As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office

As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office

It feels like a long time ago when I attended a Trump rally (as a fan of politics) on a chilly day in April 2016. The experience inspired me to write a satirical book imagining what it would be like if Donald Trump were to become president.

I wrote the book over the spring and summer, and it was published in early August. After I began writing, Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. He then defied pollsters and won the presidency, leaving my fictional book still hanging on as a part of our reality, rather than planted forever in an alternate universe.

But now that Donald Trump’s presidency has begun, my book and real life must start to diverge.

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella imagines a Donald Trump presidency through a look at a sequence of “official documents,” such as executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more. In the book, President Trump’s term appears to last around a month, rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. However, exactly what happens at the end, including President Trump’s whereabouts and whether the whole thing is his fault, is intentionally unclear and may be addressed in a sequel.

Now that we have entered the setting of President Trump’s Month, I am comparing the events of the book to real life with great interest.

Here is one early prediction that has come true:

According to reports, Donald Trump decided to keep Childe Hassam’s Avenue in the Rain hanging in the Oval Office while ordering the removal of Edward Hopper’s pair of works depicting rural Cape Cod scenes during the Great Depression. (See “Trump Brings Churchill Bust Back to Oval Office,” CNN.com, January 20, 2017.)

President Trump’s Oval Office decor decision is in line with what I predicted last year in my book. Here is the relevant excerpt from Chapter 5, “Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Morning Activity (Official Release, January 21, 2017)”, page 26:

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Excerpt from President Trump’s Month

Visit this blog for more about similarities between my book’s events and real life, as things unfold. In the meantime, for more information about President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, please visit presidenttrumpsmonth.com. Also, be sure to check out the latest book trailer.

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Ron Leshnower is the author of President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, a short work of fiction that imagines a Trump presidency through an examination of executive orders, presidential proclamations, and other “official” documents.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

Check Out the New Book Trailer for ‘President Trump’s Month’

Check Out the New Book Trailer for ‘President Trump’s Month’

President Trump’s Month was written earlier this year as satirical fiction back when Donald Trump was one of several Republican candidates vying for the party’s nomination. The book was published just after Mr. Trump became the nominee at the GOP convention.

Now that Mr. Trump has won the presidency, this book has become even more relevant.

A novella, President Trump’s Month imagines a Trump presidency with a term rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. Combining political satire with legal research, the book’s epistolary format presents a narrative to readers through a series of “official” documents, including executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more.

The story doesn’t appear to end well, but is it Mr. Trump’s fault? And where is he?

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella by Ron Leshnower (Hillocrian Creative) retails for $11.99 (paperback) and is now available for download for only $2.99 (Kindle). Visit the book’s Amazon.com page for details.

Check out the new book trailer for President Trump’s Month, below.

After a Trump Rally and Two Kasich Town Halls, a Pair of Clinton Debate-Watching Parties Brings Surprises

After a Trump Rally and Two Kasich Town Halls, a Pair of Clinton Debate-Watching Parties Brings Surprises

Earlier this year, as the 2016 presidential primary season went into extra innings and the campaigns shifted focus to my home state of New York, I sought to attend candidate events to gain deeper insight with a firsthand perspective.

I was able to make it to a Donald Trump rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage and two John Kasich town halls, one hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, and the other moderated by Chris Matthews of MSNBC at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho.

You can read my observations of the contrast between these two Republican candidates in “Can John Kasich Take the ‘Boring Lane’ All the Way to Pennsylvania Avenue?” (Hillocrian Blog, May 3, 2016).

Before long, the candidate field winnowed, and presumptive nominees of both parties emerged, despite claims of illegitimacy on both sides. (As it turns out, disgruntled GOP delegates refrained from going full Harry Potter on their candidate in Cleveland. For details, read “Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?” (Hillocrian Blog, July 18, 2016).)

The August conventions made the nominees’ status official. Hillary Clinton became the first female major-party nominee for president of the United States, while Donald Trump won the GOP nomination after having garnered more primary votes (for him, as well as against him) than any predecessor in the history of the Republican Party.

With the general election season now underway, I thought I was done with events. But the debates provided another possible opportunity.

The first presidential debate was scheduled for Monday, September 26, 2016. Although the locale was switched from Wright State University in Ohio to Hofstra, I knew that without a connection, there would be no way to secure a ticket, just as I was unable to do four years ago for the second Obama/Romney debate and eight years ago for the third Obama/McCain debate.

But I learned that the Hillary Clinton campaign was hosting a debate-watching party in Westbury. Although it wasn’t supposed to be an actual candidate event, I thought the experience of watching a live debate on a big screen with a crowd would be interesting.

And so I went, and so it was—so much so that I attended a similar event for the third debate, at a venue in Huntington. As it turned out, each debate-watching party offered its own surprise, including an unexpected opportunity to see another candidate, this time on the other side of the aisle.

Watching a Campaign Slogan Get Literal

(Warning: If you plan to visit the Kennedy Space Center and want to be surprised, you may wish to skip this section, as it contains spoilers.)

The first debate-watching party reminded me of an attraction at the Kennedy Space Center. After an introductory movie about the Space Shuttle Atlantis, an image of the angled ship disappeared as the scrim rose to reveal the actual Atlantis in the same view.

When the debate ended, we were urged to stick around, and an hour or so later, Hillary Clinton occupied the stage where she had just appeared on screen, addressing the surprised crowd.

In addition to resembling the trick behind the Atlantis attraction, this “sleight-of-candidate” cleverly literalized the Clinton campaign’s slogan; i.e., regardless of our feelings, we could all undeniably say, “I’m with her.”

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From the big screen…
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…to a surprise appearance.

Even the Technology Has an Opinion

Near the end of the debate, the topic shifted to the national debt. As Trump began to speak, the words “Clean the Air Filter” suddenly appeared beside his face (see photos, below).

Although, in all likelihood, this incident was nothing more than a projection TV crying out for servicing, the content of this text, along with its uncanny timing and placement, came as much-needed comic relief.

cleantheairfilter-2cleantheairfilter-1

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Ron Leshnower is the author of President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, a short work of fiction that imagines a Trump presidency through an examination of executive orders, presidential proclamations, and other “official” documents.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

Imagining a Trump Presidency Through a Sequence of ‘Official’ Documents

Imagining a Trump Presidency Through a Sequence of ‘Official’ Documents

Have you wondered what would happen if Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States? I’ve wondered about this, and then I decided to write a book about it.

The book, entitled President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, takes readers on a satirical walk through an imagined Donald Trump presidency via an unusual narrative form. It tells a story through a sequence of “official” documents, including executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of key press briefings, inaugural and weekly addresses, and more.

The story begins on January 20, 2017, when Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. As he hangs his red cap on the door of the Oval Office, President Trump is eager to show that “we can start winning again, folks.” But his ambitions are cut short, with a one-month term rivaling that of William Henry Harrison.

Find out what happens in President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, available now in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon.com and other retailers.

Visit www.presidenttrumpsmonth.com today for more information and to watch the book trailer.

ptmcovershot
President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella by Ron Leshnower (Hillocrian Creative) satirically imagines a Trump presidency through “official” executive orders, proclamations, speeches, and more.

Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?

Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?

People of all political backgrounds have been wondering if the GOP presumptive nominee will lose that modifier at this week’s Republican National Convention. In anticipation, many Republicans who can’t support a Nominee Trump and fear life under a President Trump have been trying to mount an effort to preemptively dethrone the candidate before the crown can take the place of his red cap.

So far, this effort, which has focused on the convention’s rules and their interpretation, has been in vain. It seems quite likely at this point that Donald Trump will leave Cleveland with the nomination, a prize that his campaign insists he rightfully earned.

But there may be another way.

Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic

I have seen magicians accomplish the impressive feat of making a live elephant disappear. In similar fashion, Never Trump Republicans who are planning to attend this week’s convention might just be able to get the GOP’s top elephant to retreat to his eponymous tower with some old-fashioned hocus-pocus.

In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that such an unorthodox strategy may have already been contemplated.

In March, Republican lawmakers introduced House Resolution 642, “recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” (And you thought Congress does nothing.) It’s entirely possible that some of the resolution’s cosponsors were thinking about He Who Will Not Be Named. Curiously, the resolution appeared out of thin air just a few months after Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted that “Voldemort was nowhere near as bad,” referring to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban.

So, what’s a Never Trump Republican Muggle to do?

5 Spells for Never Trump Republicans to Try in Cleveland

As of this writing, Hogwarts doesn’t accept Americans, and you won’t find a Defense Against the Dark Arts class in any adult education brochure. So, with little time remaining, I offer convention attendees some spells they can practice for use in Ohio.

Please attempt these spells at your own risk:

  • Delegatus Non Legatus
    This spell unbinds all delegates, leaving them to follow their conscience and vote their will.
  • Crucio Rubio
    This spell hands the nomination to one of Trump’s primary opponents, rules be damned.
  • Albus Eques
    This spell randomly taps Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or another white knight candidate to win the support of enough convention delegates.
  • Iracundia Leviosa
    This spell transforms Trump into a more predictable, reasonable, refined, and mild-mannered candidate before he can become the official nominee.
  • Veni Vidi Vici Abeo
    This spell lets Trump become the nominee only to quit, proving a point while creating an opening for another candidate. In a way, everyone wins.

Kings and Things to Take by Storm

The timely introduction of House Resolution 642 suggests that there’s magic to do. Not surprisingly, given this unpredictable election cycle, my crystal ball refuses to reveal to me what will happen in Cleveland this week. But I am reasonably confident that with the right incantation, Never Trump Republicans who attend the convention may be able to send the provocative pachyderm packing.
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Ron Leshnower is the author of books and articles exploring a range of topics.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

The ‘1812 Overture’ and American Patriotism

The ‘1812 Overture’ and American Patriotism

There’s an old joke among American children about whether there’s a Fourth of July in England. The answer is yes! It’s the fourth day of the seventh month. Of course, it’s just not a day that England celebrates as Independence Day.

The “1812 Overture,” a Tchaikovsky piece that I greatly admire (much more than the composer himself apparently did), reminds me of this joke. It’s not that the piece is poorly written or comical in any way. On the contrary, its carefully constructed harmonies, rich orchestration, and intricate weaving of motifs has arguably made it rank among the most recognizable and stirring pieces of Western music ever written.

The oddity is the work’s close association with Independence Day and, by extension, American patriotism. The piece, which has become famous for its inclusion of loud cannons, has quietly become a part of the canon of American patriotic music. But, as sure as the Fourth of July arrives each year in England, the status of the “1812 Overture” as an Independence Day favorite requires some explanation. After all, the piece is about Russia versus France.

The War of 1812

If I were to hear a piece entitled “1776 Overture” at a Fourth of July concert, I would probably assume it had something to do with the Revolutionary War. In this manner, many people have assumed that the “1812 Overture” is about the War of 1812, the military conflict that pitted a young America against the United Kingdom. In fact, I’ve so often heard the piece referred to as the “War of 1812 Overture.” While this is understandable, it’s highly inaccurate.

Tchaikovsky composed the “1812 Overture” to commemorate his country’s strong defense against Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Borodino. The fact that this Russian victory happened to occur in the same year as a key date in American history, and that Tchaikovsky used the year in his title (“The Year 1812” was the original name) has added to the confusion.

It’s worth noting here that the War of 1812 did play an important role in American patriotic music. The sight of the American flag following a victory at Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that would serve as the lyrics of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

1812 Meets 1974

There’s no doubt that the “1812 Overture” has the hallmarks of a patriotic piece, with its rousing melodies, militaristic percussion, and impassioned brass fanfares. A product of the late Romantic era, it’s a musical cousin of John Phillip Sousa’s many popular marches, especially his classic “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (which, don’t worry, is certainly American—so much so that Congress made it the official march of the United States in 1987 (36 U.S.C. § 304).

But while the “1812 Overture” is patriotic, both in its sound and its meaning, the patriotism is Russian. In fact, if you’ve ever left a performance of the “1812 Overture” whistling, chances are you were parroting French and Russian motifs, which Tchaikovsky intertwined with great mastery.

Tchaikovsky personally introduced the “1812 Overture” to American ears in 1891 when he conducted his work at the dedication of New York’s Music Hall (now known as Carnegie Hall). But the pivotal year for the “1812 Overture” in the United States came in 1974. Hoping that the attraction of the piece would boost attendance at the Boston Pops’ Fourth of July concert, conductor Arthur Fiedler added the “1812 Overture” to the program. It proved to be a hit, and so the “1812 Overture” became a staple at this annual patriotic event. Over the years, as millions of people have enjoyed the Boston Pops’ televised performance, whether on the lawn of the Esplanade or the sofa of their living room, the “1812 Overture” has taken hold as an annual Fourth of July tradition—and, thus, an American tradition.

The assimilation of the “1812 Overture” into our Independence Day repertoire reminds us that although patriotism is often viewed through the prism of one’s own country, national pride is a common feeling shared by people across the world. For years, this sentiment has provided the creative fuel for eloquent and passionate works of timeless music and beautiful art, reflecting a diverse set of cultures, history, struggles, and achievements.

The “1812 Overture” itself isn’t American (like it or not), but that doesn’t mean that listening to it on the Fourth of July isn’t. Indeed, the fact that we perform, embrace and enjoy this musical import on the day we celebrate our own nation’s independence is part of what makes America great.
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Ron Leshnower is the author of books and articles exploring a range of topics. He is also a composer.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

 

Remembering My Brother-in-Law Through Music

Remembering My Brother-in-Law Through Music

I first met Adam in 2002 in the lobby of The Mirage in Las Vegas. His sister, who was my fiancée at the time, and I were starting a vacation as Adam was heading home to Houston after a friend’s bachelor party at the nearby Hard Rock Hotel, and so it was a perfect opportunity for us to meet.

The more I got to know Adam, the more I liked him. He was bright without a trace of arrogance. As a pediatrician, he was passionate about his work and compassionate with his patients. He was sincere and always fun to be with.

At the time, I had every reason to believe that Adam was someone I would be getting to know well over many years, and I looked forward to it. It turns out I was wrong, for reasons I could not have imagined.

Although I wish Adam were still here, I consider myself lucky that our paths were meant to cross and that my children are his nephew and niece. Since Adam passed away in 2009, I have wanted to organize my feelings into music and compose an orchestral work that honors my late brother-in-law and the beauty of his life.

Today, on the occasion of what would have been Adam’s 42nd birthday (the reverse of 24, his lucky number), I am proud to present “Adam.”

Here are a few samples of the piece:

Please visit www.musicforadam.com to hear and learn more.

Also, if you knew Adam, feel free to share a thought on how he touched your life or a memory of him that made him so special by leaving a comment below.