I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Tony Retrosi

I love classic Christmas songs. I always have. Sometimes what is old and comfortable is new again and finds new meaning.

I am writing this in the beginning of December and I am a VERY long way from home.

I am living and working in the beautiful country of Switzerland. Christmas markets are popping up in every town. Snow is falling. A truly amazing place for Christmas. But I am without my family.

The other day I was doing some planning and I put on my Christmas playlist for some background music. Bing Crosby’s version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on. It was as if it was the first time I had ever heard it. The emotional response was deep.

According to Wikipedia it was originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmas time. The song is sung from the point of view…

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Leaders Can’t Support the American Republic While Also Supporting Efforts to Destroy It.


JULY 30, 2021 12:20 AM


 WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

We used to assume that Democrats and Republicans, all differences aside, at least shared allegiance to the small-d-democratic values that have sustained our republic for over two centuries. We used to assume that the two major political parties in the United States were both committed to a common democracy, including free and fair and accessible elections, law and order and the peaceful transfer of power. We used to assume that both sides were also for protecting the greater good through science-based public health and welfare measures, especially in a global pandemic.

We were wrong. If anything, the last year and a half has shown us that the old paradigm of the Republican and Democratic parties as essential democratic institutions no longer exists. I wish it did. But only one party in the United States, shortcomings notwithstanding, remains dedicated to preserving the democratic ideals enshrined in our founding. The same cannot be said of the Grand Old Party. 

 WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Those who call themselves Republicans today are almost uniformly committed — not to the pursuit of a more perfect union through vigorous policy debate and compromise — but to one man and the cult of personality he inspired. They have made their pact with a malevolent narcissist who nearly destroyed our union by inciting violent assault on the seat of our government to overturn an election he lost. Remember that when you see them posing with the seditionist in campaign photos. 

By actively courting his support, Republican politicians show they’re willing to brush off his outrageous betrayal of the Constitution because they need his MAGA voters to win election. But here’s the thing. You can’t pledge allegiance to a demagogue who refused to accept the will of the American people — and who still doesn’t — and profess an enduring commitment to democracy. You can’t pledge total fealty to an anti-democratic insurrectionist still fundraising off a lie about a stolen election and claim adherence to fundamental democratic principles that ratify the peoples’ will in legitimately held elections. Doesn’t work that way.

Regrettably, Republicans have chosen which side they’re on and it’s not the small-d-democratic one shared by most Americans who were rightly appalled and repulsed by what happened on Jan. 6.  We are the legions of small-d-democrats — regardless of how we voted — who saw the ruthless storming of the Capitol as a militant rejection of government of, by and for the people. It was a show of rank hostility in the name of a would-be dictator to cancel millions of valid American votes in the presidential election.

The anti-democratic politicians who align themselves — and their careers — with the instigator of that assault on our democracy, would rather you forget or doubt what you saw with your own eyes. They want to pretend that what happened at the Capitol wasn’t as bad as it was with domestic terrorists scaling walls, bashing in windows, battering police, desecrating the building, searching the halls to take lawmakers captive or stringing up a noose to hang the vice-president. 

They have recast the rampaging mob as “patriotic” and the badly outnumbered law enforcement under siege as anything but. Those who risked their lives to save the republic against savage attack have been dismissed by Republicans or accused of “lying in wait” to shoot peaceful protestors and insulted by far-right media. The fascistic leader who ignited the insurrection had the unmitigated gall to condemn police who stopped rioters from breaking through the door of the Speaker’s Lobby — as lawmakers dove for cover. There was “no reason” a MAGA loyalist who breached the doors should have been shot, the inciter declared.

Republicans are aggressively trying to deep-six the truth about one of the darkest days in our history, opposing all investigations — even bipartisan panels negotiated by both parties — to expose what led to armed insurrectionists charging the Capitol to overturn the presidential election. But the truth will out even if Republicans persist in portraying the anti-democratic uprising against America as righteous treachery for Trump or float new spin that the attack on the Capitol was justified.

This is who and what the Grand Old Party has become. Members willingly abandon their integrity to appease a serial liar on a power trip. Jan. 6 was his practice run around electoral democracy. He’s not done dreaming of an American Reichstag moment. That’s how gravely the nation’s highest-ranking military officer interpreted the threat he posed last time. Six months ago, Republicans had a choice: Expunge a clear and present danger to our rattled republic for the sake of the nation or bow to a brooding nihilist in denial. After a minute, the Republican pilgrimages began in earnest to Mar-a-Largo where the ambitious now routinely put career over country to grovel for favor from a fascist.

Republican senatorial candidates in Ohio are falling all over themselves to win the coveted endorsement of a leader who incited his followers to thwart an election and go after his vice-president for refusing to sanction his scheme to keep power. Really? Statehouse Republicans answered the insurrection by using Trump’s lies about rigged elections as an excuse to suppress voting with new legislative hurdles disguised as election “integrity.” This is not a pro-democracy political party, folks. 

It’s safe to assume that those who proudly stand with an insurrectionist or enable him to plot anew with their silence do not share any allegiance to our small-d-democratic values. 

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To Maddie and Chase, Happy Earth Day

To my two children, Maddie and Chase, both stewards of the earth. My daughter the wildlife biologist an environmental scientist my son the outdoor educator. I wish that I had left the earth in a better place for you I wish that I had done more when I was your age.

I certainly appreciate the woods, the land, the water, and the sky. I wish they were cleaner for you. I wishI could’ve done more. I feel sorry for my generation because so many didn’t appreciate the environment until it was too late. I know we didn’t do enough. My hope is with your generation will.

Happy Earth Day


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Vernon Boardman. RIP My Friend.

It was early fall a few years ago when I met Vernon.  I was sitting alone at Breaking New Grounds having a coffee and he was sitting at the next table sipping his iced latte writing out cards. Never did I think that over that coffee that day I was going to make a great friend. 

Over countless coffees we carried on conversations about travel, politics, music and the people around town.  To me it seemed like everyone knew and loved Vern. Sitting with him at a coffee shop was like sitting at the cool kids table at lunch. 

I wish we had time for one more coffee. 

Vern passed away Wednesday March 3rd after a period of declining health. He had been in the hospital for a while and although  I was unable to see him in person, like many of you,  we often spoke on the phone. In our last conversation we joked about him coming to the gym with me. His final words to me were, “if something happens to me, will you remember me?”  I told him “Of course”. I thought he was just being dramatic. He knew his time was limited.  I would give anything to see his smiling face enjoying his iced latte at Cup of Joes.  All I want is just one more coffee with him. 

Vernon is a Portsmouth legend. When he walked down the street he said Hello to everyone.  He knew everyone in every store or gallery.  The last few years were difficult for him because of his neuropathy. Holding a pen was difficult, but he never missed a holiday to send out hand written cards. You knew you were somebody if you received one of the cards his sister Diana made! I have kept every card he sent me because I knew the time and energy it took him write them out.  Vern would tell you that it took time for him to walk from the bus stop to Cup of Joes because he walked with a walker. Yes, he walked slow.  BUT- he also stopped to talk to everyone. 

Vern had a love for music and travel. We spent hours talking about it. From Jazz to Disco to Rock and Classical. If you were talking about a musician, Vern probably had the CD, maybe 2 of them! He was so happy to share his music. I once mentioned that my son was a Jazz piano player. The next day when we met for coffee he handed me an Oscar Peterson CD and told me which track was his favorite. After a few days I went to return it and he said I could keep it. He had mistakenly bought two of the same a few years apart. I asked him how many duplicate CDs he had. He laughed and said, “Too Many.”  

Because of Covid restrictions his family doesn’t know when they will be able to have a grave side service for him. I will be organizing a “Coffee Party” some day later this spring where we can all get together have a coffee and share our best VERN STORIES. 

His sister has asked me to extend their sincere THANKS to everyone in Portsmouth for their Love and Friendship of Vernon.  I will share information as I get it. If you would like Vern’s Father’s mailing address to send a card please e-mail me. tretrosi@mac.com

I ask each of you today to make sure you have time to get a coffee with a friend. You never know when it’s going to be the last. 

I miss you Vernon. Rest in Peace. 

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,

spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts

for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck

of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,

hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”

there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices

ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Vern and my cousin Alessia from Italy
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Songs To Wake Up To.

A song can get your day started on the right foot. I have a life where I do not normally need to set an alarm. It is a combination of age, a new puppy, and years of waking up at the same time. When I do have to set an alarm, I carefully pick the song to wake up to.

As a joke once, a gymnast I was working with in Italy left a voice memo on my phone and set it as the alarm. The look on my face when I woke up to ” Hi Tony, It’s Time To Get Out Of Bed” was probably priceless.

Through November and the b beginning of December, before we have snow on the ground my wake up song is HAZY SHADE OF WINTER.

When the snow hits the ground and my area of New Hampshire is covered I lean towards Valley Winter Song

As the snow deepens I may have to get up early and be the PLOW GUY. What song is better than Plow Guy Boogaloo

As winter turns to spring- No one said it better than the Beatles, “It’s Been A Long Long Lonely Winter” in their song HERE COMES THE SUN

The Work week in the late spring early summer can really take it’s toll. A song to get you up and ready for the day is another classic, MR BLUE SKY

And as summer hits and it is a little more relaxed A song that gets be jumping out of bed ready for the day is I AM THE SUMMERTIME. I live for those summer days!

As the summer draws to a close there are 2 songs, both performed by the Atari’s that I like to wake up to. They do a cover of Don Henley’s BOYS OF SUMMER


And as the September turns to October you MUST wake up to Greenday. Wake Me Up, When September Ends

And a song for all seasons. No matter they weather or my mood. BLITZKRIEG BOP

ENJOY! What do you listen?

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Humor Is Just Tragedy Plus Time.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “Humor is just tragedy plus time”. 

There is no better time than now to keep that in perspective.  We are in the midst of the second wave of the Covid19 pandemic.  We have a president who lost the election by more than 7 million votes and is ripping trying to rip the country apart on his way out the door all to sooth his ego. 

Someday, we may be able to laugh about this. Today just isn’t the day. 

I spoke with an old friend the other day. A guy I met when I was just 15 or 16. I am so blessed to still have friends like him in my life.  I was thinking about hime when I was walking out of the gym with one of my employees and I had a tremendous feeling of deja vu. I was remembering all the nights walking out of a gym in NY where we worked. A typical Tuesday night would find us stopping off for a beer after work. It was our way to catch up on the events of the day as well as plan for what needed to happen in the gym the next day. There was a feeling of camaraderie and of never being alone. Knowing that we had each others back.  

Now, as “the boss” there is a certain feeling of loneliness as I work to try to find stability in a turbulent society and a smooth financial path in a rough economy.  I hope that one day I will be able to laugh at this. I will be able to look back with the same fondness and think of the people who I have struggled with.  

When I explained to my friend that the subject matter of most comedy is tragic (pandemic, financial problems, accidents, etc.) he said, “Do you mean to tell me that the dreadful events of the day are a fit subject for humorous comment? The answer is “No, but they will be pretty soon.”

You see, Man jokes about the things that depress him. Otherwise we will go crazy. Our ability to laugh (in time) at tragedy is what makes us human.

Just some thoughts for today

December, 3, 2020

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Time Travel. Do You Believe?

I am not speaking of the ability to get into a time machine and transport back in time or forward in time. I am writing about that moment of magical moment when a song comes on the radio and you immediately get transported back to a wonderful time in your life. The song ends and you just stop. Time stops. Maybe a tear forms in your eye. Maybe you just sit in your car for a few minutes after you reach your destination.

These songs may remind you of something in your youth or maybe something just last summer. It may be a song that rem minds you of your first love, of a love lost, of a friend who you miss. It could be a song that helped get you through a dark time or a song you may have sung to your children or had sung to you by a parent.

As I get inevitably older there are more of those songs and moments.

Early this morning I was leaving our lake house in Northern New Hampshire to head to work. Given where this house is there are very few radio stations for the first part of the journey. I am an NPR junkie and no day is complete with out me catching up in the news or listening to a program. I found NPR on satellite radio and tuned in to a re-run of CAR TALK.

BOOM- I was instantly transported back in time. When I first started listening to car talk I was newly married. We had just bought our first house. Life was so exciting. So filled with possibilities.

I remember that excitement. As I sipped my coffee my mind was filled with memories and hope.

The Covid cases are on their rise again across the world. BUT- there is a vaccine that should be available before next summer. Some day in the future there will a day where you are driving and a song will come on and you will have a GOOD memory of life right now. There is always something good going on. You just need to look for it.

Maybe Time Travel is Possible

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5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Source: 5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

5 Great Things We Should Never Forget About Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)


A Supreme Court hero, and all-round wise woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87 surrounded by family at her home in Washington, D.C.

She was the second woman justice to serve on the highest court in the land—a pioneer in her field, when there were few females in the halls of legal offices or law schools. But there were other reasons we will always remember her.

1) She proved that mothers get things done—and then some. 

RBG showed that being a mother can prove an advantage and not an impediment to a woman’s professional life.

In a 2016 essay for the New York Times, she wrote that she believed her success at Harvard and Columbia Law School—where she graduated joint first in her class in 1959—was actually down to having an infant to care for.

“My success in law school, I have no doubt, was in large measure because of baby Jane. I attended classes and studied diligently until 4 in the afternoon; the next hours were Jane’s time, spent at the park, playing silly games or singing funny songs, reading picture books and A. A. Milne poems, and bathing and feeding her.

“After Jane’s bedtime, I returned to the law books with renewed will. Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law studies lacked.”

2) She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Despite coming out of law school with top grades, no law firm in New York City would hire Ginsburg, who was, by then, a mother of two.

She began teaching at Rutgers and Columbia. Those positions gave RBG the opportunity to advocate for women’s rights. She forged a name for herself that led to her 1980 appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. Thirteen years later, President Clinton nominated her for the Supreme Court.

As one of nine, Ginsburg was known as the “Great Dissenter.” She had special neckwear that she donned, even calling one her Dissent Collar.

The cases on which Justice Ginsburg dissented weren’t trivial: She spoke up on matters of affirmative action, employment discrimination, access to abortion, and controlling political campaign spending.

She demonstrated how, when you believe something’s wrong, to use your voice.

3. She showed there’s value in stoicism. 

In an interview with legal academic Jeffrey Rosen, published in the Atlantic, she spoke of ignoring ‘useless emotions’.

“My mother’s advice was, don’t lose time on useless emotions like anger, resentment, remorse, envy. Those, she said, will just sap time; they don’t get you where you want to be.”

One way I coped with times I was angry: I would sit down and practice the piano. I wasn’t very good at it, but it did distract me from whatever useless emotion I was feeling at the moment. Later, I did the same with the cello. I would be absorbed in the music, and the useless emotion faded away.”

Perhaps that’s why RBG loved listening to classical music all her life—even during her famous workouts.

4. She lived by her morals.

The late justice was never interested in being the loudest, showiest person in the room.

In fact, those who knew her described her as a quiet, “almost retreating” woman with a soft voice.

So what drove her? Her advice to others gives a clue. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

5. She had hope for the future. 

Speaking with Rosen in late 2019, she said, “Our country has gone through some very bumpy periods. But, I’ll tell you the principal reason why I’m optimistic: It’s the young people I see.

“My lawyer granddaughter, my law clerks, are determined to contribute to the good of society. And to work together. So the young people make me hopeful.

“They want to take part in creating a better world. Think of Malala. Think of Greta Thunberg in Sweden. What is she, 15, 16? Yes, I’m putting my faith in the coming generations.”

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I find it funny that many so many enable Trump and follow him blindly when clearly Trump does not care about anyone but himself. Last night President Trump was asked if he was worried about his latest rally and the virus. He said he wasn’t worried because he was far enough away from everyone. He obviously didn’t care about his adoring fans who are now risking life to go and see him.

For decades Donald Trump has been a masterful marketer. He created controversy to keep his name in the news. His entire empire is based on his cult of personality. He viewed compassion as a weakness. If he was with just one woman it was unmanly. He brought the same attitude and bravado to the White House. The presidency is about him not about America. He is the boss who will take all the credit and none of the blame. Anyone who contradicts him is not around a very long time!

The reality is that the Presidents supporters are not as fond of him as he would like to believe. He is just a manifestation of their anger and sense of loss of status. I find it ironic that many of the same people who say that, “people should pull themselves up by their boot straps” and that “any form of a social welfare is going to make a person lazy” are the same people who blame Latin Americans for taking their jobs. Who blame undocumented immigrants for crime (statistically undocumented immigrants are the least likely to commit a crime). Any success they have is because they are hard workers. Any shortcomings they experience is someone else’s fault. Forget facts, they just need someone to blame. One of the favorite groups is “those damn liberals”. They are just coming to take our guns (has anyone on the last 40 years had a gun taken?!). They are coming to close our churches and make us follow sharia law (laws have to go through the court system). So, in my opinion, there is not so much love for Donald Trump, but a hate of Liberals.

I saw this on FB this morning and wanted to share.

“Dana” posed this question: “Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?” A lady named Bev answered it this way:

“You all don’t get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence.
They don’t give a shit what he does. He’s just something to rally around and hate liberals, that’s it, period.

He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it.
The fact that people act like it’s anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.

If you keep getting caught up in “why do they not realize this problem” and “how can they still back Trump after this scandal,” then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It’s fuck liberals, that’s pretty much it.
Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they’ll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense?

Because they’re not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it’s irrelevant. Fuck liberals is the only relevant thing.

Trust me; I know firsthand what I’m talking about. That’s why they just laugh at it all because you all don’t even realize they truly don’t give a fuck about whatever the conversation is about.

It’s just a side mission story that doesn’t matter anyway. That’s all just trivial details—the economy, health care, whatever.
Fuck liberals.

Look at the issue with not wearing masks. I can tell you what that’s about. It’s about exposing fear. They’re playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.

You’ve got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that’s what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness.

And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I’m not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that’s what proves they’re strong, their passionate hatred for weakness.

Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they’re in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that’s an obvious sign of weakness.
– Kindness = weakness.
– Honesty = weakness.
– Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn’t hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it’s that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.

Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.”

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Why Masks Work BETTER Than You’d Think – Just Give Me Positive Good News

Source: Why Masks Work BETTER Than You’d Think – Just Give Me Positive Good News

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