barack Obama got 29 hours worth as my attention as I listened to his recently released memoir A Promised Land. Obama conveys the uphill story without whining, a triumph in itself. He is gracious in acknowledging those who stood by him, and he manages to see the humor in life.

Self Knowledge

Thomas Butler-Bowden's 50 Psychology Classics develops snapshots of 20th Century thinkers who moved beyond Sigmund Freud to explore human developmental stages, social influences and behavioral conditioning. Research into abhorrent behavior revealed the seduction of gory authoritarianism we see playing out on streets today.


Novelist and essayist Zadie Smith, who is a British-Caribbean London transplant living in New York City, presents six essays written about the female condition, her biracial experience and the implications of the global pandemic in Intimations.

She writes: 

If our elected representatives have contempt for us, if the forces of so-called law and order likewise hold us in contempt, it’s because they think we have no recourse, and no power, except for the one force they have long assumed too splintered, too divided and too forgotten to be of any use: the power of the people.


In the 2020 book Is this Anything?, Jerry Seinfeld dips into 45 years of jokes he wrote. His childhood acceptance of the Superman television show left me admitting I too failed to question why Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen never guessed Clark Kent's identity, eyeglasses the only disguise and red vinyl Superman socks a staple of his street clothes. What a brilliant life form.


Curiouser is the book Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons ... by Heather Lende. The obituary writer for the newspaper of an Alaskan town of 2,000 takes a journalistic approach to obituaries, seeking the significance in individual lives. Full disclosure: I never before thought about people living in an Alaskan town. Among the most telling obituaries is the drowning death of a fisherman that prompted the town's people to purchase and hand out to the fishing fleet $2,000 worth life-preserver suspenders. Some stalwarts refused to wear it, thinking maybe the life savers were for sissies. 

Writing Excellence

Julian Barnes intrigues with the nonfiction The Man in the Red Coat, that being the figure in the John Singer Sargent full-length portrait of Dr. Samuel Pozzi (1846-1918). The doctor hobnobbed with royalty in Belle Epoque circles. Barnes approaches the topic with a style to make for exquisite reading.

Belle Epoque Etched

I just learned my paternal grandmother Bridget Delia Harrington (1886-1914) of County Cork, Ireland, lived during Belle Epoque. Her name appears on a 1901 census of Marino Street, Bantry. At age 15, Bridget, who spoke Irish and English and could read and write, boarded in the house headed of a hotel porter and his dressmaker wife, parents of two young children. Bridget's occupation was listed as dressmaker. Four young dressmakers lived there. 

This genealogy tidbit led me to recall a gown that stopped me in my tracks at the 1982 La Belle Epoque costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. As with the image of one dazzling human cell, I could not take my eyes off the gown's Irish crochet lace. What it must have taken forgotten laborers to create such a work of art? Someone treasured and preserved it. Like gorgeous us and democracy.






Greeting from Vincent Mancuso & Reggie Morrisey 


Sounds Like

A few days ago, a mockingbird announced itself. As with all such flamboyant birds, this dandy is determined to mate. It's his life's work. He’s taken up residence across the street - on the telephone wire strung by the tennis courts. He perches near the early migrating ospreys that nest on lampposts around the courts. A standout, he will not be ignored.

From our condo's third-floor balcony walk - at eye level with the wire - I whistle to the mockingbird. This brazen interruption of his mission baits him to mimic me, then launch into a riff, as snazzy a dude as a jazz horn player.

High Notes

Off he trills, executing an aural Cirque du Soleil. I admire such virtuosity coming from a 1.8 ounce creature. Mockingbirds can perform up to 50 call notes. With every note, they show themselves to be the real deal. The resident bird pauses, as if daring me to match his flair.

Given my fraudulent whistle, I hang my head and stand corrected.

Being reminded of our limitations as mere mortals is a daily exercise. Yet, when I hear an imposter threatening my world, I am as ardent as a bird on a wire.

Low Notes

No matter how appalling his performance, the imposter in the Oval Office will never hang his head. He will twitter on, exercising his thumbs and inciting mayhem. The double-downer is certain to go low.

Although I suffered his 120+ interruptions during the first debate with a real deal of a leader, I sat out the second, lie-packed encounter. Weeks ago, I voted by mail. My ballot for Biden was duly counted. Yes! 

Telling Notes

It pays to resist despair since great Americans never abandoned their sworn duty to expose the imposter. They are legion. But, keep your guard up about his armed, unhinged supporters. Unlike Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Colonial heroes, the 2020 militia wields assault weapons, not single-shot muskets. 

Who knew pistol-packing supporters lurk close to home? On October 22, a local news item reported one episode. Armed guards, claiming they worked for Trump's campaign, showed up at a St. Petersburg polling location. Just down the road a piece!

Sounds bizarre, especially when the Republican sheriff (running for re-election) said some voters were "comforted" by the armed-presence. He said the guards broke no law standing 150 feet from the door. That's ... comforting? And, the campaign said it did not "hire" them. Why pay when at every super-spreader rally Trump directs his patriots to go watch the polls.? 

The Wire

On October 1, The Atlantic reported Trump's lies about the coronavirus. On October 16th the Editorial Board of The New York Times threw everything the newsroom’s got at this menace. They have the best words. Words that paint a thousand pictures. Pictures worth a thousand words.

The Frayed Wire

Biden for Florida's Digital Team guides volunteers in daily rounds of truth-telling and countering disinformation online. These whip-smart (mostly) young women give me hope in the future. With 52% of voters trusting news that pops up in Facebook’s unfettered feeds and a combined 26% checking Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, I applaud the effort as time well spent.

Courting Death

America's been through the wringer and deserves better than 224,000 deaths, more than 120,000 reportedly avoidable. Experts fear the daily national case count in coming months will rise to 100,000.

Yet, the Supreme Court and state counterparts uphold restrictive voting laws during a pandemic of a virus transmitted in the air, in essence supporting Trump's brand of eugenics for voters.

At the same time, conservative courts push to preserve life from the murky moment of inception. It defies logic. The courts are, as Joe Biden said, "out of whack."

Sound of Life in Minutes

Yes, we need a break. Reminders of beauty, creativity and excellence. Consider setting aside the minutes (8:15) needed to hear the Noordpool Orchestra's soaring Weird Fishes in a Radiohead Jazz Symphony.

If that seems way too long, maybe use the time to reflect on the eight + minutes a police officer kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, killing him and outraging millions.

High Wire Act, a poem (1997) 

Life was simpler when I wrote this 43-second poem. It still rings true. We humans cannot sing like mockingbirds; but we have agency. We recognize an unreal deal when we hear it and can dare to alert our friends. We can vote.



Osprey attending a mockingbird performance