Charles Brian Orner
SOSTENUTO - A Novel
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The Sostenuto Blog

An Abbreviated Bibliography of Edgar Allen Poe

I’ve seen a certain Mesmeric Revelation several times in the last couple of days — from Mystification McConnell, of course, and Ron Paul’s Lovely Blonde Wife, and Genius Christian Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the Lovely Blonde Laura Ingraham, and Tom Cotton, The Raven-haired Bobble-Throated Slapdick from the state of Alabama, and three or four others (Including The Business Man) whose collective IQs do not warrant inclusion even among these offensive Oval Portraits. I confess it caused A Loss of Breath. Among other things.

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Brian Orner
I've Had About Enough of Lindsay Graham

Lindsay Graham was once a respectable human being. We know this because we all were, at one time, innocent with wide-eyed wonder, unblemished by a capricious world, and uninjured by the waking slumber of the giants in our midst. Then we grew into adulthood and became part of the problem; inured to inner search, captive to convenience, and impoverished of genuine wisdom. The best among us—but by no means everyone—have recognized this in themselves and in others, and labor in ways both large and small to ease the suffering in the world. The political class was once an honorable domain for such folk called to work in this way. No longer. Today, it is the domain of Lindsay Graham.

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Brian Orner
A Matter of Tone

“I love Kavanaugh’s tone.”

This is perhaps the most telling tweet of yesterday’s sordid Senate Judiciary Committee circus. It comes to us from one of the most tone-deaf twaddlers on the national stage, Donald Trump, Jr., whose tempestuous teeth and tongue are graced with hot flatulent bile at a frequency exceeded only by his Dear Old Dad and that pathetic wretch mouthing unmentionables for the NRA. Tone, not content, is what the Trump presidency* is all about, and Brett Kavanagh chose to dispense with the pretense of judicial temperament and fall flat on his forked tongue right into the partisan Trumpian fold. Don, Jr. loved it. The American Bar Association did not.

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Brian Orner
About That Anonymous Op-Ed

The paper of record stepped somewhat outside it's rarefied editorial standards yesterday to publish an inarguably important but unenlightening op-end from an anonymous source inside the White House. I read it three times, not because it was edifying, but because it was edifying for all the wrong reasons. It did not tell us anything that we did not already know about either the president* or the hapless sycophants who support him. It fully confirmed the pre-publication excerpts from Bob Woodward's forthcoming jeremiad. It was entirely consistent with less formal pronouncements from the rapidly-growing list of former administration officials both on and off the record. And it comports with both widespread public observation and common sense. What it did offer, however, is unequivocal confirmation that the people in this administration, and this person in particular, are utterly spineless.

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Brian Orner
McCain's Final Message

John McCain is dead, and the nation mourns. The mediasphere has been replete with accolades and remembrances, while the naysayers have been mercifully mum-although it is in our nature that remonstrations will surely follow. This is perhaps as it should be for a public figure; none among us fully righteous, nor fully blameless, and like all of us, McCain's imperfections are what defined his character. But as a public figure, McCain demonstrated the capacity—and the willingness—to sometimes rise above his imperfections. This is why, above everything else, he has earned, and is entitled to, our respect and our admiration.

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Brian Orner
A Note on Sessions

I think we need to be somewhat less careless about the momentary come-hither of the Jeff Sessions embouchure. Remember that Sessions is unquestionably racist, dull, and thoroughly cruel, as he has been throughout his public life. He is architect of the zero-tolerance policy for immigrant families, which is arguably the the ugliest, stupidest, and most fundamentally un-American policy of any kind since Japanese interment, and he deserves to be banished to the nether regions for that reason alone.

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Brian Orner
On Finding Common Ground

I have written at some length about this business of supporting Donald Trump - most of it satirical, and none of it kind - and there probably isn't much more to add at this point that hasn't been said repeatedly by better writers and thinkers than I. But I remain mystified as to the mindset that could possibly facilitate anything beyond revulsion at this regime.

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Brian Orner
A Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau

Those of us who have children know how difficult it can be to deal with temper tantrums and bad behavior and ignorance in the ways of the adult world. Some days are difficult, to be sure. What you must remember, however, is that when you deal with Donald Trump, you are not dealing with a child. You’re dealing with a dog. A somewhat different set of behaviors are required.

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Brian Orner
On Presidential Temperament

Temperament is a human attribute that we each possess, and that we continuously assess in one-another. It informs our character, which in turn informs other higher human attributes such as integrity, compassion, and self-awareness. Appropriate temperament is vital to success in almost any human endeavor, and is so important that we instinctively regard it as indispensable in assessing someone’s suitability for almost anything: a relationship, a job, a responsibility—an elective office. This is perfectly ordinary, and people will naturally gravitate toward an enterprise that suits them temperamentally. As a society, however, “appropriate” temperament is not intrinsic, and it is not accidental; it is a choice about what we want to see in ourselves, in our communities, and in our leadership.

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Brian Orner
Friend in Need of a Kidney

Friends,

The son of a good friend of mine is in need of a kidney, blood type O. If you know someone who'd be willing to consider serving as a donor, please click through and pass this along. Thanks so much in advance

- CBO

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Brian Orner
Take a Knee

We are entering the Memorial Day Weekend. It is a time for reflecting on what it means to be an American citizen. In that spirit, I have decided that from this day forward until the end of the Trump Presidency*, and for as long thereafter is it takes to rid this country of the fascism, cruelty, and incompetence that he and his administration promulgate, I will, without fail, and no matter the context, take a knee each and every time I hear the national anthem. 


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Brian Orner
Rest in Peace, Phillip Roth

"You begin every book as an amateur and as a dummy, and in the writing, you discover the book. … Gradually, by writing sentence after sentence, the book, as it were, reveals itself to you through your language. So each sentence is a revelation."

- Phillip Roth

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Brian Orner
Becoming Donald Trump

So much has been written about the Trump administration now that it seems pointless to spend time and energy to deepen the ocean of outrage already in evidence. But I will do so, if only to organize my thoughts, and perhaps assist others in organizing theirs. Words have power, and increasingly, they are the only power left to ordinary citizens, who are slowly being deprived of their civic strength, their economic means, and the once and future country of their youth.

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Brian Orner
Moved to Montana

It seems that life, in her infinite wisdom, has led me to take up residence in Montana. I'm now living in Bigfork and working in Kalispell, just a short distance from Glacier National Park. Some of you may know that in addition to writing, I harbor a passion for fine art photography, and this area of the country is as ripe for landscape work as any place could possibly be. I've decided to start posting photographs here as they come into existence, because why not? Nature's prose is far more compelling than anything mere mortals have to offer.

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Brian Orner
Thoughts on the Memorials at Gettysburg

I will begin by stating the obvious. When Fascists decide to support something, there is already good reason to oppose it. A national conversation about the most statuesque among us is now thick with reason and its opposite, historical fact and histrionic fiction, prayerful prostration and Sieg Heil! salutation. One supposes that the nattering nabobs of Nazi nationalism (tip ‘o the hat to William Safire) did not think the matter through when they descended upon Charlottesville like a swarm of loathsome insects. All over the southland, Marble Monuments To Malevolent Men are suddenly sliding into a bear market downslope that is nothing if not supremely slippery. Say what you will about the neo-Nazis; above everything else, they’re just as dumb as a rock.

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Brian Orner
A Minor Setback

It seems the god of literature does not always smile on we plebians. Pronoun, the online distribution channel that I had selected for Sostenuto, is closing up shop. Here is the email that I received earlier this week.

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Brian Orner