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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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​Trump Scrambles the Boiled Egg

IT’S SO GOOD for the soul to laugh heartily at Donald Trump again, as I have been all week. A decade ago, before he belly-flopped into the White House and turned American politics into harsh reality TV, I watched The Apprentice every Sunday and laughed until I wept at this buffoon, who managed to cut a slovenly figure in a $15,000 suit! How I loved how limited everything about him was (apart from his gumption and sense of entitlement). He was a supposed billionaire over whom I felt genuinely superior; I pitied the poor rich firetruck.

Until he and the Russians pulled off the biggest political con since Brexit and left me waking up miserable every day when I remembered that it wasn’t a bad dream and President Obama really had been followed by this fat firetruck, this idiot-without-the-savant, this poster boy, this poster man-child of rich white man’s son’s entitlement and greed.

Every morning for two years.

Except this week.

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Mother’s Day Musings

THEY ACTUALLY begin, Mother’s Day musings, before you can begin the musing itself: like, where the firetruck do you put the apostrophe? I’m a singular Mother’s Day man myself but I may find that Newsday prefers a plural Mothers’ Day or (probably) no apostrophe at all.

These musings began before they began because, on Sunday, Mother’s Day – or perhaps Mothers’ or Mothers Day – I just couldn’t get through to my own mother; not unusual, really, since I haven’t been able to get through to her all our lives.

Whatever chores my brother and I did as boys and young men – moving her houseplants around, weeding her flowerbeds, washing her car – my brother could interpret a tilt of our mother’s head as though it were a step-by-step, illustrated guide: he would put down his potted palm in exactly the right spot in one attempt and get the thumbs up from our mother, the emperor in our family circus, while I had to shift my cactus all over the porch before finally getting it right – or, at least, close enough so my brother could fix it – and I only knew I’d got the imperial thumbs down when I got the calpet in the back of the head.


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Chant Well of Bad News

DAVID RUDDER, Trinidad & Tobago’s answer to Bob Dylan, had a birthday on Monday and, as a present, I’m writing today’s column by rewriting some of his best-known compositions; perhaps a bit like Spoiler, I’m recomposing. Over the years, David has given us a shipload of towering songs and, over the last week, we’ve had another kind of load of bad news, including shootings of children in schoolyards in the US and in Big Yard at home, our attorney-general arrested and the American attorney-general seemingly trying to be.

So I propose to make confronting the savagery a little more palatable by setting it to a soca beat and a samba swing, as it were. I’m presuming that even the laziest of Trinidadians knows at least the first verse of songs they’ve been singing for decades. The headlines below refer to news incidents, local and international, but, instead of a byline, they have a by-tune. Happy Bir’day, David, may you have many more and keep gracing us with songs as wonderful as this year’s Spirit.

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