MontClairVoyant: Montclair Is ‘Ridin’ with Biden,’ So Air Force One Needs More Seats

This past Saturday, November 7, crowds gathered and drivers happily honked their horns in downtown Montclair. What were they celebrating?

As If I Don’t Know

The November 7 birthday of Albert Camus, whose novel “The Plague” came out in 1947. How Camus knew that Trump — a baby in ’47 — would plague the U.S. during a future presidency is one of the great mysteries of French literature.

Another mystery of French literature is how the star of Colette’s 1900 novel “Claudine at School” managed to log into Google Classroom 120 years ago. But, seriously, wasn’t the celebration a joyous response to the cruel and corrupt Trump’s election loss?

Gigi and Cheri

Yes, even as Montclair Republicans took comfort from the 45th president almost being one of the top 1,000 presidents in U.S. history. Almost.

Reports indicate that the centrist Joe Biden received about 90 percent of Montclair’s vote and the far-right Trump less than nine percent. Comment?

Purr Centages

If Trump ever visits our town, I suggest he wear a disguise. Perhaps he can dress as The MC Hotel.

Sounds like a rather bulky costume. Why was Biden declared the winner on November 7 rather than, say, Sunday November 8?

Rhea Zults

So his victory could provide sketch material for that evening’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Actually, it was because Pennsylvania that morning put Biden over the 270 electoral-vote threshold. Is 270 a hard number to remember?

On the Threshold of a Scream

I use an easy-peasy memory jog of adding the Municipal Building’s Claremont Avenue address (205), the school district’s Valley Road address (22), and the number of rubber mousies (43) my cat batted under the sofa.


Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic that Trump’s actions and inactions worsened is sadly spiking again in the U.S., New Jersey, and Montclair — including a case at Nishuane School. Is it any surprise that Montclair has delayed in-class learning again?

Hy Brid

Wait, Claudine logged into Google Classroom in 1900? I clearly need to ask you a very tough, very skeptical question as I try to keep things real: Did she use a Mac or PC?

In other school-district news, Edgemont principal Jeffrey Freeman has been named principal of Montclair High. Excellent choice?

Principled Principal

Yes! He’s been a great administrator and a great teacher (my older daughter was one of his students). Mr. Freeman started at Montclair High in 1999, meaning he taught for two millennia despite not being old.

Speaking of the 20th century, there’s a new film about the fascinating life of late World War II veteran Jerry Yellin, whose son Michael Yellin and daughter-in-law Gail Prusslin are Montclair residents. Some details?

Moving Movie

“Jerry’s Last Mission” can be seen online for free through tomorrow, November 13 — and there’s a Zoom Q&A tonight, November 12, at 8. Working backward some more, November 11 is Veterans Day and November 10 is…oh, heck, just google “This Day in History.”

Meanwhile, wasn’t it inspiring to see all the clean-up and planting done by residents during Montclair’s November 7-8 “Parks Appreciation Weekend”?

Six-Site Scenario

It was! There were volunteers younger and older — including 1343-born “Canterbury Tales” writer Chaucer, who appeared in Canterbury Park before strolling to Miller Street to research “The Miller’s Tale.”

To think that Chaucer has been collecting Social Security since 1408! Speaking of green spaces, the latest annual Anderson Park short-story contest is open to middle-school students. Where can one find more information?

Dee Tails

On the “Friends of Anderson Park” Facebook page. To remember when that lovely park opened, try the memory jog of adding the park’s founding year (1903) to the number of times (0) Trump quickly conceded the election to Biden.



Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.



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  1. We were going along just great. Positive self image. Dominant demographic. A LOT of credit for some soft accomplishments, the greatest imagery and the best music of all time. Then the floor dropped out from us Boomers. Labeled conspicuous consumers, trailblazers of inequitable wealth distribution, and now blame for tipping the scale to irreversible global warming! And this only covers the Democrats.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Frank. Well, some boomers have worsened economic inequality, climate change, etc., while others have fought economic inequality, been eco-conscious, etc. It varies.

    I realize your “And this only covers the Democrats” line might have been partly tongue-in-cheek, but Republicans have nearly all been weaker than Dems on the issues you mentioned, even as many Dems have also not acquitted themselves well.

  3. Dave – Even in 1947, when Trump was a mere one year old and contemplating his next grift from the crib, the prescient Albert Camus instinctively knew that he was as existential threat, if you get what I’m saying.

  4. Ha! GREAT comment, silverleaf! “…contemplating his next grift from the crib” — priceless! And, yes, Camus was a master of existentialism, especially in his earlier novel “The Stranger.” It’ll be nice when Trump becomes a stranger to the White House…

  5. Agree, Dave. Let us not forget Kafka’s “The Trial.” Once this current charade is over and he is summarily removed from the White House on Jan 20, the SDNY will see to it that charged and tried.

  6. Thank you, silverleaf! Yes, “The Trial” and various other Kafka works are about as existential as literature can get.

    As for the Southern District of New York and its investigations of Trump, I really hope “45” will be tried for (and convicted of) tax fraud, etc. But Trump — and corrupt rich powerful white men in general — unfortunately seldom get the consequences they deserve. 🙁

  7. Exactly. Seems like the sham and recently defrocked Hillsong Church Pastor Carl Lentz, formerly of Heller Way, meets at least some of the “rich powerful white men” definition. Well, at least we know that he’s “white.”

  8. It will be interesting, silverleaf, to see what happens to that dismissed pastor in the future. He indeed has some of the advantages that can help a person escape consequences, or end up with milder consequences. And whether the dismissed pastor’s role in getting Justin Bieber to visit Montclair will help or hurt him remains to be seen… 🙂

  9. Thank you for the comment, flipside. I partly agree with you — Biden’s history is one of being a corporatist Democrat. But I disagree with your implication that corporate America didn’t also have a strong influence on Trump and his administration. Corporate America had plenty of influence on Trump, and LOVED his tax cuts for the rich, his weakening of regulations, etc., even as it might have been troubled by Trump as a person. Corporate America will continue to get much of what it wants during the Biden presidency — with less drama, less-blatant White House corruption, and somewhat more decency from the Oval Office.

  10. You do realize Biden is a puppet. The Democratic party flipped to the party of billionaires. I guess you didn’t get the memo. We are headed to the world before 1776. A powerful elite and serfs. Watch for the push back. As a former Democrat I miss JFK.

  11. flipside, virtually every president — Biden, Trump, and other Democrats and Republicans — could be called a “puppet” of billionaires, corporations, military interests, etc. That said, there are more billionaire Republicans out there (Koch, the Walton family, Betsy DeVos, and so on) than there are billionaire Democrats. As for you missing JFK, perhaps your memories are colored by glamor or nostalgia. His presidency was mediocre — for one thing, the major social programs of the ‘60s were mostly passed under LBJ — and JFK was repugnant when it came to incessant womanizing.

  12. Dave, Silicon valley is where most of the billionaires are. A lot of LBJ’s social programs did a lot damage in long run….but his alleged ugly quote proved to stand the test of time. As far womanizing…JFK paved the way for Bill Clinton….and LBJ was a dog too.

  13. flipside, Silicon Valley is where a lot of billionaires are, but not most. Many Republican billionaires made or inherited their fortunes in more “analog” ways — fossil fuels, department stores, casinos, etc.

    LBJ’s social programs — such as Medicare and Medicaid — have done a LOT of good.

    Sure, Bill Clinton also has a repellent history with women. LBJ apparently strayed, too, but not as often as Clinton and JFK, from what I gathered reading Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Johnson. Interesting that you conveniently left out Republicans — such as Trump, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Roy Moore, Dennis Hastert, etc. — with adulterous and/or sexual misconduct-filled pasts.

  14. montclairrepublican, your “Thanks for the shout-out” line shows a sense of humor. 🙂 Appreciated. 🙂

    (When I click on your link I get an error message; unsure if it’s a problem on my end or not.)

  15. Thank you, flipside. Be well, too. I didn’t know about you being put in “the penalty box.” If it’s temporary, I guess we’ll converse again sometime down the road.

  16. flip – Your question, “Is everyone happy that corporate America has taken back the White House?”, is entirely moot. I’ll tell you what makes us happy . . . . that a racist, misogynistic, sexist, pathological liar, demagogue, scumbag of a president will be out of the White House by Jan. 20th. THAT is what makes us happy. No matter how much his equally aberrant base, VP Pence, corrupt USAG Barr, clown Sec’y of State Pompeo, Press Sec’y McEnany, GOP Senate rant and rave, he will be gone. You can bet the ranch on that!

  17. silverleaf, while I have mixed feelings about President-elect Biden, I am SO looking forward to Trump being out of the White House (whether he concedes or not). He is truly a sordid human being in all kinds of ways. I’m not sure he could act decently if he tried — it’s just not in him. But the Republicans who enabled him (some of whom you named) do know right from wrong yet supported Trump anyway — for the power, the far-right judges, the tax cuts for the rich, and other reasons. They are all beneath contempt.

  18. See Maureen. If you insist on calling yourselves deplorable, Silverleaf & DA second your labeling, then really, what is the purpose of your club? You strike me as an Alfalfa leading an Our Gang’s Women Haters Club. No one really hates Darla, but the circle they travel in does not permit challenges – not if you want to belong.

  19. Frank, are you addressing Maureen or referencing her? What on earth are you talking about? I was going to ignore your comment, but since you dragged me into it, I’d like to know exactly what label am I seconding.

    BTW, if you are going to mention ‘The Little Rascals’, you might do so with accuracy; that’s ‘He-Man Woman’s Hater’s Club’, from ‘Hearts Are Thumps’ (1937.)

    ” . . . . we, the He-Man Woman’s Hater’s Club, promise not to fall for this Valemtine (yes, Valemtine) business, because girls are the bunk.” – Spanky McFarland, President

  20. Frank, I would never call or second the calling of Trump supporters “deplorable” or “deplorables.” Hillary Clinton made a big mistake using that label. Of course, I strongly disagree with anyone’s support of Trump, a man I’m quite willing to call racist, misogynist, corrupt, a liar, etc. Those are just basic facts — without the condescension of the term “deplorables.” (I’ve used some strong adjectives to describe Trump, but somehow “deplorables” seems beyond the pale.)

    silverleaf, I occasionally watched reruns of “The Little Rascals” as a little kid. Never quite grabbed me. Preferred shows like “The Addams Family” and “The Munsters.” 🙂

  21. Dave,

    I’m confused. How can we have deplorable conditions, created by people, with forethought, (pick your example) and not have deplorable people?

  22. Thanks for the link, Frank! I guess those Republicans are using “deplorables” in a droll, satirical sort of way. Still, Hillary used that term a long four years ago, and she and her hubby Bill are now almost nonentities in the Democratic Party, so the “joke” in that GOP announcement is a bit dated. 🙂

  23. And Dave, you unintentionally made my point. The Montclair Republican Party is saying, by all means call us deplorable. They are condoning regardless of the context in which they used the word. Actually, if another candidate, other than Hillary Clinton, especially a male, had said it, would we really care that much. The Republicans are using it because it just vexes male liberals, like yourself, to this very day.

    As you can see, I’m amazed. I shouldn’t be. I chide myself for being so.

  24. Frank, you asked: “How can we have deplorable conditions, created by people, with forethought, (pick your example) and not have deplorable people?” I guess there’s a line between calling beliefs or actions deplorable vs. calling people themselves “deplorables.” Of course, when labeling someone like Trump himself, all bets are off. 🙂

  25. Dave,

    No! They are not using it as light-hearted humor. You don’t understand the mindset of the Republican Party. They are using it as part of a strategy to reinforce division ahead of the next administration. FYI, it’s just business, nothing personal.

  26. I hear you, Frank. Yes, the Republican Party these days is all about creating or worsening division. And maybe part of that “joking” self-use of “deplorables” you linked to is to make it seem like they (Republicans) are the victims, when in fact Republicans — or at least many of their leaders — are the ones too often victimizing people, including people of color, women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, the poor, etc.

  27. Dave,

    Life is a zero sum existence. Someone is always the predator and someone is the victim. We exchange roles depending on the situation and/or timing. Nothing changes. That is why you and flipside were arguing over presidents a half century removed. And, the amusingly to only myself, President-elect Biden, this generation’s trou normand, believes ‘mankind’ ultimately advances over time. Seriously. This is our new President.

  28. And if anyone thinks a NJ Democrat or Republican is different from a Michigan version is laughable. The same is true in South Carolina. Personally, don’t seem any redeeming value…Colbert aside.

    Maureen understands this. She believes to her bones that the ends justifies the means. She could be a Democrat.

  29. “Someone is always the predator and someone is the victim” — it’s hard to argue with that line of yours, Frank. Perhaps the debate is about the degree of predation, which the current spate of far-right Republicans have increased to the nth degree.

    I plead guilty to arguing with flipside over presidents a half-century removed. Time to change things up and argue over presidents a century-and-a-half removed. 🙂 I think Ulysses Grant was… 🙂

  30. Yup, that yin / yang thing. Agree with expanding/contracting degrees excesses. However, as a loser, a record number of American voted for him. My yin / yang circle of life is looking very symmetrical.

    We’ll have to wait until a certain someone gets out of the penalty box to have the discussion, but if you are going to bring up U. S. Grant, you know we will have to talk about those Presidential pardons. One of Trumps’ last destructive hurrahs will be his many pardons.

  31. “Life is a zero sum existence. Someone is always the predator and someone is the victim, (and then sarcastically), “President-elect Biden . . . . believes ‘mankind’ ultimately advances over time.”

    I’ll take those two statements on their face, Frank. An extraordinarily bleak view of the world to be sure. We fully understand your take on life now that you’ve revealed what it is behind your preoccupation with and criticism of practically everything discussed here. I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. Talk about a zero-sum game conundrum. You make Thomas Hobbes seem like an eternal optimist!

  32. Frank, yes, it IS appalling how many people voted for Trump after all the cruelty, corruption, and incompetence of the past four years. And Trump will indeed have various destructive last hurrahs — destructive to the environment, destructive to the rule of law, destructive to decency, etc.

    I’d like to think that at least “history will not treat him well,” but there’ll always be historians who “shill” for the far right — sort of like the way Reagan is now considered a Republican saint by some when he actually was responsible for various negative things (like widening economic inequality) that Trump would worsen even more. All done more congenially by Reagan, of course.

    silverleaf, I hear you that we have to maintain some optimism, and there is indeed much good in the world — and in Montclair. The far right is unfortunately more ruthless about things (Exhibit A: Mitch McConnell), so they often get their way.

  33. Frank, you say it so casually, “it’s all about the afterlife.” Is that true? Is that your coda? If we were to believe that, I’d have thought that you’d be a monk somewhere living an ascetic life preparing for a well deserved and glorious everlasting immortality.

    Dave, Trump has injected such vitriol and acrimony into American life (and world) over the the last four years, that it is sometimes difficult to maintain any optimism at all. He’s been nothing less then a scourge on our nation. Perhap, as suggested, we should all grin and bear it in anticipation for the great hereafter.

  34. Are you not following your own thread? Because you derided life on earth as a “sub-zero game” and defined the human condition in terms of predator and victim. When confronted about life’s bleak outlook, you stated that “it’s all about the afterlife. You have to look at the big picture,” which clearly implies that in afterlife, we have something positive to look forward to.

    Are you saying that the hereafter is equally as bleak as life on earth? What exactly are you saying, Frank?

  35. Before you get me on a technicality, which you are inclined to do, you said, life is a “zero sum existence,” not a “sub-zero game,” which are essentially the same thing.

  36. You’re so right about Trump, silverleaf. Whether consciously or not, one of Trump’s aims was to demoralize decent-thinking people — to take their optimism, as you noted — in order to make it easier for him to do what he wanted to do.

    As for the afterlife, I hope heaven’s commercial district has free parking on Sundays… 🙂

  37. Zero sum. (I’m skipping the Sub-Zero jokes)

    No, you inferred.

    To imply what existence after this life offers, I’d simply say, Choice?.

  38. Think about it silverleaf….a totally blissful hereafter defined by the absence of choice, but the everything in the next life, even trading in a blissful existence, for faith om a Devine pursuit Wow, a real mindblower.

  39. PS: These are my top 3 movies I use to wireframe what the afterlife holds for us:

    Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
    The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947)
    All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)

    It’s A Wonderful Life (1947) was a Spanky McFarland movie.

    Your top 3?

    PSS: Dave, Did you read Robin Givhan’s piece in the Washington Post. Pretty good.

  40. Frank, I just googled a Robin Givhan piece with the headline “The President Is Golfing and Exercising White Male Privilege.” Is that it? I couldn’t read it because I’ve used up my monthly allotment of Washington Post articles. 🙁

    “Field of Dreams” was also a pretty good movie with afterlife elements. 🙂

  41. No worries. I wouldn’t use part of your allotment for it. It is just an updated version of Trump and the issues with his presidency…but, with some well crafted 1-liners.

    Yes, it was a good movie, although like the others indicate, the afterlife is not all it is cracked up to be.

  42. Robin Givhan is an excellent writer, Frank. Also a good speaker; I once heard her talk at a columnists conference.

    “…the afterlife is not all it is cracked up to be” — ha! I guess it’s hard to know until one gets there, if there’s a there there. 🙂

  43. Frank – My top 3 films about the hereafter, you ask?

    Here’s my favorite . . . “Donald Trump Goes Straight to Hell: A Morality Tale.”

  44. Maybe we can get Maureen to screen it at a Montclair Republican Club meeting.

    Unfortunately silverleaf, we still have almost an even split between those who voted for Donald v. Joe. This basically means morality in the USA, at any given juncture is just a flip of the coin. Quite the challenge to make this a teachable moment.

    The baby boomers are really sucking it right now…and likely, we get a lowly place in American generational rankings.

    We took opportunity & promise and just flushed it down the drain.

  45. Frank, a mixed message from baby boomers — many voted for Trump, though many also voted against Trump. Just too large a group to pigeonhole in most ways. But younger demographics are clearly more progressive.

    The 1946-born Trump is actually a boomer himself…

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