The Cross House

2017. The Year-End Update. THE ROSS.

In my previous post I did a year-end update on the Cross House.

This post is a year-end update on me.

But why?

Well, many readers have expressed interest in knowing the man behind the blog. I understand this, as I grow bored with blogs that endlessly detail a house restoration while never offering a glimpse into the writer.

Also, I did the same thing last year and THE ROSS update attracted far more interest than THE HOUSE update.

So, on we go!

CAVEAT: I love politics. If you don’t, you may wish to skip this post.

CAVEAT: This post is long and with a lot to take in. You might first want to get a glass of wine before reading!

 

Last December, I was reeling from the horrific event of 11/8/16. During the ensuing two weeks, I walked around in a state of shock. Then, my emotional self imploded and I dropped into a bottomless pit of depression so great that it was dangerous. I mean, really dangerous. My friends grew alarmed.

All this happened because, as I wrote a year ago:

I now know a shattering new truth: Evil is more powerful than goodness.

And I don’t know how to live with such a reality.

How do I live when sexual abuse is now celebrated?

How do I live when misogyny is now celebrated?

How do I live when homophobia, xenophobia, and racism are all now celebrated?

How do I live when lies are now celebrated?

How do I live when a complete lack of qualifications is now celebrated?

How?

I feel shattered.

Then something unexpected and inexplicable happened.

During the last week of December, 2016, my mood lifted. Then in January it lifted higher, and became buoyant even.

Huh?

And while I had been dreading 2017 — dreading — a year has now passed and, to my utter shock, I can state that this was the best year of my life, even better than 2014. While I experienced pain in 2017, and many many many moments of utter horror and revulsion, overall I have been having a good time. A great time.

Most curious.

And I don’t think I have ever been more surprised by anything.

 

THREE KINDS OF NOURISHMENT

ONE

I mostly credit the Cross House with this unexpected outcome.

For, while my brain and heart are almost daily abused by the utter horror of the Trump Administration and GOP, my soul has been profoundly nourished this year by the Cross House.

I spent months rebuilding the NE corner. And this proved powerfully nourishing.

I spent months transforming the parlor into a thing of beauty. And this proved powerfully nourishing.

I spent months enhancing the exterior colors. And this proved powerfully nourishing.

I spent months painting the great north wall. And this proved powerfully nourishing.

I spent months going through the house and putting bits and pieces back into place, rehanging lost doors that had returned to the house, and recreating lost features. And all this proved powerfully nourishing.

I spent an entire month organizing and cleaning the house to get ready for the first annual Day After Thanksgiving family-of-choice dinner. And this, too, proved powerfully nourishing.

When buying the house in 2014, I knew it would never make financial sense, and I worried about my mental stability in making such a purchase.

It never occurred to me that the house would perhaps save my life. It certainly saved my sanity.

 

TWO

While my brain and heart are almost daily abused by the utter horror of the Trump Administration and the GOP, my soul has been profoundly nourished by becoming a volunteer.

At the end of 2016 I was invited to join the board of the Strong City Preservation Alliance, which has been focused on restoring the 1900 theater.

In 2017, the board approved my creating a new blog about the theater, and this went live.

This month, there was a mad/crazy rush to get the ruined theater somehow ready for the public to enjoy after more than thirty years. So Justin and Roland and Kay and Elena and Marilyn and Jaque and Tom, and Me, volunteered to make this dream a reality.

 

In addition, I got dressed up, and so did Mrs. Claus, to wave at drivers and people from the porch of the 1900 theater. Thanks, Kay!

 

And last Friday a movie, after a decades-long hiatus, was again shown in the ruined shell of the theater.

 

Before the show, Dorothy Doolittle stepped into the star-filled shell of the building. Dorothy, and her late husband, Dudley, owned the building for four decades. On Friday, she said that she had not planned to attend as it would have been too sad seeing the building in a ruined state. But, as her eyes scanned the huge interior of the building, twinkling magically, and filled with people and music, she smiled and said that she felt joyful, and knew that her husband was looking down from above, also smiling.

I felt that all the effort was worth just this moment with Dorothy.

Working with the Preservation Alliance and its wonderful, intelligent, and highly qualified volunteers has been deeply nourishing.

And last Friday was one of the most magical events of my life.

 

THREE

While my brain and heart are almost daily abused by the utter horror of the Trump Administration and GOP, my soul has been profoundly nourished this year by the fact that the rest of the world, mostly, feels the same. As do the majority of my fellow Americans, as Trump’s approval rating now stands at just 32%, the lowest ever recorded for a first-year President.

This gives me hope. Which I crave.

Trump has bragged about how America is now respected again. But this, of course, is a provable lie. The global standing of the US has plummeted in 2017. Plummeted. How is this winning? In only two countries has our standing risen: Russia and Israel. I am not happy about all this yet feel strangely comforted. For, this makes me feel a deep kinship with the rest of the world.

While my brain and heart are almost daily abused by the utter horror of the Trump Administration and GOP, I have discovered that I am not alone. MSNBC is doing the best reporting on the administration and GOP and their ratings have skyrocketed. So, too, with the New York Times and Washington Post. Across the country, Democratic candidates are winning winning winning in special elections and Alabama — Alabama! — just elected a Democratic Senator! While conservatives have tried hard to scare voters by demonizing transgender people, in Virginia a transgender candidate…won! She won! In another state, an openly homophobic and openly racist candidate lost to a white lesbian married to black woman!

Also in the Virginia race, Democratic candidates received more than 153,000 donations of $100 or less — compared to about 7,000 for GOP candidates.

 

I am living for the perfect storm of 2018.

 

Of course, people who watch FOX will know almost nothing about what is really going on. They will not know that Trump is a global laughingstock. And, if you try and explain, their response? “Fake news!”

Studies have shown that most conservatives almost exclusively watch Fox, while most liberals normally get their news from a variety of news sources. It would not take a rocket scientist to know which is better informed.

When restoring light fixtures in the morning and nights (my business) I often listen to Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Ari Melber on YouTube. And the intelligence and excellent reporting of these individuals, as they expose the utter horrors of the Trump Administration and GOP, nourish my soul.

 

DELIGHTING IN KARMA

In 2016, Michael Flynn chanted during the GOP Convention: “Lock her up! Lock her up!” And the huge hall roared with approval.

In 2017, Flynn was indicted.

While my mother always told me to never delight in another person’s misfortune…I delighted. Hugely.

When members (note the plural) of the Trump administration were indicted, my soul was nourished for I realized that good can prevail over evil. I am breathless with excitement about any upcoming indictments. Lock them up! Lock them ALL up!

 

TWO TERRIFYING STORIES

In the 1980s, I worked for Trump for about two years. Not for his company, but directly for The Donald. As such, I have unique insights into the man.

I actually designed his apartment. But then he fired me (owing me money) and replaced me with his casino architect. The architect then took my plan and replaced everything with GOLD GOLD GOLD and MIRRORS MIRRORS MIRRORS.

Then Trump fired the architect. And brought me back. However, the apartment was about half-way finished and there was little I could do to, ah, subdue it.

One day huge plastic panels were installed in the 2-story dining room, between the lower and upper windows (see picture below). I was horrified because they LOOKED like plastic. The contractor was horrified. EVERYBODY was horrified. So, we had Trump look at them.

 

See the plastic panels right above Melania’s head?

 

We all stood. Silent. The moments ticked by. Then Trump, without looking at me but continuing to stare at the panels, asked: “What do you think?”

I replied: “They look like plastic.”

Moments more ticked by.

Trump: “I think they look like carved ivory.”

I replied: “But…ivory does not come…in 4×8 panels.”

Trump’s face instantly transformed. He looked LIVID.

The room, and time, froze.

The moments ticked by. I was fucking dying.

Then, Trump spoke: “They look just like carved ivory.” And he stormed out of the room.

To this day I have been told that he is still telling visitors to the apartment that the panels are carved ivory.
Having directly experienced this surreal disconnect from reality, I was not surprised by a story which came out about Trump and his “Renior”.
I quote from the article:

Years ago, while reporting a book about Donald Trump, Tim O’Brien accompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls—one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet—in the impressionistic style of Renoir.

Curious, O’Brien asked Trump about the painting: was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. “No, it’s not Donald,” O’Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was.

“Donald, it’s not,” O’Brien said adamantly. “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.” He concluded emphatically: “That’s not an original.”

Trump, of course, did not agree, but O’Brien dropped the conversation topic and moved on with his interview. He thought that he had heard the last of the Renoir conversation. But the next day, when they boarded the plane to head back to New York City, Trump again pointed to the painting, and as if the conversation had never happened, he pointed to the fake and proclaimed, “You know, that’s an original Renoir.” O’Brien chose not to engage, and dropped the conversation.

While this story is comical and sad and utterly bizarre on so many levels, it’s also emblematic of Trump’s very essence. “He believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades,” O’Brien told me. “He’ll tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face.” And, as O’Brien points out, that’s what makes Trump so dangerous in his current war with the media around so-called fake news. “Its foundation is that he’s the final arbiter of what is true and what isn’t,” O’Brien said, “and it’s one of the reasons that he’s so dangerous.”

This is exactly what I experienced in the 1980s. Trump just makes shit up. All the time. And nothing, nothing can convince him that he is wrong.

This is dangerous level narcissism.

I repeat: This is dangerous level narcissism.

So, the next time you hear Trump raging about fake news, what he is really raging about is news which punctures his distortion bubble.

Trump’s disconnect from reality is profound. And now that he has the power to create a nuclear war, this should scare the shit out of everybody on Earth.

And if these two stories don’t terrify you…there is something wrong with you.

 

FACTS MATTER

Trump lies constantly.

This is not just my opinion but something which can be confirmed.

 

I constantly fact-check information, and often use Politifact, which is nonpartisan. Here is Trump’s scorecard. This shows that Trump has lied 69% of the time. And he only told the total truth 4% of the time. The truth, 4% of the time.

 

 

VISUAL AIDS

Trump constantly brags about “his” economy. But, as I previously posted, the 2017 economy is rightly Obama’s economy. Only beginning in 2018 can Trump take credit, or blame, for the economy. But while Trump wants the credit for the 2017 economy, it should be noted that 100,000 jobs were lost in 2017 to manufacturers overseas, and about 400,000 FEWER jobs were created this year than in 2016. How is this winning? Oh, and Trump is STILL manufacturing  his products…overseas. Yep, winning.

 

Some people voted for Trump because they thought the country needed a leader who was a great businessman. Uh huh.

 

Trump brags about “his” tax bill, and how it helps the middle class and people of low income. But, as with most everything Trump says, this is a lie. The GOP tax bill will steal from the overwhelming majority of American’s so that a tiny tiny tiny minority of the super-rich can be even richer. How is this winning? How is this even decent? Or moral? Oh, and Trump said that he would not benefit from the bill. This, too, is a lie. Of course.

 

Trump constantly accuses the media of lying. This is classic projection.

 

The new GOP tax bill is optimistically estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the national debt. More realistic estimates state that at least $2.5 trillion will be added to the debt. At least. This should surprise nobody as the GOP is fiscally irresponsible. How is this winning?

 

Except for Reagan’s second term, the economy has always collapsed under a GOP President. How is this winning?

 

The GOP summed up in a single image.

 

While the GOP has done everything it can to destroy national health care, they…failed. Why? Because they have no idea of how to create anything. If you disagree, please let me know of a single GOP program which has helped the majority of Americans.

 

The GOP presents itself as a moral leader. Oh?

 

Oh?

 

The larger the word, the more Trump uses it when describing an attack.

 

When I was kid in the early 1960s, it was common to see burning rivers on the news because our waters were so polluted. Yet, Trump has been systematically destroying the EPA which was responsible for making our waters clean again. How is this winning?

 

When I was a kid, every American city suffered from smog. Today, thanks to the EPA, our cities have clean air. Yet Trump is destroying the EPA. How is this winning?

 

 

NOT MAKING AMERICA GREAT

The Trump Administration has created a vast new amount of red tape with regards to anybody wanting to come and work in America. His supporters applaud this.

But American corporations are so not applauding. Many of these people are highly skilled technicians, doctors, and engineers, and American corporations depend on such skilled people. But many of these people are now turning away from America and instead going to Canada, the UK, and France, for example. Indeed, the new French President has been welcoming such people with open arms. For, he understand what Trump does not: Skilled people make a country great.

The effects of this will last for decades with America potentially developing the status of a third-world country as the global Best & Brightest go elsewhere.

How the fuck is this winning? How the fuck is any of this winning?

 

BRINGING SHAME UPON AMERICA

During the Obama Administration a record number of illegal immigrants were deported.

Not a single Republican I have ever talked to knew this.

Yet, the administration was humane about this process. If, for example, they found an illegal immigrant, and if this person had not committed a crime, had been in the US for a long time, had a job, and an American-born family, the ICE agents would say: “You have six months to become a citizen. If you don’t, we will then deport you.”

Contrast this with the utter inhumanity of the Trump-era ICE agents. I will never erase from my mind the horror of watching a video of a grandmother — who had illegally come into the US many decades before, but had never committed a crime, had married an American, and had American-born grandchildren — being dragged (dragged!) out of her home by ICE agents while her children and grandchildren screamed and screamed and screamed.

Shocking. Sickening. Disgusting.

As I watched the video I kept recalling one thing: Videos of Jews being dragged out of their homes during Nazi Germany.

And I recoiled in horror. Is THIS what my country had become?

Then came the hurricane which devastated Puerto Rico. Which is still today mostly without power and clean water. All the while Trump insults its people and leaders, American citizens.

And I recoil in horror. Is this what my country has become?

 

America, 2017.

 

America, 2017.

 

SPITTING ON AMERICANS

While I have, overall, enjoyed 2017, it is obvious from the above that I have not been sleeping.

I feel wide wake. Because I have never before felt that my country was in danger of being utterly destroyed.

But I feel that now. I watch in horror as Trump insults our allies, our court system, the FBI, the media, Democrats, and even members of his own party. I watch in horror as the State Department is being destroyed, the EPA, and dozens of other Federal agencies which have helped make America great.

As a gay man, I watch in horror as Trump, and the odious-beyond-comprehension Pence, work to trample over and take away the rights of the LGBT community. However, I at least know that because I am male, and white, I am somewhat protected. Then I imagine what it must feel like in 2017 to be, say, a woman. Or a black woman. Or a black lesbian. Or transgender. And I become nearly faint when trying to imagine what any immigrant must feel like, legal or otherwise. Or the child of an immigrant. Or a Muslim.

Not once during the eight Obama years did I feel abused by the White House.

In 2017, I feel spit on by the White House. My White House.

How has America come to this? How is this winning?

 

AND A YEAR LATER

Last month, at the day after Thanksgiving dinner at the Cross House, a guest told me: “I work for the military. Every Thanksgiving we have a base party. Last year, most people were SO excited about Trump winning. They were all saying that he would make America great! That he would make our borders strong! And on and on. I felt sick, and had not planned to attend this year. But, to my surprise, there was NONE of that this year. Nobody wanted to talk about Trump and politics. All the bragging and boasting of 2016 had vanished.”

I found this really interesting, as I had been hearing/reading the exact same dynamic from people across the country. On multiple political blogs people were telling the same stories: the bragging and boasting of 2016 had been replaced by a kind of embarrassed quiet.

So, maybe there is hope?

 

SUMMATION

Yep, 2017 has been a doozy.

I fear for my country and yet, strangely, feel optimistic, too. What has helped the latter is something I can only explain as an intuitive feeling. Anybody with animals knows that a wound, in order to heal, must express itself, And when this happens the visuals are…disturbing. But only then can healing begin.

And I think America is like this now. A wound. Expressing itself of cruelty and evil. But only then can healing begin.

I also have great faith in our young people, which overwhelming reject everything the Trump Administration and the GOP represent. And the average age of a FOX viewer is 68.

I began 2017 nearly comatose with dread.

I end 2017 with feelings of being deeply nourished and happy.

It has been an extraordinary year on both a personal level and national. As a historian, I am gobsmacked to have a front-row seat to history. Many times in 2017 I have recalled the stories of people who lived through German bombing in London during WWII. Decades later, a common story was: “It was terrible. But…but…I never felt more alive in my life.”

In 2017, I appreciate that I am living during an epochal era. So are you. And it feels…

 

…both terrifying AND thrilling. But, as with the people on London during the darkest hours of WWII, you and I are not alone, and this comforts me.

 

Much love to you all,

Ross

 

 

94 Responses to 2017. The Year-End Update. THE ROSS.

  1. So I’m one of your readers that skips the political posts but I thought I’d give this one a shot.

    “See the plastic panels right above Melania’s head?” made me spit out my lemonade.

    • *as I thought you were talking about her plastic chest, but I read it “See the plastic panels right BELOW Melania’s head?”…LOL It’s been a very long day.

  2. Thank you Ross and Happy New Year!

    2017 was a hot mess and I won’t be sad to see it pass.

    But, living vicariously through your posts is a good salve.

    BTW, why is our First Lady sitting in a table like a Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video? TACKY. I applaud you for calling Trump out for his b.s.

    I look forward to watching your progress and funny posts in 2018.

    Cheers,
    Drew

  3. Long time reader, first ever comment. I am right there with you, Ross, in my absolute horror and disgust at what Trump and the GOP are doing to our country. I naively believed that most of the GOP would join with Dems and Independents to curb and limit his worst impulses. I’m beyond devastated to see how happily they’ve used him to make their billionaire donors happy.

    I’m hopeful, too, about what 2018 will bring, and hopeful when I see how many Americans are part of The Resistance. If you are not already, you should add Pod Save America and Pod Save the People to your listening schedule!

    And thank you for RestoringRoss. Checking in on your projects and progress has been part of what’s kept me sane this year. Truly!

  4. This. Yes, so much this. You so eloquently said everything that needs to be said. Transgender women winning elections, minorities winning, and a democrat in Alabama. There is hope in the world. When I hoped and dreamed of the day Pence would no longer be the governor of Indiana, I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be at the expense of the entire nation. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings you, our nation’s politics, and the Cross House.

  5. Ross, I just tried to donate but my request was rejected on two separate occasions. I wonder if others are having this same problem with GoFundMe. My Target card won’t go through. Why don’t these sites take PayPal?

    • Hi, Cindi!

      Won’t a Target card only work at Target?

      I have a JC Penny’s card but can only use it at Penny’s.

      Please advise!

  6. I sat down to read, and you told me to go get a glass of wine! No wonder I love you! So, with wine glass in hand, I read.

    I have rejoiced in our victories and I hope for many more. The devastation he has created in our judiciary will be much worst if, God forbid, RBG should leave us in the next 3 years; my grandkids will deal with through their adult lives. I want to throw up.

    But watching The Cross House being transformed to something Ive not known it to be like in my 59 years is glorious. It’s like a phoenix! Thank you for that gift!

    Time for another glass.

  7. I, too, have been waiting all day to see what you had to say today. Although I prefer to think of myself as apolitical, I share your pain on so many fronts.

    In the last thirteen or so months, I have lost respect for people who I have always respected. This has been due to the fact that they voted for a shameless self-promoter. They keep telling me when I ask their current opinion of said person: “you haven’t given him enough time to implement his policies”. I ask, “what policies” and it all comes to an imagined preservation of their capital (no inheritance tax for example) as a primary issue for them.

    Ironically, they don’t even seem to have a net worth that is high enough for their estates to be taxed. Are they thinking that they might, at some time in the future, have a great fortune to leave to their heirs? Are they expecting their children to shoulder that burden? How sad. These aren’t young people.

    Meanwhile they won’t even look at all of the people that they are willing to throw under the bus in order to be entitled to a tax exemption for which they won’t even qualify.

    It hurts a lot to realize that I have no basis for continuing to respect people that I have held in respect for between a long time and my whole life. I don’t know how to deal with the pain of not being able to make a difference. I feel disenfranchised and try to keep my voice out of the outcry. I hope that my vote will mean something again some day.

    I just can’t handle the daily outrage nor the high level to which that quotient has risen. So I will vote my conscience at the next election and keep my vote private. Do you remember when it was rude to ask someone for whom they voted?

  8. Well, first let me say that I completely agree with you when it comes to Trump. I don’t think you have to worry about the Republicans though because he is destroying the party. They are in a no-win situation because if they side with him, they lose moderates and if they stand up to him, his idiot base won’t vote for them. The main problem is not really Fox News. They just follow their viewers. The main problem is Steve Bannon/Breitbart and talk radio. They are CRAZY! I grew up in a Republican household and have always loved politics too, but now I’m totally sick of politics. Trump has ruined it for me!

    P.S. In one of your charts, it says that there were 16 indictments of members of the Bush administration. I followed politics closely during that time, and the only one I can remember is Scooter Libby. What is the source for that particular chart?

  9. I stumbled upon a YouTube video tonight of your Cross House. Amazing! I’ve always loved Victorian houses yet never lived or owned one.

    I have to admit that I jumped to the last post in hopes of seeing/reading more about your wonderful house to date and the love affair you have with it. I do plan on reading through your blog. If by some slim chance I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’ll certainly make plans drive by, stop and stare, and perhaps be brave enough to knock on your door.

    I drove through the midwest back in 2007 on my solo 11,000 mile round trip from my home in Anchorage, AK to TX. Perhaps that trip will be repeated some day. Until then, best of luck.

    PS…I’m not hugely into politics but love and agree with everything you said!! I’m in education and, boy, we’ve gone downhill so far in the 33 years since I started my teaching career. So sad!!!

  10. I want you to know Ross, that during those sad, gut-wrenching post-election days, your blog was a salve. I checked back an inordinate number of times each day to see if you had any wise words that would lift my dark sad mood. I’m still scared for us as a nation; it will take time to heal from the wounds this administration is inflicting on our people, our places, our planet, and our pocketbooks, but my hope is that good can and will prevail.

    Thank you, dear Ross, for your kind and gentle spirit that takes the time to heal a bruised house in Kansas and also takes time to reach across the miles to lend a helpful hand to like-minded spirits. I know I speak for a great many of us when I say: “I love you Ross!”

  11. I thought that said: “Elvis is more powerful than goodness” and decided right then and there that Ross had lost his mind.

    Oh honey, NO!

    But then I learned to read. 🙂

    It baffles me that people had such high hopes for Trump. Not only has he spent decades showing us who he really is, he SAID he was going to do some pretty horrible things. How did these people not see it coming?! HE SAID HE WAS GONNA.

    Here.

    I saw this coming, and I’m no political genius. Good grief I want to slap these people.

    Thanks for this post Ross!

  12. You have great integrity, wit/intelligence, and compassion. I agree with you wholeheartedly on every angle. I, too, was in shock after the election. I fell under a depression soon after, and many times this year I have fallen into the same depression due to Trump and the horrible GOP. But this year I have also grown so much. This is the first year I have been able to get on my feet. Between my crippling (hidden) fear of failure, and my anxiety, I haven’t been able to find work, or go to college. I finally was able to find work, buy a car, and I remain hopeful for the coming year. I hope to restore west-facing windows on an old house, begin saving for my own property, and continue to progress and grow in life. I turned 20 just 8 days ago, and eagerly await this coming year and what it brings.

    America’s bones are cracking under Trump and, when he is gone, it will heal. In the correct position. As you said, the wounds will heal, properly. Your blog brings me happiness and hope in times such as these. I again wish you the best 2018.

  13. Well, wow..

    I live in Sweden, I’m a mostly straight white female. So one would think that the whole Trump/GOP fiasco would NOT bother me that much. BUT..I too fell into a very deep depression. I mean seriously deep. I pretty much laid in bed for 6 months, didn’t talk to anyone, stopped using Facebook and other social media, hardly ate, etc etc. I felt hopeless, for the world, with Trump at the wheel of USA. Able to destroy so much, able to utterly trash things both for individuals in USA, and on a global level.

    The ONLY thing I made sure to do online every day was check your blog, Ross. Your blog gave me comfort like nothing else, and I’m close to tears thinking about it. Can you imagine it, Ross? Me in bed, only having energy to listen to music. And your blog being the only thing I looked forward to, the only reason to even wake up. So your house saved my life, too.

    So thank you

    *hugs*

    • Dear Elin,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I was deeply touched by both your kind words and your bravery at opening your heart to so many.

      I would have thought that living in Sweden would offer insulation but you have, powerfully, offered a reminder of how much influence the US has on the globe.

      Much love,

      Ross

      *hugs*
      *hugs*
      *hugs*

  14. Huzzah from Alabama where I & my 5 adult children voted for Jones. Wasn’t odd for us to vote Dem but it was for many others here. Our county is still Red, locally getting a Dem or Independent on the ticket at all is nigh on impossible, but for the 1st time in 20+years there IS hope. We spent the year working for & clinging to the coming Blue Wave & our faith. Daily, the news tormented us with the futility of that hope, it still does & probably will continue to do so, but like you, we carried on with our lives. Loving others, tending neighbors, making pockets of comfort, laughing as often as we could make a reason to do so, & staying healthy as possible all added up to a victorious raspberry in the trump & gop face. I’ve spent more time calling & writing Congress & Committees in the last year than in my entire life & I was never a ‘my voice doesn’t matter’ type of constituent to begin with.

    IMHO so much of this seems more horrifying because for many of us Old Biddies & Old Gents that marched, spoke out, called, wrote & nagged our Representatives the regression to back in the day is a literal firehose turned on our progress. It is a good lesson in how precious our voices are, how vital our vigilance, & how barely paying attention is just not good enough in our republic. All that said, we didn’t win every battle back in the day either … it took so much time, effort & commitment to make progress in the war to MAKE equality & justice for all mean more than just fancy words on parchment. We had far to go before trump; we’ll have farther to go after BUT our resolve [again MHO] has been strengthened & we’ve made new allies, new friends & renewed our commitments. Not the way I’d have chosen to bring this about, but I’m encouraged daily by the outrage & activism I see bubbling up everywhere, even our small red county.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts & coping mechanisms. Cross House reminds me that though there was a recession on, no banking laws, few rights for women, none for minorities & a Businessmen are God’s favored ones country at the time it was built, the house has stood, weathered & is being renewed — may We the People prove to be as well built.

  15. I have been in a self-induced coma for over a year; this is my coping mechanism. Living in my own world is so helpful! The sun is always shining ….I know it’s apathy….I can’t go on any other way.

    Ross, you bring beauty to our world and I am forever grateful!

    • Thank you, Diane.

      I sympathize.

      After the 2004 election, I, too, went into a self-induced coma. I paid NO attention to the news. For eleven years!

      Then a friend said that Hillary announced she would run.

      And I woke up.

      After the horror of 11/8/16, I have given a lot of thought to returning to a self-induced coma but what stops me is the fact that we are all living in extraordinary times. Extraordinary. A large part of me wants this experience. The smaller parts of me want to knock Ross in the head.

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Ross. The USA has always shown brightest after a tragedy, and the Trump administration is tragic, if nothing else. I could not believe how many of my conservative Christian family members embraced Trump, even though he represented behaviors and beliefs that directly contradicted the morals they professed to honor. My father still isn’t speaking to me since an argument that started over Trump last summer, although he did reach out in a sense recently; he sent word to me, making sure I knew that I was not welcome at the family Christmas gathering at my parents’ home. That hurt…deeply, especially since it is a holiday that is based on family, love, and renewal. I was encouraged however when my cousin (who is a Pentecostal preacher) admitted to me that he felt that the Christian community had been blind, and compared Trump to both Hitler and the anti-Christ. This is a man who openly celebrated Trump’s election. Hope is what we cling to when the world gets scary. Best wishes to you in 2018! I hope that next year’s update finds you living in the Cross House 🙂

    • Mike, as someone with a similar background, I was thankful to see your comment. The heartbreak I feel over so many family and friends throwing out every value and principle I thought they had for this man – it’s something I’ll never get over.

      • Dear Alison,
        I think that we are not supposed to get over it, but to recognize the amazing diversity of thoughts and beliefs that people have. Taking the revelations about the opinions of just those who we think we know into consideration, we can become aware that their will always be huge gaps in understanding among people. My belief is that, when we embrace this diversity, wonderful things beyond amazing can come about. When we shut down and consider it our way or the highway we leave ourselves isolated in an empty place. I think that the principles upon which our country was founded, although untested ideas at the time, have given us the opportunity to experience such wonders.
        It seems to me that those who are rejecting changes that encourage new ideas are afraid that those ideas may result in a world that they can’t handle. Fear is such a powerful force in our psyches. I don’t know why I am even writing this and don’t think I am saying this very well, but there is something in me that is making me try to express myself this way.

  17. Hi Ross and readers. Wishing all of you belated Christmas greetings from Glasgow, Scotland. As a British male, I do not feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment on the whole Trump situation, however, having spent 1 year working in the US when I graduated I see changes to your wonderful country which make me sad. The attitude to immigrants is worrying – and I say this as someone with friends from Morocco (Muslim) and the UK who achieved green card status and who now wonder what is happening in their adopted homeland. The whole ‘fake news’ thing I find very scary. I see it in my own country and am similarly scared.

    However, I read your ‘Ross update’ and by the end feel equally confident. People make change happen and slowly it will. I wish you Ross and all fellow readers of your insightful, personal, entertaining and ultimately engaging blog, all the best in 2018.

    I truly hope to make the coming ‘After Thanksgiving’ get together in 2018. Colin

    • Thanks, Colin, for a UK perspective.

      And if you can make it to the 2018 ‘After Thanksgiving’ you will be the guest of honor! What a thrill to meet you!

      Much love,

      Ross

  18. Dear Ross,

    I found your blog about a month and a half ago, just after having returned to Fairbanks, AK in mid-November. Fairbanks winters are long and cold, however beautiful. I am presently not working as I patiently wait for my academic responsibilities to resume in January. As such, I have been finding creative ways to pass the time. I found your blog linked to a Pinterest pin associated with restoring old homes. An entire evening of reading was required to get me up to speed on the progress of your project thus far. Coincidentally, my appreciation for home restoration did not emerge in a vacuum. Despite not pursuing a career in Architecture (the original plan), I had 4 years of drafting and design coursework in high school. These experiences, in combination with observing my father who is a skilled fine woodworker, have led me to have a deep appreciation for people, like yourself, who persevere and produce quality work despite the financial setbacks and time constraints that almost always accompany a construction project.

    Your blog is absolutely fascinating to me. It is like watching a ‘This Old House’ episode that never ends.

    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Your craftsmanship, flair for design, commitment to maintaining the integrity of the original home, and humor are a joy to behold.

    Wishing you a happy and productive 2018.
    Rachel

    P.S. The commentary on the current U.S. political climate and presidency gives me a whole new level of respect for you. Big props for including your perspective.

    • Glenn, I would love to give you the “universal sign of disapproval” and would if I could figure out how to do it on this tablet. Just the fact that you posted the “moron” comment shows who the “moron” really is.

      You can all have a field day bashing me for my opinion, but I couldn’t care less how you feel about it, or what you have to say about it.

    • It might be more tactful to coin the word Foron to be less inflammatory when talking about the Fidians who voted for …..you know who.

    • I voted for Trump! I’m proud I did. I hated the Obama’s. I hate things like this where you have to ruin everything with politics. As for Roy Moore if those things were true, why wait 40 years?
      I love the house. I’m proud of my President. I’m not a moran. My husband is self employed. We have struggled for the past nine years. This is the first year he is close to making what he used to. Thank the Good Lord for President Trump!!!

      • Hello, Karen.

        You state that you hated the Obama’s. Would you mind letting us know why?

        I ask because President Obama inherited a collapsed economy from Bush, but then created the longest sustained economic growth in American history. Wow. Thanks, Obama!

        I ask because President Obama inherited a stock market which had plummeted under Bush, but then Obama presided over a market which went from about 7,000 to about 22,000. Wow. Thanks, Obama!

        I ask because President Obama inherited a spectacularly poor global image, as our international standing had plummeted during the Bush years. But Obama, and Hillary, brilliantly restored our tarnished international image. Which has, again, PLUMMETED under Trump!

        Also, why are you proud of a man who provably lies most of the time? Why are proud of a man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women? Why are you proud of man who has stated the most evil thing ever: Why can’t we use nuclear weapons if we have them?

        Oh, and you state: “I’m not a moran.”

        Well, you undercut this statement by, ah, ah, not knowing how to spell. For, moran is spelled: moron.

  19. …and I suppose your liberal, left wing media was right about who was going to win the presidential election too?????? No they were not!….They were WRONG and had to eat crow. They were all shocked, because they had been listening to their own fake polls. SURPRISE! No, I do not agree with 99% of what you have stated here, and I do watch FOX news, but I watch other news outlets too…. and then I make my own decisions and I actually like that Trump is doing the things he promised on the campaign trail. I like his conservative pick for the Supreme Court and the fact that he donates his presidential salary back to worthy causes…He works for free….and your so called “facts” are not facts. They are just as much true as those bogus polical polls were, before Donald Trump won the election. BTW, I am sure that there will be further indictments, but you are probably not going to be happy about who it is that is getting indicted. #MAGA…. Happy New Year from a proud NC “deplorable”! 🙂

    Oh, btw I am so sorry that you are all in such a terrible state of depression. You should probably make an appointment to see a good shrink about that… or maybe go outside and do the “snowflake scream”. That appears to work for some of you snowflakes. Then you can just get back to your normal “Trump bashing”.

    • It is so nice to have polite, informed, intelligent, reasoned responses to the comments of others, no matter how bad their language, responses in which the writer backs her statements up with facts, responses that show that she formulates opinions with her own mind through the careful consideration of the facts when telling others the way it is.

      Do you think that we’ll get any?

    • Hi, Pam. Thank you for your views.

      Yes, the polls predicted a Hillary win.

      But, were the polls wrong? Or was the election stolen? If you remember, Trump kept stating that the election would likely be stolen. I just don’t think he thought it might be stolen for him.

      We now know that Russia interfered numerous ways in the election. To assume that they stopped JUST short of actually hacking the vote is, well, naive. Stealing elections is an old practice. Indeed, it has long been thought that the 1960 election was stolen for Kennedy.

      You wrote: “Trump is doing the things he promised on the campaign trail”

      Oh? Like what?

      Is the wall built? Has ObamaCare been repealed? Did Trump create a fabulous new national healthcare system affordable to everybody? Has Hillary been locked up? Did all crime stop on the day Trump was inaugurated (which he actually said would happen)? Trump also said that America would be respected again. But…our global standing plummeted in 2017, as I detailed. Trump said he would bring overseas jobs back to America. But…100,000 jobs were lost in 2017 to overseas manufacturers. And, Trump is STILL having all his products made overseas. Trump said would create EXTREME vetting for refugees. But…he has not.

      And did you know that Trump actually deported FEWER illegal Mexicans than Obama did in 2016?

      Yes, Trump did appoint a Supreme Court judge. It is sad though that you approve as the seat opened during Obama’s term, but the GOP simply refused to even have a hearing on Garland. In short, the GOP ignored its Constitutional duty to steal a seat. And yet you approve. And yet you approve.

      You state that Trump works for free. There is not a shred of evidence to support this.

      We at least agree that additional indictments are likely. But…sorry…I anticipate being VERY happy about those indicted.

      No, I did not need to see a shrink about my reaction to the events of 11/8/16. Thank you though for your…concern. As I detailed, having deeply fulfilling work made all the difference.

      Also, facts are facts. Facts are neither liberal or conservative. This is like claiming, for example, that gravity is liberal.

      You state that you a deplorable.

      Well, one more thing we can agree on.

      • You were right Ross. It’s good for everyone to know who you are. I hope ALL of your readers are left wing liberals. I don’t agree with your politics, and other conservative readers probably won’t either. Yes, I enjoyed reading about your house. THAT was the blog I signed up for…I didn’t sign up to read this garbage. I’m glad you posted it though, because everyone should know who you are.

      • I am happy to see Pam here. Please keep reading insightful, accurate, admirable, intelligent blogs. Please keep engaging with integrity and truth. Please keep reading the inspirational, articulate, courageous and diligent words on these pages. Please keep thinking. Therein lies enlightenment.

        • Sweetheart, I was here to read about restoring a beautiful old historic home. Loved reading that blog. I read this blog because I was interested in knowing more about this man who was doing such beautiful work, but Ross told very little about himself or what got him interested in this old house. He immediately went into a tirade of bashing the president of our country, and just went on and on about why he hates him. Suddenly, I am in the middle of reading a verbal assault on the president, so yes, I am throwing my 2 cents in there. I still don’t know anything about Ross, except that he hates our president, any conservatives and he hates the republican party. Thanks Ross for your political propaganda.

          • Dear Pam,

            It makes perfect sense that you are a Trump supporter as you, too, obviously care little for reality and facts.

            You state: “Ross told very little about himself or what got him interested in this old house.”

            There is not a single regular reader of this blog which would agree with that statement. Indeed, in my very first post, I articulated why I was drawn to the Cross House.

            And, in many many many subsequent posts, I have been emotionally revealing about who I am.

            You wrote: “He immediately went into a tirade of bashing the president of our country”

            Huh? What? I immediately did this? Again, you have an obvious disconnect with reality. This blog has been online since 2014. I fail to see how doing this post in 2017 qualifies as an immediate tirade.

            You wrote: “Suddenly, I am in the middle of reading a verbal assault on the president”

            At the beginning of this post, I stated: “CAVEAT: I love politics. If you don’t, you may wish to skip this post.”

            But…you obviously ignored my cautionary warning.

            You wrote: “Thanks Ross for your political propaganda”

            Facts and propaganda are different things. I have stated the former. You have not.

          • I was not referring to your subsequent posts…I was referring to this post. I also enjoy politics, I don’t enjoy Trump bashing. This is my last comment on this blog. Just a word of advice. If you have a blog about refurbishing an old house, you will probably have viewers from both polical parties. It is probably not a good idea to start posting your left wing, liberal views on politics and bashing the President of the United States, no matter how much you, personally, hate him. Don’t worry, I am unsubscribing myself from your blog. Good luck with the house!

            [From Ross: In 2016, I did a year-end THE ROSS post where I articulated my political thoughts. Several people wrote in, APPALLED that I had the nerve to state my thoughts on my own blog. They also predicted that my page views would plummet as a result. But…my 2017 views almost doubled. Also, the blog is NOT just about restoring an old house. Hence the title: RestoringRoss. The blog is about Ross, and the things which interest me.]

  20. “To this day I have been told that he is still telling visitors to the apartment that the panels are carved ivory.”

    This sentence says everything about the last two years in a nutshell. Thank you, Ross, I am on your side and I agree that this is the biggest tragedy our country has faced…at least in our lifetimes.

  21. Love you always Ross for your intelligence, your thoughtfulness and your experience. My wife’s brother installed one of the electronic systems in Trump’s apartment and when he presented himself with the order to Trump he was told to install twice as much as the order called for, for no extra charge. My brother-in-law refused. This story has been famous in the family for years. Trump also does not give out tips. Happy New Year to you and the Cross House, Ross. From a 70 year old gay grandmother who loves you.

  22. Happy New Year! Thank you so much for letting all of us tag along on your adventures with the Cross House. It’s been a ray of light in a year where it’s been sorely needed.
    Cheers from chilly North Florida!

  23. I don’t think I’ve ever commented here before, bu I’ve been following your blog for about a year now. I love watching your beautiful old house taking shape. Even if I may not agree with all your design decisions, the house is yours after all, and I think it is all coming together fabulously.

    I am not from USA so I normally prefer to stay out of any political debates, although the current situation scares me a lot, as repercussions will affect more than just the US. But regardless of whether or not I agree with your politics, I respect that this is your blog and you are entitled to write whatever you want on it. You certainly give fair warning with your caveat!

    Looking at the whole political situation from outside the country, it does seem to me that Trump supporters tend to stick their fingers in their ears and say La la la I can’t hear you, if you try to have any sort of conversation which might be slightly against him. I can’t work out why? I remember many Obama supporters who would admit that Obama was not perfect but they were still willing to discuss why they supported him. Trump seems to have gathered a cult following who have elevated him to a demigod status, one who can do no wrong and is always right, and will not tolerate any discussion of his shortcomings. I have yet to read a single article or opinion which admits that Trump has shortcomings, as everybody does, but who is willing to engage in a civil discussion of his policies and why they support him, without resorting to calling anyone who dares to differ in opinion a ‘snowflake’ or worse! This may not be the best forum to invite this discussion, but if there is anyone out there who is willing to open such a discussion, I would be glad to hear from them! As I said, I am not from the US, and I don’t have any special leaning towards either political party. But if there is a Trump supporter who can have a civil discussion, it would restore my faith in the USA a little!

    • Hi, Trudy! it is very nice to meet you!

      I have had the same experience with Trump supporters. They believe what they believe and NOTHING else gets through. And in every situation where a supporter explains why they still support Trump, nothing they say is actually real. But they think it’s real. Like: “Trump is creating jobs!” But he isn’t. “Trump is making America great again!” Ahh, how? And so on.

      It’s so incredibly surreal.

      Also, Trump supporters I’ve met refuse to accept anything positive about Obama.

      • It’s definitely a cult of personality, Trump wasn’t even a Republican until Obama became president. I think of it as a hostile takeover of the Republican party. My father-in-law is a huge Trump supporter. During the Republican primaries I used to make fun of Trump and rage against him when he would do something particularly outrageous. My father-in-law took it in stride, but after Trump won the nomination, he started trying to lobby me to vote for Trump. I tried to explain to him that, since we live in CA, Hillary will win regardless of who I vote for. After the election, he started telling me about all the great things Trump was doing and I tried to just bite my tongue because I didn’t feel like arguing with him. Then one day he predicted that I would come around to liking Trump and I just blurted out, “I will never like Trump.” Later on that day, he says to my cousin, “Kerri likes Democrats.” I said,”what?” And he said, “If you don’t like Trump, you must like Democrats.” Thankfully, he has now given up trying to talk about politics with me and we get along just fine. The moral of the story: I wish people would just agree to disagree and move on.

  24. I did not appreciate Obama, enough. Mine was a protest vote, for neither leading lady nor man. Looking forward to 2020. but..

    Where is Hillary’s equal? Is there an Honorable man in the wings who can pick up where Integrity left off.

    You know, thousands died so we could have our freedoms. Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t mean either of you are wrong. Why get angry about what other people say, does this anger change anything.

    Anyway….

    Thanks Ross, I better understand things a year later than I did last year.

    Always hopeful.

  25. Hi Ross

    Like many of the commentors, I have read you blog “cover-to-cover” but have not yet commented.

    I have been so fascinated with following along, and seeing how you think and work. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has really read your words is clueless as to who you are. I imagine “rhymes with Spam” must have been very shocked to only see the “real” you after reading a post on your personal 2017 recap. Shocking! And for those with difficulty in critical reading, I also find it hard that anyone missed the gorgeous photo of Hillary Clinton in the parlor… surely that photo and the accompanying post was a mighty tip off, no?

    As well as reading the words on your blog, I pour over the pictures, embiggening them as directed. Even more than the facade pics, I have come to enjoy the detective portion of the renovation. I peer to see if I can find any secrets that have escaped detection. Having said that… your blog taught me everything I know, so I suspect you are on your own there 🙂

    And that leaves the parlor. I am beyond speechless. I read about your ideas/plans and thought…hmmm OK…it is his house…but then I saw the big reveal and, Ross, you are an effing genius. I can see why you have been so successful in design. Your eye is amazing, not only in mixing color and texture, but that dang oculus. I go back to those pictures again and again and try to fathom how/why/what/where springs such creativity, all from a piece of period-correct ceiling paper. I CANNOT get over it…seriously.

    Sorry for the gushing. As much as I have enjoyed amazing changes to the windows and the facade, I can’t wait to see how the other rooms come together. If for no other reason [apart from the Dems sweeping seats from the GOP in the mid-terms], seeing what you come up with in terms of interior design is a good reason to keep my chin up in 2018.

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your journey with us.

    Ross, you rock! And that, good sir, is the highest accolade that I can bestow.

    (((hugs)))

    Fern

  26. I love your blog, the house, and all of the history. As far as the political part goes, I don’t agree with everything that the President tweets and other times I do agree (when he presents what he has done), that is partly why his approval rating is down. But as I looked closer I remembered that he was a TV star and they want attention which is something you can’t take out of them. I do agree with his Jerusalem decision and his seriousness on North Korea (communist crap hole). I was born in post communist Russia and the country failed to even embrace Free Market because of the constant brainwashing for 70 years. 12 Million Orthodox Christians died between 1917 and 1987 and I have disconnected myself from it. I was adopted and brought to this country as a second chance given by God to loving parents. I am also currently in college and I can’t stand people who want to institute Communism and Socialism because they don’t know the horrible things that came from it. I also became more Conservative but I am not a full out Trump fan because I just can’t do it. I give him good credit when he is right and condemn him when he is wrong. The Tax Plan is something that I can live with but I would have liked to see the four brackets instead of seven. I also don’t really like the GOP right now that much. I am just happy to post this and present my facts and opinions.

    • Thank you, Wesley, for your thoughts.

      Can I ask a few questions?

      You state that you like when Trump tweets about his accomplishments. Doesn’t it concern you though that most of these tweets are provably lies? Like when Trump constantly tweets about creating jobs, yet about 400,000 fewer jobs were created in 2017 than in 2016?

      Are you OK with a tax plan which would INCREASE your overall taxes so that a super-rich minority can pay LESS?

      I am not OK with this. I think this is morally reprehensible.

      You state that you like Trump’s seriousness on North Korea. I am not quite clear on this. For, every President has been quite serious about NK. The country has the potential to be very dangerous and all previous Presidents have recognized this and worked hard through diplomacy to contain NK. And NK has been contained for many decades.

      But all this might now unravel. Due to Trump.

      Trump’s tweets about NK terrify me, where he goads the President of NK and calls him names. And Trump has stated: What is the point of nuclear weapons if we don’t use them? These are the most terrifying and morally reprehensible words ever spoken. In short, I see nothing about Trump which instills confidence that he is capable of handling a delicate situation well.

      So, I ask: Are you OK with a nuclear war? In my whole life I never worried about this question.

      I am worried now.

      You also state that you were brought to this country. But…under a Trump administration you, likely, would NOT have been able to come to America.

      That said, it seems that you have had an extraordinary life and it thrills me that you found loving parents.

      Much love,

      Ross

  27. While I became curious about your website because of your loving restoration of the Cross House, I perused your political sentiments as well. I am in total agreement about your characterization of the man they are calling our President. I can only hope the next 3 years pass as quickly as this one and that we have a recognizable country at the end of it.

  28. Ross,

    I’m another first-time commenter who’s been following (and catching up on) your blog throughout most of 2017. I initially found you from the YouTube video of your interview with Elizabeth Finkelstein of Circa Old Houses. Although I wasn’t heretofore a lover of old houses per se, I’ve always been obsessed with house floor plans and the like, which got me hooked on the story of the Cross House.

    I love following your detective work to unearth how and why the house was modified over the years, and figuring out which missing pieces fit where. I experience great joy in watching you restore beauty and grandeur to the once derelict mansion. I revel in those little details that we both find so satisfying to see fixed without taking shortcuts (the horror!) by doing it right and sweating the small stuff. And your naturally engaging storytelling ability makes even mundane restoration details riveting.

    Those are among the reasons why I follow your blog with great anticipation, despite disagreeing with your politics. I believe that our current political and societal polarization is largely the result of us sequestering ourselves into all-or-nothing camps and declaring the opposition to be not just wrong or misguided, but evil. Our media, universities, churches, neighborhoods, and even some businesses have taken sides, leading to national disunity. Opposing sides don’t seem to mingle much anymore, much less talk to each other in a civil manner. In that sense, I agree with much of what Stewart has written above. We need to relearn learn how to listen to each other and figure out how to be friends again with people who may have differing viewpoints.

    Worthy causes and fascinating adventures like the Cross House transcend politics and have the ability to bring people together in support of common interests. And that’s a good thing.

    Keep up the great work!

    • It is very nice meeting you, Brian!

      And thank you for you kind words.

      Also, divisions among people have been present since the founding of America. Indeed, divisions are a byproduct of something instinctual, tribalism.

      However, political divisions grew exponentially worse in the 1990s. There have been a number of books written about this phenomenon which had its genesis in Reagan’s getting rid of the The Fairness Doctrine (a policy requiring the holders of broadcast licenses to present issues in a manner which was honest, equitable, and balanced). Then Newt Gingrich created a grand plan to demonized the opposition and also tried to, oh, impeach the President. Then FOX launched in 1996 and never had a good thing to say about any Democrat (which would have been impossible under The Fairness Doctrine). Then Mitch McConnell, when Obama was elected, proclaimed that the GOP would do everything in its power to cripple him, including stealing a Supreme Court seat.

      I have watched this GOP assault on democracy with utter horror. I have watched, with more horror, as the GOP became more about party than country. And all this is why, today, I loathe the GOP. I didn’t used to.

      Put another way?

      Should I try and respect the views of Nazi’s? Or pedophiles? Or rapists?

      You see, I think it is important to recognize evil. And to utterly deny evil entry into the social fabric. So, no, I don’t think having polite, respectful conversations with evil is right.

      And I think that the GOP trying to take away health care for tens of millions of people is evil. Evil. I think gutting the EPA so that our lands will be polluted, our rivers ruined, and our air fouled is evil. Evil. I think demonizing minorities is evil. Evil. I think creating a tax plan which takes away from the many to nourish a super-rich few is evil. Evil. I think a President who provably lies the majority of the time is an evil. Evil. I think a President who constantly insults and name-calls other people, and our allies, is an evil. Evil. I think a President who thinks it is OK to use nuclear weapons “because we have them” is something even worse than evil. Something even worse.

  29. Thank you, Ross, for this post. I am hopeful for the 2018 elections, but also a little worried, due to gerrymandering and voter suppression. We all need to do whatever we can to help people register to vote and to get to the polls. And I hope people have learned what horrors can happen if they are apathetic and fail to vote. The elections in Virginia and Alabama give me hope that people are coming out and fighting back. We can’t change the minds of the Trump supporters, but we CAN get out there and vote and help others to do the same.

  30. Happy New Year Ross and all of your followers! I have enjoyed your blog from the beginning and spent the most fascinating afternoon this fall touring the Cross house and seeing everything up close and personal, narrated with all of your wonderful details and stories.

    Then, I attended the day after Thanksgiving dinner and got to meet a number of fellow followers for a most enjoyable afternoon of great food and friendship. For any of you who have the opportunity, I would highly encourage you to make the trip and take a tour. The Cross House is SO MUCH more amazing in person than even Ross’ photos can portray.

    I will leave the political discussion to others, but thank you again for entertaining me daily. I look forward to more progress in 2018 and wish you the ultimate success.

    PS – Last night friends and I were drinking our coffee with Bailey’s Irish Creme at midnight when I remembered your suggestion and broke out the ice cream!!!!

    Try to stay warm. This week in Kansas is like living in the frozen tundra………….

    Randy C

  31. “So, the next time you hear Trump raging about fake news, what he is really raging about is news which punctures his distortion bubble.”

    So much this. The man lives in an alternate reality. He is unfit for the presidency.

  32. Hi Ross, I’m another long time listener and first time caller. I wanted to let you know that your blog has been a source of comfort, joy and inspiration to me. I’m so glad to hear your faith in your fellow Americans and your community has been bolstered in the past year, despite the darkness. I wanted to let you know how you and your blog have helped bolster me and my understanding of America in return: I’m used to being told I live in a progressive liberal bubble in Seattle and that I can’t understand the ‘red states’ or ‘real’ America. I’ve always been skeptical of this claim, but I had to really question it after the 2016 election. I wrestled with the idea that maybe I couldn’t understand what “real America” is because I wasn’t a part of it. But your blog has been one of the things in this past year that has taught me, tangibly, that everywhere from a costal metropolis to a small town in Kansas there are relatable people working on moving the country forward. Thank you for sharing the person behind the house!

    • Thank you, Mira. Thank you.

      I constantly remind myself of the fact that 80% of Americans did not vote for Trump.

      So, there are a LOT of good and decent people across the land.

  33. There’s nothing more I can say about this blog you said it all and I agree with you and thank you for putting it all in print! We must not except his behavior as normal!

  34. A view from an old woman in Britain

    Sad to see such venom from the anti-Trumpers. I see it from afar but yet it is familiar here, Brexiteers or EU lovers, dividing the old and young, town and country, in furious hostility. No one even has a laugh about the folly of it all..

    OK – the bad about Trump.

    He despises most women and suspects they see him as a big bag full of lovely money. Let’s face it, not all women are pure and vulnerable. Women are not saints. Melania is outside of the American dream and he can live with her – she probably has a kind heart and down-to-earth ideas.

    He is childish – that has survived contact with all the greedy and hardnosed guys he has had to meet. I agree it is worrying he can play with nuclear bombs. But I think he really loves his vulnerable son Barron and wouldn’t want to be a Dad who destroyed the world.

    The tweets and the threats. Which other person could stand such personal hatred and abuse from millions without shouting back a bit – probably helps face another day. What do people expect?

    He has bad taste when it comes to interior decor. I know many such people who have lacked a comfortable childhood home or artistic influences. It is not something to despise. For instance the plastic thing that looks a bit like ivory – maybe Melania thought it was beautiful and Trump bought it from some crook in good faith. Later he didn’t want to see her choice run down into the dirt… Try seeing things the other way.

    As I see America. Like that Disney character who still runs frantically AFTER going over the canyon. How long before the collapse? Or like a car still flying downhill after the engine stopped way back..The Democrats (or the Republicans) don’t have a clue how to fix an engine. Only those poor guys who dug out the coal and made the cars can see how things really are.

    You, Ross, with your love of old paint schemes and chandeliers and reviving the past, I can share your passion. BUT what if you can’t afford to keep the boilers running? It can easily happen.

    • Hello, Mary. It is very nice to meet you!

      I know Trump, after having worked directly for him in the late 1980s. Thus, I had the rare opportunity to see the man in action.

      And the man is truly vile. He treated everybody around him like shit, including his sons and then-wife. In one meeting, with about two dozen people present, he called Ivana a cunt.

      His every employee, and two sons, and then-wife, were terrified of him.

      I have no comment on Melanina, having never met her. She might be lovely. She might be soulless.

      Based on what I witnessed in the 1980s, and from what I have read repeatedly, Trump could care less about Barron.

      You asked: “Which other person could stand such personal hatred and abuse from millions without shouting back a bit?”

      Well, ah, Obama. Well, ah, Hillary.

      You misunderstood my story about the plastic panels, which has nothing to do with having good taste or not. The story is about lying. Also, the panels well predate wife #3.

      You stated: “The Democrats (or the Republicans) don’t have a clue how to fix an engine.”

      We will have to disagree. The US economy does better under Democrats than Republicans. Democrats support social programs helping the vast majority of American’s. Democrats believe in global warming, and getting along with our allies. Obama inherited an economy destroyed by Republicans, and fixed it. The stock market went from about 7,000 to about 23,000. Unemployment was cut in half. The deficit was reduced by 80%. So, the evidence seems strong: Democrats DO know how to fix an engine.

  35. OK – I didn’t say Trump is nice. He didn’t expect to get the job of President. My guess has been this – he will learn a lot on the job and will improve, I hope and believe. Also the rest of us have to learn about him. Is he a monster or just a foul mouthed eccentric?
    Time will soon tell.

    My point is it will only be bad to feel so much hatred. You can’t do a lot about it unless you take the next step – assasination – not a good plan. I’m glad the house keeps you happy.

    The thing about engines. Surely America needs to produce as well as consume. Engineering was a great part of the economy for two centuries. It seems to have fallen under the Chinese avalanche.

    On the environment, I think the planet is warming but I doubt it is such a disaster for the world. The science is pointing more towards global cooling and the next ice age which is now due. The idea we can control the climate by reducing carbon is a scam and so I think Trump is right not to allow this belief to ruin industrial survival. Anyway he seems to be showing some caution – he could go either way. Fill up your coal store – you might need it.

    About women – they need to be brave and sensible. If a man grabbed me (it sometimes happened) I used to laugh. That keeps ’em down in the nicest way! What’s all the hoo-ha? about?

    • Hello again, Mary.

      Trump will learn and improve?

      I see literally zero evidence of this. People who blame others for everything never learn. And Trump is a master blamer. It’s his fault! It’s her fault! It’s their fault!

      You wrote: “Is he a monster or just a foul-mouthed eccentric? Time will soon tell.”

      Trump is both. And what more time do you need? Trump has been in the public eye since the 1970s.

      You wrote: “You can’t do a lot about it unless you take the next step – assassination…”

      Wow. Wow. I am in a state of shock that you made such a statement. And I now have to ask:

      What is wrong with you?

      You wrote: “The science is pointing more towards global cooling.”

      WTF? The evidence is incontrovertible: The Earth is heating up. Just Google: Is Earth Warming Up.

      Study. Learn.

      You wrote: “The idea we can control the climate by reducing carbon is a scam”

      Well, 99.9% of scientists across the globe disagree with you.

      Also, your comments about sexual assault being funny is appalling.

      What is wrong with you?

  36. I’m no troll. But don’t get everything you believe from Google – it tends to give you the answers you want. I admit defeat in my attempt to sway your prejudices in favour of Saint HRC. Americans always need to follow some cult or other…

  37. Hi Ross

    I can’t resist another troll… copied from today’s Times.

    _______________________________________________________

    Clare Foges
    January 29 2018, 12:01am, The Times
    Why waste your energy on raging at Trump?

    In Great Expectations Pip loves Estella “against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement”. Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof rues that living with someone you love is lonely “if the one that you love doesn’t love you”. Byron wailed, “it be my lot/To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still”. We have heard much on the agony and indignity of unrequited love but what of the agony and indignity of unrequited hate? What of the corrosive internal curdling when the object of our loathing not only fails to loathe us back but feels nothing for us or our opinions but indifference?

    For Pip, Maggie and Byron we can substitute every Briton who last night fulminated, raged and tweeted through Donald Trump’s interview with Piers Morgan, and who have made hating the man their daily hobby over the past 18 months. With some weariness the president confirmed what we may have guessed: when it comes to the endless vituperation from his British critics, he just doesn’t care. In his own words, “I don’t care. I don’t care. It’s just one of those things, I don’t say anything. You know why? I don’t care.” The hate is unrequited. The hate barely registers as a blip on the radar. Yes, he may have been acting cool to preserve his pride. Yet ultimately, why should he care? It would be understandable if he was reluctant to visit Britain if he expected a hostile reception, but would missing the trip keep him awake at night? We are not, after all, the ones who will pass judgment on his presidency at the ballot box in less than three years’ time. We are not his electorate.

    Sometimes it can seem that large chunks of the British public forget this. I know people who follow American politics more closely than our own — who moan at the latest filibuster, vilify Sean Hannity of Fox News and refer to Capitol Hill as though it is down the road. They have obsessively followed Trump v Comey, Trump v Bannon, Trump v Mueller. The presidential preoccupation has infected our media coverage, with American politics taking up more and more airtime. Over the past year I have marvelled at the number of times largely irrelevant machinations thousands of miles away have made the news here.

    Of course, we all enjoy the spectacle of American politics. Compared with the present state of dishwater-dull Westminster, Washington is Hollywood. It is Air Force One, helicopters on the White House lawn, helmet-haired news anchors with machine-gun delivery. American leaders can give spine-tingling, sweeping speeches about the winds of change blowing from the mountains to the deserts, in a way that British leaders can’t: “The winds of change are blowing from Accrington to Bournemouth!”

    So I upbraid no one for enjoying the soap opera of US politics. What palls is the British hate affair with Donald Trump. It palls because Trump-haters have convinced themselves that they are genuinely contributing to a better world. By retweeting some presidential blooper and adding a satirical “Sad!”, they can feel a buzz of self-righteousness: I am taking on the enemy of the world! I am on the side of the angels against Bogeyman No 1!

    The truth is that it is all the most monumental waste of time. It is so circular. It goes nowhere. The tweeters are preaching to the long-ago converted. Yes, those across the Atlantic who protest and campaign against Trump might be able to affect what the president thinks and does but people in Britain tweeting, ranting or rioting against him won’t make a blind bit of difference.

    What have the 1,863,708 signatures on a petition to deny Trump a state visit achieved? Nothing but the slight cooling of relations with a nation that will be a vital trading partner after Brexit. Our collected outrage might force Theresa May to make some mealy-mouthed hint at her displeasure with Trump (as with the Britain First retweets) but this, sadly, is unlikely to move the dial on anything in Washington.

    The Trump-haters could argue that international condemnation might at least awaken the senses of the American people and make them reconsider their options at the next election. Somehow I doubt it. Trump’s isolationist, go-it-alone instincts don’t spring from nowhere but from deep in the American psyche. Many in America believe much of the world hates their country and are understandably defensive about it.

    If there are mobs on Whitehall hurling eggs at the presidential motorcade, then sure, east coast liberals may think, “I told you so!”, but for those in the rust belt it might be taken as evidence that, finally, here is a president whose willingness to put America first has earned him enemies around the world. Indeed, Trump often seems to welcome the vilification as a badge of honour. On New Year’s Day he wished his “enemies” and “haters” a “Happy and Healthy New Year”. The tweeters and petition-signers in Britain are playing into his hands.

    So, Trump-haters: lose no more hours, days or weeks in railing against a man whose actions you cannot influence and whose voters you will not convert. Unfollow him on Twitter. Release yourself from the daily updates. Expend your energy where it can make a difference: campaigning to change policy at home, getting as interested in your backyard as you are in the Beltway, raising awareness of causes you can affect. Why spend the next few years hysterically, hyperbolically hating the democratically elected leader of another country? It is someone else’s fight. It is a waste of our time.

  38. Ross, this is my first post here and I love your blog, and more importantly you!! Regardless of our political affiliation, you are a very genuine, honest, respectful person who has done nothing but allowed us the opportunity to live vicarious through your blog. You are not doing this to get money through youtube hits, or sway our political views. But, you provided a glimps into who you are and what makes you tick. So, thank you!!

    I drove by the house last January (2017) and saw your van in the backyard but didn’t have the nerve to find you. (I feared I might be a bother). Now, I wish i woukd have. Maybe next time I am driving through the middle of the country.

    Anyway, thanks again for this blog.

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