Waiting for Guffman

If you follow me on Facebook, you won’t be hearing from me for awhile. I’m in Facebook jail, again, for thirty days for posting this incredibly insensitive and controversial statement. Back in May.

I know right! What the hell?!?

Yep, it was so outrageous that it took Facebook five months to realize they should have been outraged almost half a year ago. What sort of twisted human sifts through five fucking months of Facebook posts? Not even super-creepy stalkers do that kind of shit!!

There are no appeals in the kangaroo court of Facebook. I should know. I’ve been in Facebook jail so many times I’m like unto Norm on Cheers. Everybody there knows my name.

* * * *

If you’re not familiar with the film Waiting for Guffman you should check it out. It’s fucking hilarious, and you could probably use a laugh right about now. You’ll definitely need one when the second quarantine starts after Trump loses the election.

I’m kind of hoping that once Trump is gone, someone in America — maybe even the next President — will remember that Science used to be a respectable profession before this putz of a president came along and told his mindless followers that Science was stupid and couldn’t be trusted.

We don’t have to wait for the election for that to happen here. Starting Friday evening, we’re turning the clocks back to March or April and initiating another lockdown. Lea has been reading the restrictions to me as I write this. It’s not going to be a complete shutdown, but it sounds like there are going to be a significant amount of restrictions, especially at night and on the weekends.

And if you have to be out and about, you had better be wearing a facemask, amigo.

Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, the governor of Jalisco, has been threatening to reimpose a lockdown for the last couple of months because he’s dismayed by the number of COVID-19 cases in his country. And he apparently thinks he can do something to change that.

* * * *

According to the latest statistics available, there have been 901,268 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mexico, resulting in 89,814 deaths. And Mexico has done an horrendous job of compiling accurate data. In the state of Jalisco, there have been 33,339 confirmed cases with 3,967 deaths.

* * * *

Despite those appalling numbers, an increasing number of people down here have ceased using any and all personal protective measures.

I call it Pandemic Precaution Fatigue. And the thought process goes something like unto this: I am over this. I’m going to come down with this crap and live, or I’m going to come down with this crap and die. Either way, I don’t care what happens anymore. I just want my fucking life back.

In an previous post, I wrote about something I called Spousal Fatigue. It’s a term I coined to describe what happens to some retired people when they find themselves trapped with the person they married without a break, day after day after day…

This year, you didn’t necessarily have to be retired to find yourself in that situation.

Okay. I remember the richer or poorer part. Sickness and health. Yep, for better or worse… But I don’t remember anything about twenty-four hours a day, every goddamn day!

Perhaps that’s one reason why some people are willing to take their chances with contracting the Coronavirus. Oh yeah, and a vaccine is going to be available any day now, right? Didn’t President Trump say that, what, about…eight… months ago?

Whether they become infected with COVID-19 or not, there’s a fair chance that the life they want back won’t exist once this pandemic is finally over. I don’t know if this good or bad, all I know for sure right now is there doesn’t appear to be a whole lots of people that seem to understand this fact.

And there’s this: there’s no such thing as a flu vaccine that is 100% effective. Most of them fall well below, and I mean way below that mark. The COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it’s finally unveiled, isn’t going to be the panacea that some people believe. And given the stance of the anti-vaxxers, there will likely be as many people, or more, who will choose not to be vaccinated, so there’s that to take into consideration.

* * * *

I’m kind of going through my own sense of fatigue right now. I spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of years trying to convince several people that Donald Trump is a pig of a human being, a criminal, and a traitor to his country. And not one of the people I preached to has had a change of heart, not even with the preponderance of evidence that I feel proved my argument beyond a shadow of a doubt.

We are all of us, most likely, tired of something right now. Even my Muses have been strangely quiescent of late. I’m not sure what to make of that. Maybe they’re under quarantine, too. Or maybe they’ve been replaced by the infrequent tactile hallucination I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of months.

* * * *

Tactile hallucinations aren’t the most common form of false sensory perceptions that people can experience, but they’re not rare by any means either. I’d elaborate on this more, but my wife has practically begged me not to say anything about it. To anyone. After I told her.

I’m guessing she also meant I shouldn’t write about it…

My lovely supermodel wife has always said she considers me to be quirky and unique. I don’t think she’s ever seriously considered me to be, you know, crazy. Until now. I’m sure she’ll let me know how she feels after she reads this.

Sorry honey, I have to say something about this.

This phenomenon happened maybe a dozen times in a row, in two different rooms of our house. I felt someone, or something, very solidly hitting/tapping my right hand twice, when I was performing a very specific…task.

Yes, it was kind of freaky. No, I’m not going to elaborate on this any further. Trust me, you really don’t want to know.

I simply changed the manner in which I perform this…task, and I may have outsmarted my hallucination because it hasn’t happened since. I seemingly have to work around some of the things that happen inside of my head far more often than I’d like to admit.

* * * *

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to physically interact with any of the people I’m disappointed in right now because none of them live in the Lakeside Area. Those wouldn’t be pleasant conversations for anyone.

Equally unfortunately, I doubt the governor’s actions are going to accomplish much of anything to change the attitudes of the people he’s trying to save. It’s been my experience as a psych nurse that when people stop caring about whether they live or die, there’s nothing you can do to help them until they decide they want to live again.

Nor do I think that his actions are going to appreciably alter or slow the progression of COVID-19 here in the Lakeside Area at this point in the game. It doesn’t make much sense to fix the fence after all the livestock have escaped, but at least he’ll be able to say he tried to do something.

Buena suerte, Governor Alfaro. You’re going to need all the luck you can find for this plan to work.

* * * *

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first global pandemic I’ve faced in my life. Some of my Trump-supporting friends have cited other flu-like outbreaks from previous years, and the fact that more people died from that year’s combination of letters and numbers disease than this year’s letters and numbers disease.

Cold and flu season strikes every year. Does that mean we’ve been visited by a pandemic every year, and, what, we were just too busy to notice? I don’t recall any extraordinary global measures being instituted to try to save lives and prevent the spread of those past disease events. Do you?

Consider this: There’s a football season every year, too. Does that make every football game played the Super Bowl?

I’m pretty sure that even Donald Trump and all of his supporters understand that there’s only one Super Bowl. And it will remain that way until the Donald tells his fanatics there’s actually more than one Super Bowl, and then they’ll believe that shit, too.

Interestingly, Trump’s supporters all claim that they don’t blindly believe everything he says, until you question them about the basis of their political views. And you will discover that, yeah, they really do blindly believe everything The Donald says — no matter how ludicrous it is. I also find it very strange that they don’t seem to realize that they do this, even after you point it out to them.

Don’t believe me? Trump says the only way he can lose this election is because of voter fraud. And, yes, his supporters believe that, too. As for the rest of us, we all know what a non-issue this has been in American politics over the last two centuries.

Just sit back and watch what his supporters do and say when he loses. Personally, I can’t wait. I might even drink a glass of champagne…

That said, I am also filled with dread and apprehension regarding this election. There’s one thing that Donald Trump’s supporters don’t realize —

My mistake. You’re right. There are many things…

This is the thing I had in mind: Every principle and ideal that the United States of America was founded on is on trial in this election. Trump’s supporters see him as the last defender of freedom in America. They cannot see that he has been systematically dismantling the last shreds of democracy that remained while he’s been in office.

Trump’s supporters think they possess some arcane knowledge about this president that no one else has. They are absolutely committed to him, they will do anything he suggests to them, and they have guns. A lots and lots and lots of them.

They’ve been preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse for decades, somehow missing the fact that they’ve become zombies themselves.

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Romans 1:22

* * * *

This could become very ugly, very fast. The curtain has been pulled back, and what it has revealed about America under the Trump administration, for the most part, hasn’t been pretty. Long after Mr. Trump no longer sits in the Oval Office, his supporters are still going to be out there. If that thought doesn’t daunt you, it should.

They are the reason I believe that America isn’t in danger of losing the qualities that made it the most celebrated country on the planet.

It already has.

* * * *

When the last quarantine went into effect, Todd and I decided to become gardeners. Guess what we’re going to do during this lockdown!

A couple of weeks ago, Todd and I started attacking the Royal and Ancient Hedgerow on the south side of the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I’m going to guess that it was planted about the same time that our gringo mansion was built, way back in the 1950’s or 60’s.

That, more than likely, was also the last time it was manicured. The Royal and Ancient Hedgerow stands roughly twenty feet high, and is probably eight to ten feet thick. In layman’s terms, it’s a jungle out there.

You never know what will pop up on a Google image search…

The primary shrub in our overgrown hedgerow is bougainvillea. It’s a hardy plant that’s virtually impossible to kill. And it has thorns. Some of the thorns in the branches in our hedgerow are over an inch long. And they are incredibly sharp.

When we attacked the hedgerow, it attacked back. Todd and I both look like we’ve been wrestling jaguars. And it doesn’t look like we’ve been winning.

But we are.

We have taken some significant hunks out of the Royal and Ancient Hedgerow. You can actually see Lake Chapala from a few spots in our yard now, and sunlight filters into the bedrooms on the South Wing for the first time in decades.

That said, we still have a long way to go to tame the beast. It will easily take us another month to complete subdue it, and that’s probably about how long the second quarantine/lockdown is likely to last.

Todd and I have been discussing adding some flowering vines into the areas that have been opened up again. The flowers will add some color, and vines don’t generally have thorns. That’s a big plus. After that, it will just be a matter of keeping the hedgerow regularly trimmed. It should look better than it ever has by the time we’re done.

* * * *

Waiting for Guffman is a 1996 American film loosely based on Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot. The movie mockingly documents a community theater musical that tells the history of a sleepy little Missouri town called Blaine. The director is an eccentric outsider, who claims he knows an important Broadway producer in New York City named Mort Guffman, whom he has invited to come to see the show. 

The director tells his cast if Mr. Guffman writes a favorable review of the play, they could all end up in a Big Broadway Show. They’ll all be able to get the hell out of Blaine, and they’ll probably all become world famous or something like unto that.

The play is beyond awful. I’ve gone to a few of these small town productions in my lifetime. The only word I can think of to describe these shows is painful. Guffman never shows up, a rave review is never written, and everyone involved with the show more or less goes back to their mundane lives once the show is over.

It might not sound like much, but I think it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Oddly enough, one could make the argument that the movie could be interpreted as an apt metaphor of current day America. Well, the voices inside my head seem to think so…

Okay. I see where you’re going with this. The eccentric director is Donald Trump, right? The awful play is the Trump administration’s response to the Coronavirus, correct? Or, it could be everything the Trump administration has done because you don’t really like this guy much. The cast would then have to be Trump’s supporters.

How am I doing so far? I guess there’s only one thing I don’t get. Who, or what, is Guffman? Wait a minute! I’ve got it! Guffman — is the vaccine!

Damn! There’s nothing funny about that ending. This fucking sucks, dude.

Yes. Maybe now you understand.

Time Passages

Remember when we were going to do that two week thing to flatten the curve? Whatever happened to that? Are we still doing that? Does anyone know which phase of COVID-19 we’re in now? Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

There is some good news. We’ve made it to October. In quick succession Halloween, Thanksgiving, then Christmas will be upon us, And then we can say, Adios, motherfucker to 2020.

And hope that 2021 isn’t one of those years that says, Here, hold my beer…

* * * *

Time Passages is a song by the Scottish singer/songwriter Al Stewart. The song is story about a guy who starts daydreaming on a cold winter morning before he goes to his dead-end, boring-ass desk job or something.

I research a lots of things that end up in my blog posts. Seeing how I know next to nothing about Mr. Stewart, I decided to look him up. He apparently has quite an esteemed status among those in the music industry, which is something I never would have thought possible.

I have at least one of his CD’s. I consider his songs to be musically intricate, but mostly corny. And Time Passages is one of his corniest. But here’s the ironic part: Al agrees with me. Even he thinks this song is crap.

* * * *

Time, being relative — it has seemed to drag by at times this year. But not even COVID-19 can make time stop. Life has gone on, which is what it always does. One of my virtual friends in Canadia had a baby. It’s a girl! Thank God. She didn’t think she could handle a fourth boy.

A couple of my virtual female friends in the States are unexpectedly in relationships — something neither of them thought would ever happen again. I hope it works out well for them.

We’ve all gotten older this year, those of us that didn’t get dead. Three of my real friends have lost family members this year. My best friend from high school lost one of his sisters to suicide. My best friend from the Minneapolis VAMC lost his oldest son to an accidental drug overdose. My best friend who chronologically fell in between my other two best friends — his dad just died.

Those deaths are immense tragedies to my friends, and they’ve hit me hard as well. My heart rejoices, and breaks, just like it always has. Even in this very strange year, there are some things that haven’t changed.

* * * *

I find it hard to believe that we’ve been living in Mexico for only four years. It’s even more unreal when you consider that this is the year I had planned to retire. I originally thought I’d work until I was 65, but then I had to change my plans and retire at the age of 61.

Yeah, that was a real bummer…

Our time here somehow seems like it’s been much longer, almost like we’ve been here most of our lives. Maybe it’s because Einstein’s concept of SpaceTime is four dimensional… I’d expound on that further, except I have no idea what it means, and I’m not interested in doing that much research.

Likewise with our darlingpreshadorbs purebred Mexican street kit-tens.

Mika and Mollie. See? I told you they were cute

My lovely supermodel wife and I rescued them a little over two years ago, and we cannot imagine our lives without them now. They keep us entertained, and shower us with a lots of love and affection.

We adopted them just before we moved into the Chula Vista Resort and Spa, the spacious gringo mansion in which we currently reside. And it seems like we’ve been here longer than two years, too.

Our lease is coming up for renewal soon. We know we’re going to be able to renew our rental agreement, we just don’t know for how long. We know our landlord likes us because Lord Mark just upgraded the washer and dryer, bringing the laundry room into the 21st Century.

We’re also going to collaborate with him on getting the swimming pool repainted. I think Lord Mark had it done on the cheap just before we moved in, and it shows. We’re planning on doing a much more lasting fix this time around, one that will stand the test of time.

* * * *

Time. The country of my birth is obsessed with time. Everything must run like clockwork. Time is of the essence, and time is money. Life runs at a hurried pace. In fact, it’s a rat race, and races are always won by the person with the fastest time.

It’s possible that time is also important in Mexico, but I haven’t seen much evidence of it here in the Lakeside Area. We don’t live in a sophisticated urban area. We live in a little rural village up in the mountains. Here, time is much more of a whatever/whenever kind of a thing.

It’s been a bit of a readjustment for us, but all in all, it’s been a good reminder. There are actually very few things in life that are so urgent that they need to be done NOW.

* * * *

Time. Nothing escapes the passage of time. Everything is changed by it. I was young once. I had hair. I’m going to be 65 in December, and I can’t remember the last time I actually had to comb my hair.

With the passage of time, some pains are lessened. And others are only made worse. In terms of aging and growing older, the emotional pains I’ve carried around forever are starting to fade away, apparently so they can be replaced by the physical pains of no longer being young.

Waking up in the morning is usually a painful experience for me. Thanks to years of risk-taking behavior, I have two bad ankles, one bad shoulder, two hips that take turns having bad days, a bum knee, and a totally fucked up back.

I’m relieved that no one has videotaped my first steps in the morning. It’s an unattractive combination of an ambulating penguin and the rusty Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

See? I told you. And it’s my right knee, too

In my opinion, it’s the worst part of getting old. I don’t know how this works for the rest of you who experience chronic pain, but when my pain level rises beyond more than usual, I am overwhelmed with nausea, which makes everything feel just a little bit worse.

I’ve lost at least 15 pounds since we moved here, and I wasn’t on a weight loss diet for any of that time. People tell me I look good for my age. I’m sure they mean it as a compliment, but from my point of view, I’m more of a pig that has learned how to apply lipstick.

* * * *

Time. I remember the days when time was a precious resource that had to be carefully monitored and managed. I used to be a registered nurse. There was never enough time to do all of the things you wanted to do in an eight hour shift.

Time is now a more or less mundane resource that I possess in abundance. My view of that might change as I grow closer to death. I spent the first third of my life trying to kill myself, the second third of my life wondering how I managed to survive, and now I’m finally learning how to live in peace with myself.

I’m going to guess that much like unto Socrates, I’ve spent a goodly amount of time examining my life. And after all of that introspection, I’ve come to two conclusions: One, I may have done a lots of things in my life, but one thing I didn’t do very well was take the time to actually enjoy it. And two, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop examining my life.

Seriously.

There are times when reviewing the videotape is a good thing. You can dissect your words and actions, analyze the outcome, and figure out what you can do differently to make improvements.

There are other times when reviewing the videotape will only highlight what a fucking idiot you were, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. All you can do is accept it, and be grateful that you are no longer that person.

I’m learning how to become that person. I haven’t been doing so great at it so far… I’ll probably get better at it as I becoming more practiced doing it. After all, it’s not golf.

* * * *

Time. It’s something you tend to have either too much of, or not enough of. It rarely seems to be measured out in perfect doses. The hardest part about writing this post has been knowing that I wasted so much time being wasted.

One of these days, probably right after I make peace with myself and my past, I’ll probably want to have some it back.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” is a twist on the idea that good people are rewarded in life for being good. In reality, this is not often the case. This phrase has been variously attributed to Walter Winchell, John P. Grier, Oscar Wilde and Clare Boothe Luce.

I don’t even know who John P. Grier is. Do you? I always thought Oscar Wilde came up with the phrase. It sounds like something he would say…

* * * *

My lovely supermodel wife and I have been living the dream here in Mexico for almost four years now. In a couple of months we have to legally change our immigration status from temporary to permanent — mostly because we’re planning on staying in Mexico until we get dead.

And that means we had to get rid of our 2013 Buick Encore. Only cars that were manufactured in Canadia, the USA, or Mexico can be licensed here. Believe it or not, our American made Buick was built in South Korea!

What most normal people in my situation do is drive their vehicle to a car dealership in the nearest big city just across the US border and sell it. It’s a very simple process.

* * * *

My process started some time early last year. And like every other action, it all started with a thought. Given the fact that I can’t remember what happened yesterday, I’m not sure if this was actually my idea, or if it was a thought insertion.

I can tell you this: I didn’t spend any time thinking about selling the Buick. I didn’t think it was worth more than a couple of thousand dollars, so there wasn’t all that much to think about as far as I was concerned.

At any rate, an idea was born in my mind. It was so simple and so beautiful I didn’t even question it. I knew it was the only thing to do. And this is what it was: You should give your car to Amy.

* * * *

Amy is single woman in her 30’s. She has two teenage kids, Evamarie and Daniel.We met her at one of the churches we went to in Surprise! AZ. And she was in one of the Bible study groups we attended. 

Amy was unlike anyone else at our church. She was the gal that stood or sat near the door during worship service. Yeah, she practiced social distancing long before it became popular. Amy tended to stare at the floor no matter what else she was doing — she almost never made eye contact with anyone. Amy rarely spoke, and when she did her voice was barely a whisper. I don’t think we exchanged more than fifty words with each other in the nine years we lived in Arizona.

I was a psych nurse back then, so I tended to notice that kind of stuff. At some point in time I know I said this to Lea: I don’t know what happened to Amy, but whatever it was, it was terrible. And it happened more than once.

I don’t know what the criteria are for the poverty level in Arizona are, but Amy probably lived one or two steps below them. And every car she had ever owned was a piece of junk that was probably broken down more often than it ran.

Amy tended to discount any talent she might have had, and she had a few. She made the most amazing cupcakes! She brought some to one of our Bible study groups. I think I ate half of them. Because she was a baker, Lea gave Amy her KitchenAid® mixer just before we moved to Mexico, so precedent had been set.

Now you know why giving her our Buick was such a great idea. If you’re thinking giving a car to someone you don’t really know is weird, I’d have to agree with you. But then something really weird happened about six months after we moved to Mexico.

Amy, the girl who rarely spoke to anyone about anything in person, sent me a text message after I moved 1200 miles away from her.

* * * *

Me: I just got a message from Amy!

Lea: Amy who?

Me: Quiet Amy from church!

Lea: That’s weird. What does she want?

Me: I think she wants me to be her therapist.

Lea: Oh boy. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Promise me you’ll be careful.

Me: Don’t worry. I’ll be very careful.

* * * *

If you’ve ever been in therapy, you know it’s a lots less fun than almost anything, including a colonoscopy. And the only reason a colonoscopy sucks less is because you’re under sedation.

I’m not going to say much about my sessions with Amy for a couple of reasons: One, it’s none of your goddamn business. And two, I’d like to finish this post before I get dead.

I will say this: our sessions lasted at least two and a half years. Amy was, well, an emotional basket case. Riding on a speeding train that had no brakes. And the train was constantly derailing. The bridge spanning the canyon just ahead was out. And the train was on fire.

Amy suffered from a profound lack of self-esteem and some sort of global social anxiety disorder. Punctuated with panic attacks. Highlighted with moments of supreme terror. And nightmares.

Amy had so many issues and questions there were some things I had no idea how to address simply because I wasn’t a girl. So I referred Amy to my lovely supermodel wife because she is a girl. Lea and I ended up tag teaming Amy as her treatment progressed.

Lea and Amy bonded almost immediately. They had a spooky amount of stuff in common: single mothers. Financially challenged. And they had both survived significant traumas. They were like unto best friends in about five minutes. 

With me, Amy would take one step forward and two steps back. Maybe three… Repeatedly. My role in Amy’s personal renovation plan was simple: Refocus, refocus, refocus. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I never told her what to do. I told her recovery is a deeply personal process, and something that worked well for one person didn’t do anything for the next. And I knew that from personal experience.

She couldn’t believe I ever needed to be fixed. Because I was so cool. I told her she was right about the last part, but not the first. Then she asked me how I finally succeeded.

I made every mistake I possibly could, until I got tired of fucking up. That’s what you’re going to have to do. So, suck it up, and never quit trying. 

I want to get better. I really do!

Then someday you will. You just have to believe that. And you have to believe that you can do it.

How long do you think it will take?

Years. It’s a lifelong process that never stops. So take care of yourself. And get some sleep. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. 

It ended up being an exhausting process for all three of us. Amy was always afraid that we were going to give up on her, but Lea and I both ended up having a vast amount of respect for Amy because she never gave up, no matter how discouraged she felt.

* * * *

Before you get the idea that I’m really good at this, I’m not. And if you want me to therapeurize you, I charge $150 US/hour. And I won’t be giving you a car. If you still want to go down this road, there’s one more thing you should know: I didn’t do anything to fix Amy. She did all of that herself.

I’m clearly not worth your time or your money.

* * * *

Because I’m essentially a coward, I waited a couple of months before I told my lovely supermodel wife what I was planning on doing with our Buick. And I have to admit I was surprised by her response.

No! You’re not giving our car away!! Do you have any idea what it’s worth?

I was surprised for a couple of reasons. Lea had played as much of a role in Amy’s therapy as I had. Surely she understood the need as much as I did. And I didn’t think our car could be worth all that much. It’s a used car, and people don’t pay much money for used cars.

Do they?

Somewhat Little Known Fact About Me: I can be just about the most stubborn sonuvabitch you’ve ever met when I want to be. Probably Not So Surprising Fact About My Lovely Supermodel Wife: she might be the only person more stubborn than me.

I’m pretty sure my response was something like unto this: Well, it’s going to happen, so start getting used to the idea. And Lea replied, We’ll see…

* * * *

It took several months and a couple of phone calls to our financial planner before Lea was able to wrap her heart and mind around my idea. Our financial planner just happens to be our oldest daughter, Gwendolyn Henson. Because of that, I like to think that she does stuff for us that she wouldn’t normally do for her other clients.

Lea is much more practical about almost everything than I am. Once she was sure the financial aspect of giving our car away would work, she was completely on-board.

I had one conversation with our financial planner. But I wasn’t at all concerned about the practicality of my idea: I’ve spent most of my life taking anything and everything that I could because I was a drunken pig of a human being. I have an opportunity to give something meaningful back to someone who really needs it. I don’t care what you have to do in order to make this happen. Just make it happen.

And God bless her heart, Gwen did. I’m not sure I ever thanked her for that. So, if you’re reading this, thank you, Gwendolyn. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without your help.

* * * *

On or about Christmas of last year I sent Amy a couple of pictures of our Buick on Facebook Messenger and asked, Would you like to have this car? She responded almost immediately: I’d love to have that car, but I don’t think I can afford it.

Me: I didn’t ask if you wanted to buy it. I asked if you wanted to have it. There was a long pause, then: Are you giving me your car? Are you serious?? YES!! Yes, I’d love to have a nice car!!

Does it run?

* * * *

My beautiful, simple idea had taken one step forward. Yet Another Little Known Fact About Me: making plans is not my forte. I’ve planned only two things in my life, and delivering our car to Amy wasn’t going to be the third.

Fortunately, one of the things I had actually planned on doing was marrying Lea, and she loves making plans. Unfortunately, the year this plan was going to take place was 2020.

There’s one more thing: if you’ve ever watched Masters of Flip, you know Dave Wilson consistently under-budgets his renovation costs. I would do something similar in terms of how much our gift to Amy would actually cost us because I didn’t take anything beyond giving her our car into consideration.

It turned out to be a very expensive gift, and it was far more than just the money we wouldn’t be getting because we weren’t selling our car. Just in cases you were wondering, the Blue Book value on our Buick is roughly $11,000.

* * * *

Just to give you an example of how oblivious I can be, the last time I bought a new car was 2008. Every car I’ve purchased since then has been pre-owned, including the Encore. And to the best of my knowledge, I’m sure I paid way more than a couple of thousand dollars for each of them.

But none of that occurred to me once I came up with the idea to give our car to Amy.

* * * *

In February, we bought a car to replace the Buick — a 2018 Nissan X-Trail. And yes, I paid more than a couple of thousand dollars for it, too. I’ve written about our experience in a previous post.. You can check out all the fun we had with that if you don’t have anything better to do.

Antonio Regalado of R &R Auto Sales was the guy we hired to help us find the Nissan. He also has an automotive service division of his business. So I had his mechanics do a complete service overhaul on the Buick. New filters, drain and replace all the fluids. Replace anything that looked worn so Amy would essentially have a new car that she hopefully wouldn’t need to worry about for years.

I’ll have more to say about this after later…

* * * *

I replaced the tires on Amy’s car and had the front end aligned because the roads here suck. I didn’t need to replace the tires; the old ones had less than 3000 miles on them. But nothing I was doing with the Buick was logical, and I didn’t see any reason to start.

I replaced the windshield wipers even though there wasn’t anything wrong with them either. The only thing I didn’t replace was the battery, because I had already replaced it.

Amy’s car was ready for the road. But Tom Petty said it best when he said, the waiting is the hardest part. 

* * * *

I had one thought in mind when we started planning our trip back to Phoenix to give Amy her new car — I didn’t want to go there in the dead of summer. I was hoping to go early, like April. And then along came the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns/quarantines. And the plans of pretty much every person on the planet got fucked up all to hell.

By the middle of July, my lovely supermodel wife was going out of her mind from boredom. Making all of the arrangements for our trip gave her something to do, and she jumped on the chance.

She rented a house in our old neighborhood on Airbnb. She booked our return flight from Phoenix to Guadalajara. She secured auto and health insurance for us while we were going to be in the States. And then we held our breath, hoping nothing would happen to cancel delay our trip. Again.

I contacted our friend, Javier Guardado, and hired him to drive us to the border. He does this kind of thing for a living, and if I’ve only learned one thing in life, it’s this: It’s always good to work with a professional.

* * * *

It was right around this point in time that I started becoming an absolute jerk of a human being. I was seriously on edge, and the littlest things would send me into something like unto a berserker rage.

Emotional control is essential when you work in Psychiatry. Pysch patients sometimes say all kinds of mean, ugly, nasty, icky things. And when you’re a psych nurse you have to be above all that crap if you want to survive.

The fact that I was suddenly unable to do that scared the hell out of me.

If you’re wondering why, so am I. The COVID-19 precautions/restrictions probably had something to do with it. And maybe I had some PTSD shit going on that I wasn’t aware of. And there was something I call Rebound Stress.

Back when we were gainfully employed, Lea and I both worked in high pressure/high stress positions. Then we transitioned to a lifestyle where the most stressful thing we had to do was figure out which day of the week it was. And then we found ourselves in an unexpectedly stressful situation when we decided to give our car to Amy.

We were doing this really good thing. It wasn’t supposed to feel like this! I’m still not really sure what happened, but I became a real asshole, real fast. I’m not proud of it. But I’m much better now, so it’s probably safe to keep reading.

* * * *

Our run to the border took two days, and was as uneventful as a cross-country car trip through Mexico can be. We gave Javier enough money for airfare back to the Lakeside Area, and told him we’d settle the rest of his bill when we returned.

The only issue we had was my Mexican cellphone stopped working. I had an unlimited data plan with AT&T, and in Mexico, unlimited apparently ends at 2 gigs of data. I had to be directly connected to a Wi-Fi source in order for my phone to work at all.

It would be a huge pain in the ass to me while we were back in the States.

* * * *

We arrived in Phoenix early in the afternoon of Sunday, August 9th. It was 113° outside. That’s why I didn’t want to go to Phoenix in the summer. It is ridiculously fuckin’ hot.

But the roads were nice! They were smooth, and wide! It was kind of like Heaven, maybe. And the radio played songs I knew. I even knew who some of the DJ’s were!

We were on a mission — it might have been a mission from God — we had traveled 1200 miles and we were almost there. After all the delays, and expense, and fucking stress — we were going to achieve our objective. And this was going to be so cool.

* * * *

Amy lives in Surprise! It’s a sprawling suburb in the northwest valley of the Phoenix metro area. We used to live there, too. I loved the name. Rumor has it that the gal who named the town said she’d be surprised if it ever amounted to much.

Within an hour of arriving in Surprise! we ran into Tracy in the Safeway parking lot. We had never met her before, and actually, she ran into us. Literally.

Yes, we got into a fender bender in the car we were planning on giving away.

* * * *

I was sitting in the passenger seat. Lea had turned into a lane in the parking lot where a pickup was backing out of its spot several feet ahead of her. From where I was sitting I could see Tracy’s SUV in the driver’s side view mirror as it started backing up out of its parking spot. And she was heading right for Amy’s car.

“Look out! MOVE!! She’s going to fucking hit us!” I yelled at Lea. But she couldn’t see Tracy’s SUV. She could see the truck in front of us, and there’s no way it could have hit us no matter how hard it tried.

Lea moved forward a few inches, in slow motion. Tracy’s SUV continued backing up towards us, also in slow motion. I held my breath and prayed it would be enough.

It wasn’t.

* * * *

On the bright side, it was a low impact collision. A piece of trim around the left rear wheel well had been knocked loose, and the left rear tail light in the bumper was popped out of its housing. There was no other damage visible to the eye. Tracy’s SUV didn’t even scratch the paint of Amy’s car.

I didn’t notice if there was any damage to Tracy’s SUV. And if there was any, I sure as hell didn’t care. Because there was no bright side at that precise moment in time in my eyes.

I felt like killing everyone I saw in the parking lot. I think I growled at Tracy — like I was a fuckin’ bear or something. Then I stomped off toward the store looking like unto a storm cloud. Honestly, I didn’t trust myself anymore and I had to get out of there as fast as I could.

“Your husband is the reason I’m divorced.” Tracy said to Lea after I had stormed off. Tracy was actually very sweet. She gave Lea her insurance information, and felt terrible when Lea explained that we were planning on giving our car to another sweet woman.

There was a whole lots of feeling terrible to go around that day. I felt terrible for screaming at a sweet young woman who felt terrible for bumping into our car. I felt terrible because I had screamed at my wife when what I should have done is reach over and honk the fucking horn. And Lea felt terrible because she had been driving at the time the car we were going to give away had been involved in an accident.

When we got to our Airbnb rental, Lea went into the bathroom and cried for an hour.

* * * *

I’m not usually as inconsiderate of my wife’s feelings as I was that day. I honestly had no idea what to say afterwards, and I’m ashamed to say that I wanted to kill her, too. But after I looked at the damage to Amy’s car three or four hundred times, I realized it really wasn’t that bad, and it could probably be easily, and hopefully, cheaply repaired.

Then I decided to go into the bathroom and see if there was anything I could do to comfort my distraught wife. Lea had a handful of used tissues in one hand as she paced around the bathroom.

“This is so unfair!” she sobbed. “We’ve come so far, and I’ve worked so hard to make this happen! And then someone hits the car we’re going to give away in the parking lot! And…and there’s not even a fuckin’ waste basket in this fucking bathroom!!”

When we both started to laugh, I knew Lea was going to be okay, and we were going to survive, no matter what else happened. And there would be more unpleasant surprises to follow.

* * * *

Monday, August 10.

We went to Liberty Buick in Peoria to see my buddy, Benny. He’s the guy who sold me the Encore, I was hoping he could perform a miracle and fix Amy’s lightly damaged vehicle.

They don’t do any bodywork at the dealership, but Benny referred us to the body shop where they send all of their cars that need to be repaired. And it was only a couple of blocks away.

We met a guy named Kenny at the body shop. He was very nice, and very knowledgeable. He knew Encores were made in South Korea! Kenny took a look at the very minor damage on Amy’s car, and figured he could fix everything for $1800.

And I just about had two seizures. In Mexico, it probably would have cost less than $100. But it wouldn’t have cost more than $250 at the very most.

Kenny explained why it was going to be so expensive, but I had stopped hearing anything he said. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but whatever it was made me realize I could fix Amy’s car all by myself, and it wasn’t going to cost anyone no eighteen hundred fuckin’ dollars.

All I needed was a bottle of Gorilla Glue®. And, a tablespoon.

* * * *

We thanked Kenny for his time, then drove to the nearest Home Depot. I bought a good sized bottle of Gorilla Glue®, and couple more Maglite® flashlights, then we headed for our Airbnb rental.

We parked Amy’s car in the garage to get it out of the unrelenting sun. I pulled the trim around the wheel well out a bit farther, then glued the hell out of it, and slammed it back into place. You have to look really hard to see that it had ever been damaged.

The brake light was a bit more problematic because it wouldn’t stay seated in its housing. So I borrowed a tablespoon from the kitchen and braced it firmly between the tail light and the rear axle. Then I decided to leave it there after the glue set, just in cases.

Mischief managed. Lea called Tracy to tell her we wouldn’t be filing a claim against her insurance. And I asked Lea to tell Tracy I was sorry for being an asshole. But I did just save her a buttload of money, so maybe I wasn’t so bad after all.

* * * *

Why didn’t we just let Tracy’s insurance pay for the repairs? For one thing, that price was robbery! And for another thing, we had a timeline. We were only going to be in Phoenix for five days. We simply didn’t have the time to wait for parts to be ordered and delivered. And stuff.

So we got it fixed and it looked practically perfect in every way after my Mexican repair job was completed. And it cost me maybe five bucks. Out of all the things that I shelled money out for, both before and during our trip, it was easily the least expensive thing that I did.

* * * *

Tuesday, August 11.

I took Amy’s car to the Cobblestone Auto Spa in Surprise! for an oil change. It was another thing I didn’t need to do because I had already had Antonio’s mechanics take care of that before we left Mexico.

I love Cobblestone. They did all of the oil changes on all of our cars when we lived in Surprise! They weren’t as expensive as the dealership, and they threw in a free full service car wash. Plus, they had comfortable leather couches where you could watch sports shows while your car was being serviced and cleaned. And they had free Wi-Fi.

I was standing in the comfy waiting area when Adam approached me.

“Hey boss, I’ve got some bad news for you…” And I’m pretty sure my head exploded. “I don’t know who worked on your car last, but they stripped your oil plug so badly I’m afraid to touch it. I’m pretty sure I can get it out, but I can’t guarantee that I can get it back in. And if I can, I can’t guarantee that it won’t leak oil afterwards. I think you’re going to have to replace your entire oil pan, and that’s not something we’re equipped to do here.”

Adam refunded the money I had paid for the oil change. I decided to give Amy’s car a thorough cleaning. It could use it after traveling across Mexico.

Then I counted to ten thousand. And then I called Antonio.

* * * *

Given the fact that I had been almost impossible to be near for the last three weeks, I was surprisingly civil to Antonio. I told him what Adam had told me, and explained that these guys had serviced all of my cars for nine years. Their service had always excellent, so if they told me there was a problem, I was going to believe them.

Antonio couldn’t believe his mechanics could have damaged Amy’s car. They also did excellent work, and they double-checked everything they did. Antonio’s good reputation meant everything to him, so he found my news to be pretty much the last thing he wanted to hear.

I believed Antonio when he was talking about his reputation. But I was hearing two vastly different stories, so someone had to be lying about something.

Seeing how Amy’s car didn’t really need an oil change, I told Antonio that Amy would take her car to the Buick dealership when it needed to be serviced. They worked on Buicks every day. If there was something wrong, they would know it immediately.

I would have my friend take pictures of the oil plug, and I would send them to Antonio. If there wasn’t anything wrong, then the Cobblestone guys were full of shit. The dealership would change the oil, and we’d pay for that. And Antonio’s good reputation would remain intact. End of story.

However, if the scenario the Cobblestone guys had diagnosed was true, and there was a serious problem, we would pay for whatever repairs were needed to fix Amy’s car. And I was going to hold Antonio and his mechanics personally responsible for any and all damages because they were the last guys to work on the Buick.

And then we’d see just how much Antonio’s good reputation really meant to him. There was a long silence, and Antonio didn’t have much to say after that. I couldn’t tell if he agreed or disagreed with my plan. Either way, there wasn’t anything he could do about it in Mexico.

Amy’s car will need an oil change around mid-November. I have a feeling the Cobblestone guys are going to be right, and I also have a feeling that Antonio isn’t going to want to reimburse me for any repairs.

That reminds me, I should send a message to Benny and give him a heads-up about the spoon…

Stayed tuned to this channel for any updates as they occur. I’ll let you know what happens.

* * * *

Also on Tuesday, we transferred the title of our Encore over to Amy, and we paid the license and registration for two years. That cost us $355. But I don’t think either Lea or I cared how much it came to.

Amy was smiling! She laughed!! She talked and talked and talked!!! And she didn’t stare at the floor, not even once. Lea and I couldn’t believe our eyes. We looked at each other in amazement. We had never seen Amy act like this before!

That moment — seeing a completely different person emerge like that — that made all the things we had done — the therapy and frustration. The heartache and sorrow and emotional agony and exhaustion. The sacrifice, expense, and more frustration, and stuff. That moment made everything worthwhile.

And just like that, I stopped feeling like I was going to explode.

* * * *

Wednesday, August 12.

It wasn’t all business and car repairs for us in Phoenix. We went shopping. We bought four suitcases worth of stuff to take home with us because there are some things that you just can’t find down here in Mexico. We ate at some of our favorite restaurants. And visited with a few very close friends.

It was so nice to see them all, especially my darlingpreshadorbs work daughters. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in months. I felt almost brand new again.

Some of our friends even said they’d come down to visit us at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. But they’ve said that before, and not one of them has come down yet, so we’ll see what happens.

* * * *

I spent about an hour with Amy on Wednesday evening, showing her all of the bells and whistles on her new car. And the Buick has more than a few of those. Amy couldn’t believe her eyes.

“It does so much stuff. It’s like magic!!” she whispered. And then I handed her the key and asked if she wanted to take it for a test drive.

“Oh! It starts! Oh my! It drives! And it turns! And the brakes work!! Oh my God! It goes really fast! I’m going to have to actually watch how fast I’m going! And the radio works!! And it has air conditioning!!!”

And she smiled. And laughed! And cried tears of joy. And there were no words for that feeling in my heart.

A couple of days later Amy told me a story.

“You know that day that you came over and were showing me your car? When I went inside, Daniel said, ‘You know what, mom? You should buy that car. It’s really nice and you need a nice car.'”

“He didn’t know I was giving it to you? You haven’t told your kids?” I asked. I was stunned that she hadn’t said anything about getting a new car. She shook her head.

“I didn’t tell them. I wanted to wait, you know, until I was sure.”

* * * *

Just before we started our trip, I bought a new/used set of golf clubs. They originally cost a couple of thousand of dollars, but I got them for less than two hundred bucks. I posted a picture of them on my Facebook page. One of my friends in Phoenix asked if I could find him a set or two of clubs, too.

Thanks to my friend, Mario, I found my other friend, Brian, four sets of clubs. He bought two of them. For $75. He got the deal of two lifetimes on those clubs, and I delivered them to him in Phoenix.

Brian was so happy he invited me to go golfing with him on Thursday. And I foolishly accepted.

* * * *

Thursday, August 13.

El Golf de Arizona! It was 113° that day. But it was the only day this year that has started out with significant cloud cover in the morning skies over Phoenix. The clouds protected us from the sun through the first nine holes before the sun vaporized them to shreds. The back nine were brutal. I’m pretty sure I baked what’s left of my brain before we finished.

Brian is one of our former pastors. We were in his Bible study group when we first met Quiet Amy. He’s the only one of the pastors I told my kooky ideas about God to who didn’t look at me as if I were completely insane.

He probably thought I was, but he hid it well. I’ve always had a lots of respect for him for doing that.

Because Brian is a pastor, I actually made an attempt to not swear as much around him while we played golf, but I know he had to ask me not to say, FUCK! at least once. And in between trying not to fuckin’ swear so fucking much, I told Brian about my simple idea to give our car to Amy, and how complicated, and expensive, it had become.

He asked how much the license and registration had cost. He thought about it for a couple of holes. Then he made several phone calls. And then he handed me a check for $355. His new Bible study group, a group of young men that had had never met Amy — and probably never would — pooled their resources and reimbursed us the entire cost of Amy’s registration fees.

I am rarely rendered speechless, but I was at that moment.

I know I thanked Brian several times, but thank you again, my friend. And thank you to your Bible study group, too. I told Amy she owes all of you some cupcakes.

You can thank me later.

* * * *

Friday, August 14.

This would be the hottest day of our stay in Phoenix, with a high of 116°. If you’ve never experienced heat like unto that, I have one word of advice.

Don’t.

* * * *

I mentioned earlier that we did a lots of shopping while we were in Phoenix. My very organized lovely supermodel wife had compiled a lengthy list of items that we needed. On Friday, we checked the last item off, and returned to our Airbnb rental.

I think the nicest amenity about that place was its air conditioner.

It was Packing Day! It took us a couple of hours to divide up all of the stuff we had purchased to keep the weight of the two largest suitcases under fifty pounds. This trip had cost us enough, and neither of us wanted to pay the airline fee for overweight baggage.

When we finished, both of our big suitcases weighed 49.5 pounds.

And then we rested. I think it was the only relaxing day we had on our trip. We spent a good part of the day resting our eyes while we watched TV. We needed to recuperate from the hellish heat of Phoenix. And we needed to recharge our batteries because we were hosting a small pizza party celebration that evening in honor of Amy and her new car.

* * * *

I took Amy out to the garage to show her a few more bells and whistles in her car because I had forgotten about them. I don’t think I ever used them, so I wished her luck figuring out what they did. Evamarie and Daniel stayed in the house, eating pizza with Lea.

“You can read about them in the owner’s manual. Or you can look them up on the YouTube®, probably. So. How did your kids react when you finally told them we were giving you this car?”

“They were really excited! Evamarie asked it that meant we could go somewhere that wasn’t Surprise now. My last car overheated if I drove it too long. Like, more than ten minutes.”

“Yeah, you’re not going to have that problem anymore.” I said. “I hope you realize that none of this would have happened if you hadn’t reached out to me in your…desperation…or your despair…or whatever it was. I probably would’ve forgotten that you ever existed in a few years. And I sure as hell wouldn’t have given you this car.

“I know how hard that must have been for you. But there is also good in the world. Not everything turns out badly. You need to remember that.”

“I was really scared to do it,” Amy replied after a moment. “But I’m glad that I did. And the car doesn’t have anything to do with it. I would have missed out on two great relationships with two really great people.”

* * * *

We’ve been back in Mexico for about a week and a half now. The first thing I did when we got back was buy a new cellphone from TelCel. They’re the phone company that almost everyone uses in Mexico because AT&T® sucks down here.

Amy and I text each other almost every day. She still has bad days, but now she has a car that works, and maybe they’re not as bad as they used to be anymore.

That was my hope when I decided to give her our car. That it would be a springboard for her to rise to new heights. With one less thing to worry about, she could start focusing on the things that really matter.

Her children. And herself. And her kit-tens. When Amy isn’t busy doing anything else, she rescues stray cats. See? I told you she was sweet.

Amy has come a long way in a short amount of time. I used to spend hours trying to get her to believe that where she is now was even remotely possible. All she had to do was believe in herself.

I don’t think I’ll have to tell her that anymore.

Yet Another Brief Treatise on God

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* * * *

For whatever reason, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about God. It’s possibly a Christian thing — I’m sure some of my very Christian friends also do this. Unlike them, I don’t ponder deeply on God so I can serve Him better.

There are only two things God wants from us: worship and obedience. That’s it. I have only two problems with those two things: I seem to be incapable of trusting God completely, and I’m really bad at obeying His commandments.

If I had to give a reason for why I do something for no discernible gain, I’d probably say it’s because I’m trying to understand who and what God really is. Based on what I’ve read and what I’ve been told I’m supposed to think, there isn’t much about God that makes much sense to me.

In the Bible it says that God does not change. Certain Christians believe this without question simply because it says so in the Bible, and everything in the Bible is true. But from where I sit, God changes every time He appears in the Bible. And that’s what I’m planning on exploring in this installment.

* * * *

In the Book of Genesis, we are introduced to God the Creator. He rolled up His sleeves, labored mightily for six days creating the entire universe and everything in it, and then He rested, being well-pleased with all that He had done.

It is written that God created mankind in His image. We are God’s magnum opus,  His masterpiece. That’s what every priest and pastor I’ve ever known has said. And way back in beginning, the pinnacle of human life were two people named Adam and Eve.

* * * *

Scholars that aren’t Christian Fundamentalists tend to view the story of Adam and Eve as an allegory, not actual history. Unlike all of the other humans roaming the earth, God formed Adam with His own hands. Then God planted a pretty and cutey little garden, and put the man in it.

Eden. It was a darling place. And in this garden of beauty and fruit trees, God planted two special trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And God told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

* * * *

I don’t know if the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil actually exists, but I have no doubt that the Tree of Life is real. If you eat of the Tree of Life, you become immortal. Angels are immortal. And now you know how that got happened.

That’s the only reason Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden. God didn’t want them to have access to the Tree of Life. An angel with a flaming sword guards the approach to the tree to this day, just in cases someone stumbles across it, somehow.

* * * *

Everything was hunky-dory in the garden. God and Adam spent long hours hanging out together shooting the breeze, drinking beer, and God answered all of Adam’s questions about, well, everything.

Why is the sky blue? How many stars are there in the sky? What are those two animals doing? What is sex?

So God had the Birds and Bees talk with His favorite human. And who knows what happened next. God caught Adam masturbating…  Maybe he was having sex with a sheep…  At any rate, God said to Himself, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

According to the story, God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, God took one of the man’s ribs, and from the rib He made a woman, and He brought her to the man.

* * * *

Afterwards, God and Adam were hanging out in the garden, drinking a beer. And God said, “So, Adam, how was your honeymoon?”

“Oh, it was okay, I guess. 

“Dude! I’m your best buddy! If you can’t tell Me about your honeymoon, who can you trust? C’mon man, I want to hear every juicy detail!”

“Well, we had dinner, a couple of drinks, did a little dancing…  Then we went to the bedroom. And just between you and me — I’m pretty sure I could’ve fucked her!”

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* * * *

If you don’t know how this story ends, things do not remain all tickety-boo in the garden. Eve ate the fruit of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Adam took a bite, too.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked…

* * * *

Okay. There are three main reasons why this story is an allegory to me. Adam and Eve realized they were naked. Big deal! These were the two most perfectly sculpted people that ever lived. They were the epitome of natural beauty. They were young, they got plenty of exercise, and they ate an all organic diet.

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See? I told you

They had no reason to be ashamed just because they were naked. Au contraire, Pierre! They should have have taken one look at each other, realized they were both totally hot and naked, then boinked their fucking brains out like lions in heat. And then boinked some more.

The second reason is this: there’s no description of what God looked like. God hung out with Adam and Eve in the garden on a frequent basis.. He dropped in to talk with them all the time. As far as I can tell, they are the only two people that God ever appeared to in person. 

We know God has a physical form — presumably something very much like unto ours because we are created in the image of God, are we not? And there’s this: Adam and Eve hid from God after their fall from grace when they heard Him walking in the garden.

The story of their unique relationship with God — there’s no way they wouldn’t have passed that tale on to their children, and their grandchildren. Hell, they would’ve told it to complete strangers because it’s such a cool story! It’s a story that would’ve been told over and over again by every generation until someone finally wrote it down. And it would surely would have been included in the Bible.

But that story doesn’t exist. So neither did Adam and Eve.

And finally, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told Adam not to eat from it upon pain of death. When the serpent tricked Eve into eating its fruit, the serpent said, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

There’s no evidence in the Bible that God actually knows the difference between good and evil. There is a preponderance of Biblical evidence that even if God knows the difference, He doesn’t appear to care. God does whatever He wants because He’s God, and if you don’t like it, that’s your problem.

* * * *

After Adam and Eve, God’s behavior becomes increasingly harder to understand. And evidence of a loving God who truly cares for all of His children…  Well, you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

My very Christian friends believe that all of God’s plans are perfect, and the proof is He is able to work through imperfect tools, namely humans. That might be true, but if there’s no such thing as a perfect person, well, God hasn’t had a hell of a lots of options to choose from, has He?

* * * *

The next time God appears in the Bible is Noah and the Great Flood. I’ve written about this allegorical story already (Apocalypse Now). You can check it out if you don’t have anything better to do.

When God next appears, it’s to Abram. Somewhat Mildly Interesting Sidenote About Noah and Abram: according to the Bible, they are both descendants of Adam and Eve.

God first appeared to Abram when Abram was seventy-five years old. Again, there’s no description of what God looked like, so it can be assumed that God didn’t appear to him looking like a human. On at least one occasion God appeared to Abram in a vision — it’s possible that’s how God appeared to him every time.

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I’ve often wondered if God looks like the Great Gazoo…

Initially, God seems to have been Abram’s travel/real estate agent. A couple of decades and a few geographic relocations later, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and promised that he, Abraham, would become the father of nations.

That made Abraham laugh. Yeah, he thought God was a comedian! Abraham was ninety-nine years old, and he and his ninety year old wife didn’t have any children. God wasn’t joking, and they named their son Isaac. Several years later, when Isaac was a young boy, God told Abraham to take his beloved son into the wilderness and sacrifice him to the Lord.

Abraham didn’t laugh this time. He had learned that his God didn’t have a sense of humor. Unlike me, Abraham trusted in the Lord, and did as he was told.

* * * *

Imagine you hear a disembodied voice, or voices, talking to you. Go ahead, give it a try. If you want to imagine it’s me talking to you, I sound like Ben Stein. On Quaaludes.

When you’re a psych nurse, you meet people who experience auditory hallucinations every day. They’re a symptom of schizophrenia, and they have got to be hell to live with. Even worse are command auditory hallucinations. They’re pretty much what they sound like, invisible voices telling you what to do.

These commands can range from innocuous to life-threatening, and they can be incredibly difficult to resist, no matter what it is the voices are telling you to do.

One of my patients at the Minneapolis VAMC was a young man named Lorenzo. He was admitted to my unit after he sliced his abdomen open from his sternum to his umbilicus with a butcher knife in his kitchen.

His brother found him laying on the floor three days later and brought him to the hospital. Lorenzo spent at least one month on my unit, maybe more. His wound had to heal by granulation, and I spent many hours packing his wound with iodaform gauze every day to help prevent infection and promote healing.

And we talked.

I think Lorenzo had run out of meds, and the voices inside his head had worsened. Then they started telling him to slice open his belly, as if he were a samurai committing seppuku.

I fought them as long as I could, but you wouldn’t believe the power they have! After awhile, their compulsion over me became irresistible. So, I walked into the kitchen…  And I grabbed a knife…

* * * *

Personally, I have experienced a disembodied voice talking to me only once. I was ten years old at the time, so I know it wasn’t drugs or alcohol. I don’t know what it was, but it was real.

And it freaked me the fuck out.

* * * *

I don’t know who God chronologically appeared to after Abraham. If you’re curious, you can look it up. I’m going to jump to Moses.

* * * *

Moses isn’t a Hebrew name, it’s an Egyptian name. It means: son of in ancient Egyptian. Ra-meses: son of Ra, the god of the sun. Moses no doubt was originally named for one of the many Egyptian gods, but that name has been lost forever.

Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince. He and Rameses II were brothers. They probably competed against each other when they were growing up. As adults, they faced off against each other in the most serious game of Chicken ever played. It was a game Moses would win, thanks in large part to the Ten Plagues that devastated the land of Egypt, and humbled one of the greatest Pharaohs in history.

God became the Redeemer and Savior of His People. He broke the bondage of slavery and led the Israelites to freedom in a new land.

* * * *

There’s one thing about the God of Abraham and Moses that was unique. He was the only God at that time that traveled. Prior to this, gods were associated with a specific location or region. And they stayed there.

God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. And in the form of a thick cloud. He had become the God of mystical majesty we’ve all come to kind of know.

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* * * *

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Joshua led them into the promised land. Remember when I said God’s behavior was difficult to understand? When the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, they knew they would be going to war. But their mighty God was with them, and He had a simple battle plan.

Kill everything you see. Man, woman, and child. Even the livestock. Leave nothing standing, no one and nothing still breathing.

There’s a name for this battle tactic: Genocide.

There was only one flaw with God’s plan. Because the Israelites weren’t completely amoral, cold-blooded murderers — they refused to go along with it.

* * * *

When Joshua and his generation died, so did the Israelites’ knowledge of God. They began worshipping other gods. Thus began the Age of Judges. God spoke to them and led them to military victories against their enemies. God was the Protector of His People.

After the Judges, God spoke to the Kings, but only two of them: David, and his son, Solomon. Aside from Saul, they’re probably the only Kings of Israel that anyone knows, including me. I’ve read about these guys numerous times. I can’t remember any of them.

* * * *

According to the Bible, David was the beloved of God. And Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. According to me, David was mostly a pretty cool guy. And Solomon — he was just about the biggest idiot that ever lived.

There are 613 Laws of Moses in the Jewish faith. Three of those laws are specific to the king. Solomon ignored all three of them, and God only knows how many of the others. There’s nothing wise about that. But who am I to talk? By my own admission, I suck at obeying God, too.

* * * *

God remained the Protector of His People, but His People were a wayward collection of tribes and clans, frequently forgetting they had an awesome, and easily-angered God.

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These are modern depictions of some of the ancient Semitic goddesses in the Middle East. Now I understand why the Israelites constantly strayed away from their God…

Because the kings of Israel were essentially a bunch of losers, God started talking to the prophets. There are four major prophets and twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible. These guys, both major and minor, were respected as holy men back in the day, but their messages of doom and destruction largely went unheeded. And the results were catastrophic for the people of Israel.

God performed numerous works of wondrous power and what can only be called magic through the prophets. They may have been respected, but were otherwise scorned by the people they were trying to save.

By this time, God wasn’t just the Redeemer and Protector of His People. He was also the chief source of misery for them. God had also become The Punisher.

* * * *

Satan the devil is much more of a Christian concept than a Jewish one. However, when it comes to the forces of Goodness and Light vs. the forces of Darkness and Evil, the Jews didn’t need an avatar of malice to torment them.

Their God assumed both roles.

* * * *

Elisha was the disciple of the prophet Elijah the Tishbite. I have no idea what a Tishbite is. If you do, leave a comment. After Elijah rode off into the sky on a chariot of fire, Elisha became the most prominent prophet in the land.

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On that fateful day, a group of street urchin boys decided to make fun of him, and they started calling him names.

Elisha left and headed toward Bethel. Along the way some boys started making fun of him by shouting, “Go away, baldy! Get out of here!” Elisha turned around and stared at the boys. Then he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys.

And now you might understand why I think there’s no evidence that God knows the difference between Good and Evil. Or why finding evidence that He’s a loving God can be so hard to come by.

* * * *

The ancient prophets have always intrigued me, so much so that ever since May 10, 1978, I’ve wanted to become one. I’m sure the details of how that happened are stored away in some dusty corner of my mind. I know I was sitting on the grass under a tree on the campus of St. Cloud State University. And I was really high.

That might have had something to do with it…

A lots of time has elapsed since that day. As far as I know, I’ve never come close to being considered for this position, let alone selected. What I probably have is a delusion.

A delusion is a fixed, false belief. And when I say fixed, I mean glued, screwed nailed, stapled, and welded into someone’s head. Other symptoms of mental illness may come and go, but delusions never die. They might fade into the background, but they are always there.

* * * *

In the New Testament, God stopped talking to everybody. In His stead, He sent a man from Galilee named Jesus Christ, who claimed he was the Son of God. Jesus said he was one with God the Father, and when he spoke, so did God.

You can think whatever you want about Jesus, but for my money, he’s the prototype for what all humans need to become.

* * * *

Religion is the opiate of masses.Karl Marx

* * * *

I’m no longer sure religion is a good thing, mostly because so many people have done so many stupid things in its name. Religion will endure as long as people believe in gods, so I don’t see it disappearing any time soon.

Most people believe God exists and works because He wants to make our lives better, and He wants to create a perfect world. I’m pretty sure that’s what I was taught to think about God.

* * * *

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:1-4

* * * *

Perfect worlds sound cool and stuff, but there has to be one helluva steep price to pay to achieve perfection, even for God. Remember this: Many are called, but few are chosen. If you’re one of the Chosen, you’ve got it made. If you’re not, you’re basically fucked, and nothing is going to change that.

Most of us are never going to see that world.

There’s another thing: I don’t know if this will be a world that’s perfect for God’s Chosen People, or for God. It’s possible it could be perfect for both, but then again…

When it comes to achieving what He wants, God will do anything He has to in order to achieve His goal. Floods. Plagues. Genocides. Man-eating bears. God has already admitted that He killed goddamn near everybody on the planet at least once before. If you think He wouldn’t do it again, you haven’t been paying attention.

God may actually be everything He has claimed to be so far: Omniscient. Omnipotent. Undying. Everlasting and Eternal. I have no idea how any, let alone all of those things can be true…  My guess is God is both more and less than what He says He is.

I am that I am.

What the fuck is that supposed mean?!? God might be many things, but humble isn’t one of them. Again, who am I to talk? I’m the least humblest person I know.

And as far as His purpose goes, a perfect world with perfect people is God’s sales pitch. But much like unto Himself, God hasn’t told us the entire truth about what He’s really up to.

Despite all of my many reservations and mistrust of God, despite the fact that I’d probably flirt with Anat and Semiramis if I ran into them on the street, and despite the fact that I’ve been far better at breaking God’s commandments than I’ve ever been at obeying them — if God offered me the job I’ve dreamed about having for more than five decades — I’d accept it in a heartbeat, even though I’m retired and living in paradise in a gringo mansion with a supermodel wife and and two darlingpreshadorbs kit-tens.

There’s a reason for that.

We, as a race, have proven time and time again that we are incapable of governing ourselves wisely. We have depleted a great portion of our planet’s natural resources. We have turned the world around us into a pig sty. We have all but destroyed the only home we have in a ridiculously short amount of time.

I would give up everything I have to work for an alien life force from another world for one reason, and one reason only.

We apparently need someone who isn’t like us to save us from ourselves.

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The Hero Takes a Fall

2020. We’ve had a global pandemic. A quarantine and lockdown. Social distancing and facemasks. Murder hornets — maybe some of you have seen them. Riots and protests. Did I miss anything?

It might seem like a strange combination, but none of us had ever experienced a global pandemic before. I almost said none of us had lived through a pandemic before, but this thing is going to go on longer than any of us anticipated. There’s a possibility that not all of us are going to survive it.

Over 500,000 people have died worldwide already, and every medical expert that has been questioned about the COVID-19 pandemic says it’s only going to get worse. The long-term effects of this pandemic are yet to be seen, but the short-term effects have been significant.

Other than my lovely supermodel wife, I may never hug another person again. I have two facemasks, and I’m seriously contemplating buying a dozen more. I haven’t used so much hand sanitizer since I was a nurse. And those are only the things I can think of off the top of my head.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the end of the world as we know it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our world needed to be shaken up. A whole lots of things needed to change. 

A paradigm shift has occurred. People are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. Any time you have contents under pressure, there’s a danger of said contents exploding. That’s not my opinion, that’s science and physics.

Well, it’s happened. The anger is no longer repressed and restrained. It is out there, and like unto Pandora’s box, there’s no way to neatly put everything back inside. The best we can hope for now is that we don’t destroy civilization in the process of trying to rebuild it.

* * * *

Hero Takes A Fall is the first single from The Bangles debut album, All Over the Place. The Bangles are an American, all female pop/rock band from Los Angeles. All four of the girls in the band were hot babes, and I was in love with all of them way back in the 1980’s. 

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See? I told you they were hotties. Gotta love the 80’s hair styles

Hero Takes a Fall is a song about how arrogance can lead to a downfall. That, apparently, is what my Muses want to focus on this time. As always, there’s a reason for that.

* * * *

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we’ve had three rounds of protests this year. First, were the Anti- lockdown protests. Second, were the Anti-racism protests. And third, were the Monument protests.

It’s possible that the riots and the protests would have occurred independently of the quarantine, but the lockdown probably pumped up the volume on them. Everyone was suffering from cabin fever…

* * * *

A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become relevant to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, due to its artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural importance.

The monuments that have become so offensive lately are Confederate monuments from the American Civil War.

* * * *

The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. Depending on the statistical analysis you use, there were anywhere from 600,000 to 750,000 deaths that resulted from the 10,500 battles, engagements, and other military actions that occurred during that time period.

You’re not going to give us another history lesson, are you?

Yes, I am. If I weren’t already writing this for you, I’d tell you to take notes. Perhaps Somewhat Interesting Sidenote of the Civil War: both sides thought God was on their side.

This incredibly bloody war began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over slavery.  The Confederate States claimed it was a struggle to uphold states’ rights, but the only right the eleven states that comprised the Confederacy were fighting about — was the right to keep their black slaves.

Case in point, the Confederate States had a central government. It was based in Richmond, VA. The President of the Confederacy was Jefferson Davis. His vice-president was Alexander Stephens. If they were really opposed to the idea of a federal government, they shouldn’t have created one of their own.

In a speech known today as the Cornerstone Address, Alexander Stephens described the Confederate ideology as being based upon …the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.

It’s a good thing he was a Christian. I’d hate to see what he would’ve come up with if he was a barbarian.

* * * *

The main reason the South wanted slaves was because of cotton. Cotton was the Number 1 export from America in the 1800’s. 80% of the cotton used in England and France came from the South. The Southern plantation owners were making money hand over bale on their cotton crops, and they didn’t have to pay their slaves one fucking dime to work their fields.

The demand for cotton was the ace the Confederacy had hidden up its sleeve. They believed other nations would recognize their claim of independence from the North, and possibly support them financially, politically, or even militarily. All because of the demand for King Cotton that only the South could supply.

Any questions?

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, changing the legal status under federal law of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the secessionist Confederate states.

The Proclamation turned foreign popular opinion in favor of the Union by gaining the support of anti-slavery countries and countries that had already abolished slavery, mainly, the United Kingdom and France. The same two countries the South was hoping would support them.

Psychologically, it was the turning point of the war. The Southern hopes for foreign recognition and support for their cause went up in flames, kind of like the city of Atlanta did on July 22, 1864.

* * * *

I’ve been fascinated by the Civil War for as long as I can remember. It’s certainly the most romanticized war in American history. And to be honest, my portrayal of the events leading up to the war have been seriously condensed, so if you want a more in-depth perspective, get on the Google® and start surfing.

My great-great-grandfather on my dad’s side of the family fought for the North. I believe I fought for the North, too, in one of my previous lives. I’m pretty sure I got killed to death in the Battle of Gettysburg defending the Devil’s Den. I’m not sure why I think that, I just do.

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The only things I’ve researched more than this war are God and religions, and I’m sure I still don’t understand God. No one completely understands God, not even priests and pastors, and they probably understand their boss less than I do.

* * * *

Just in cases you didn’t know, the North defeated the South. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

To the victors go the spoils. The North started to memorialize their victory over the South as early as 1865, the year the war ended. The South wasn’t allowed to memorialize their lost cause until 1890. The United Daughters of the Confederacy were the driving force behind the monument movement, and once they got the green light, they erected over 700 statues in 31 states, plus the District of Columbia. 

That’s 20 more states than the number of states that seceded. These monuments aren’t just in the South, but that’s where they had their greatest impact.

The pinnacle of their efforts was Stone Mountain, essentially the Confederate version of Mount Rushmore. It’s a gigantic carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson carved into the side of a mountain in Georgia. It took more than 50 years to complete.

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Then I wish I was in Dixie! Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand, to live and die in Dixie!

As if the monuments weren’t enough to remind the black population of where they were, and who the bosses still were, the Confederate flag was proudly flown all over the South. Even today, five southern states still have symbols of the old Confederacy in their current state flags.

William Porcher Miles, the man who designed the Confederate flag, had the same racist/political views as Alexander Stephens. The stars and bars design is meant to specifically represent white superiority. He didn’t do it because, Oh, you know, I just thought it looked kinda cool.

The memory of the antebellum South — the grand plantations, the demure Southern belles, the gallant Southern gentlemen — these were the nostalgic notions the United Daughters of the Confederacy allegedly wanted to preserve.

The reality is vastly different. First, the Confederacy of Southern States stood for the disunion of the United States. Second, its constitution was based on the belief of racial inequality, and that slavery was the natural state for all black people. Simply stated, the Confederacy was a treasonous and racist institution.

The Civil War monuments are a constant reminder of the oppression perpetrated by the racist South. The South turned Democrat when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and Republican when Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

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The fucking South fucking sucks! End of story. Since 2015, at least 138 Confederate monuments have been “removed” from public places There will likely to be more to follow.

While removing these monuments won’t change history, it will do one thing: It’ll wipe the smiles off the faces of those debutante cunts who thought they were slipping something past all us stupid Yankees.

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And if you’re one of those fucking people that are all upset because some fucking statues of some fucking dead guys who supported slavery are being torn down, get over your fucking yourself.

Maybe you should take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Look deep. You’re probably not going to like what you see.

* * * *

In the spring of 1969, The 5th Dimension released Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In. It was a two song medley originally written for the musical, Hair. The song spent six weeks at Number 1 on the pop charts, and won a Grammy for Record of the Year.

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius

I tried to do some research on Astrological Ages, and I had to stop. That shit is more confusing than Chinese math. We might be living in the Age of Aquarius now, or it might not happen for another 25,000 years. Each astrological age lasts a little over two thousand years, and each age is characterized by specific qualities based on the signs of the Zodiac.

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

Please feel free to do some research on this yourself, and if you can figure it out, let me know.

The only reason I bring this up is because the Age of Aquarius is supposed to be a time of enlightenment and harmony — two things this world is in dire need of. And if we have to wait another 25,000 years for that to happen, well, we’d be better off dying from COVID-19.

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

It is time for a change. Our old beliefs and mindsets have done far more damage than good. We, as a people, need to redefine our priorities. A lots of people talk about making this world a better place. It’s time to start doing it.

Oh, let it shine, c’mon
Now everybody just sing along
Let the sun shine in
Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in

Just in cases you haven’t noticed, this is the only planet we have.

The Man in the Mirror

I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but I have to be inspired to write anything for my blog. My inspiration appears to come from my Muses. That’s what I call them. I don’t know who or what they are, but without them I probably wouldn’t be able to write anything except my name.

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I’ve written about my Muses before. They’re loosely based on the nine Muses of Greek mythology. I sincerely doubt that any of the mythic Muses are the actual source of my inspiration. I just like the idea of scantily clad hot babes frolicking around inside my head.

I have also written about my experiences with thought insertions. These can be fairly random experiences for me, except when I write. As far as that goes, I seem to become a vehicle for whomever or whatever it is that wants to be heard. In my blog. That hardly anyone reads…

I know, right? You’d think they would’ve been smart enough to pick a better vehicle.

Case in point, I’ve been trying not to write this post for at least a month now, but the only ideas I get about writing revolve around a subject I’d rather not touch. In the past, my Muses have tended to throw me under the bus in these circumstances. That’s my primary reason for not wanting to write this. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to be able to avoid it, so I might as well get it over with.

* * * *

One of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is look in the mirror above my bathroom sink. The medications I have to take are in the cabinet behind the mirror.

I take something for hypertension so I don’t have a stroke. I take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack. I take Omega-3 to slow the progression of dementia, which I may or may not have. The definitive diagnosis of dementia is done at autopsy, and I’m not ready for that yet. And I also select a variety of analgesic meds depending on my level of pain.

And that’s when the music starts.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I suffer from Involuntary Musical Imagery Syndrome. There is always a song running through my head. This condition is sometimes referred to as an earworm. It’s a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind.

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Today, it’s The Boston Rag by Steely Dan. On the bright side, the DJ inside my head seems to have good taste in music.

* * * *

I’m fairly certain everyone has had this happen to them before, but I don’t know if it’s a daily occurrence for most people. Like unto the ringing in my left ear, most of the time I don’t even notice it. I’ve gotten used to it. Sometimes it’s annoying as hell, like the time I had a McDonald’s® jingle playing in my head for over a month.

* * * *

Man in the Mirror is a song by Michael Jackson. It was released in February 1988 from his album, Bad. It was his tenth number-one single, and Jackson said it was one of his favorite songs. It’s one of the few songs Jackson recorded that he didn’t write, and it’s especially ironic when you consider just how weird of a human being Michael Jackson was.

The song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you.

The phrase …you should look in the mirror, isn’t usually meant to be taken literally. It’s more of an allegory to suggest that you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. You need to do some soul searching. You’re probably going to have to do some agonizing reappraisal. It’s a process that’s probably going to suck. A lots.

* * * *

rac·ism
/ˈrāˌsizəm/
noun
  1. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

* * * *

Racism. It’s the other big headline in the news this year. Racism isn’t new. It’s been around since, well, forever. In and of itself, racism doesn’t sound like an ugly word.

Puke. Crepuscular. Smegma. Those words sound ugly. But if you want to make 9 out of 10 people feel uncomfortable in a conversation, bring up the topic of racism. I’m not even talking to anyone, and I feel uncomfortable writing about it. Almost everyone has some racial biases lurking somewhere deep inside of their souls. Almost none of us are proud about it.

If you ask someone from my generation if they’re racist, they’ll probably stumble all over themselves when they try to explain themselves. At best, you might get this response, “Well, I used to be…” At worst, you’ll hear this answer, “Oh hell yeah.”

My dad was a racist. He wasn’t an in-your-face racist, he was more of a behind-your-back racist, which tells me he wasn’t proud of his beliefs either. I’m sure he inherited his biases from his parents, and right or wrong, he passed them on to his children. 

* * * *

No one knows when the concept of racial superiority first emerged, but it appears that pretty much every ethnic/cultural group of people on the planet has at one time or another thought that they were superior to every other ethnic group of people.

The US has been the hotspot for racial tensions recently, but it’s hardly the only place where race is a major issue. The English feel superior to the peoples living on the European continent. The Germans feel superior to the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia. And the French feel superior to, well, everybody.

I’m sure there have been a lots of studies exploring the origins of biases and discrimination. If you’re interested, you can look it up on the Google®. For my money, they originate from ignorance and fear because that’s where all of mine came from.

* * * *

Knowledge can be defined as information you acquire as you grow. Wisdom can be described as as the application of accrued knowledge. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Stupidity is the absence of wisdom. 

These aren’t the actual definitions of these words. They’re my definitions.

* * * *

In the 1600’s, scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism came into vogue in Europe. At best, it was  a pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence existed to support or justify racial discrimination. In other words, it was a bullshit philosophy. There isn’t any evidence to support this line of thinking.

Despite that, racism is alive and well on this planet. And it’s not just racism that afflicts the human race. There are a plethora of biases that you can choose from if you want to discriminate against others.

People may discriminate against others based on age, social status and class, height, criminal record, weight, religion, physical appearance, disability, intelligence, family status, gender identity, gender expression, generation, genetic characteristics, race, marital status, nationality, profession, color, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation, political ideology, dietary preferences, and personality.

See? I told you it was a long list, and the list I just detailed is by no means complete. The most ironic form of discrimination is based on religion. I believe in God, but the idea that the invisible entity someone else worships isn’t the real Invisible Entity is just… crazy. Additionally, Jesus Christ repeatedly said that you should love everyone, no matter what. I’m not sure how some of the people who claim to believe in him missed that integral part of his message.

The Apostle Paul believed that the love of money is the root of all evil. Maybe that’s true, but the misuse of religion is the root of the greatest evil. You can quote me on that. In my opinion, the only people who should be able to discriminate based on religion are atheists, and they’re probably the only people that don’t.

* * * *

I’m not sure who came up with the idea that people with white skin are superior to all of the people that aren’t white, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the person who did –was white.

I see this concept as a combination of Creationism and Evolution — two schools of thought that mix together like oil and water — but it goes something like unto this: white people are superior to everyone else because they’re the children of God. And all of those inferior darker-skinned people — they descended from apes.

* * * *

When I was in nursing school, I met John. He was a patient at the St. Cloud VA. John was an older black man who spent hours in the bathroom staring at his reflection in the mirror. The thing I remember most about him was the look of shock and…horror…on his face as he stared at his reflection.

“I don’t know what happened to me,” he said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper. “I woke up yesterday, and I was…black!”

“Um, I don’t know how to say this, but isn’t that, you know, normal?”

“Hell no it’s not normal! I’m WHITE!”

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* * * *

I went to a lots of Catholic schools when I was young. I received an excellent education, and I was taught to be a morally upstanding person, something that would take decades to take root inside me.

I was taught to love everyone no matter who or what they were. I didn’t. I’m not sure I even liked many people back then. I spent a fair amount of time living in small towns in Minnesota when I was very young, and again after I was discharged from the Army. These were towns where a racially diverse neighborhood meant Swedes and Norwegians lived on the same block.

I was around ten years old the first time I remember hearing the word nigger. I had no idea what the word meant, but I remember I laughed when I heard it. I thought it sounded funny. 

I’m pretty sure I thought all of the common racial slurs were funny. Wop. Chink. Beaner. Kike. Gook. They all cracked me up. I can’t remember when I realized that none of them were funny. All I know for sure is it took a helluvalot longer than it should have.

Once I got to know people of color, I discovered they didn’t fit into the preconceived ideas I had, so something had to change. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet a real, live black person face-to-face until I was in high school. I hope I didn’t look at him like he was some kind of animal that had escaped from a zoo, but I probably did.

And I hope I didn’t call him a nigger out loud, but I know I was thinking it.

It wasn’t until I was in the Army that I was exposed to a lots of people of various colors, races and creeds. The black guys were all so damn cool. They could dance, and talk shit gooder than anyone I’d ever met, and they were funny! They had a sense of humor and style that I didn’t possess. They didn’t fit into any of the misconceptions I possessed. They actually made me feel inferior to them.

I suppose I could have hated them for that, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt superior to anyone. That whole not being good enough thing was something I was very familiar with. Come to think of it, I probably still feel that way.

Added to that, it was Basic Training — black, white, brown — it didn’t matter, we all felt a sense of unity because we were all being made to feel miserable, and in the Army there was only one color that mattered.

Olive drab green.

* * * *

Two of my best friends after I got out of Basic Training were Hispanic. Johnny Gonzalez and Raoul Sanchez. They were two of the smartest guys I’ve known, and they taught me so much about how the military worked. I probably wouldn’t have survived the Army without them.

They were so proud of their heritage. Both of them were from Texas, and they took me home to meet their families more than once. I learned to love Mexican food because of them. And I also learned to have a very healthy respect for Hispanic women because of them.

I’ve written a few stories about some of my adventures with Raoul. You can check them out if you don’t have anything better to do.

* * * *

The Army taught me that I didn’t know everything, and most of the things I thought I knew about people were wrong. But there was one group of people that I still couldn’t abide.

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For the longest time, I really didn’t like gay men. I didn’t hold any ill will against lesbians, so sexual preference wasn’t my issue. I had been sexually abused by my uncle when I was a kid — that was my reason for hating fuckin’ queers and faggots.

I was probably the most homophobic person on the planet when I was in my twenties. I hated Richard Simmons. I didn’t like Elton John. It wasn’t until I became a psych nurse that my homophobia finally subsided. 

Many of my patients were gay. Because I was their nurse, I had to talk to them. And I discovered that most of them were decent guys. Two of the nurses I worked with at the Minneapolis VAMC were gay, and they weren’t just decent guys, they were damn good nurses.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Nurses and Nursing: it’s a profession where your performance determines what kind of person you are to other nurses. Seriously. You can be the sweetest person on Earth, but if you’re a lousy nurse, your co-workers are probably going to think you suck.

From my point of view, if you’re not a good nurse, there’s almost a zero chance that I could ever be your friend.

Conversely, you can be an absolute disaster area of a human being, but if you’re a good nurse, your co-workers will probably love you, at least some of the time. In this aspect, nurses are a lots like unto cops. Cops judge other cops in a similar fashion.

* * * *

It was only after we moved to Arizona that I worked in a very diverse workplace. The Psychiatry Department of the Minneapolis VAMC was about as vanilla as it could be. The was one black psychiatrist, and one black nurse. I can’t remember working with a single Hispanic person, but there were three Native Americans on staff.

Everyone else, was white.

Arizona was a whole ‘nother story. I wish I could say that by this time in my life I had gotten past all of my biases based on color. But in all honesty, I’m sure there are times when it still happens…

It doesn’t happen as often now, and I catch it faster, and tell myself to get my head out of my ass.

In my mind, Phoenix and Minneapolis are probably equal when it comes to racial diversity. I’m not sure how to explain the differences in staffing when I compare the hospitals in the two states. One major difference was funding. The Federal Government has a lots more money than any hospital does. As a result, the VA hired only nurses to work the floor. There was no separation of duties at the VA. You were a nurse. You did everything.

The healthcare system in Arizona was vastly different than the system I was used to in Minnesota. All of the hospitals I worked at in Arizona employed Registered Nurses and Behavioral Health Technicians. The majority of the BHT’s were people of color. The BHT’s checked vital signs and basically controlled the environment of the unit while the nurses passed medications and did paperwork. A whole lots of goddamn paperwork.

It didn’t take me long to realize that a good BHT was worth twice their weight in gold, and the color of their skin was their least important attribute. Our patients were much more marginalized than the relatively benign guys I was used to at the VA. It could be a much more dangerous climate in Arizona.

* * * *

Some of the nurses I worked with in Arizona rarely left the nursing station. One nurse didn’t have any idea how to even use the blood pressure machine!

“That’s a BHT job.” she said.

I fuckin’ hated working with her and her lazy-ass attitude. The really weird part about this is I also worked with her in Minnesota, at the Minneapolis VAMC. I expected better things from her.

* * * *

I was seriously injured only once in my career as a psych nurse. I’m not sure I’d even be alive right now if it weren’t for the BHT’s in Arizona. Those guys saved my life more than once. So, thank you Bob. And James. And Anthony. And Devon. And Luis. And Antonio. And anyone else that I’ve forgotten.

You are among the best people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and you are some of the best men I’ve ever known. I’m a better person because of my association with all of you.

I hope you all can say the same about me.

* * * *

Hatred. It sounds like an ugly word, but the sound of it fails to adequately describe the depth of its hideousness.

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you’ll know that I do not like Donald Trump. One of my friends went so far as to say that I hate Trump. His comment hit me like a slap in the face because that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about a lots of late.

Can that be true? Do I really hate President Trump?

My first response was, Hmm, I’m not sure that’s possible…

However, upon further review I realized that I hate Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham — and William Barr — so I’m clearly still capable of hating other human beings.

There’s a reason for that. Those three crepuscular blobs of puke and smegma have bartered their souls to support Donald Trump. There’s no doubt in my mind that all three of them know exactly what they’re doing, and that they also realize the full extent of how much they’ve compromised their principles in the process.

I don’t know how those three cocksuckers can look at themselves in the mirror.

Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynistic, slob of a pig of a human being who is also the most corrupt and criminal President that has ever sat his fat ass in the chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office of the White House. And yet, I don’t think that I hate him.

There’s also a reason for that. I’m not sure that The Donald has complete control of his mental faculties anymore. I think he might have dementia, and because this is clearly a matter of national security, I think the best thing to do is perform an autopsy on him immediately, and settle this matter once and for all.

Come to think of it, we should also perform an autopsy on Mike Pence, just to make sure he actually has a brain.

* * * *

There are over 400 types of dementia, and they all suck. Dementia is a group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgement. Common symptoms include forgetfulness, of course, as well as limited social skills and altered thinking abilities that can be so significant that it interferes with daily functioning.

And there’s another thing you should know about dementia. It’s terminal. Yep, it’ll kill you to death and you’ll probably be so fuckin’ out of it that you won’t even know you got dead.

* * * *

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If, and only if the dementia factor is real, then Donald Trump suddenly becomes someone who is more far deserving of pity than he is of scorn and contempt. That said, it doesn’t acquit him of the criminal activities he has committed as President. When it comes to that, I think he knew exactly what he was doing.

Nor does it excuse his inflammatory words and discriminatory attitudes. That’s his baseline. Unfortunately, if he does have dementia, it’s only going to make those qualities worse.

And, he’s also a narcissist. So I’m sure this is what The Donald sees when he looks in the mirror:

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* * * *

I had been working as an RN for about a year when I was assigned to work with my first dementia patient. He was old white guy named Del who spent a lots of time standing in his bathroom staring into his mirror. One day he called me into his bathroom to tell me something important.

“Look! My friend is trapped in there, and I can’t get him out!! You’ve got to do something!!!” Del pointed at the mirror on the wall and his “friend.” And I had no idea what I was supposed to do. There’s nothing in the textbook that covers this.

Seeing how I had no idea what I was supposed to do, I did the stupidest possible thing I could have done in that situation. I tried to explain to Del that he was seeing his own reflection in the mirror. His “friend” wasn’t trapped in a parallel universe. His “friend” was him. And he was looking in a mirror.

While this might appear to be a reasonable response, Del looked at me like I was speaking to him in Chinese. And I was just standing there, not doing anything to help Del or his “friend.”

Seeing how I wasn’t going to do anything, Del reached up and ripped the mirror off the wall with his bear hands. It’s not an easy thing to do because the bathrooms on Pysch Units are designed to withstand being hit by a small nuclear bomb.

That’s when I did something. I took the mirror away from Del and turned it away from him so he couldn’t see his reflection anymore, and pointed at the wall.

“Look! You saved your friend! Damn! That was amazing, Del! Good job, buddy!”

* * * *

I have no idea how to end this post. It’s time to cue the music and let the band take us home. Fortunately, I have a song in mind. Today, it’s Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

The Year of Living Dangerously

If 2020 doesn’t end up being the strangest year of the New Millennium, it can mean only one thing. There’s another year, lurking somewhere out there in the darkness of the unforeseen future, that is going to sneak inside of the house, raid the refrigerator, trash the place, fuck everyone in the ass, then walk out the front door without even saying, “Thank you, have a nice day!”

Yeah, I suppose it’s something to look forward to. Just between you and me, I hope I’m not here to see it. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy the anal sex part.

* * * *

2020 has been fraught with peril for most of its existence thus far, and it’s only June! And it has come equipped with an impressive array of options designed to kick your ass. First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its attendant quarantines, lockdowns, restrictions, health precautions, and stuff.

There’s a huge list of reopening protocols for schools, businesses, and everything else that almost no one completely understands, so there’s a good chance you’ll get dead from this once it starts being rolled out in earnest.

In mid-April, some people grew tired of waiting to get dead from the Coronavirus, and started the anti-lockdown protests to speed up the process of more people dying to death. The protests were — believe it or not — worldwide.

In the United States, protesters opposed the shelter-in-place orders in their states for various reasons. Many said they wanted their businesses reopened so they could go back to work. Others insisted the lockdowns were a violation of their constitutional rights. I’m sure there were more…

The most publicized US protests were in Michigan where militant white “protesters” armed to the teeth with semiautomatic assault weapons stormed the state capitol, and shut down the legislature. These heavily armed patriots were, by and large, Trump supporters. A lots of them wore MAGA hats…  In response, The Donald said this in one of his tweets: …they seem to be very responsible people to me, and called them very good people. 

* * * *

But wait, there’s more! On April 17th, Trump fired off three tweets in rapid succession:

LIBERATE MINNESOTA!

LIBERATE MICHIGAN!

LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!

Those three states are led by Democrats. When interviewed about his comments, President Trump said his tweets weren’t meant to tell the states to lift their stay-at-home orders, but added some elements of the states’ plans to halt the spread of the virus had gone too far. I’m not sure if he ever tried to clarify what he meant by that last part.

Regarding his last tweet Trump charged that in Virginia, “…they want to take their guns away.” The state’s governor, Ralph Northam, had signed several gun-violence prevention measures such as requiring background checks on all firearms sales.

The governor didn’t sign any orders to confiscate so much as one firearm, but we all know what’s really going to happen, am I right? So The Donald was correct in his defense of 2nd Amendment because of all the issues that have presented themselves this year, gun violence in America hasn’t been one of them. Well, most of the time…  Am I right?

Donald Trump can rationalize his words and actions any way he likes, but the fact remains that the sitting President of the United States actually encouraged the American people to disobey a government mandated lockdown.

* * * *

Widely Known Fact About Law and Order That The Donald Obviously Doesn’t Understand: Those who uphold the law cannot themselves rebel against it.

* * * *

Remember the Murder Hornets? I know there was a lots of talk about them…  If there’s any good news about 2020, murder hornets are it. For something with a name that sounds like it came from the lowest level of Hell, they’ve probably been the only thing that won’t kill you to death this year.

* * * *

Ahmaud Arbery, Georgia. Breonna Taylor, Kentucky. George Floyd, Minnesota. They are only three of the names of people of color that have been killed to death by white vigilantes or police this year in the United States. The sad thing about this list is I’m sure it’s a helluvalot longer. The even sadder thing is this isn’t the only year I could make a list for.

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Ahmaud Arbery                                 Breonna  Taylor                                  George Floyd 

In truth, there have been 400 years of of racial inequality and injustice that black Americans have had to endure and overcome. Slavery. Jim Crow laws. The Civil Rights Movement. And wherever the fuck we are now. I’m not even sure how to describe it. It’s certainly better than the Slavery Era, but it still falls far short of All men are created equal, and liberty and justice for all.

For the record, I have no idea what it’s like to be black. To the best of my knowledge, I have never been discriminated against because of the color of my skin. I’m probably the last person who should be trying to tackle this issue.

Be that as it may, it’s about goddamn time that all Americans start speaking up and doing something to change the status quo. If you think having to endure a lockdown is violation of your civil rights, there are fates way worse. How would you react if you knew your children had a better than average chance of being murdered on any given day simply because of the color of their skin?

* * * *

In February of this fucked up year, Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, was shot to death while jogging in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia, after being pursued by two white men in a pickup truck.

Those men were Gregory and Travis McMichael. They told the police that there had been “several break-ins” in the area recently, and they were trying to protect the neighborhood. Records from the Glynn County Police Department do not validate their claim. In more than seven weeks before the shooting, the only reported theft in the area was a 9mm pistol taken from Travis McMichael’s unlocked truck. 

Evidently these two very responsible, very good men started patrolling the streets in their truck, looking for the person that had walked off with Travis McMichael’s handgun, even though they had no idea who that person might be.

So, the father and son duo of half-cocked vigilantes were patrolling the streets. They saw Ahmaud Arbery jogging and demanded that he stop so they could question him. They would tell the police that they had planned to make a citizen’s arrest related to the string of burglaries.

Both of the men were armed, so Mr. Arbery wisely chose not to comply with their…request, and tried to run away from any trouble. The McMichaels pursued him in their truck, blocking off his escape. There was a struggle between Ahmaud and Gregory. At least three shots were fired, the fatal shot being fired by Travis.

The video is available online, if you have the stomach to watch it. After it was posted, it created an immense uproar that ultimately led to both of the McMichaels being arrested and charged with murder on May 7th — more than two months after the shooting occurred.

I can’t find any evidence that Mr. Arbery had a criminal record, or was even considered a person of interest in any ongoing investigations. He appears to have been a decent man who liked to jog. He wanted to become an electrician and open open his own business. He was 25 years old.

* * * *

On March 13th, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by three white plainclothes officers on the Louisville Metro Police Department while she was sleeping in her bed. The police were serving what they call a no-knock warrant, and were searching for drugs.

The police were investigating a known drug dealer named Jamarcus Glover, whom they already had in custody. Taylor and Glover had once dated each other, but that relationshiphad ended several years ago, and the two of them were no longer romantically involved.

According to the police, they thought Glover was using Taylor’s apartment as a drug/money delivery house. That’s why they decided to raid it in force in the middle of the night.

Breonna’s current live-in boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought someone was breaking into their apartment on the night in question. He called 911, grabbed his handgun which he has a license to carry, and fired at the intruders in the living room. He hit one of the officers in the leg. Walker says the police didn’t identify themselves after they smashed in the door with a battering ram, and he was only defending himself.

The police say that they absolutely, positively identified themselves as police officers after they entered the apartment. When Mr. Walker fired at them, they returned fire, discharging their weapons at least twenty times, yet somehow managed to miss the man who had fired at them every time. However, their hail of bullets did hit Breonna eight times. She died in the hallway of her apartment.

I don’t want to diminish the seriousness of this event in any way, but if this had happened on TV, or in a movie, we would immediately know who the Bad Guys were because they are always really bad shots in a gunfight.

There’s going to be a HUGE lawsuit over this incident. There two are vastly conflicting accounts of what happened that night. At this moment in time, we don’t know exactly what happened, but we do know this: someone is lying.

No drugs were found in the apartment. Kenneth Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer and assault. Those charges have since been dropped, so that should tell you something. Prior to that night, neither Breonna Taylor nor Kenneth Walker had any criminal history or arrest records.

None of the officers involved in Breonna’s shooting have been relieved of their duties at the time that I write this. None of them have been arrested or charged with any crimes, but the entire Louisville Metro Police Department will undergo a thorough “top to bottom” review of its policies and procedures.

No doubt wholescale changes will be instituted when it is completed. And Breonna Taylor’s family is going to end up owning half of the city of Louisville.

Breonna Taylor was a certified EMT who was working as an emergency room technician and was planning to go back to school to become a NICU nurse. By all accounts, she was a good person who lived to help others. She was 26 years old.

* * * *

On May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, died in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down in the street.

Two other officers further restrained Mr. Floyd, and another stood by, preventing onlookers from intervening. Throughout the arrest process Mr. Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe. During the last three minutes of the arrest Mr. Floyd was motionless and had no pulse, but officers made no attempt to revive him. Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck even as EMT’s attempted to treat him. 

George Floyd was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. There’s going to be an equally huge lawsuit as a result of this incident, too.

There were several videos of Mr. Floyd’s arrest and death posted on social media. Protests of his killing spread all across the nation, but in Minneapolis the protests quickly escalated into riots.

Again, I don’t want to diminish the tragedy of this event, but 70% of the people living in Minneapolis have already finished their Christmas shopping.

And it wasn’t just Minneapolis. At least 12 major cities declared a curfew on the evening of Saturday, May 30, and as of June 2, governors in 24 states and Washington, D.C, had called in the National Guard, with over 17,000 troops being activated. 

Stores were looted. Buildings were burned to the ground, including the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct — the police station where the four officers involved in the death of George Floyd were headquartered.

All four of the police officers involved in the death of George Floyd were fired the following day. Today, Derek Chauvin was charged with one count of second-degree murder, and the three other officers on scene during the killing of Mr. Floyd were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

* * * *

Lea and I used to live in South Minneapolis. The former 3rd Precinct building is one and a half miles from our old house. The scenes of the destruction to the area we know so well have been extremely distressing and heartbreaking for us to watch. To say that we are saddened by these events is a major understatement.

Speaking for myself, I can’t condone the actions of the protesters — the looting and destruction of property — two wrongs don’t make a right, but I understand their anger and their outrage. And I sure as hell cannot condone the murder of an unarmed man by police officers. If the police had handled their responsibilities better, there wouldn’t have been a fucking riot.

* * * *

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I can only hope that the right people are listening now, and are motivated to make critical changes to yet another American system that is in serious need of being overhauled.

Unfortunately, the one person that needed to hear this message most seems to be incapable of understanding anything that doesn’t revolve around his perception of his approval ratings.

In response to the Ahmaud Arbery murder President Trump said this, “I think it’s horrible and it’s certainly being looked at by many people – I’m speaking to many people about it…” But he added this, “You know, it could be something that we didn’t see on tape,” suggesting that something could have happened off-camera that contributed to the shooting.

And that unseen thing would make the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed man who was jogging down the street somehow less horrible?

I can’t find anything Trump said or tweeted in response to Breonna Taylor’s death.

In response to the Minneapolis riots, which were a response to George Floyd’s death, Donald Trump had this to say on the Twitter:

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Look! The Twitter almost grew a set of balls!

* * * *

In 1967, Miami police Chief Walter Headley used the phrase “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” during hearings about crime in the city he was supposed to serve and protect.

Little Known Fact About Walter Headley That’s Probably Not Too Hard to Believe: He had a long history of bigotry against the black community.

* * * *

When questioned about his statement, The Donald had no clue about its origin or history, which leads me to believe that he thinks he invented it, and was probably very pleased with his cleverness as he wrote it, sitting on the toilet in Oval Office.

After realizing that he had fucked up yet again, The Donald tried to redeem himself by posting this tweet:

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See? I tried to warn you! You stupid people

* * * *

Heavily armed Trump supporters protesting the lockdown terrorize the Michigan legislature are very responsible, good people. Unarmed people in a Democratic state protesting the death of unarmed black man by white police officers are THUGS, and the President threatened to shoot them down like dogs.

The scary part about this is some of the more unhinged, lunatic fringe Trump supporters might interpret this as a call to arms. If that happens, we’re all going to wish we could go back to the good old days when all we did was complain about being locked up in our houses so we wouldn’t get killed to death by an imaginary pandemic.

* * * *

But wait, there’s more. As usual with The Donald, he couldn’t screw up just once. And also as usual, it gets worse.

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What?!? Did they run out of candy already?

On May 31, the lights inside the White House were turned off for the first time since 1889, and President Trump, the First Lady, and her son, Barron, took shelter in a reinforced bunker under the White House when anti-racism protesters laid siege to the presidential estate.

This is the same guy who, in 2018, said he believed he would take courageous action in an active shooter situation, even if he didn’t have weapon. President SuperDonald has a new nickname now:

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I like leaders who don’t hide in a bunker. I’m very disappointed in Donald Trump

Officially, the Secret Service said they decided to move the President to the bunker to protect him from the unarmed group of protesters that at no time tried to breach the White House grounds. The Donald had quite a bit to say about how impressed he was with the Secret Service while he was hiding in the bunker with his teddy bear.

You can look it up.

Not to mention that the White House is probably the most well-protected piece of real estate in the the world — Trumped actually bragged about what would’ve happened to the protesters if they had tried to enter the White House.

You can look that up, too.

On June 1, President Trump re-emerged from hiding to speak in the Rose Garden as peaceful protesters were violently expelled near the White House. Law enforcement teams used chemical agents, flash bangs, and shields to disperse the demonstrators.

The crowd was cleared to open a path to St. John’s Church, a historic building slightly damaged by a fire amid Sunday’s clashes between police and protesters. In front of the church Trump spoke and postured with a Bible in his hands — and denied that he ever retreated to the bunker.

Yes. That was his message of comfort to the grieving citizens of the United States.

And then, officially, just like that! President SuperDonald Trump wasn’t hiding in a bunker. The Secret Service didn’t move him for his protection. He was inspecting the bunker…during a riot… because, you know, “…someday you may need it.”

* * * *

When Donald Trump was running for President, many people looked at him as a breath of fresh air. He wasn’t a professional politician, he was a businessman. He was a Washington outsider who wouldn’t play by the rules! It couldn’t be any worse than the same old/same old bullshit of the previous administrations, and seriously, how bad could things get?

We should all know the answer to that question by now.

Yes, he was a businessman, but he was a businessman that declared bankruptcy four times. And one of his businesses was a fucking casino! How bad do you have to be to lose money with a casino?

The house always wins. Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that mantra, and there’s a reason for that.

It’s true!

Among world leaders, Donald Trump has proven himself to be a laughstock and a national embarrassment. He has insulted every other world leader, except two: Vladimir Putin, dictator of Russia, and Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea — two men who would kill every man, woman, and child in their countries if it meant they could stay in power for five more minutes.

The Donald loves these guys! He can’t say enough good things about them, and he kisses their asses every chance he gets.

President Trump has bailed out American farmers twice to the tune of $28 billion, something he had to do because of his disastrous trade wars with China. After he bungled his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he bailed out the entire country with a $2.2 trillion stimulus package.

Anyone want to take a wild guess how we’re going to pay for that?

Roughly $500 billion went to American households in the form of $1200 checks that were supposed to support families for ten weeks, or more. The rest of the money went to small businesses and large corporations. The Donald spent far more money saving Wall Street than he did Main Street.

When asked about racial inequality, President Trump stated, “… there’s no racial tension [in America]. We have a fantastic relationship with the African American community…” And when he was given the opportunity to be a leader to people who feel that they’ve been betrayed by every leader since Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump threatened to shoot them to bits, then fled into the nearest secret bunker to hide like no President before him ever has.

When he finally emerged to present himself as Comforter-in-Chief, he unleashed violence on the people he has a fantastic relationship with so he could have a photo opportunity in front of a church with a Bible in his hands. A Bible that he can’t name a single verse out of.

I’ve got a verse for you, Mr. Trump. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible, so even you should be able to remember it.

John 11:35.

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Jesus wept

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons is a collection of essays, reviews, short travel accounts, and human interest stories written by Kurt Vonnegut. He was one of my favorite authors back in the day. He had a wicked sharp sense of what is called black humor in the Biz.

He’s one of the few authors that made me laugh out loud when I was reading his work.

Just in cases you were wondering, a wampeter is an object around which the lives of many otherwise unrelated people may revolve. Foma are harmless untruths, intended to comfort simple souls. A granfalloon is a proud and meaningless association of human beings.

I’m not sure if any of those things are going to end up being in this post. I haven’t been writing much lately. I haven’t even been trying to write. At this point in time, I’m not sure I’m ever going to finish this post. And, of course, there’s a reason for that.

* * * *

I bruised my coccyx on the golf course on May 17th. I could try to explain what happened, but it was a tricksy mishap that involved one golf cart, one wrong turn, and something like unto a ski jump.

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It was like unto this, except I ended up with a golf cart halfway up my ass

Ever since that happened, I sit down as carefully as a hen incubating a nest full of vials of nitroglycerin. I try to plan every set of moves I make, hoping I won’t put any undue pressure on my coccyx. It’s been surprising to me how many movements do. It’s also made writing this post all but impossible.

Have you ever tried writing anything of substance when you’re not sitting down?

* * * *

Another reason that I’ve taken a break from writing is I’ve been writing way too much about American politics in general, and Donald Trump in specific. And that’s pretty much the last thing I wanted to do when I decided to start writing my blog four years ago.

Unlike The Donald, I fact check everything I write when I make disparaging comments about him, or any other politician for that matter. Being an investigative reporter looks like a lots of fun on TV, but the reality of it is much less glamorous.

Research, like unto cunnilingus, is dark and lonely work. And it’s a lots less fun.

And in the case of Donald Trump, it’s probably pointless. His supporters won’t believe anything negative about their awesome leader because their faith in him is absolute. And his detractors will believe anything that puts The Donald in an unfavorable light because their contempt for him is equally absolute.

Nothing really changes. I’m wasting my time, and I know it. But one of the things that doesn’t change is the fact that Donald Trump is the most corrupt President in the history of the United States, and he needs to be held accountable for all of his crimes.

And I cannot stop myself from protesting his presence in the Oval Office. I will continue to voice my opposition to him until he is no longer the President. So I really hope that happens this November.

That said, here I go again…

* * * *

I know I’ve said this before: I don’t understand how anyone can support Donald Trump — unless you’re a rich white man — then, it’s understandable. You can say what you want about The Donald, but he has gone out of his way to take care of that demographic. But the above stated qualifier eliminates probably 95% of the people who hang on his every lying-ass word. Maybe more.

Additionally, if you are a Trump supporter, there’s no sin you can commit that’s too egregious for The Donald to pardon. You can look it up if you’re interested.

But the most confusing group of all the non-rich Trump supporters are women, and the even more most confusing group of Trump-supporting women are white, Christian Evangelicals. These women are not known for their laid-back attitudes about, well, pretty much anything.

Forgive and forget? Forget that! Live and let live? Only if you’re a God-fearing member of the Antioch Baptist Church. All the rest of you goddamn sinners can go straight to Hell where you belong!!

And yet, despite their well documented hatred for everything not Biblically endorsed, they love misogynistic Donald Trump like they love Jesus, their grandchildren, and apple pie.

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It’s too bad she didn’t actually say this. I’d take back some of the things I’ve said about her

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, white evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to say the term morally upstanding adequately describes Donald Trump despite his numerous marital infidelities and his even more numerous allegations of sexual impropriety.

They see Donald Trump as honest, even though several reputable news organizations estimate that President Trump has made close to 20,000 incorrect statements and outright lies during his time in office. Compare that to Barack Obama who averaged a little more than two falsehoods a year while he was President.

Almost two-thirds of white evangelicals see Trump as at least somewhat religious, despite his use of profanity, his sporadic church attendance, and his evident unfamiliarity with the Bible.

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This is beyond mind boggling, it’s nothing short of mind blowing

* * * *

One of my very Christian female friends posted something on Facebook about the Democrats being absolutely giddy because: the American economy has tanked, unemployment numbers are somewhere out in the stratosphere, and Trump’s popularity ratings have plummeted. All because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Oh, and we all need to pray for President Trump because he’s God’s anointed — the greatest leader of the greatest country since David was the King of Israel. And Donald Trump has to lead America out of the hazards created by this…plague. So the Democrats don’t end up in the Oval Office again, or something…

* * * *

Evidently Little Known Fact About King David and Biblical Plagues: There are approximately 120 times the term plague is used in the Bible. David was mentioned 971 times, the second most for any person.

Every time God decided to unleash a plague, He did so because He was almighty angry about something and/or someone. Therefore, every time He sent a plague, He sent it as a punishment.

David was Israel’s greatest king, and was known as a man after God’s own heart. He was beloved by God, and this is how many plagues God sent to punish David: Zero. None. Zilch. Nada.

As noted earlier, Evangelicals are capable of ignoring facts whenever it’s convenient for them, so it’s not inconceivable that they could also ignore this Biblical certainty.

* * * *

I doubt that God was paying any attention to the election in 2016, but if the Coronavirus pandemic was sent by him, He’s clearly not pleased with much of anything going on down here right now. And that would include everyone’s favorite President and part-time golfer, Donald Trump. Oh wait, I forgot. The Donald doesn’t take any responsibility for this mess. This is all Obama’s fault!

Let’s reverse engineer the above mentioned Democratic gleefest: the Republicans wouldn’t be giddy if this had happened to President Obama? Yeah, right. I’m going to buy that when American politics has essentially become a partisan team sport. The Elephants vs. The Donkeys. The winner gets the White House and the losing team tries to steal the winning team’s signs so they can get an advantage in the next election.

One of my female friends is not a devout Christian, but she is a devout Republican. She hates all things and persons of the Democratic persuasion. Her comments on my political posts on my Facebook page have been scathing. And, well, stupid.  How we’ve managed to stay friends is beyond me. She said she was planning on coming down for a visit, but now I hope she was just talking out of her ass and never shows up here.

The bottom line is this: the partisan divide is going to be the thing that destroys America. Not the Coronavirus. Not the Great Quarantine. Not Rock and Roll music. Not the hippies. Not the Russians. Or the Chinese. Or even the Mexicans.

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Americans are going to destroy America

It’s so fucking stupid I lack the words to describe the idiocy of it all.

* * * *

Can anyone explain the Folgers® commercial to me? I don’t know which commercial is showing in the States, but here in Mexico we’ve been seeing the one with the woman walking to the shower on Canadian TV.

You’ve got something up your sleeve  Seriously, her expression indicates that she’s planning on doing something in the shower that would make a pornstar blush.

What you didn’t know was you were surprising your father-in-law, Steve  Who just happens to look like he’s in an ambulatory coma. If her husband takes after his father, that would help to explain what she might have had up her sleeve…

So much for Plan A. Thank God that choir of people popped up in her bathroom and poured her a cup of coffee.

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If seeing this doesn’t make you want to buy Folgers®, I don’t know what will

I’ve seen a lots of stupid commercials in my lifetime, but this one just might be the best of the worst.

* * * *

I don’t know what you’ve been doing to occupy your time during the lockdown, but when I haven’t been injuring what’s left of my spinal column, I’ve been randomly watching videos on the YouTube®.

One of them was an educational video about a large breasted woman buying a bra. I know, right! I didn’t know I’d be interested in that kind of stuff either!! Somewhat Interesting Note: women don’t call their breasts tits. That appears to be more of a guy term. Women call them boobs, or boobies.

And there’s another thing I didn’t know: If you have regular sized boobs, bras are beautiful, lacey, gossamer creations with adorable names: The Penelope. The Cassandra. And The Cherub’s Kiss.

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See? I told you

If you have an epic set of tits, bras are utilitarian, steel-belted, substantial contraptions, and the adorable names are gone: The Iron Curtain. The Grand Coulee. And The Arnold.

And a well made bra is not cheap. Given the amount of material needed, they are ridiculously expensive. It just goes to show you never know what you’re going to learn on the Interweb. 

* * * *

Another thing I’ve started watching is automobile restoration shows on TV, which is ironic. I became a nurse because I had no interest in becoming a mechanic. I know nothing about fixing cars. I don’t even know how to check the blinker fluid. But much like home renovation shows, which is another skill I don’t possess, I’m fascinated by every aspect of car restoration.

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🎼Baby, you🎶 can fix🎶my car🎶

Wheeler Dealers. All Girls Garage. FantomWorks. The Guild Garage. I love them all. They almost make me want to buy a whole lots of Snap-on® tools, a couple of welding goldarn things, and build a garage.

Maybe I’ll be an auto restoring/home renovating/rockstar/psych nurse in my next life. I have no idea how reincarnation really works, but it probably doesn’t hurt to do a little planning for the future.

I’ve been really lucky considering that I didn’t make many plans for much of anything in my current life. But you should never rely on being lucky all of the time.

Luck has a way of running out on you, just when you need it most.

The Waiting Game

Waiting Game is a hit song by the English pop group, Swing Out Sister. Rumor has it that Swing Out Sister was the only thing the members could agree on when they were trying to come up with a name for their group, and all of them agreed that they hated it.

SOS has had a number of hit songs over the years: Breakout, Surrender, Twilight World, and my personal favorite, Am I the Same Girl?

The answer is: Yes I am, yes I am. Just in cases you were wondering.

Their songs have catchy melodies. And Corinne Drewery has some serious pipes. I have several of their songs in various playlists. You can find their videos on the YouTube® if you’re interested. Or bored, which is highly probable.

My lovely supermodel wife was so bored yesterday that she washed both of our cars. It’s something she hasn’t done in more than a decade.

* * * *

How’s it going out there in Quarantine Land? Today is the 175th day of the month of April. Yeah, that is what it feels like. And I actually like staying at home. Vehicles equipped with loudspeakers have been cruising the streets here in the Lakeside Area broadcasting messages in English and Spanish, telling everyone to stay at home. But if you must leave your home, you better have a facemask on to avoid infection, fines, and death.

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Have a nice day! ¡Que tengas un buen dia!

Lea made masks for us a couple of weeks ago. She said they were easy to construct, and she was happy to do it. Good thing. We might be using them for the rest of the year. Maybe longer, you know, like, the rest of our lives.

The world has changed, has it not? And when this whole Coronavirus thing ends, it will not return to the way it used to be. I don’t think any of us can yet see the full impact this is going to make, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be significant.

I was skeptical about the Coronavirus initially. I thought everyone was overreacting when they started talking about social distancing, isolating at home, quarantine precautions, and cancelling every interesting sporting event on the planet until further notice.

I’m no longer skeptical, but I am bummed out that March Madness, the Masters, and, yes, every other sporting event for this year has been cancelled, postponed, or will be rescheduled for a much later date. Even the Summer Olympics!

Many of the articles I’ve read talk about extending the precautions, not shortening them or, God forbid, ending them. I’m sure this will all end someday, but I’m no longer sure that it will end soon.

We’ve been planning a trip back to the States. We were originally hoping for April. Then we were shooting for May. It’s starting to look like June, but it might not happen until July or August the way things are going.

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These advertisements sum up the current state of affairs very succinctly

A couple of our friends were planning on coming down to visit us this year. Maybe they’ll be able to get here by September, but possibly, not until next year…

* * * *

One of the things you have to adjust to when you retire is suddenly having a lots of idle time on your hands. I guess some of you could think of this time as a preview of what your retirement life will be like. If you find you’re not enjoying it much, do yourself a favor and start rethinking your plans for the future now.

Todd, Lea and I have been trying to keep ourselves busy with various projects and hobbies. Todd has been working on several goldarn things in the workshop. I know because he’s been using a variety of power tools.

Lea has reading books on her Kindle®. A lots of books. And she instituted Operation Opossum. She feeds the herd of opossums that stroll through our backyard at night. Fortunately, opossums eat almost anything, so they’re easy to feed. She even named two of them: Ollie and Opie.

If you want to know anything about opossums, ask Lea. She’s probably read two books about them by now.

* * * *

Todd created Operation Oranges for Orioles. He started by hanging oranges in the tree where Lea has her hummingbird feeder. That worked great, until the goddamn squirrels started devouring the oranges.

So we built a small wooden platform and put it in the triangle garden at the far end of the swimming pool. The birds are happy. The squirrels don’t dare come that far into the yard.

Mischief managed.

* * * *

Todd and Lea have been cooking their asses off in the kitchen. Let me tell you something, it is hell having to be quarantined with two chefs!

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The Swedish Chef and Christy Turlington. She really does look like Lea

Kind of by accident, I started listening to cooking shows on TV. I’ve listened to all the home improvement shows multiple times, and I was getting bored with them. I don’t actually do any home improvement, so it’s not like I needed to master any of the things they do. I don’t actually cook either, but Lea and Todd started watching the cooking shows. And they say things, like, Ooh! That looks like that would be fun to make!

Maybe it wasn’t an accident…

* * * *

I’ve been making sure everything is clean and tidy, and running smoothly here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We’ve had a couple of issues with the pool. All I have to do is call our property manager, Jaime Mendoza, and let him know something needs to be repaired, and he takes care of everything else.

The solar heater for the pool seems to be about as reliable as the LG refrigerator we used to have. It’s been repaired once already this year, and needs to be repaired again. The guy who installed it, and already repaired it, is supposed to be here today. We’ll see if he actually shows up. Then we’ll see how long it takes to get the heater running again. And finally, we’ll see how long this repair will last…

We’ve been hanging out on the patio a lot lately, and seeing how we’ve all been spending so much time out there, Todd and I put our heads and resources together, and we constructed a stereo system on the patio to listen to music while we do stuff outside.

I had an Aiwa® receiver/CD player, but no speakers. Then Todd remembered he had a big box with two sets of Sony® speakers and a subwoofer, somewhere. All we had to do was figure out where he put them.

We did. The patio stereo sounds pretty damn good, but I think we need at least two more speakers to make it perfect. Four would be better, but I’ll settle for two. Todd hasn’t had anything to say about my idea because Lea thinks I’m out of my fucking mind, and he, wisely, doesn’t want to do anything to piss her off.

* * * *

For me, this quarantine experience has been like unto Retirement 2.0. I have idle time that I can’t fill with any of the activities I used to do because I had nothing else to do. Like, golf. My golf course closed at the beginning of April. It will reopen again when the lockdown ends, whenever that might be.

I’ve had to resort to gardening to fill the hours until we’re given the green light to resume our lives again. I’ve written about my experiences with gardening before. In short, it involved drinking beer and playing in the dirt.

Now, it’s just playing in the dirt. And it’s become a bit of an obsession for me. It started innocently enough. I repotted a few plants on the patio because I hadn’t paid enough attention to them and they were more or less dead.

That’s on me. I never should have ignored my responsibilities for my plants. Our maid, Monica, waters the plants when she cleans the patio, but I think she’s kind of hit or miss when it comes to watering. Her main focus is cleaning.

I’ve got my mind right now. I’m refocused, and I won’t falter in my duties again. I replanted the patio plants that weren’t completely dead in the backyard gardens, and it all went downhill from there. I spent all of last weekend working in the gardens, which was just about the stupidest thing I could do.

My back and my right knee filed for divorce from me on Monday.

* * * *

My back has been a major pain in my… back… for about the last week. Normally, it’s my lower back that bothers me. Now, it’s almost my entire spine from the third thoracic vertebrae my to my sacrum and coccyx.

I can’t sit for more than a few minutes. And moving around doesn’t always do much of anything to decrease my level of pain. I eat Motrin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It helps, but nothing makes the pain completely go away. Swinging a golf club appears to have been doing my back far more good than I realized.

I’ve been working on this post for five days because I can only write one or two paragraphs at a time, and then I have to take a break. If I’m fortunate, I might finish it sometime this week.

* * * *

Okay, back to gardening…  I’m not a master gardener. I’m more of a Chance the Gardener — from the Jerzy Kosiński novel, Being There. It was also made into a movie starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine.

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If you’re not interested in reading the novel, you can watch the movie. I love it

For those of you that don’t know, Chance was the original Forrest Gump. They’re both slow-witted, kind-hearted guys, and they both unwittingly influence everything that goes on around them. I resemble two of those three attributes.

I’m not a smart man, but I know a couple of things about playing in the dirt. Annual flowering plants are a quick way to add a lots of color to your garden. If you buy mature plants. And in a temperate climate, there’s a good chance these plants will automatically reseed themselves from year to year.

Further proof that I’m neither smart, nor a master gardener: I didn’t buy plants. I bought a bunch of packets of seeds. I’ve had some impressive results with marigold  and delphinium seeds down here, so I figured I’d have equal success with other flower seeds. All you have to do is sow them and abracadabra!

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See? I told you

I don’t know what kind of flower seeds I bought. The descriptions were in Spanish, and I was too lazy to translate the words. But the pictures showed pretty flowers. And that’s what I wanted. Pretty flowers with a lots of splashes of colors.

I picked three prime spots in the gardens, and I call them prime because other flowers were already growing around them. I cleared the areas, carefully planted my seeds, and watered them daily for a week. And not one flower sprouted. It’s probably closing in on two weeks as I write this, and I still haven’t seen anything that looks like unto a fucking flower shooting up out of the ground in those areas.

Todd says it’s possible they’ll sprout later this year, or even weirder, next year. I don’t doubt that he’s right, he knows far more about this stuff than I do. However, marigold seeds do not behave thusly. You throw them in the ground and they start growing immediately! All I know is that I’m incredibly bummed out right now.

Seeing no need to make any special preparation for my remaining seed packets, I picked a neglected corner of the gardens where nothing was growing – not even weeds – and dumped all of my remaining seeds on the ground, and watered it periodically.

I ended up with two hundred flower sprouts growing in about a ten inch by ten inch area. Yeah, of course that method worked. So, yes, I had amazing success, but no one needs that many flowers growing in a small area in a part of the garden that no one can see without a map and a pair of binoculars.

That’s how I ended up working in the garden for the entire weekend. I spent hours moving random groups of baby plants to multiple areas throughout the gardens. And I water the gardens daily. In a few months, maybe more, our gardens are going to look better than they ever have since we moved in. Maybe better than they ever have, period.

* * * *

Another thing we don’t do is go out to eat at any of the fabulous restaurants here in the Lakeside Area. We did that once after the Coronavirus precautions went into place. Our youngest daughter, Abigail, grounded us. On social media. From Minnesota.

* * * *

Social media has been both a blessing and a curse for me during this time. It’s been a blessing because I can stay connected to everyone that doesn’t hang out with me here in the living room. It’s been a curse because not all news is good news.

* * * *

Our very good friend from Arizona, Nikki Scheidecker, had a stroke last week. That came as a huge, unpleasant surprise to everyone that knows her. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, and she’s only 45. It was described as a minor stroke, but she spent the better part of a week in ICU on IV medications trying to get her blood pressure under control.

I’m not a real nurse, but this doesn’t sound like a minor stroke to me.

Her husband, Justin, has been sending out daily updates on her status via Facebook. She was moved out of ICU today, and now her rehab can begin. We wish you the best of success, Nikki. And know that you are in our thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery.

* * * *

The other Curse of Social Media has been all of the political posts. I’ve been trying to decide how deep I want to wade into the mud, slime and ooze in this post. I just took a shower, and I’m loathe to get dirty again.

I don’t post a whole lots of political posts, but if I see something funny, I’ll probably share it. I’m not a political expert, I see myself as more of a political dilettante. I despise Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham. And all the rest of the Republicans. But I’m not in love with the Democrats by any means. I think both political parties suck ass, and all of the current members of Congress need to be sent packing.

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I found this newsflash to be especially outrageous, and shared it on the Facebook

The average American household lives paycheck to paycheck. The $1200 stimulus checks that some families will receive is a drop in the bucket compared to what they really need to keep their heads above water if they are unable to earn a living during this crisis.

If you make more than $99,000 to $198,000, depending on how you file your taxes, you’re not even eligible for a stimulus check. Unless you happen to be one of the above noted select number of millionaires.

President Trump fired the man who was supposed to oversee the disbursement of stimulus funds. And he has gone on record saying that he will not adhere to a portion of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that would authorize an inspector general to oversee how $500 billion in business loans will be spent.

* * * *

I foolishly thought that something The Donald did would have to backfire with his supporters. I figured this would be the something that even they couldn’t ignore.

I was wrong.

Donald Trump owns his supporters; heart and mind, body and soul. He could take a shit on their living room floor, and they would have it hermetically sealed and preserved to proudly display on their mantle. And their friends would be envious.

His hold on his supporters is bulletproof against logic, facts, and the truth because there is only one arbiter of the truth. Donald Trump. And EVERYONE else is lying. I don’t know what he put in his Kool-Aid, but that stuff is 100 proof.

Today, The Donald suggested injecting disinfectants into your veins as a possible treatment for COVID-19. This is his quote: “…And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”

Roll up your sleeves and bend over, bitches. Trump supporters, you can jump to the front of the line. We don’t mind. After all, this is your boy talking here, and he can do no wrong.

I can’t wait to see how Dr. Donald’s Miracle Treatment works on you.

* * * *

There ended up being a fair amount of discussion on my Facebook post, both pro and con. And then the personal attacks began from the Trump supporters. It’s what their hero does all the time, so there’s no reason why they can’t do the same.

One guy chimed in that I live in a shithole country, and I should just keep my mouth shut. He’s never been to Mexico, but he’s heard a lots of stories…

A couple of people wondered if I was going to get a stimulus check. The answer is no, there are people who need the money far more than I do, like, a forty thousand millionaires who need to keep making payments on their McMansions, and their vacation homes in the Hamptons. And they have car payments on their BMW’s and Mercedes.

Someone suggested that I was jealous. Nice try, but I live in a gringo mansion in the middle of Paradise, that came equipped with a gardener and a maid. And I pay less for all of that a month than you do for the house you live in that doesn’t have a support staff.

I covet nothing. I have nothing to be jealous of.

I understand the need and the hardships that people are going through. We’ve made donations to more than one of the local food banks, as well as more than one of the local organizations that are trying to help all of the people that have been unable to provide for their families because they can’t work right now.

Hey Jealousy, can you say the same?

That same person added that some Mercedes and BMW vehicles are made in the USA. They’re probably made in China, too. What’s your point? Our Buick Encore was made in South Korea. It doesn’t mean, or even prove anything.

* * * *

Pop Quiz!

Pick the American car company because you want to Buy American:

A.) Toyota

B.) Mercedes

C.) Chevrolet

D.) BMW

Please take the quiz and leave a comment. I’ll post the results.

* * * *

And then the guy that suggested I was jealous implied that I was having sex with our maid. This guy has been a friend of mine since the 1970’s. We’re probably still friends, but it’s not the same anymore. I doubt it ever will be.

So, well done, my friend. You successfully defended a man who wouldn’t cross the street to piss on you if you were on fire. And he sure as hell wouldn’t let you be a member of any of his country clubs.

Big deal! I don’t play golf, so I don’t care!

No, you probably don’t. And once again, you’ve missed my point entirely.

I’m a guy. I might forget that you hit me below the belt, Bill. But I will never forgive you for doing it.

¡Que tengas un buen dia, pinche culero!

Group Sex

Before you get the wrong idea, the only reason I put Sex in the title of this post is so a lots of people would get the wrong idea and read my blog. And, I just lost 75% of them right about now.

* * * *

Last week, I requested my Facebook friends to write an account of their struggles during The Great Quarantine of 2020, and email them to me. I would compile them and post my first, and only, collaborative group effort blog post. The premise wasn’t that hard to comprehend, but this is what happened:

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I know Amy and Randy. We met Amy at church in Surprise, AZ. Amy is going to be the next proud owner of our Buick Encore. Once this global quarantine thing is lifted, we’re going to drive up to the Phoenix metro area, eat some Rosati’s pizza, do some shopping, transfer the title to Amy, then fly back to the Lakeside Area.

We’re hoping to be able to do that in early May.

We met Randy here in the entrance of Walmart while we were waiting for the rain to stop. If it weren’t for Randy, we wouldn’t have our two darlingpreshadorbs kit-tens. She moved back to Idaho after hooking us up with Mika and Mollie, having fulfilled her reason for being in Mexico.

Honestly, I have no idea why she moved back to Idaho, but my version sounds cool.

* * * *

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Mary is a virtual friend. We’ve never met in person, and we probably never will, which is too bad. I like her more than some people I actually have met. Mary has spent  a lots of time during her quarantine putting jigsaw puzzles together, despite the intense pain of gout.

Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone, but in antiquity it mostly affected royalty and kings. Like, Henry VIII of England. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I also have occasional gout flare-ups. And, yes, it does hurt like unto two hells.

* * * *

A few more friends of mine offered these brief updates:

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I know Mike and Laurie from the golf course. Laurie’s husband passed away about a year ago. It hasn’t been easy for her. Trisha is one of my favorite nieces. She’s a nurse, so T-Bop holds a special place in my heart.

* * * *

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Two people actually wrote up detailed accounts of their experiences. Denise is my favorite sister. Geanie is an American ex-pat living in the Lakeside Area. She has a small business called The Ugly Truffle. I bought some of her chocolates and candy confections a couple of times. They are seriously to die for.

Denise submitted her story first. I edited some punctuation and grammar, but this is her story in her words.

* * * *

How has COVID-19 -19 messed with me?!

In the state of Florida, they refused to do a state wide shut down, cases were growing by the minute. When I was scheduled to work on 3/24/20, I refused to go for the safety of my health. 2 days later, Pinellas County shut down non-essential services.  I manage a hair salon part-time, my boss has been in the business for 33 years in the same location. Our stylists are employees, not sub-contractors. Pinellas County is very wealthy, our salon is a half mile from the Ferrari dealship. Our clients travel all over the world. Plus, many have been with my employer forever, and are old, doctoring for everything! No, I didn’t feel safe being at work.

Step 1: Sheltering at home. Hubby and I drank heavily the 1st week. Then it started to dawn on me that I really didn’t like him or myself after copious amounts of alcohol. We were all having happy hours on different patios, then the death toll climbed higher…

Step 2: Cut back/quit drinking. Both of us had medical appts coming up, so no drinking! Then there was dealing with residents in our condo complex. Most of our dear Canadian friends went home ahead of schedule. They would have no health coverage if they became sick in America. Once they got home they had to shelter in place for 2 weeks or be fined $1000 if a neighbor narked on them. And they do narc on their neighbors!

Some snowbirds, like our elderly neighbor, Sharon, is from NY. She couldn’t go home because her state was on lockdown, so she had to stay. Sharon is a social butterfly, wants crowds of people all day, every day, around her. She wasn’t taking this serious. I finally told her, as did my husband, either keep your butt at home to avoid bringing the virus home to the complex, or forget about us spending any time with you — you will have no one. Sharon has been keeping her butt at home, or shopping with one of us on a weekly outing.

Step 3: Douchebag Trumpites! We have many douchebags in Florida. They love The Donald. They Drank The Kool-aid! It’s a hoax!! Nobody is telling me what I can and can’t do.  They’re violating my rights as a citizen….(fill in the blanks from douchebags’ mouth).

Beaches are closed to the public in Pinellas County and many other counties in Florida. But there’s an exception most people didn’t realize: It doesn’t apply to the douchebags that jump over barricades. They think it’s a joke when the sheriff kicks them off the beach. They go back the next day to a different location. Does sheltering at home work? Only if you have a brain. One tenant in our condos is a muscle man, steroid idiot, whose dick is as big as his brain. He’s at the beach daily, jumping barricades to work out on equipment in our parks. Go back to NY, where you’re from, you ignorant pig!

Step 4: Trying to get unemployment in a state that doesn’t want to pay it. Florida has the lowest payments and fewest weeks available to collect in the nation. You lost your job? Too bad, take a flying jump off the Sky Bridge, be homeless, we don’t care, you’re not getting a dime in unemployment. At the end of March, I tried to apply for unemployment. It took me 5 days to get registered due to the system being overloaded. I was kicked out, retired out numerous times. Finally on the 5th day, there was success! Come back in 10 days to apply for your 1st week. 10 days later the website is defunct.

They’ve had every Tom, Dick, and Harry contacting the Governor about the shit website; he put a task force together. Many Florida Crackers don’t have internet, or a computer. They had to hand out paper applications and create a site that could be accessed by phones and tablets.

My 10 days are up, the website is defunct, and is now directing everyone to the new and improved site! How fun!! Back to the drawing board, you have to start from zero, creating a brand new claim. Today, I should have been requesting wages for the weeks I haven’t worked, not setting up a new claim…

I think they hope you just get fed up and commit suicide, rather than dealing with the assbackwards government.

Step 5: Finding Zen! I walk 5 miles a day 3-4 times a week. I am trying new recipes or making family favorites I haven’t made in sometime. I’m reading daily, luckily our club house has a small library in it. I’m binging on Netfix and Amazon Prime.  Go Tiger King!! I’m sheltering in place. I’m praying — daily, hourly, anytime I have anxiety knocking on my door. My son-in-law in Chicago has all the symptoms of COVID-19, and I pray for him, his family and for all of us that we see the rainbow after the storm, the light at the end of the tunnel — that we will experience some sort of normal once again.

* * * *

Again, save for some minor editing, this is Geanie’s story:

…in my particular situation, my COVID isolation actually began before COVID… so I need to start there.

On February 26, just a short time before we all began paying serious attention to COVID-19 and what was going to be expected of us, my husband passed away. I had just spent 3 weeks at his side, day and night, providing hospice care. From the very moment he was gone I had never felt aloneness of this depth before in my life. I also knew that after watching him slowly die knowing there was nothing I could do — I knew that I could not stay in the home we were renting. My first morning after losing him, as I left our bedroom to pass through the living room on my way to make coffee, all I saw was my sweet Roger still laying in the hospice bed, dying all over again. There was no way for me to stay there. There was no way for me to grieve properly and heal if I had to see that every time I walked into the living room. So I moved, immediately. 

I found a little apartment and within 4 days of losing my husband, I moved. What I didn’t realize was that I was the only tenant in this brand new apartment complex made up of 14 apartments. I also didn’t realize the apartments were in a cellphone dead zone. Looking back I understand why I didn’t know these things. It’s amazing that I was even able to function enough to actually pack and move as I did. But here I was, and still am, in a deafening silent concrete complex with no one else around. Of course I immediately ordered internet access so I could at least have noise from the TV and have access to at least have a way to stay in touch with family and friends. That took 2 full weeks. Those 2 weeks were maddening for me. For one, since I was in a cellphone dead zone, I had no choice but to always remain at the apartment so I could let the internet provider in for installation. They couldn’t call me to let me know. And neither could anyone else.

Imagine how happy and excited I was once it was installed. I wouldn’t have to stay in this concrete graveyard all the time anymore! I could spend time with my friends, my family, here. I could begin my grieving process, my healing process, with the help of others.

But, just as I was looking forward to moving forward, COVID-19 struck and we were told to isolate.

How could I grieve? How could I begin healing my soul? We all need others in our lives to help us get through the grief and help us heal. For the first time in my life, I was living in limbo. And now, in addition to having my heart lying at my feet in a million pieces, I was a prisoner to a virus.

I’ve not found a way to move on. I’ve not found a way to grieve. I know that if I were to allow myself to grieve in the midst of this isolation, in the midst of this fear of COVID-19, I’m afraid my tears and my fears will never end; that I may end up a basketcase. Why? Because grieving alone can be very harmful. Grieving alone is torturous. Human beings were built to be consoled. Here, all alone, in this concrete graveyard, isn’t consoling, it’s just a reminder, every moment of every day, of just how alone I am without my husband.

Am I coping? Sure, I’m coping. I’m coping by putting every emotion, every tear, aside. I’m waiting for my time to come, my time to grieve, my time to move on. It’s not now.

I spend my time keeping up with all that is going on in the US via television. I keep up with all that is going on here at Lakeside with my friends and others via Facebook. Oh, how I appreciate those posts that bring a little smile to me! So many have reached out to me, checking on me, offering their love and support. I do so appreciate that, too. But there is nothing that can replace an actual physical hug when you need one. So I’m warning all my friends….  Just as soon as is possible, you better be ready with those arms of yours, because I’m sure gonna use mine. And yes, I’ll cry.

I’m coping by remembering every single day that this is not what my sweet Roger wanted for me. I remember how he would support me and push me to be the best I can be. Sitting and drowning myself in sorrow would be so easy right now, but I know that is not the woman my husband knew, not the woman my husband loved. And to be less than how he thought of me would be an insult to the great love we shared for 20 years.

I’m coping by not coping. I’m coping by leaving myself in limbo. I’m coping by knowing that as each silent, isolated, lonely day goes by, I’m one more day closer to the end of this nightmare. Every night when I go to bed, I am thankful that the day is over; only because I know I’m one day closer.

And every morning I have just one thing I do to try to start the day out right. It may not last, but at least I try every morning. I sing to my little Boo. Boo is my dog. He’s a little Pekingese. Here’s what I sing:

🎼Momma’s 🎵little Boo Bear,🎶Boo Bear, Boo Bear. 🎶Momma’s 🎵little Boo Bear, I 🎶love you, Yes🎵I do, I really🎶love you.

And I give him an awesome belly rub and body massage. It starts both our days out right.

That’s how I cope. By starting the day out right and ending it happy that another day of this nightmare is over. What happens in between the two, well, is very hard. But I will just keep coping, in limbo, for now. My time will come and I want to be ready for it.

* * * *

Yeah, that was a bit of a tear-jerker, wasn’t it.

* * * *

Thank you to everyone that contributed something. Thank you to Denise and Geanie for stepping up to the plate and knocking one out of the fuckin’ park.

Until next time, stay calm, stay sane, and stay safe.

Blind Faith

Blind Faith was an English rock supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. Just in cases you didn’t know, these guys aren’t mere rockstars, they are rock superstars.

The band was eagerly anticipated by the music press in 1969 as a continuation of Clapton and Baker’s former group, Cream, and Winwood’s former group, Traffic. They produced one goddamn album before disbanding to pursue other projects. But it was a pretty good album.

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The original, controversial Blind Faith album cover, which was replaced by the featured image of the band members above

It was probably the last time the words ‘blind faith’ had any kind of positive connotation.

* * * *

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I posted this on my Facebook page the other day because I just can’t wrap my head around a couple of things about The Donald and his presidency. The first is I can’t believe that anyone would support him. The second is the unshakable devotion of his supporters.

Most of the comments on my FB post were from my friends who aren’t Trump supporters. There’s a reason for that. I unfriended almost everyone on Facebook who supports Trump, unless I actually know them.

One of my friends who supports Trump, Deb Gessell Gammon, had this to say:

Really, I follow Trump because he can at least say the name of Jesus. We all have said not a perfect human being, not even close. Neither am I but he at least tries. Jesus is my King…..Trump is my president. I will pray for him in Jesus’ name. Amen

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I am a registered Republican. But I haven’t voted for a Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan. So for all of you that think I’m some kind of bleeding heart liberal pinko commie bastard, you’re wrong about most of that.

* * * *

Deb is my cousin. She’s probably my favorite from that group of cousins on my mother’s side of the family tree. She’s kind of a smartass, like me, but she’s probably nicer than I am. Because I like and respect Deb, this post is going to be my rebuttal to her statement on my Facebook page.

I doubt that I can be completely objective in my argument, but I’m going to try. I hope that anyone reading this will also try to be objective. And I also welcome comments and points of view from my readers who have anything to add.

I invited the handful of Trump supporters I have in my Friends List to read this when I finish it, and I’ve had a few people tell me they’re looking forward to it with eager anticipation, so I better get my ass in gear…

And Deb, just so we understand each other, I know that nothing I say is going to make you change your mind or the way you feel. So you don’t have to feel bad because you still think I’m full of shit.

* * * *

We all have said not a perfect human being, not even close.

That appears to be the closest Trump’s supporters can come to admitting that The Donald has any faults. In that regard, his supporters are far more generous and forgiving of President Trump than those of us that don’t. We see him as a corrupt, dishonest, manipulative, racist/sexist piece-of-shit-pig in a suit.

That’s how the Fake News portrays him, and you snowflakes are just a bunch of sheep that believes anything!

I’ll concede the point that fair and unbiased news reporting is something that doesn’t exist anymore, and it probably died with Marco Polo. But I have a question. Was the news media always a corrupt bunch of liars, or is that something that only happened after Trump was elected? I can’t remember any other US President ever saying that before.

If this is a new phenomenon, then prior to The Donald all the news media did was kiss the ass of the President and they never, ever criticized anything that any of the previous presidents ever did. Except Obama. The press sucked his cock, too.

I think even Trump supporters have to admit that the press has taken their fair share of potshots at everyone that has ever sat behind the big desk in the Oval Office. It’s their job.

But before you all start complaining that there’s some huge conspiracy by the news media to make Donald Trump look like a fool, be careful, or you’ll find yourself in the same boat as all those people who claim they’ve been abducted by aliens. Or Bigfoot.

Or me. I’m the guy who believes God is flying through the galaxies in a spaceship.

No one has to do anything to make Donald Trump look like a fool. All you have to do is put him in front of a camera, and he does the rest. And I want you to consider something about the way The Donald blames the media for making him look bad.

He does it every time he gets portrayed in an unflattering light. He doesn’t do it every now and then. He doesn’t do it once in a blue moon. He does it every fucking time.

Imagine, if you can, that you are married to Donald Trump and this happens:

Deb: “I heard you were at the bar last night.”

Trump: “Oh yeah? Who did you hear that from?”

Deb: “My mom. And three of my sisters. And our neighbors. They said you were drunk and making out with Audrey Farber.”

Trump: “That’s fake news. It’s bullshit. Honey, I swear I wasn’t there and I didn’t do it. Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your mom and your bitchy sisters? You know they never liked me! They’re just trying to make me look bad!”

You get the idea. Now suppose something like unto this happened almost every day. If you were Mrs. Trump, how many times would you believe that your husband is the only one telling the truth about what really happened at the bar he wasn’t at?

Donald Trump has cheated on every wife he’s ever had. That’s not fake news, that’s a fact. He was paying hush money to a pornstar he had an affair with. Another fact. I’m a guy. I can actually understand some of the things he’s done. But consider this: I might be able to forgive my spouse if she had one affair. I know I couldn’t forgive more than one. 

Could you?

I have freely admitted that I’m not a good Christian. Trump’s supporters tend to identify themselves as people who are at least trying to be good Christians, and they are apparently ahead of the curve when it comes to accepting the flaws of other people and forgiving them when they fall astray. Except when those flawed people are Democrats.

Trump’s supporters appear to be staunchly anti-abortion because every life is sacred, right? They all want to be good Christians, and abortion is bad because the Bible says it’s bad. Even if it doesn’t, every life is sacred, especially lives lost when a Democrat was in the White House. I know that’s right because Trump supporters are still incensed about the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi when Obama was president.

That happened eight years ago. Does anyone even remember their names?

Trump’s supporters also tend to be huge supporters of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Some of you might be aware of the problem the US has had with mass shootings and gun violence. But whenever there was a mass shooting, I don’t remember seeing many posts on social media about the tragedy and the loss of life from Trump supporters.

They appeared to be more concerned that no one better try to take their guns unless they wanted to get their goddamn ass kicked.

As of this precise moment in time 14,762 Americans have died from the Coronavirus, and I have yet to hear even one peep of outrage from Trump supporters about their deaths. Not. One. Fucking. Word.

So, do all lives matter or not?

Some of my anti-Trump friends want to blame the President for all of those Coronavirus-related deaths. I’m not one of them. Someone with a much higher pay grade than mine can sort that out. And I’ve already put in my two cents worth on how The Donald has mismanaged the Coronavirus pandemic.

I’m not here to provide you with all the answers. I’m here to give you a few more things to think about.

* * * *

As for whether or not The Donald is a criminal, it all depends on how you define the word criminal, doesn’t it. He is only the third President to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Hold it right there, Little Miss Muffet! He wasn’t impeached!

Yes, he was. That’s another fact.

Presidential impeachment is a two stage process. The House of Representatives meets to decide if any laws were broken. They did, and Donald Trump was charged with, and found guilty of, Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress by the House on December 18, 2019. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can look it up yourself. 

The second stage of the impeachment process only happens if the President is found guilty by the House. Then there’s a trial in the Senate to determine if the President needs to be removed from office.

There is at least one thing you should know about impeachment. The US Constitution mandates that all senators take an impeachment oath, in which by Senate rules it is stated, “I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”

Prior to the Senate hearing even starting, Senator Mitch McConnell said there was “no chance” the Senate would convict Trump and remove him from office. Senator Lindsey Graham said this, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here … I will do everything I can to make [the impeachment trial] die quickly.” 

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I have no words to describe the level of contempt I have for these two assholes

* * * *

When Bill Clinton was impeached for getting a blowjob in the Oval Office, the White House provided more than 90,000 pages of documents and other information ahead of his trial.

In contrast, the Trump White House refused to comply with subpoenas for more than 70 records, and blocked at least 12 potential witnesses from testifying. Again, I’m not making this shit up, you can look it up on the Interweb.

* * * *

On February 5, 2020 the Senate voted to acquit President Trump of all charges, and all that means is he wasn’t removed from office. It doesn’t make his impeachment by the House of Representatives magically go away. What it probably really means is all the people that want to prosecute Donald Trump for all of the high crimes and misdemeanors that he’s committed as President will simply have to wait until he’s no longer President in order to do so.

I don’t think I have to be a prophet in order to predict that.

As of this precise moment in time, Donald Trump has appointed 193 federal judges to the bench while he’s been in office. When you consider what might happen when he’s no longer President, that number starts to make a whole lots more sense.

* * * *

Trump has enthusiastically denied any wrongdoing in any of his activities that have resulted in investigations into his behavior. No collusion, no conspiracy! No quid pro quo! It was a perfect conversation! Read the transcript!

I have another question. How many of you Trump supporter friends of mine have read the Mueller report? Or even a synopsis of it? How about the fabricated document that Trump called the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy?

What? None of you have read any of them? Why is that? Because…Trump told you he wasn’t guilty of any wrongdoing…and that’s all you needed to hear?

But all of us snowflakes are sheep…

Yeah, I see what you mean.

* * * *

Could we pick up the pace a little here? This quarantine isn’t going to last forever, and I have stuff to do. Donald Trump is not a racist. Or any more sexist than any other guy on the planet.

Once upon a time, way back when Deb and I were kids, the Gessell’s were the host family to a couple of foreign exchange students from Mexico, I think. I can’t remember their names, but I remember that I was an insufferable prick to those two kids. I teased them so much I made one of them cry.

I was probably around twelve years old at the time. I wasn’t being racist when I made fun of those Hispanic niños. I was an asshole, and I thought I was being funny at the time.

* * * *

Yes, I still remember that, Deb. That’s one of the downsides to being me. I can’t forget any of my sins. I’m pretty sure you and your sisters all wanted to kill me back then. So I have to admit I’m confused why you aren’t outraged by Trump’s behavior now?

Much like you, I admit to being a flawed human being. I’m sure I’ve done all of the things that I’ve pointed out as flaws in Donald Trump’s character, and probably worse. I’m not offended that The Donald is flawed, I’m offended that he’s unapologetically flawed.

You said in your Facebook post that at least you see him trying. I’m assuming you mean he’s trying to be a better person based on the context. I don’t see that. I see someone who, seriously, fucks up everything he touches, then blames someone else for the results. I don’t see the at least he tries person at all.

Maybe I do need new glasses…  And yes, I know you don’t agree with anything I’ve said so far. But you’re going to want to hear the next thing I have to say.

* * * *

As one of my former bosses used to say, It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Maybe all of them said that to me…

The Donald has called Mexicans a bunch of drug dealing crime lords who rape and murder people, like, you know, white people. The Donald frequently insults people of color by making remarks about their low IQ and intelligence. He calls women names. Fat. Ugly. Lowlife. Horseface. 

And recently he started calling the COVID-19 virus the Chinese virus because it comes from China. Like his clothing line…

Maybe The Donald can say those things without being perceived to be a racist/sexist pig by some people, but none of the rest of us can. Maybe it’s okay that Trump insults Mexicans and Blacks. I mean, those people have it coming, right? And women? Don’t get me started on those bitches! Why can’t they just go back to sleeping their way to the top, and bringing us coffee like they did back in the good old days?

You’re just offended because Trump is tough on immigration! And you don’t even live in America anymore. You have no idea what we’re dealing with here!

Okay. You might have a valid point there. But Donald Trump also made fun of a disabled man. And before you say, He did not! You’re making that up! It’s on the YouTube®. Millions of people have seen it. You can watch it too.

If only there were only some way I could I could make this point on a personal level, like, if only there was someone in our family that had a serious physical or cognitive disability…

Take a deep breath, Deb. I know what I’m doing, and I promise to be careful.

* * * *

I have a very large extended family. My mom had eight kids. Her sister, Noreen, also had eight kids. All of their kids had kids, and all of those kids are making more kids. Between my mom and my aunt, I’m related to almost two and half million people living in Minnesota.

One of those people is Ethan Och. He’s one of Stephenie’s kids. Stephanie is one of my nieces on the Gessell side of the family tree. Ethan has SMA — Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  It’s a genetic disease affecting the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and voluntary muscle movement. I think it’s a form of muscular dystrophy, like unto the family of diseases Jerry Lewis used to have his Labor Day Telethon for, if you remember that.

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The MDA Telethon used to be a huge deal. Millions of dollars were raised for Jerry’s Kids

Ethan is in a wheelchair. He requires a high level of care and assistance to live a ‘normal’ life. He probably has more brains in his little finger than all the rest of the people related to him, combined. He’s enrolled at the University of Minnesota and will probably graduate at the top of his class in aerospace engineering.

Deb might disagree with my intelligence assessment of Ethan, but she’d probably agree that he’s at least smarter than everyone on the Rowen side of the family tree.

Or, there’s Wesley Rowen. He’s Matthew’s son. Matthew is one of my nephews from my dad’s side of the family tree. Wesley has Down’s Syndrome. He has full mobility, but is still a special needs child. Wesley isn’t in college. I think he’s maybe seven years old. But even if he were seventeen, I don’t know if this kid will ever attend a university.

* * * *

Okay, Deb. Are you ready? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Let’s imagine for a moment that our nephews are reporters at the White House. And Donald Trump made fun of Ethan and Wesley. You’d think that was okay, right? I’m sure James Och would laugh his ass off when President Trump made a joke about his son’s disability. I mean, that’s some funny shit, right? Okay, maybe he wouldn’t think it’s funny, but he’d forgive the President because, you know, Donald Trump isn’t perfect, but he’s trying.

By the way, James Och is Stephanie’s husband, and he’s one of my Facebook friends who supports Trump. James and I aren’t close friends. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve ever met in person, and if we did there’s a good chance that I was drunk at the time, so I have no memories of him.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that James would have a considerable amount of difficulty seeing anything funny about someone making fun of his son who has had to fight so hard to get where he is today. And it would have to be a very cold day in Hell before he forgave anyone for doing that.

I know guys. We might forget why we hate someone, but we will never forgive them.

I know Matthew Rowen wouldn’t see anything funny about anyone making fun of his beautiful son. And Matt’s wife? Becky would rip that person  apart from limb to fucking limb.

Well, like I said. We’re not good Christians.

* * * *

That’s not fair! And besides, Donald Trump didn’t actually insult anyone in our family. You’re just trying to do one of those stupid Jedi mind tricks on me! But I’m not going to fall for it, so there!

You’re right. Donald Trump didn’t personally attack anyone in our family, but all those people he did attack — they were all a part of someone’s family. And there’s one message that has been repeated over and over as the Coronavirus pandemic has progressed.

We are all in this together.

Doesn’t mean anything to you? Fair enough. When it comes to 99.9% of the people living in the world, I couldn’t care less about them either. How about this: Remember the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25? You’re trying to be a good Christian, right? You remember how that story goes, don’t you?

Truly I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.

You remember it now, don’t you.

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. That picture you painted of President Trump is hanging a little crooked now, isn’t it.

La Cuarentena

How’s everyone surviving the mandated isolation precautions?

When this all started I had no idea if this pandemic thing was serious or not. I’ve gotten past that. COVID-19 is a particularly nasty form of viral pneumonia. I had pnuemonia way, way back when I was a kid. It almost killed me to death way back then. I’m not in a hurry to press my luck a second time with that shit.

I’ve seen people die from a cytokine storm before. It’s a terrible way to die.

But in an attempt to provide some balance in this exercise, there are worse things than contracting COVID-19. You could be a Trump supporter. People that have been infected with the Coronavirus appear to have at least a 98% chance of recovering and getting better.

* * * *

In terms of complying with the Stay at Home orders we’ve all been dealing with, I’m the kind of guy that if you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to try to find a way to do it anyway. I’ve talked to a few people down here who also struggled with this when the pandemic precautions were first instituted.

You have to learn to pick your battles.

That was probably the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn in my life. Russ Bacon, one of my friends and co-workers at the MVAMC told me that. Several times. Just in cases you are also someone that has had trouble with this, I’m going to give you some advice that you can ignore, much like I did for a long time:

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You’re only one person, not the US military. And even they pick their battles

* * * *

I hope you’re all doing well and haven’t gone completely batshit crazy being stuck at home with the people you love most. Yeah, those annoying assholes. A lots of my real friends and virtual friends have been complaining about being bored to death while they’ve been stuck at home on social media. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind them of something: To the best of my knowledge, you can’t actually die to death from boredom.

The entire world has essentially become the Hotel California. On the bright side, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in Iowa, now you know. And remember this, sooner or later the quarantine will end and a day will come when you wish you were still being told to stay the fuck at home.

That’s kind of how life works.

* * * *

Aside from my golf course closing for the entire month of April, my life hasn’t really been affected all that much by the government lockdown. I’m retired. I get paid to do nothing. And I’ve discovered that I’m really pretty damn good at it. If I could do my life over, this would be my dream job.

That said, it is nice to get out of the house every now and then. Yesterday, we all took a trip to the golf course so Todd and I could retrieve our golf clubs. Lea drove our new car. She loves to drive, and she probably needed to get out of the house more than any of us, if only for an hour.

Todd and I might want to practice chipping in the backyard or something seeing how we can’t play golf right now. We’re either going to end up really good at chipping, or we’re going to be replacing a few windows. Maybe both…

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Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my–sonuvabitch!!!

On the way back from the golf course we stopped at Soriana. It’s like unto the Mexican version of Walmart. We needed a few groceries. And stuff. Todd and Lea knew what they were looking for because they do all the cooking. I wandered through the aisles purposelessly while they shopped because I didn’t need anything.

I spent ten minutes seriously perusing everything in the Barbie® aisle. And I wasn’t even stoned! Or planning on buying a Barbie® doll.

* * * *

Despite my earlier stated aversion to work, even I can’t sit on my ass all day. I’ve been busy doing stuff here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I thought I had completed all of the things on my To-Do list a couple of weeks ago, but then I remembered all of the things I had procrastinated on doing for so long that I had forgotten all about them.

They were things that involved climbing a ladder. I can’t say that I’m afraid of heights, but I’m a lots less comfortable with them as I’ve gotten older. And I should clarify this statement. I don’t have any problems climbing a ladder. It’s the descent part that I seem to have problems with.

tenor

I’ve taken more than one misstep on a ladder in my lifetime. Based on my personal research on this, it’s true what they say. The falling part isn’t that bad. It’s the sudden impact at the end that fucks you up.

I don’t think I’ve ever broken any bones falling off of a ladder, but my right knee cringes every time it even sees a ladder. Thankfully, almost everything involving a ladder has been sorted out for now, so my right knee can relax for awhile.

* * * *

I’ve been doing a little gardening over the last couple of weeks. I used to do a lots of gardening back when we lived in Minneapolis. My lovely supermodel wife loves gardens, but she hates gardening. She asked me to put some flower gardens in the backyard for her, so I became a gardener.

Our gardens in Minnesota looked great.

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See? I told you

I attribute that to the secret formula I had developed for successful gardening:

Step 1.) Buy some plants and flowers and stuff.

Step 2.) Open a beer and start drinking.

Step 3.) Dig holes in the garden and plant flowers and stuff until you run out of things to plant. Or beer.

Gardening back then was probably a lots more fun than it is now, which is one reason why I only do a little gardening now. That, and anything that involves me having to get on my knees is a very time sensitive undertaking. That’s the primary reason I only do a little gardening.

* * * *

I started doing some housework last Saturday because we told Monica, our maid, to take a few weeks off until all this Coronavirus stuff settles down. She’s still getting paid, so you don’t have to worry about that.

It didn’t seem fair that we should just wait for her to return to work before the house was ever cleaned again. Besides, we have two kit-tens, and they shed hair like unto an elm tree dropping its leaves in October. Last week, I vacuumed up enough cat hair to knit two sweaters. It wasn’t as bad this week, and there’s a reason for that.

Unlike my dad, I have no problem doing housework. My mom had eight kids. She put us to work doing chores around the house as soon as we could walk. And I think it’s important to have a division of labor in a modern relationship. No woman ever shot her husband while he was doing the dishes. Or vacuuming the floors. It’s probably saved my life more than once.

I vacuumed the entire house last Saturday. It took me two hours. I’m very thorough when I clean. I’m even more thorough than Monica, and she’s the best housekeeper we’ve ever had. It’s a byproduct of being a nurse, and working in the OR for a couple of years.

I use all of the attachments on our Dyson® when I vacuum. I move furniture. I remove all the cushions on our couches and suck up all the crumbs and stuff that collect under them. That’s why there wasn’t as much cat hair this week. I’m sometimes capable of an incredible single-mindedness of purpose, especially if I’m wielding a vacuum cleaner.

Today, I vacuumed the floors again, and Todd followed along behind me and mopped them. All of the floors are clean and the whole house smells like lavender. My lovely supermodel wife had had a few reservations about living with two guys when Todd moved in with us. But between cooking and cleaning, Lea says she thinks she’ll keep both of us around for awhile.

And no, we can’t come over to clean your house next week. I mean, we could, but we’re not supposed to leave the house…   I find doing these mindless kind of tasks is good for me. It gives me something to do while my brain, and my Muses, sort out what they want to write about.

That’s one of the downsides to being a writer. You never stop thinking about writing.

I’ve been trying to write my blog, but I haven’t felt all that inspired to write lately, even though I haven’t had much of anything else to do. It’s taken me about a week to get this far with this installation. That’s because I have been very inspired to delete everything I’ve written and start all over several times already. I’m not disappointed with this one so far, so I might actually post it when I’m done.

* * * *

One of the things that I did earlier this week when I got bored was I downloaded a bunch of CD’s onto our laptop and updated my music collection.

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I love music, but I have an intense dislike for our laptop. I should probably start spending some quality time with it. You know, get to know it better, become buddies with it; something like unto that.

I say that for a couple of reasons. One, it took me a few hours to figure out how to upload the CD’s I had ripped to the Windows Media Player® to my Google® Music account because I haven’t done it in a couple of years. And then I had to remember how to transfer the songs I wanted to all of my mobile devices. If I did that kind of stuff more often, I wouldn’t get as frustrated with it.

And it just occurred to me that it’d probably make writing my blog a helluvalot easier if I typed it on the laptop. I’m not sure if I thought of that or if someone just inserted that thought into my head because I’m evidently too goddamn stupid to think of it myself.

I’ll have to give this thought more thought…

I write almost everything on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2®. I used to use my phone, so as hard as it might be to imagine, this is actually an improvement. I’ve gotten used to it over time, and it’s not like I have a deadline with any of the things I write.

At any rate, when I finally got all of the songs ripped, uploaded, downloaded, and transferred, I decided to create a few playlists to suit the four or five moods that I apparently still have.

One classical music playlist. Two rock and roll playlists; one male, one female. One country music playlist, all women. And one easy listening playlist, both male and female artists, with music you’d play at 3:00 AM when you’re coming down from an acid trip and you don’t want to fall off the ladder. Or wake up the neighbors.

I’m listening to the Guys That Rock playlist as I sit on the patio by the pool and slowly type this. Todd is floating in the pool. Lea is sitting to my right playing games on her Samsung Galaxy Tab E®.

Our backyard runs parallel to the first fairway of the Chula Vista Golf Course. A small forest of old growth trees lines the hillside of the golf course. They keep most of the errant golf balls fired in our direction out of our yard. By accident or design, the trees have also turned our backyard into kind of a bird sanctuary.

Lea feeds the violet crowned hummingbirds. We don’t have the hordes of hummingbirds we used to have at our last house, but we have enough of them to keep her happy. Todd puts out oranges for the altamira and summer orioles, and the blue mockingbirds. Vermillion flycatchers and pink house finches flit from tree to tree in a flash of color. If I remember, I’ll try to get some pictures. 

* * * *

Evening is falling here in the Lakeside Area. The rufous backed robins are chirping in the trees, signaling the end of another day. When it gets darker, the nightjars and the whip-poor-wills will add their lilting calls to the night.

In the dead of night I can hear owls hooting in the trees, but I’ve never seen an owl in Mexico. Maybe that’s a good thing. In Native American folklore, owls are a symbol of impending death…

In the morning, the great kiskadees will erupt in raucous chorus impelling you to wake up and get out of bed because a new day has dawned and it’s time to get moving. Now!! I guess they didn’t get the memo that everyone is sheltering at home, and no one needs to be in a rush to move from the bedroom to the living room…

So stay safe, and stay home. This, too, shall pass.

And if you can’t stay home because you work in an essential business, all I can say is Thank You for the service you’re providing. And to my friends and former co-workers in the healthcare profession, we owe you a debt that cannot be repaid.

And if any of you need a vacation after the dust settles, contact me. We have plenty of room, and a pool. And stuff.

And you can choose which playlist you want to listen to…

Apocalypse Now

Does anyone reading this remember the Duck and Cover drills from the 1950’s? Just in cases you missed them, the drills were part of President Harry S. Truman’s Federal Civil Defense Administration program and were aimed to educate the public about what ordinary people could do to protect themselves in case of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

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Like this was going to save you from being turned into radioactive Rice Krispies

I don’t remember doing these when I was a kid, but I didn’t start going to school until the 1960’s. By that time everyone had probably figured out that ducking and covering was a stupid idea, so they started smoking pot and protesting against the Vietnam War and marching for civil rights. And stuff.

You wouldn’t be allowed to have a mass protest right now because the whole world is on double-secret probation lockdown in an attempt to control the Coronavirus pandemic, including the Lakeside Area. Yesterday, my golf course closed until sometime next week, but probably maybe later. There’s a whole lots of nothing to do here right now.

I’ve completed every home maintenance project within my ability here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I added about five hundred gallons to the pool yesterday. It took seven hours and twelve minutes. If you think watching paint dry is boring…  And I watched five hundred videos on Facebook and the YouTube®.

The first two were funny.

I’ve weeded some of the gardens. Todd has weeded all of the others. Miguel, our gardener and pool guy, is going to cry when this quarantine is over. I repotted all of my plants on the patio this morning that I was planning to get around to doing, someday. 

Right now, I’m listening to my collection of Mozart CD’s that I bought twenty years ago and never took out of the box. And it seems like a good time to try to write something/anything to pass the time away…

* * * *

Way back when I wanted to become a rich and famous author, I wrote an epic, three volume tale about the End of the World. There were a couple of plagues of Biblical proportions in it. Hundreds of thousands of people got dead. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how people would react during a crisis, but I know I didn’t write anything about people hoarding toilet paper…

But wait, there’s more!

There were a shitload of natural disasters that ruined the lives of almost everyone on the planet. And more than one unnatural disaster that, if you were unlucky enough to survive, would probably make you wish you had gotten dead. And there were a couple of world wars where millions of people got killed to death.

My book was a lighthearted comedy romp through the worst fucking things you could imagine, and then doing them all over again because you just weren’t miserable enough yet.

And I seriously wondered why no one wanted to publish it at the time.

I know I didn’t foresee the current political divide in American politics. Even if I had, I’m sure I would’ve predicted that the two parties would put aside their differences and work together to try to save their country from ruin.

That has not turned out to be the case with the Coronavirus, has it? It’s like unto those old Miller Lite commercials:

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Tastes great. Less filling!  Bitch! Whore!! CUNT!!!

It’s time to grow up, you politician guys. And it’s time for America to wake the fuck up. No party in the current system, not Republican nor Democratic, has all of the answers to fix all of the problems America is facing. And if they can’t start working together, neither of them will.

* * * *

The End of the World has been predicted pretty much ever since civilization began. And the one constant I can see is this: every one of those predictions of imminent doom, destruction and death has been wrong. Including mine.

As far as I know, there has been only one (unverified) case of complete and total worldwide death and destruction since human beings appeared on the scene.

The Great Flood.

* * * *

Some of you probably know the story about Great Flood and Noah and his ark. As the story goes, wickedness and evil were prevalent all across the world at that time. It was like unto the Sin City movies, only worse. And if you’re looking for a story about a compassionate, loving God, you won’t find one here.

According to legend, a group of angels called the Grigori were living on Earth to keep an eye on things while God was busy doing other things somewhere else. One of the things these angels noticed was the daughters of Men were some serious babes. They broke General Order #1, the Prime Directive, and interfered with the normal and healthy development of Earth life and culture. The children of this mixing were called Nephilim.

They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Think back to those mythology classes you thought were stupid and boring because all that crap had to be made up by someone doing mind-altering drugs. All of those gods, demi-gods, and heroes: Zeus. Osiris. Apollo. Odin. Vishnu. Thor. Achilles, Perseus, and Hercules. Bilibobus Thorntonicus.

They were half-mortal, half-divine beings with an impressive array of abilities and  powers unknown to the rest of the world. And they were most likely the real reason God decided to destroy most of the civilized world when He did. I don’t think He liked all of the competition. And He clearly kicked the shit out of all of them. There were a lots and lots of stories about their exploits. And then, kind of just like that!, there were no more stories…

Something happened to all of those guys.

* * * *

According to the Bible, God regretted ever creating humans because they were so fucking wicked bad. According to the way I interpret this story, the cause of all that wickedness appears to be a group of rogue angels that decided to have unprotected sex with a bunch of hot girls. And they produced a race of Giants with magical superpowers. So God decided the best thing He could do to fix this problem was kill every man, woman and child on the planet by drowning them in a great flood.

Everyone except Noah and his family because Noah was a righteous dude, like unto Ferris Bueller. And you probably know the rest of the story. Noah built an ark, then he gathered together a bunch of animals and herded them into his big-ass boat. And then it started raining like unto a bastard, and it rained for forty days and forty nights. 

According to the Bible,  …everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.  Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

Afterwards, God made a covenant with Noah and his family. God promised Himself He would never destroy the world in this fashion again, and He set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant He had made. It would be a reminder to God that the next time His children disappointed Him, He wouldn’t kill them all to death again.

You know, just in cases He forgets or something…

* * * *

I’ve always thought the story of Noah’s ark was the kind of story that parents would read to their children when they went to bed at night to encourage them to be better people, or God will drown your rotten little asses, too!

I thought that for a couple of reasons. One, God is supposed to be all-knowing and perfect, therefore, incapable of making a mistake. Ask any pastor you happen to see, they’ll tell you. And yet He appears to have done fucked up a couple of times in this story. I’ve said this before: if God wanted a perfect society, He should have stopped with bees.

The other reason is God supposedly doesn’t labor in vain. Everything He touches works out to perfection. But here we have a world gone to hell in a handbasket, with corruption and crap everywhere. God rolls up His sleeves and gets to work. He cleans up the mess His wicked and evil children have created by drowning them all in the bathtub.

And yet, after all of that, wickedness and evil still exist? That shouldn’t be possible, should it? Nor does it appear that God was even successful in killing all of the Nephilim. It clearly states in the Bible that some of them continued living after the flood.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense. And yet if you want to be a good Christian you have to believe it’s true because it’s in the Bible and everything in the Bible is true. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a good Christian.

* * * *

There was one part of the story that I thought had to be true. After the flood Noah planted some grapes, made some wine, and got drunk. And it says he passed out naked in his tent.

But I imagine this as the first block party after the flood. Noah had no doubt been very stressed out from building an ark, gathering a herd of animals and somehow feeding them during the super storm that drowned the earth. But those may have been small change compared to being quarantined with his family for more than six months straight.

It’s something we can all relate to right now. With adjustments for inflation and the cost of living, six modern days are easily equal to six ancient months.

I imagine Noah drank a few flagons of wine at the Postdiluvian Block Party. Then he drank a few more… The next thing you know, he’s telling his family what a bunch of fuckin’ whiners they’d been during the dark days of the storm. His sons were almost no help. Their wives, those bitches, he would’ve fed them to the lions if God would’ve let him. Then took his clothes off and twerked his naked ass in front of all of their faces before he stumbled into his tent and passed out.

According to the Bible, Noah was 600 years old at the time of the Great Flood. That could not have been a pretty sight.

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See? I told you

Don’t be surprised when this whole quarantine thing ends if you see crowds of drunken naked people dancing in the street. It could totally happen.

* * * *

At least one of my Facebook friends is convinced that the Coronavirus pandemic is the beginning of the end, and the End of Times is upon us. I was pretty sure the Gulf War was going to usher in the events that would end the world…

Yeah, I really do suck when it comes to being a prophet.

That said, I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time, so here’s a couple of things to consider about the End of Times:

“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:7-9

Every pastor I’ve talked to about this says that war was fought long ago. Go ahead, ask your pastor. See what he thinks. I think it’s a battle that is yet to be fought. And the reason I think that is this verse in the Book of Revelation:

“Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”

For a malevolent spirit of ultimate evil, Satan has thus far appeared to be a bit of an underachiever when it comes to being, you know, a really bad guy. The worst thing he’s done lately is prevent the Saturday Women’s group from having pancakes. From what I can tell, he appears to be content to watch Netflix® and chill, just like the rest of us. 

Desperate times require desperate actions. When Satan starts acting like a Russian mobster on a meth binge, then you’ll know that shit just got real.

And there’s one last thing. Revelation 19:19. That verse describes the armies of the kings of the earth assembling to wage war against the forces of Heaven.

Two billion people on this planet claim to be Christian. Every Christian will tell you the Second Coming of Christ is something they look forward to with great anticipation. Every Christian alive would say this is true, even if they happened to be a king of the earth.

If that’s true, then why would they gather their armies and prepare for war?

There’s only one thing that I can think of that could unite all of this world’s fractious leaders enough to pool their forces and fight together. And that thing is an invasion from outer space.

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April Fool’s! Or is it?

* * * *

Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. But if you can think of anything else that would make all of the world leaders unite like that, I’m open to your ideas and suggestions.

Jesus Christ claimed to be the King of Heaven and Earth, and he said he would return again one day to rule. One quarter of world’s population believes with all their hearts that this is going to happen, and the sooner the better. But according to the Bible, Jesus will have to go to war to claim his throne.

You’d think he’d have an army of supporters waiting to welcome him when he returns, but it doesn’t appear that that is going to happen. Can any of my Christian friends explain to me how that’s possible?

I have one. When Jesus returns, he comes back in a spaceship. And because of that, no one is going to lay down a welcome mat for him

That, however implausible it might seem, would explain a whole lots of things. I’m not going anywhere or doing anything for a few days. If you have a different idea, leave a comment.

* * * *

Hang in there everyone. This quarantine isn’t going to last forever. It probably won’t last much longer. Maybe another week beyond what everyone has been predicting. But then simple economics will have to take over and the world will have to get back to business again.

But if it doesn’t, a lots of people are going to start praying for spaceships.

WWTDD? (What Would The Donald Do?)

2020 has been a year to reckon with so far, and we’re only three and a half months into it. In my opinion, it’s been like unto getting a root canal and a conscious colonoscopy simultaneously. And maybe having a kidney stone, too.

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I need a crash cart, and a catcher’s mitt, STAT!

2020 would have been a hallmark year anyway. It’s a Leap Year. It’s an Olympic Year. And it’s an Election Year in the United States. It already had major significance written all over it.

And then the Coronavirus thing happened, and the whole world seemed to go ape-fuckin’ batshit crazy overnight.

Whether or not we all die to death from the widely and wildly hyped Coronavirus global pandemic, one thing has become painfully obvious. We are all going to be greatly affected by it.

Seeing how almost everything has been ground to a screeching halt as a result of the precautionary measures to prevent its spread, even here in bucolic Mexico, I decided I’d try to examine the evolution of how we ended up here. I’m going to do it by outlining Donald Trump’s responses to it because his lack of action, and actions, are the easiest things to find on The Google®.

If you want a different approach, do your own goddamn research. That said, you might as well read my post. You’re probably not doing anything, or going anywhere right now either…

* * * *

The first thing everyone needs to remember about this crisis is President Trump disbanded the National Security Council directorate team for global health and security and bio-defense in 2018.

When he was asked why he did it, he said, “I don’t know anything about it.” In his defense, he also said this: “This is something that you can never really think is going to happen.”

And he has a point. Never, (The Black Death) in the entire history of our planet, (The Spanish Influenza) has there ever (SARS) been (Ebola) a global (AIDS) pandemic. No one (The Andromeda Strain) has ever predicted (Outbreak) that this (The Walking Dead) was (Jurassic World) something (The Center for Disease Control) that was even (The World Health Organization) remotely possible. 

* * * *

Donald Trump was aware of the Coronavirus way back in January of this year. At that time he said, “We have it totally under control…  It’s going to be just fine.”  White House acting budget director Russell Vought said this: “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.”

* * * *

Does anyone know when people started hoarding toilet paper? Better yet, why? Who was Hoarder Zero, and how did everyone else come to the conclusion that five hundred rolls of toilet paper would keep them safe?

Of all the weird things that have happened so far, this is the most mystifying event to me. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not a gastrointestinal bug. Even if it were cholera on steroids, I fail to see how stocking up on toilet paper would help much.

I am a psychiatric nurse, so I welcome the input of other medical professionals who understand internal medicine, disease processes, and medical treatments far better than I do. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this reaction was caused, in part, by the fact that a great many people have no idea how medical issues work.

Case in point, there are some people that believe sugar causes diabetes. Additionally, when asked why they were taking medications to manage a medical condition, a great many of my former patients had this response: “My doctor told me to take it.” They couldn’t even tell me the name of the medication.

From my point of view as a mental health professional: If you bought a truckload of toilet paper because of the Coronavirus, your best bet would be to insert an entire roll of toilet paper up inside your ass. Sideways.

While some people might have assholes large enough to easily accommodate this, the vast majority of us do not. I couldn’t get a shampoo bottle up my ass even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Back when I was a psych nurse I knew several people that put shampoo bottles up their asses without any problem. But I doubt even they could get an entire roll of toilet paper up their asses.

* * * *

In late February of this year The Donald said this: “[The number of people infected is] going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” And he said this: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA…  Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

[Note: Two weeks later on March 11, according to the people that compiled this timeline, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]

More late February: During a campaign rally in South Carolina, President Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new Coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “…this is their new hoax.” During the speech he downplayed the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu.

Also in late February, The Donald said this: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.”  The next day his son, Eric, added: “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in . . . let’s see if I’m right.”

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From what I can tell, he was wrong.

In late February, the stock market started going into a free fall and probably crashed a couple of times. I could be wrong. I understand the stock market about as well as I understand how cold fusion works. Maybe this is a good time to buy stocks…  It’s probably not a good time to own stocks…  That said, I also welcome the input of financial advisors about this issue.

* * * *

Okay. We have the situation under control. It’s not a big deal. There aren’t that many cases. The stock market is doing well. Anything else?

Well, there was March…  This is where The Donald stepped up to the plate and started to shine.

He appointed his Vice-president, Mike Pence, to head the Coronavirus Task Force. Prior to this, the only thing Pence had been noted for in this administration was his ability to kiss his boss’s ass in just the right spot. I can’t find any documentation that supports this, but Mike Pence’s first statement was allegedly a call for prayer. Which is what the Republicans ask for every time there’s a mass shooting or something.

In early March, The Donald said there would be a vaccine — possibly even a cure — available very soon, like, you know, a couple of months. That is untrue. There isn’t a vaccine, and it would realistically take eighteen months or more before any reliable vaccine would be ready to go on the market.

But wait, there’s more:

“Well, I think the 3.4 percent (The global mortality rate estimated by the World Health Organization for COVID-19), is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.

“You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and — or virus. So you just can’t do that. So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work but they get better.”

* * * *

Maybe The Donald is right about that, although I have to admit I have a difficult time following his rambling logic. I think a lots of this shit has been blown way out proportion, too. That said, most world leaders don’t tend to rely on their hunches when they’re dealing with a crisis. They rely on their expert advisors because no one person can know everything they need to know about something they probably don’t understand at all.

Oh, wait. Trump fired most of those experts. But he did keep the guy that thinks windmills cause cancer…

* * * *

And then there this statement from The Donald:“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. . . . Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

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Dr. Trump’s Genuine Indian Snake Oil Coronavirus Elixir! Only $25,000 a bottle!

And then he said this: “I didn’t know people died from the flu.” I’m not making this up. He actually said everything I’ve quoted him as saying. And he’s pretty sure the Coronavirus will collapse on itself in April because the temperature gets so fucking hot in April…

“Anybody who wants a test gets a test.” That statement is total bullshit. But another thing to consider is testing for this illness has been woefully inadequate in pretty much every country on this planet, so there’s that.

And then something really weird happened. To combat a hoax of a pandemic that wasn’t a very big deal and was totally under control, The Donald went into shutdown mode. He had previously closed the border to China because this is a foreign virus, then he closed the border to Europe because, “the free flow of people throughout mainland Europe makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

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I’ll give him that point

The Donald is also contemplating shutting down the southern border with Mexico, and he’s probably got a few more measures he’s going to institute, but he doesn’t know what they are yet. So stay tuned to your local news channel for updates as they occur. There’s sure to be a few hundred more of them, and you’re not going to have anything better to do.

Today, President Trump had this to say about the Coronavirus situation: “I’ve always known, this is a real — this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…no, I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”

Oh! Another hunch? I have no doubt The Donald believed himself when he said that. So maybe I should start taking this thing more seriously. But I doubt that Trump has any serious regard for the people that have been or may become ill because of the disease. I’m guessing he’s far more concerned with how it has damaged his economy, and how much it will affect his personal ratings.

That would be a very serious thing indeed.

* * * *

Just to put this into perspective: As of this precise moment in time, there have been just under 200,000 Coronavirus cases reported worldwide. Just under 8,000 people have died, worldwide.

As of this moment, almost the entire US has shutdown. Schools have closed, more probably will. Businesses are closed, more will follow. Sporting and entertainment events have been cancelled. And it’s not just in the US. This is happening on a global scale. It’s even happening here in the Lakeside Area.

This isn’t a ripple effect. This is a motherfucking tsunami.

Good thing/bad thing? Beats the hell out of me. But it does seem a little drastic coming from a guy who has repeatedly said he had the whole thing under control and there was nothing to worry about, then denied he ever said that, and then claimed he knew it was a serious pandemic all along.

Well, at least something is finally getting back to normal…

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Keep making America more better greater, Donnie Boy

People in America are essentially sitting at home squeezing their Charmin®, and stocking up on guns and ammunition just in cases the Coronavirus comes knock, knock, knocking on their front door. Yep, gun and ammo sales are way up. You gotta love the way some Americans think.

* * * *

I have no real idea how History will view President Trump, but it’s my guess that it won’t be kindly. He won’t be known as the leader that not only made America great again, he was the great leader who saved the country when it needed saving most.

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The Donald doesn’t seem destined to go down as America’s favorite President, even though he claimed he was in several of his Tweets. He’ll probably be remembered as the man who didn’t act fast enough when disaster struck, or he’ll be the man that totally overreacted when he finally decided to do something.

That’s one of the perks of being President. It’s a thankless job, and you get blamed for everything that happens once your ass sits on that chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office. Ask any former President you happen to see, they’ll tell you.

The world may never know if the Coronavirus was a serious pandemic of apocalyptic proportions, but we definitely know this: there are far more stupid people on this planet than there are smart ones.

Maybe when the next pandemic appears, and there will be another one; maybe we shouldn’t do anything to stop it.

From A Million Miles

From a Million Miles is a technopop/electronic dance song by the Australian trio Single Gun Theory. I’m not a big fan of the genre, but I do have that song on one of my playlists. If you don’t have anything else to do, you can listen to it on The YouTube®.

It’s kind of a catchy song. And the title more or less sums up how living in a foreign country can sometimes feel when you miss your family and friends. And stuff…

 * * * *

How’s everybody doing? I hope you’ve all been able to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water, and hand sanitizer so you don’t get killed to death by the Coronavirus. We’re safe here in Mexico because we drink Corona® beer. It contains all the antibodies you need to develop immunity to the pandemic that’s wreaking havoc everywhere else on the planet.

Honestly, I have no idea what’s really going on out there in the real world. I don’t watch the news. Social media seems to be the most effective way to spread misinformation. Ever.

I figure most of us will survive this latest crisis, much like we’ve survived everything else that was supposed to destroy the world. Or we won’t. And life will go on.

The bottom line is this: there’s a bunch of rich, white, seventy year old men in America with dementia and intransigent political alliances, and they are going to fix everything.

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What could possibly go wrong?

* * * *

I am seriously embarrassed by the current state of American politics, and if you aren’t, you should be. Even if you’re not an American. I’ve come to the conclusion that the current system of government isn’t just broken, it’s FUBAR. For those of you that are unaware, it’s a military acronym that means: Fucked Up Beyond All Repair.

I’d like to be able to blame Donald Trump and his political sycophants for destroying the country of my birth, but all they did was drive the final stake in its heart.

It’s no secret that I dislike President Trump. He has taken being a hypocrite to a whole ‘nother level. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, or principles that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie their stated beliefs.

The Donald is more of a triplocrit. And here’s how he does it: 1.) He says or does something outrageous. 2.) He denies that he did or said anything. 3.) He smugly admits to doing/saying that which he had previously denied, but says it’s not a big deal. Or it’s not illegal. Or what are you going to do about it. Or something…

I haven’t been following his antics as closely ever since my Twitter account was permanently suspended last year. I still get updates from my friends on Facebook about what The Donald has been up to. Okay, they despise Trump, too. So they never have anything good to say about him. 

Trump, if nothing else, has clearly defined the lines of divisiveness that separate the two major American political parties. He probably used a Sharpie®…

The People With Brains, my name for the people that oppose Trump, are absolutely mystified how the Walmart Intelligensia, my name for the people that worship Trump, can be so taken in by this two-bit charlatan.

There might be an explanation in the Bible: “…they look but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:13.

But one line in the Bible can be used to support almost any argument.

“They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. I could claim that this bit of scripture prophesied the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2018.

God, if He had anything to do with Donald Trump being elected, is clearly working in mysterious ways because that’s apparently the only way He knows how to work. And if this is going to be one of His lessons for humanity, there are going to be a whole lots of dunces facing the corner wearing funny hats when this is over.

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As I’ve said before, guys are not typically known for their profound thoughts. Guys are simple creatures. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. That’s a guy thought. If it is broken and you can’t fix it, it’s time to get a new goldarn thing. That is also a deeply profound guy thought.

It’ll probably require another American revolution to fix this goddamn goldarn mess of a thing, but that political/socioeconomic battle won’t be fought until long after I’m dead.

I tried to warn the Millennials, but they haven’t heard me yet. It’s time to vote every fucking member of Congress from my generation out of office, and put them out to pasture where they belong.

I’m not going to tell you little bastards that again.

* * * *

One of the best things about living in Mexico is we don’t have to watch or listen to any American political ads if we don’t want to. We did have to endure Canadian political ads last year. Yep. They were annoying, too.

I love living here. The climate is temperate. The people here are genuinely sweet. The food is amazing! The cost of living is doubly amazing!! We live in a beautiful gringo mansion that we wouldn’t be able to afford back the States. I get to hang out with the love of my life and enjoy spending this blessed time of our lives together. And we have kit-tens!!

Some of my Facebook friends have told me they are fascinated by my decision to live in Mexico. Well, if they’re that interested, I hope they start reading my blog. That’s right, Ryan McKenzie, I’m talking to you.

He was my first boss at Aurora Behavioral Health in Glendale, AZ. I accepted the job because of him. He was highly regarded and recommended by my co-workers at St. Luke’s Hospital in Phoenix. I decided to find a new job after my first work wife, Deb Goral, left the Evening shift and started working Days. It wasn’t as much fun without her, so I decided to move on.

Ryan is the Program Director of the SAGE Unit now. That’s the Gero/Psych unit I worked on at Banner Del Webb Medical Center in Surprise, AZ. As one of the doctors I worked with at Del Webb told me when I left there, “It’s a small world in Psychiatry here in Phoenix. We’ll probably run into each other again.”

He was right about that. I worked with him again at Aurora.

* * * *

If you’re one of the seven people that have ever read any of my blogs, you might have noticed that I changed the title of my page. I originally started writing about my career as a psych nurse, and I called it Reflections. As time has progressed, I’ve been less reflective about my nursing career and more reactive to just about anything. I’m all over the spectrum with what I write now.

If I can’t think of anything else to write about, I tend to ramble on about living in Mexico, so I decided to add that to the title to emphasize it a bit more. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea about what they’re going to find here.

* * * *

As much as I love living here, life in Mexico isn’t without its challenges. Case in point, the fireplace in our living room.

In my last post, I mentioned we were shopping for a gas insert for the fireplace in the living room. We have three fireplaces here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. They all have gas lines installed, but none of them have the requisite inserts that make them functionable.

We found an insert at Baja Grills, and Lea was able to negotiate a sweet deal on it with Kat. It was one of those Just Between Two Supermodels Things…  Lea bought the insert for less than five hundred bucks, which is about half of what you’d usually pay for one down here.

However, before we bought it Lea wanted to know if the gas line to the fireplace actually worked. I suppose I could have just turned one on, you know, to check. But I don’t like playing with gas, so I decided to call our property manager, Jaime Mendoza.

And there was this: I thought Lea was being ridiculous because the gas lines were already in place! And who would be stupid enough to run a gas line to the fireplace and not hook it up to the propane tank???

So, I talked to Jaime, and he talked to Lord Mark. He’s the guy that owns the house we’re renting. They were both pretty sure all the fireplaces worked because Lord Mark’s parents had burned wood fires in all of them. When I asked again about the gas lines, Jaime couldn’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t work.

Based on that information we bought the insert, but when the guy came to install it we discovered that none of the gas lines to any of the fireplaces worked. At some point in time in the past, the original gas line had been replaced with a new and improved gas line. But the new line ran from the propane tank to the water heater for the bathrooms in the North Wing of the house.

And the fucking fireplaces had not been reconnected!!!

The installer from Baja Grills was a Mexican guy named Saul. He took one look at how the new line had been installed, and said, “Fucking Mexico.” And then he said, “It takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.”

l love that because truer words have never been spoken.

Saul gave us an estimate to run a new gas line from the propane tank to the living room fireplace. Fourteen thousand pesos. That’s roughly equivalent to $700 US. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s more than Lea or I wanted to spend on a house that we don’t own.

So I talked to Jaime again, and he came over to eyeball the situation for himself. Jaime said he didn’t know about the replacement gas line. And if Lord Mark had known about it, he had forgotten all about it. And Jaime had had the same thought I did. He couldn’t imagine the gas lines not working either.

However, Lord Mark thought it was important that the living room fireplace actually worked like a fireplace, so he agreed to pay for the installation of a new gas line. And it would be much cheaper than the estimate Saul had given us. “I think that guy gave you a gringo-face price.”

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I had never heard that term before, but I don’t doubt that it’s true, too

It took Tacho, our general fix-it guy, two days to hook up the new gas line. Tacho loves working here because I let him use any of my tools that he needs, and I always tip him well for his services.

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And there you have it

One working fireplace! I don’t know if Lord Mark would’ve been willing to run new gas lines to all the fireplaces here. I doubt we’d ever use the other two, and we love it here, so we don’t want to create any undue expenses for stuff we don’t want or need.

We painted the fireplace in the master bedroom to make it pop! Seriously, you wouldn’t have known it was even there before we added the accent color to the chimney. They both turned out great and we’ll probably never have to mess with either of them again.

* * * *

Mexico. The land where things that you think will be easy to do or find end up being Herculean labors of frustration. And things that you think are going to be almost impossible to accomplish end up being easier than tying your shoes.

That’s what happened when we found this house. And when we needed to get a new car. Lea and I are changing our living status in Mexico from temporary to permanent this year, and once we do that we are required by law to drive a Mexican plated car. 

In order to be legally registered and licensed in Mexico, every car has to have been manufactured in Mexico, Canada, or the United States. I think it’s part of the NAFTA treaty, or whatever it’s called now. Our American made Buick Encore was actually assembled in South Korea. We couldn’t get it licensed here even we we wanted to.

Buying a car in Mexico isn’t the same as buying a car in the States. Prices for almost everything in the States are fixed, except cars. You can negotiate the sales price of the vehicle you want, and salesmen will literally kiss your feet if means getting a sale. In Mexico, a lots of prices are flexible, except cars. The dealer has one price, and if you don’t like it, well, that’s too bad for you.

On the bright side, cars are about 40% cheaper in Mexico than they are in the States. Yep, you read that correctly. The car we’re thinking about buying will cost us roughly $18,000 US.

In America, no one pays cash at a dealership. Cars are financed, and you have a monthly car payment for years. In Mexico, financing is something they’re still trying to figure out. If you really want to buy a decent car, you better be able to pay cash for it when you go to the dealership.

And, you should have a reputable mechanic look over any car you want to buy here because not everything is as advertised. Odometer readings are often changed to reflect lower mileage, so if nothing else, there’s always that. Additionally, cars that have damaged by floods in the US are frequently shipped to Mexico to be sold. So there’s that, too.

We hired a local guy named Antonio Regalado to find a new car for us. He owns and runs a business called R &R Car Sales and Rentals to help gringos find good cars, and comes highly recommended by everyone we know that has done business with him. He’s kind of a mercenary car salesman — he doesn’t work for any dealership — but he works with a few of them and they usually pay his fees for hooking up gringos looking for cars with dealerships that have a lots of cars to sell.

Antonio does all the talking to the salesmen, the managers, and anyone else who might be involved in the sale at the dealership. And he kept us updated on everything that was happening.

We met with him Monday for about half an hour at his office, and told him what we were looking for. We gave him a list of the options we wanted and the year, make, and model of the SUV’s we were interested in. Half an hour later, we had a list of six SUV’s to choose from, along with Antonio’s perspective on which was the best buy.

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These are our top two choices

The first is a 2017 Kia Sportage GT. It has 45,000 kilometers. The GT package means it has a bigger engine and comes with a fair amount of bells and whistles. The second is a 2018 Nissan X-Trail. It has 59,000 kilometers and it has almost every bell and whistle available for that model. And it’s red.

Antonio drove us to Guadalajara today to the dealership to take a closer look at both of them. Personally, the only thing I care about in my automobiles is that they have a great sound system, which makes me the least qualified person on the planet when it comes to buying a car. So it’s a good thing I have people around me who know what the hell they’re doing.

This process has transpired a helluvalot faster than any of us thought it would. I thought it would take a couple of weeks at least, not two days! Our financial planner didn’t think it would happen this quickly either, so she has had to scramble to get us the funds we need to buy Lea’s new dream car. 

There’s an unwritten rule for shopping in Mexico: If you find something you like, buy it. It won’t be there the next time. We’ve failed to do that enough times that we don’t question it anymore. Lea loves the X-Trail. And it has a Bose® stereo sound system. Done deal.

And here’s where the really weird part comes in. Before a Mexican dealership can sell you a car, the Mexican government requires that you have to prove you actually live in Mexico. And proof of residency, according to the government, is a utility bill. An electric bill. Telephone, TV, or Internet. All you need is a bill with your name on it, and you could buy a whole fleet of cars if you wanted to.

We don’t own the house we’re living in. None of the utility bills we pay have our names on them. We have a signed copy of the rental contract, but the Mexican government doesn’t recognize it as legal proof of residency. They don’t recognize driver’s licenses either.

Yeah, go figure on that!

Seeing how we live here, but don’t have the required documents of proof, we’re trying to figure out how to make this work. A bank statement will suffice, but first we have to open an account in a Mexican bank, then wait until we receive our first bank statement. This being Mexico, and assuming that will be an easy thing, it could take months for that to happen.

But we do have an Antonio. And as everyone knows, it takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.

Q & A

It’s been a busy year so far at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We’ve had illnesses, cancer scares, and various and sundry other medical issues that needed treatment.

I  had the Mexico City Flu, and a couple of precancerous lesions by my right eye that were removed in January. At the same time, our roommate, Todd, had a Shingles outbreak around his right eye. It took about three weeks, but that has resolved, so things are getting back to normal for both of us again.

Our kit-tens, Mollie and Mika, are doing great. Mollie is helping me type right now, so this could take a while. Kit-tens are apparently immune to the flu. And Shingles. They’re still the cutest kit-tens ever.

* * * *

We’ve had visitors in February. Our beautiful and talented oldest daughter, Gwen, and her husband, John, were here for a week. While they were here, we had a major plumbing problem with the kitchen sink. It started leaking. And then it stopped draining.

I can usually fix most simple plumbing leaks on my own, but this is Mexico. I’m not sure if there are any construction codes in Mexico, and if there are, they’re probably viewed in the same manner that traffic laws are. They’re more like unto suggestions than anything else.

The pipes under the kitchen sink are a perfect example of that.

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The plumbing looks something like unto this…

So I called Jaime Mendoza, our property manager, and he called Tacho, our general fix-it guy. Tacho looked at the weird configuration of pipes and started swearing in Spanish.

“Now you know why I wanted you here.” I said.

It took Tacho two weeks to fix the leak because he would fix one leak, and another one would mysteriously appear. After the first week, we were pretty sure that dynamite would be the best solution because houses in Mexico are made of concrete. But Tacho preserved, and he eventually fixed all of the leaks and cleared out the huge clog from somewhere under the kitchen floor without having to resort to explosives.

* * * *

We also had a couple of issues with our swimming pool. The solar heater stopped heating, and there was a leak in one of the pumps. Those problems took closer to a month to fix because the replacement parts had to be ordered from Guadalajara, and then the repairmen had to be reminded that they had to come back to install the new parts, even though they had the parts that needed to be installed.

There was a defective valve in the solar heater. Once that was replaced, it worked better than it ever has. Our solar heater isn’t the top of the line model, so we ordered five solar heating lilly pads to augment the heater from a guy named Rodrigo. He owns a garden store that sells a lots of pool equipment. We’re going to pick them up later today. The total cost on those is less than $50 US.

And the leaking pump was sorted out with a new gasket.

Mischief. Managed.

* * * *

The heat shields on my propane grill needed to be replaced because they had more or less disintegrated in the eleven years that I’ve been using it. Finding replacement parts for your grill isn’t a big deal in the States. It’s a huge deal in Mexico. The easiest way to replace the three heat shields here seemed to be to buy a new propane grill, and while a lots of things are way less expensive in Mexico, propane grills aren’t one of them.

And then I met Ed and Kat. Ed is grizzled-looking gringo who kind of retired down here, but still wants to work for some unfathomable reason. Kat may or may not be Ed’s wife. She’s a very attractive Latina, probably thirty years younger than Ed. She has really big eyes, so she’s a lots of fun to talk to.

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I love the Google Image Search!

Ed opened a shop called Baja Grills that sells propane grills and smokers. And fishing bait and supplies. And hot tubs. And fireplace inserts. And stuff…  He didn’t have the replacement heat shields I needed, so he made new ones for me. They probably cost me $60 US. 

Winter in the Lakeside Area lasts about a month — from the middle of December to the middle of January. It doesn’t get freezing-ass cold here, but there’s about a ten degree difference between the outside temperature and the temperature inside of the cavernous gringo mansion we’re renting.

It’s colder inside of our house than it is outside. We have three gas fireplaces at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa, but none of them have the requisite inserts that make them functionable. Probably because propane fireplace inserts are outrageously expensive down here, too. 

We have three portable propane heaters that we use during the coldest month of Winter. But one of Ed and Kat’s fireplace inserts might work perfectly in our living room fireplace. Lea and I are going to go take a closer look at it later today…  It’ll all depend on what kind of deal we can get.

* * * *

And there’s been golf. Todd and I play at least three times a week, sometimes more often depending on how we feel. So far, we tend to take turns having reasonably decent rounds of golf. Last Sunday, we played 36 holes of golf. I beat Todd by three strokes on the front nine with an 89. We both shot 88 on the second 18.

Yesterday, we both sucked.

I started playing golf back in my thirties because it was the only way I could talk with my dad. He loved to play golf, and he was a wicked good golfer. My favorite part about golf back then was I could drink beer and smoke cigarettes while I golfed. And there was that whole hitting the shit out of a little white ball thing…

The more I golf, the less it resembles what I thought it was in my youth. “Good golfers hit the ball as hard as they can. Great golfers hit the ball as hard as they need to.” I can’t remember who said that, but he was right. I would add this: Good golfers have a strategy. Great golfers are able to execute it. 

Golf is like unto playing chess with an opponent that never moves any of its pieces. Hitting the shit out of a little white ball has become the least important part of my game anymore.

Strategy was something I had no concept of until I started playing in the Go-Go tournaments at my country club. Go-Go is like unto regular golf, except with a twist. Or two. And that’s where all the strategy comes into play. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave Naisby and Bill Merrell. They’re the guys that organize and coordinate the Go-Go tournaments at the Country Club de Chapala.

I can’t say they’ve made me a good golfer, but I suck a whole lots less than I did three years ago.

And then there’s that whole balance thing. I need to be physically relaxed when I hit a golf ball because my fucked up back can take only so much abuse. If my swing isn’t relaxed and fluid, I’m going to be in for a long and very painful day. But my mind has to be laser-focused because half of this game is 90% mental. And trust me when I say this: I can be too relaxed when I golf sometimes, and that’s not good.

It’s an odd set of contradictions that I have to manage every time I pick up a golf club. Sometimes it works very well. And those are the days that keep me coming back for more abuse.

It’s kind of like being a psych nurse, except the pay is worse. But you meet way fewer assholes.

* * * *

I’ve spent a few days trying to imagine this post as a question and answer piece about my nursing career. Or just a question and answer thing about anything. There’s one major obstacle to this concept. No one ever asks me anything about being a nurse. Come to think of it, they don’t ask me about much of anything else either.

So if I’m going to do this, it’s going to be all my imagination.

There’s one compelling reason for me to go down this road. A couple of my former patients have been on my mind lately. And I’ve learned not to ignore those things when they happen.

* * * *

What was the most heartbreaking thing that happened when you were a nurse?

The suicides. I was a psych nurse for thirty years. I couldn’t tell you how many of the people I had a role in caring for killed themselves after they were discharged from the hospital. There were dozens of them. In 1990, twelve Vietnam veterans at the MVAMC took their lives in one month.

I remember my first patient who took his life at the Minnesota State Hospital in Anoka. He drowned himself in the Rum River. I remember the last one, too. He was at St. Luke’s in Phoenix. He had had a stroke, and the day before he was discharged he met with everyone on the evening shift to thank them and say goodbye. He shot himself two days later.

And I vividly remember each of the five patients that killed themselves while they were still in the hospital. Those are things you never forget, no matter how much you try. If I exclude the suicides, there’s one person who jumps to the top of the list. That said, I probably have a hundred stories similar to hers.

* * * *

Her name was Audrey. I met her at the Minneapolis VAMC. She was a sweet woman in her forties. She was admitted for depression, and if I remember correctly, a lengthy list of somatic complaints. She was a cancer survivor, so one possibility was her cancer had returned.

As I’ve said before, diagnosing is essentially a process of ruling out all of the things that aren’t wrong with you until your doctor figures out what’s left. The first thing her doctor did was order a full body CT scan.

One of the great things about working at the VA was the ease of doing consults with other specialty clinics. Sometimes the consulting physicians would come to the unit, but usually we had to transport our patients to the various departments, then return them to the unit when their consult was done. 

I was transporting Audrey in a wheelchair to Radiology for her CT Scan. And she told me this story:

“I remember when this began. I had just turned 30 when the pain started. I went to see a doctor. Hell, I went to a lot of doctors. And none of them could find anything wrong with me. One of them said my pain was a figment of my imagination. You know, like I was crazy. After awhile, my friends all started thinking I was crazy. It went on for months. After about a year, even I started thinking I was crazy.

“It was so frustrating. There was nothing wrong with me, but the pain was unbearable. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t have a life. All I did was go from one doctor to the next, only to hear the same fucking thing: All your tests have come back negative. We can’t find anything physically wrong with you…

“And then I was diagnosed with cancer, and this is going to sound really crazy, but I almost felt happy! I think I cried genuine tears of joy when I heard that! I was so relieved because it wasn’t just all in my head. There really was something wrong with me! I wasn’t crazy!! That’s just so fucked up, isn’t it?”

I couldn’t answer her. She looked back over her shoulder to see if I was still there. I was trying unsuccessfully to choke back my tears. 

* * * *

What’s the weirdest thing you saw in your nursing career?

There’s a lots of competition for this one. Lesbian encounters in the night. Guys accidentally getting foreign objects stuck up their asses. Guys jamming foreign objects into their penises. The list goes on. And on…  But the hands down winner has to be the guy that drove his girlfriend from Arizona to Michigan. It doesn’t sound that weird, except she was dead for most of the trip.

I don’t have any other stories like unto this one.

Her name was Christine. She was 31 years old, and was a frequent flyer at Aurora Behavioral Health in Glendale, AZ. She was a dual diagnosis patient, meaning on top of her psychiatric issues she was also chemically dependent. In layman’s terms, Christine was a trainwreck. She was one of the most exhausting patients I’ve ever met, and I wasn’t her nurse. Now that I think about it, she wasn’t even on my unit, and I probably spent more time interacting with her than I did with all of my patients combined. 

Christine lives forever in my Top Five Patients From Hell List.

In June of 2014, Christine was discharged from the hospital. She was picked up by Ray, her 62 year old boyfriend, and Ray’s 93 year old mother. We cheerfully waved goodbye as they all climbed into Ray’s van and headed off to Michigan. We prayed that they all made it there safely and never returned to Arizona again. Ever.

Christine probably accidentally overdosed on her discharge medications by swallowing the entire contents of a bottle of OxyContin on purpose, and then died to death somewhere in Oklahoma. See? I told you she was a trainwreck.

And then the weird part happened. Rather than stop and report what happened to the police, Ray put a pair of sunglasses on her face, placed a teddy bear on her lap, and kept on driving.

Across hot and humid Oklahoma to steamy Missouri, through sweltering Indiana into Illinois — you get the picture– stopping only for gas, fast food and bathroom breaks until he made it to Michigan. And then Ray decided to notify the police that something had happened to his girlfriend. It didn’t take the police long to figure out what was wrong because Christine’s body had begun to decompose. 

Police chose not to press any charges against Ray. Or his mother.

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This is Ray. The story of his road trip made National News. You could look it up on the Google…

* * * *

When I first envisioned this post, I had imagined a lots more questions and a few more stories. And then I realized most of my stories bear a lots of similarities to each other, so there’s that.

It might explain why no one asks me a lots of questions.

He Said, She Said

It’s a scientific fact that men and women communicate differently. I didn’t even need to research this statement. I simply asked my wife it if was true, and she said it was.

That’s all the proof I needed.

Lea and I have been married for 31 years, which is kind of amazing when you realize that we don’t speak the same language.

I could ramble on about this for a few paragraphs, but the easiest way I know how to illustrate this is with an example:

* * * *

Me: “Hey, honey. I’ve been thinking about building a goldarn thing.”

Lea: “You’re going to have to be a bit more descriptive. I hate that fucking word!”

Me: “Well, it’ll have an open shelving system. And maybe it’ll have a couple of manually operated storage concealment apparatuses. Or is it apparati?”

Lea: “So, you’re building a…bookshelf?”

Me: “I guess you could put books on it, but I was going to put it out here on the patio.”

Lea: “And what are you going to put on it?”

Me: “Another good question. I don’t know. Whatever I want to, I guess.”

Lea: “And what was the second part?”

Me: “There isn’t a second part. I’m only building one goldarn thing.”

Lea: “You said open shelving, and then something about concealing…”

Me: “Ah, yes! Manually operated storage concealment apparatuses. Or is it apparati?”

Lea: “Do you mean…doors?”

Me: “Yeah, I guess you could call them doors.”

Lea: “Are you going to put handles on the doors?”

Me: “I hadn’t really thought about it. What kind of handles do you want?”

Lea: “Why are you asking me?!?! I’m not building this!”

Me: “Then why do you want handles?”

Lea: “Never mind. Just forget it. I don’t think we need anymore shelves, but if you want to build more shelves, go right ahead. Just don’t ask me to help you with any part of it.”

Me: “I might need some help moving it when I’m done…”

Lea: “Fine!”

And that’s when I decided to go back inside of the house and not build anything. Because I still remember the first time my lovely supermodel wife said, “Fine!”

* * * *

Lea and I got married in Minneapolis, Minnesota in November of 1988. We were going out for Christmas, or New Year’s, or something. I was already dressed, and was waiting for Lea to finish doing her hair.

When she finished, Lea stepped into the dining room, smiled, and spun around. Then she asked me this: “How do I look?”

And I said: “You look fine.”

The smile on her face vanished, and she fired me a look something like unto this:

young woman making a very angry face

She was PISSED!

“Excuse me, but did you just say I look fine?!?”

* * * *

Time stood still. A gellid wind blew through the house. And the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse materialized in our living room.

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For those of you that don’t know, the Four Horsemen are: Pestilence, War, Famine and Death

War: “Human man, what did you say to your wife?”

Me: “Nothing! She asked me how she looked! And…and…I told her she looked fine!”

All Four Horsemen: “BLOODY FUCKING HELL!!!!”

Famine: “You did what?!?”

Pestilence: “You never tell a woman she looks fine.”

War: “You might as well tell her her ass is getting big.”

Me: “Can I…do…that?”

All Four Horsemen: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

War: “What are you trying to do? Get us all killed? Look at her!

tenor

“I’m the Avatar of War!! I’ve killed billions of people. I’ve waded through a sea of gore, and even I wouldn’t fuck with her!!”

Me: “Well, what do I do now?”

Death: “Seriously? He just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s an idiot. I vote we kill him now and get this over with.”

Famine: “You say that every time!

Pestilence: “When you’re a hammer…”

War: “Wait a minute. How long have you been married, human man.”

Me: “I don’t know. A month? Maybe two…  And my name is Mark.”

War: “We have to give him a break this time, guys. Don’t you think?”

Death: “I vote no. Trust me on this, if we let him live, we’ll be back.”

Pestilence: “I vote yes. Maybe we could give him some advice…”

Famine: “That’s three against one, again. Listen…Mark, is it? You never tell your wife she looks fine. Tell her she looks beautiful. Tell her she looks stunning! And when you tell her that, you better sound like you fucking mean it. You don’t hesitate. You don’t equivocate. Do you understand?”

Pestilence: “Tell her she looks darling!”

War: “And compliment her shoes. Women like that.”

* * * *

I thought fine meant exceptional, like, fine china or fine dining. Lea thought fine meant acceptable, like, McDonalds will be fine.

There’s another meaning of the word “fine” in womanspeak. When a woman says, “Fine!” it means nothing is fine and all hell is about to break loose.

* * * *

Women have a whole ‘nother language that guys have no idea exists until sometime after they get married. How fast a guy can synthesize this new language will be a huge factor in how long he stays married.

Do whatever you want. It would make more sense if she just drew a line in the sand. Guys would understand that. In guyspeak, this phrase is interpreted as a form of permission.

The classic scenario for this is after you and your buddies have had six or seven beers. You come up with a stupid idea and you ask your friends if they want to participate. They think about it for a minute, then decide they’re not ready to die, or go back to jail. But they’re not going to tell you what you can or cannot do because it’s not their place, so you can do whatever you want…

In womanspeak, this is a test. In fact, it’s the ultimate test. Failure to get your head out of your ass and reconsider your decision could very well end in divorce. 

When your wife says this, she’s not only not okay with your plan, but you have about ten seconds to change your your stupid-ass mind. Or else. Because she will make your life miserable for months if you go through with it. Even if she doesn’t divorce you and eventually forgives you for it, she will never forget it and could use it against you for the rest of your life.

That’s not exaggeration. Ask me how I know.

We need to talk. I fucking hated this line when Lea and I first got married because we didn’t need to talk. She did. And the one thing I better not do was open my goddamn mouth while we talked.

If you go ahead and do whatever you want, you will definitely hear these words.

I’m almost ready. No one knows what this translates to in real time, not even women. It could be five minutes, it could be an hour. What it really means is, I’ll be ready when I’m ready, so shut up and leave me alone! Go ahead, turn on the game. It’ll keep you out of her hair until she’s ready.

Does this make me look fat? Or, Does this make my butt look big? When your wife is finally ready, you’ll probably hear this question. It is easily the most unfair question ever invented, and if you don’t know why, it’s the reason why you’re still a bachelor.

There’s only one correct answer for every variation of this query, and that is No!!! And it better come out of your mouth without any hesitation, equivocation, or qualifiers.

By the way, I’m married to a supermodel, so this question isn’t even an issue for me. My wife has a very cute butt, and I tell her that almost every day.

Maybe. There’s no maybe about it. That means No.

We’ll see. No, we won’t. That also means No.

Yes. One of the tricksiest words in all of womanspeak. It could mean yes. It could mean maybe. But it probably means no.

No. This one’s not open to interpretation. Always, always, always assume that when you hear this word, she means what she’s saying, even if she doesn’t. If you get it wrong, that’s on her, not you.

* * * *

There are many components to a lasting relationship. Trust. Stability. And probably a few more intangible things that I can’t think of right now. But at the base of the foundation is communication. Good communication.

If you can’t understand each other, you’re not going to be able to live with each other. Learn to speak the same language. 

Don’t be an eejet, ya numpty gowk.

Skin Deep

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” ~ Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.” ~ Mark Edward Rowen

“Love between the ugly is the most beautiful love of all.” ~ Todd Rundgren

* * * *

I went to see a dermatologist for the first time in my life last week. I’m a guy, and guys think about their skin about as often as they think about making a souffle. I was in high school the first time I ever had any appreciation for skin. Even then, it wasn’t my skin that I appreciated. That skin belonged my girlfriend, and what I appreciated most was that she let me touch it.

Women have silken skin, mostly because they think about it all the time and go through great pains to enhance their skin. In 2018, worldwide sales of skin care and other beauty products was in excess of $300 billion. There’s a simple reason for this. Life, if you live long enough, will make you old. But no one wants to look old.

Depending on the study you look at, genetics plays a huge factor in whether or not you have great skin. Or maybe it doesn’t. But it does play a huge part in determining what color your skin is.

I’m not going to elaborate on skin color. I know as much about being non-white as I do about rocket surgery, which is clearly nothing at all. My Muses might have something to say about it someday, but they never submit any of their ideas to me for pre-approval.

* * * *

Possible Little Known Fact About Skin: Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and is the major component of the integumentary system. This system plays multiple roles in maintaining homeostasis.

All body systems work in an interconnected manner to control the internal conditions essential to the function of the body. Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against infection, temperature change, and other challenges to internal balance and equilibrium. 

There’s a reason for that. Your skin is primarily an external organ. Because it’s on the outside of your body, it’s exposed to a plethora of natural and unnatural environmental conditions.

Sun. Wind. Cold. Heat. Biting insects. Bears. Bullets. Paper cuts.

If not for your skin, you probably wouldn’t survive any of them.

* * * *

This is all really cool and stuff, dude. But aren’t you going to tell us why you went to see a dermatologist? I mean, it kind of seemed like that’s where you were headed with this, weren’t you?

Um, yeah. I probably was. So, thanks for getting me back on track.

Right around Christmas, I developed a crusty patch of skin in my right eyebrow. Just about the time I was on vacation from being retired and came down with the Mexico City flu, it started itching. I’m a nurse, so I have an impressive array of ointments for just about everything. I put a dab of this on it, then a dollop of that. And a strange thing happened. The itch didn’t go away. It got worse.

That’s when I became convinced that I had skin cancer.

* * * *

Nurses have a vast array of superpowers, not the least of which is the ability to put up with an endless supply of bullshit from doctors and patients simultaneously. Nurses are poised to assume the worst about almost anything. So when something goes wrong with our bodies we tend to think we’re going to got dead.

Granted, we’re not always correct with our diagnosis of imminent death, but doctors aren’t always correct either when they tell you there’s nothing seriously wrong with you, so there’s that.

I think this penchant for assuming the worst thing has something to do with nursing school. Being a nursing student makes you almost totally paranoid. Not everyone is designed to be a nurse, so a good portion of nursing school seems to be designed to cull out those individuals. When everyone really is out to get you, it’s not paranoia. It’s just good thinking.

Before you become a nurse you might have a vague idea about some of the things that can go wrong with your body and kill you to death. However, by the time you graduate and become a nurse, you have an extensive knowledge of not only deadly infectious diseases, but a few hundred other killer conditions and fatal processes that you didn’t even know existed. And one of the things we learn is almost every killer disease or ailment starts out looking or feeling like something totally harmless and innocuous.

Nurses are trained to be compassionate and caring. We tend to identify closely with whatever our patients are experiencing. Almost everyone I went to school with was convinced they had whatever their patients had. When I was going through my OB/GYN rotation, I was pretty sure I was pregnant.

* * * *

I actually told that to one of my instructors. Not my OB/GYN instructor. That was Sister Mary Hitler, and we weren’t that close. It might have been Kathy Ohman. She once told me that I intimidated the hell out of her, so I felt very comfortable around her. She told me her theory about the caring, compassionate nature of nursing students. And then she said this:

“Almost every one of my students has believed they’ve come down with whatever illness their patient has. But you don’t strike me as being an overly caring guy. Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re one of the best students I’ve ever had, but you don’t fall into the same category as most of young girls that become nurses.”

“So, what category do you think I fall into then?” I decided to ask.

“Oh, that’s easy.” she replied. “You’re just crazy.”

* * * *

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and it’s most commonly caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light. Our sun produces three different types of UV rays. Coincidentally, there are three types of skin cancer.

I’ve never been one of those people who laid in the sun trying to get the perfect tan. For one thing, I don’t turn a luscious golden brown in the sun. I burn, baby, burn, and look like unto a boiled lobster. Only worse.

PROD-Sunburn

See? I told you

However, I have become person who wanders around a golf course looking for a little white ball in the bright light of day. I don’t always use sunscreen, but I always wear a hat when I golf.

Altitude and proximity to the equator increase the intensity of the UV rays. The Chula Vista Resort and Spa is 5000 feet above sea level, and about 1400 miles north of the equator.

I don’t know how that compares to wherever it is that you might be, but I can tell you this: the sun here is very intense no matter what season it is.

* * * *

I made an appointment at the Dermika Centro Dermatologico Ajijic with Dra. Tania Sánchez Tenorio. I almost wished there was a lots of stuff wrong with my skin so I would have to see her more than once. She’s a tall, skinny, young supermodel that just happens to be a doctor. 

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But she doesn’t wear a bikini at the office, which is a shame because she has great skin

Dra. Tania listened to my assessment of my problem, then did her own examination.

“You actually have two lesions by your right eye, but they’re not cancerous, they’re precancerous. I can burn them off with liquid nitrogen. The entire procedure will take five minutes and will cost one thousand pesos.”

* * * *

Contrary to popular belief, the healthcare system in Mexico is very good. The doctors here are excellent, and most of them actually listen to their patients. But probably the best part about it is it’s actually affordable.

Getting those two lesions burned off my eyebrow cost me fifty bucks.

Dra. Tania told me to always use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 50 when I golf, so I’ll be adding that to my pre-golf routine. Before I left her office, I asked her what the best treatment for spider bites was.

The previous morning, our roommate, Todd, woke up with what appeared to be two nasty insect bites near his right eye.

She wasn’t at all annoyed that I was hitting her up for free information, and agreed that the treatment I had already suggested to Todd was the best course of action. And then she said this: “But if he doesn’t get better in a couple of days, have him make an appointment with me. Sometimes it’s not a bug bite. It could be Shingles.”

* * * *

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. The hallmark symptom of Shingles is an extremely painful rash.

I didn’t think Todd had Shingles. The eruptions on his face looked similar to spider bites that Lea and I have both experienced since moving here. And they looked like that for two days. But on the third day, Todd’s face kind of exploded. So, yeah. He really did have Shingles, and my already high level of esteem for the beautiful Dra. Tania climbed even higher. Which I didn’t think was even possible.

HunchbackOfNotreDameCharlesLaughton

Todd looked like unto Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

On the rare occasions that he left the house last week, people couldn’t help but stare at him. I tried to reassure them when they asked me, ¿Que pasó con Señor Tadeo?”

I told them, “Creo que tiene lepra.”

* * * *

Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, is an infectious disease caused by a slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy results in disfiguring skin sores and severe nerve damage, usually in the arms and legs. Eventually, it kills you to death. Leprosy has been around since ancient times, and was once the most terrifying disease in the world.

There’s a reason for that, too. Leprosy was once thought to be very incredibly highly contagious. It turns out that it isn’t, but no one knew that way back in ancient times. As a result, lepers were expelled from their communities and sent to live out the rest of their lives in leper colonies, like, the island of Molokai in Hawaii.

Possible Interesting Sidenote From My Nursing Career: one of my patients at the Minnesota State Hospital was on an obscure medication called Orap (pimozide). When I looked it up to learn more about it, one of its indications for use was the treatment of leprosy.

It’s weird the things you remember sometimes…

* * * *

In closing, love the skin you’re in. Unless you were Michael Jackson, there’s nothing you can do to change its appearance. The older you get, the more fragile your skin becomes, so be good to yourself. Use a good sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time. And drink a lots of water. Your skin will love you for that.

And watch out for paper cuts…

20/20 in 2020

¡Hola, amigos y amigas! ¡Feliz año nuevo! 2019 was a good year for us. I hope 2020 is equally kind to us and all y’all, though it hasn’t started out smoothly for me.

During the holiday season, my lovely supermodel wife and I took our first Mexican vacation and went to Mexico City for nine days. Going on a guided tour is kind of like being back at work. You have to get up early and leave your house.  And there’s a timetable. And a schedule. And other people. And stuff…

And I got a Christmas present I didn’t want. In Mexico, it’s called la gripe.

* * * *

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include: high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, headache, coughing, and fatigue. These symptoms can be mild to severe, and all of them combined can kill you to death, possibly from something called a cytokine storm.

Infected lung cells create an overstimulation of the immune system. Excessive amounts of cytokines are subsequently released into the lung tissue. This leads to a massive leukocyte migration into the lungs which, in turn, causes major destruction of lung tissue. In layman’s terms, your lungs turn into a soggy mush and you essentially drown to death in your own fluids even though you’re not under water.

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It is a terrible way to die.

The worst influenza outbreak on record occurred in 1918. It was a worldwide pandemic that killed anywhere from fifty to one hundred million people, depending on whom was doing the statistical analysis. In comparison, World War I, which ended in 1918, resulted in only forty million people getting dead from bullets, bombs and mustard gas.

* * * *

I shouldn’t have come down with the flu. I rarely get sick or catch colds. I like to think I have a good immune system. And I did all of the things you’re supposed to do to prevent getting the flu. I got a fucking flu shot! I guzzled liters of Emergen-C for two days before I got on the tour bus!! I took zinc. And Zycam. And Theraflu. And I still got sicker than a dog.

sick-dog-puppy-cute

Maybe two dogs…

I was in a fog of delirium the entire time we were in Mexico City. If I hadn’t taken so many pictures of the sights we saw, the whole thing could’ve been a dream to me. I can tell you this: Mexico City is incredibly beautiful. And huge. The largest city I’ve ever lived in was Phoenix. Mexico City makes Phoenix look like Dubuque.

I’m finally sure that the flu isn’t going to kill me to death this time. The only symptom I still have is what seems to be an endless case of head/sinus congestion. As result, I’m mostly deaf in one ear and I can’t hear so good out of the other one. Everyone around me sounds like they’re talking underwater. The only thing I can hear clearly is the ringing in my left ear.

This, too, shall pass eventually. That which doesn’t kill you simply gets out of the way so the next thing in line can take its turn…

* * * *

There was one notable passing in our household while we were on vacation. Our LG refrigerator broke down for the sixth and final time. Fortunately, our roommate wasn’t on vacation and literally saved our bacon.

Our property manager, Jaime Mendoza, was true to his word and bought us a brand new GE refrigerator. It was installed last Friday. I’m hoping I’ll never have to write another word about any of the refrigerators here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa.

* * * *

Our roommate experiment with my lovely supermodel wife’s boyfriend has gone just about as smoothly as it can thus far. Todd and Lea have been friends since middle school. When he decided to relocate here, we invited him to move in with us.

Todd is a good guy, and he’s multi-talented. He loves to garden, and has started growing a whole lots of vegetables and flowers and roses and stuff. He’s also one helluva cook, and has taken over half of the meal preparation for us. For Lea, this is something like unto winning the lottery.

I love to eat. I don’t cook, but I do dishes. With a smile on my face. Winner, winner chicken dinner for me. And pork chops. And ba-sketti, too. Life. Is. Good.

Todd also loves to golf. We hit the links three or four times a week. More golf equals more practice. More practice tends to lead to more better gooder scores. I’m consistently shooting in the nineties now, and frequently in the low nineties. My goal is to shoot 80 by the end of the year.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

* * * *

While our roommate experiment has been a success, our four kit-ten experiment was not. We have two darlingpreshadorbs super cute kit-tens, Mika and Mollie. When a friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer, we took in her two kit-tens, Sadie and Sammy.

Our new kit-tens were sweet and loving. With people. But they developed some serious animosity toward Mika and Mollie. I had anticipated some initial friction between the kit-tens, but I figured they’d eventually get used to each other and peacefully coexist. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

d5XT3N

I was not prepared for the feline turf war that ensued

Sadie and Sammy became gangsta cats, and systematically terrorized Mika and Mollie. All of our ex-pat friends down here are Dog People. None of them wanted a couple of badass thug cats that might terrorize their dogs. So I talked to my good friend and caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini. His neighbor was willing to take in Sadie and Sammy and give them a good home.

There’s peace at our home once more. Mika and Mollie no longer live in fear on top of the refrigerator or the kitchen cabinets. They’ve resumed running and frolicking all throughout their huge playground. It’s good to see them so relaxed again.

Our experiment didn’t turn out the way I expected, but it all worked out in the end.

* * * *

My former, and somehow, still favorite NFL football team, the Minnesota Vikings, finished their regular season by losing their last two games to divisional foes: the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Their 10-6 record was good enough to get them into the postseason playoffs. Then they surprised almost everyone on the planet by stunning the New Orleans Saints in overtime on Wild Card Weekend.

I predicted both of those outcomes. You don’t have to be a prophet to do that. The Vikings are a very predictable team. Over the last three decades, the Vikings have generally been pretty good in the regular season, and they’ve been really good in one playoff game. The last time they won two playoff games in a row was 1987.

Yesterday, they played thirty minutes of decent football before they got  beat up by the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of the game. There will be no Super Bowl rings for the Vikings this year. Again. Good thing I didn’t got dead from the Mexico City flu. I might still have a chance to see it happen…

I’ve come to the conclusion that my experiment with rooting for another football team was a dismal failure. I’ve been married to the Vikings for too long to start dating any other teams. I kind of felt like I was cheating on them by rooting for someone else. Win, lose or draw, I will always hope for the best for them. Even if they break my heart. Every fucking year.

* * * *

According to WordPress®, this is my 200th post. By my own admission, I’ve had some serious input from my Muses on a fair amount of of them, so I can’t take credit for all of them. No doubt some of you are wondering how that is even possible. I’m going to try to explain it.

Thought insertion isn’t a very common thought disorder, unless you have schizophrenia. Even then, thought insertion is viewed as more of a delusional disorder by medical professionals than it is as an actual occurrence.

I’m okay with that. However, sometimes I get insights into things I know absolutely nothing about, like the time I proved the Pythagorean Theorem.

* * * *

pythagorean-theorem

Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher who lived roughly 2500 years ago. His geometric theory has been proven numerous times – possibly the most for any mathematical formula, some dating back thousands of years.

I hate math. So, yeah. That was a joke.

* * * *

Back to the way my dysfunctional brain works…  When these thoughts unfold inside my head they feel…different.

HonorableMiserableBeaver-size_restricted

It’s like unto this, except I don’t know Ung Fu Chinese…

Something similar happens when my Muses take over writing my blog posts. I am aware that it’s happening, but I have yet to find a way to stop it. In my last post I had no intention of writing about being bullied back when I was a kid. I had been planning on writing about old manic guys, and we all know how that turned out.

It’d probably piss me off if it weren’t for the fact that my Muses are much better writers than I am. My major concern about my Muses is they want to write about subjects I’d rather forget.

* * * *

And that’s about it for this installment. Be safe out there this year. Look both ways before you cross the street. If you live in Mexico, do it even if you’re crossing a one way street. Go ahead, buy those cute shoes. And order dessert. Enjoy this life as much as you can. There will always be something out there waiting for you that will break your heart.

Social Misfit

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings from Mexico!

I wish it felt more Christmassy this year. As I am constantly reminded by every Hallmark Christmas movie, this is a time of snow, family, and love. That’s one of the downsides of living in a temperate climate. Thousands of miles away from everyone in your family. In a foreign country.

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To be honest, I’m not sure anyone in my family would visit me even if we lived across the street from each other. That’s probably my fault. I burned a lots of bridges back when I was drunk all the time.

Some fault also has to be allocated to my siblings. We’re all fairly fucked up, and almost everyone in my family has decided it’s way easier to just keep drinking than it is to try to fix all of those broken personalities and relationships.

That’s just one of the many upsides to living in a temperate climate, thousands of miles away from everyone in your family, in a foreign country.

* * * *

Speaking of burning bridges, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to be drunk to do that. For those of you who placed bets on how long it would take for my Twitter account to be permanently disabled, if you picked December 4, 2019, you win.

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Even I thought it would take me longer than that.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Twitter. It was the domain of mystic poets and nude selfies. I fucking hate poetry and no one wants to see me naked. Including me. Twitter is the social media equivalent of a moral wasteland. I never understood the language of the Twitter, which no doubt makes me the Ultimate Twit.

So? What did you do to piss off the Twitter police, dude?

According to the Twitter police, I was guilty of engaging in a pattern of hate themed speech, which was a repeated violation of the community standards that Twitter sometimes takes seriously.

In the interest of transparency, I am totally guilty of everything Twitter accused me of doing. But there was another person who consistently violated Twitter’s community standards, and he did so without any fear of repercussions.

Donald Trump consistently lied about his accomplishments, blamed his political opponents for his failings, and fired off endless insults, taunts, and disparaging names at anyone that didn’t kiss his ass.

I pointed out Mr. Trump’s pattern of inflammatory fabrication to the Twitter police more than once. They had a response. If I didn’t like the things that Mr. Trump wrote, I should simply stop reading them.

That was their official stance on the matter.

That was something I couldn’t do, so I called out The Donald every time he bragged about a success, or projected his shortcomings off onto others, or insulted Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, or any of his Democratic opponents.

Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I could live with that if not for one, small, tiny, insignificant detail. He’s also the President of the United States. Because of his status, I find his actions morally reprehensible, even though I have often stated that I don’t have any morals or ethics.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Unfortunately, and I honestly feel it was an unfortunate course of action on my part, I tended to end the majority of my rebuttals to Mr. Trump with …you lying cocksucker! Or, …you motherfucking piece of shit!!

My Twitter account was temporarily suspended three or four times for saying bad things about the 45th President of the United States.

I was a psych nurse for thirty years. The one thing I hated more than anything was when someone started name-calling. I’m sure that can directly be tied to all of times I had to endure it when I was a child. That, and spitting. I really hated being spit on.

In a nutshell, because it was something I wouldn’t want to happen to me, I should never have engaged in that sort of behavior toward someone else. Even a fucking douchebag like Donald Trump.

Christians call it The Golden Rule. Everyone else calls it not being an asshole.

At some time during the day of December 3rd, I called Melania Trump a whore. And a mindless cunt. There’s probably not any evidence supporting my claim that The Donald ever literally sucked any cocks or had sex with his mother. And for that, my Twitter account was temporarily suspended several times.

However, there is a veritable ocean of evidence that indicates Melania Trump is both a whore, and a mindless cunt. And because those accusations were true, Twitter shut down my account forever the very next day.

I’m okay with that. I was engaging in behavior that I would never condone in another. Besides, getting into a Twitter war with The Donald isn’t just stupid, it’s a fruitless cause, and I already have one of those.

It’s called Golf…

* * * *

I’ve been a social misfit almost all of my life. I may still be one, but there’s one major difference between the old guy me and the young kid me. I no longer care what other people think of me.

Being an outsider looking in was easy for me when I was a kid. I was almost always the new kid in town. We moved a lots when I was in grade school. Minnesota, at least twice. Michigan. South Dakota. Arkansas. North Dakota, twice. California, twice. Missouri. And finally, Montana.

Eleven different school districts to complete eight years of school. I was either so far ahead of my classmates that they thought I was some kind of genius, or so far behind them that everyone thought I was a total moron.

Moving from one place to another in the Midwest was bad enough, but moving from the North to the South was absolute hell. Not only are you the New Kid in Town, you’re a Damn Yankee to boot. And back then, the only thing white southern kids hated more than damn Yankees was niggers.

Yes, I know I’m not supposed to say that anymore. But as I write this, it’s 1963. I was in the second grade when we moved to Little Rock. I was picked on so much in Arkansas that I shit my pants in school. Twice.

I vividly remember both of those incidents. What I don’t remember is why it didn’t happen more often. It’s possible that my heartless tormentors started feeling sorry for me, but it’s far more likely that they thought they might end up covered in shit, too.

Third grade, we were living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was the only time I was considered the most popular kid in my class. And the only reason I know this is because my teacher whispered it into my ear one day.

I wasn’t the most popular kid in my class in Michigan. Or South Dakota. Or at either of the schools I attended in California. And I wasn’t even close to the most popular kid in my class when we moved back to Grand Forks because we lived in a different school district on the other side of town. 

1967. I was in seventh grade. That was the worst year of my grade school career. I started out the school year in Minnesota, spent something like six months in Missouri, then finished up the year in Montana.

Missouri might have been even worse than Arkansas when it came to being bullied because I was the New Kid/Damn Yankee in town, but that was one of the school districts where I was so far ahead of my classmates that even my teachers were in awe of me.

* * * *

There were no anti-bullying initiatives way back in the Middle Ages when I was a kid. As I reflect on this period of abject humiliation of my life, it’s a good thing my dad didn’t own any handguns.

I doubt that I ever would’ve been able to shoot anyone, but I’m pretty sure I thought about it. When I was a kid, there were probably a dozen different Western TV shows. Bonanza. Gunsmoke. The Rifleman. Conflict resolution was usually handled with a six-shooter.

But it’s far more likely that I wouldn’t have been able to hit the broad side of a barn even if I had access to a handgun. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the third grade because I was essentially blind, but I refused to wear them because it was just another thing the other kids could use to make fun of me. I didn’t want to give them any extra ammunition.

That changed when I started the eighth grade. My new teacher introduced me to my latest set of new classmates. And then she said this, And class, please remind Mark to wear his glasses. His mother told me he doesn’t like to wear them, but he really needs to wear them… 

It was something like that. I stopped listening when I started playing for God to quit fucking around and kill me to death for real this time.

* * * *

It was probably around the time that we were living in Missouri that I started utilizing a few defense mechanisms that would keep me and all of the people around me alive.

The first is called a reaction formation. It’s a complicated Freudian concept. In essence, negative emotions or impulses which are mastered by substituting the opposite emotion or impulse. The substitute reaction is usually overly exaggerated.  I’m not an expert in psychoanalysis, so I’m not sure if this is commonly used or not. I do know this: my substitute reactions are not overly exaggerated, and I’m pretty sure that’s not very common.

Another is mirroring, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. One person unconsciously imitates the gestures, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Almost everybody uses this, especially with family and close friends.

And the third is humor. People are less likely to want to punch you if you can make them laugh.

* * * *

When I was a freshman in high school, I achieved the dual distinctions of being both a genius and a moron in just a matter of months. The first semester of the year, I was in the Honor’s Math class where I struggled to get D’s. My math teacher actually announced to my entire class I had no business being in his class, and told me to get out of his classroom.

I didn’t need a second invitation. I picked up my books, walked out the door, and kept on walking until I got home, five miles later. I’ve told this story to my lovely supermodel wife. She said I must’ve felt humiliated. I suppose I did, but what I mostly remember is feeling relieved.

I was called into the Principal’s office the next day. I fully expected to be suspended or expelled. Instead, I received an apology and I was placed in a different math class. The second semester was an entirely different story. I was a straight A student in the Math for Morons class.

I’ve tried not to make a big deal out what happened to me on that day so long ago when Father Weiss told me to get out of his classroom. I’ve tried, but I still hate math.

* * * *

I didn’t really have a best friend until my freshman year of high school. That’s when I met Dave Nelson. We’re still buds. I didn’t have a girlfriend until my senior year. That’s when I fell in love with Maureen Browne. I think we’re still friends.

She asked me if I was going to attend our fifty year class reunion in 2024. I told her I was thinking about it, but I was terrified of seeing her face to face again. She said I should be. And then she said she was joking.

I told her I wasn’t. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Dave and Maureen both gave the best gifts I have ever received from anyone. Acceptance. Friendship. Love. They were the first people outside of my family that showed me there was also beauty in the world.

* * * *

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That might be true, but from my point of view at this precise moment, examining your life doesn’t increase its value by any appreciable amount.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is supposed to be. No doubt there’s an Aesopian moral of the story that’s supposed to enlighten me. There’s only one small, tiny, insignificant problem.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t write it.

My writing process isn’t this organized. Nor is it usually this specific. My Muses apparently have a much better idea of what they’re doing than I ever will.

I hope they’re happy. Maybe they’ll take some time off for the holidays. My lovely supermodel wife and I are going to Mexico City. I’d like to be able to to enjoy it.

But you have any ideas for the moral of the story, leave me a comment.

The Rain, the Park, & Other Things

Writing: The Final Frontier.

It is for me. I generally don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about. If I’m fortunate, I have a vague theme in mind. Sometimes I have a sentence. Sometimes, I only have a word. Today, I have a title!

* * * *

The Rain, the Park, & Other Things is a psychedelic pop song recorded by The Cowsills in 1967. It was a big hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts. Maybe you remember the 1970’s TV sitcom The Partridge Family. The Cowsills were more or less the inspiration for the premise of the show. At least the musical/family/band part.

I have fond memories of that song, but I’m not sure why. If there was some special event associated with it, I can’t remember what it was. Maybe I just thought it was a good song…

* * * *

The Rainy Season here has probably run its course and might even be officially over. I’m not going to say more than that. Every time I’ve predicted the end of the Rainy Season this year, it has rained. A lots.

Be that as it may, it’s been mostly less wet here. The golf course is drying out, and that has contributed to the remarkable improvement I’ve seen in my scores over the last three weeks.

There’s a few reasons why my golf game has suffered lately, but perhaps the most significant one is my back. In layman’s terms, my back is fucked up. I’m not young anymore. I have osteoarthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis. I can’t remember the last time my back didn’t hurt.

Most of the time the pain just annoying. The rest of the time it’s almost unbearable. That’s basically where my pain level has been for the last week and a half. Sometimes golf makes my back pain worse. Sometimes it snaps all my vertebrae into alignment. I’ve had both of those outcomes happen over the last three weeks.

Right now, my back is about as good as it ever gets.

* * * *

Country Club de Chapala has a lots of really good caddies on staff. That’s good for me because I’m not a great golfer. Most of the time I doubt that I’m even a good golfer, though my caddies like to tell me they think I’m a good golfer. But then, they like getting good tips, so there’s that.

My favorite caddy is Francisco Flores Bernini. He keeps me grounded on the golf course, and he makes me laugh. He’s a great guy, and has become like unto the son I never had. Francisco isn’t the only good caddy in his family. His older brother, Mario, and his younger brother, Sergio, are also good caddies.

Sergio was my caddy a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t playing well that day. Sergio gave me a lots of tips, but I couldn’t do much of anything right. Finally, he said this. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pretend that you do.”

That made me laugh. That’s essentially the secret to my success. I’ve been doing it most of my life.

* * * *

Whoa, dude! You were a nurse, and you didn’t know what the hell you were doing? I’m glad I wasn’t one of your patients!

Hang on there, Chicken Little. Real nursing is a science, and in that sense it really helps if you know what you’re doing. But I was a psych nurse, and psych nursing is an art. There’s probably only one rule that applies all the time in Psychiatry, and it is this: You should be less crazy than your patients.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I was less crazy than some of my patients, but I was very good at pretending I was. And you probably would’ve loved having me as your nurse.

****

So, I started pretending I was a good golfer. And some pretty weird stuff started happening. I stopped caring about my score. Because I no longer cared what my score was, I relaxed — except when my back was tied in knots. And that’s when my scores started improving. My scores were in the 90’s for 18 holes. Not great, but better than what I had been shooting. 

During the Cruz Roja Tournament, on the par 5 fifth hole, I nailed a sixty yard chip shot for an eagle 3. That wasn’t an almost great shot. I lofted that sucker up into the sky, straight at the pin. It landed on the green about a foot from the cup, one bounce, and in the hole. As of this moment, it’s the greatest shot in my life.

Today, I did something I’ve never done before. I shot an 89, two strokes better than my previous best score. I made six pars! I broke 90 for the first time in my life. 

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Inside each and every one of us is one, true, authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered…

Now all we have to do is get our golf cart fixed, again. The brakes have been sorted, so it stops now. It just has problems starting. Sometimes. Our golf cart is old. It’s like unto the Flintstones mobile, but the electrical part we need to replace is made by Spacely Sprockets…

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Go figure on that one

Poco y poco…  We’ll get there little by little.

* * * *

Detroit Lions fans will be dismayed to learn that since I’ve become an athletic supporter of their team the Lions have won one game. Well, maybe they won’t. They’re probably used to it by now.

Matthew Stafford, the Lions quarterback, might miss the rest of the season because he has micro-fractures in some of his upper thoracic vertebrae. In layman’s terms, his back is really fucked up.

Conversely, the Minnesota Vikings have gone 6-1, and are undefeated at home. They were getting shutout in the first half of the game today by the Denver Broncos 20-0. Then something that almost never happens, happened. The Vikings played lights out in the second half and scored every time they touched the ball. They defended the North, and won 27-23.

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The Vikings are playing some quality football. If I had known this was going to happen, I would’ve become a Lions fan a long time ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I root for the Lions. But I have trouble letting go of long term relationships. I’m the guy that stayed in love with my high school sweetheart for ten years after she broke up with me.

I will probably always wish the Vikings well, except when they play the Lions…

* * * *

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Our new kit-tens are doing well. They seem to have adjusted to their new home and their new people. Mika and Sadie might be less antagonistic towards each other, but maybe not. Maybe I’m just getting used to their squabbling.

My lovely supermodel wife is also doing well. We just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary eleven days ago. Congratulations, honey! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

We’re getting ready for the holidays. Lea and I are hosting Thanksgiving at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa for a select group of friends. For Christmas we’re taking a ten day sightseeing trip  to Mexico City. 

That should be a lots of fun.

* * * *

My Twitter account has been temporarily suspended, again. Because of something I said to Donald Trump, again. It’s the third time this year. Maybe the fourth. At this rate it’ll probably be permanently suspended before the end of the year.

The Democrats have initiated impeachment hearings, and The Donald has gone off the deep end. The crap he spews on social media is beyond all belief, unless you happen to be one of his supporters, in which case you believe everything he says.

Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you:

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And, they still won’t get it…

Here’s a prediction for you. Trump will resign from office just before he’s impeached, citing health reasons. I’m not the only person who has come up with this scenario.

This weekend, The Donald was admitted to The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for an unscheduled visit. In what can only be assumed to be another of the over thirteen thousand verified lies that Trump has told since becoming President, he tweeted that the visit was part of his routine annual physical. The results haven’t been released.

Remember this?

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His doctor later said he didn’t write the report. Donald Trump did.

This is also the guy who said he would absolutely release his tax returns if he was elected President, and has been in a non-stop legal battle to keep them private ever since. He’s currently petitioning the Supreme Court to keep his records out of the public eye.

Do you have any idea how many appeals you have to file to get to the fucking Supreme Court? Hint: It’s way more than one. And there’s only one reason why he would spend so much time time, effort, and money to try to keep something private. Another hint: It’s not because his tax returns will show perfection.

Technological Wonders and Blunders

On the offhand chance that you’ve become addicted to reading nonsensical blogs written by retired, bald, handsome guys living in Mexico, check this out: https://eldavesexistentialshit.home.blog

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It’s written by my buddy, Dave Naisby. Dave is a funny guy. And he’s Scottish, so when you read his blog make sure you have that whole Gaelic accent thing going on inside your head. It’s just so cool!

You probably shouldn’t try to imagine my voice if you read my blog. I sound like a cross between Ben Stein and Eeyore. I could put a meth addict into a coma in ten minutes.

My beautiful and talented daughter, Gwen Markes Henson, has also started writing a blog. Unlike me, she’s a serious writer. https://gwengetsreal.wordpress.com 

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She is on a mission to change the world. I admire her greatly. Best of success to you, honey. And good luck. You’re going to need it.

* * * *

The Rainy Season endures in the Lakeside Area. Seeing how it’s a season, there’s an implied beginning and end. Theoretically, the end is in sight. It has historically always stopped raining around this time of year. It might continue for another week or so, but then it won’t rain again until next June. However, the rain this year isn’t going out with a whimper. It’s been raining like a bastard down here. We were hit by two of the biggest storms we’ve had all year last week.

The first storm hit Thursday night, which just happened to be the same night as the Halloween Night Golf Extravaganza at the Country Club de Chapala. How do you play golf in the dark? you might ask. Probably about as badly as I do during the day, except it’s harder to see how much I suck because it’s dark.

Ah! Now I understand. We use special golf balls that emit light. And we have flashlights. And stuff. Like, booze. So that’s how you play night golf.

Some of my Christian friends might be tempted to say, I guess Satan didn’t want you to play golf that night. But c’mon, man! It was Halloween night! Something wicked this way comes. Witches, ghouls and goblins. Things that go bump in the night. The scariest fucking ghost you’ve ever seen…

I’d think Satan would’ve been all over that idea…

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Clearly, someone or something didn’t want us playing golf because the sky opened up and it rained down a deluge of epic proportions, cancelling the tournament. We got at least five inches of rain in a couple of hours. And it rained like two hells again on Saturday night, turning the golf course into a veritable quagmire.

I golfed on Sunday. In wet socks. I sucked from the first tee to the eighteenth green. My caddy told me it wasn’t me, it was the golf course. So I gave him a really nice tip for lying to me.

Being a serious golfer has turned to be a lots more work than I thought it would be. Though I should have been smart enough to figure out at the very least you have to be serious. Yeah, it does appear to be rather obvious now that I think about it. I’ve taken some lessons. I’ve even gone to the driving range to practice doing the stuff I’m supposed to be doing.

My lovely supermodel wife came out with me yesterday to record my swing so I could review the videos. Thanks, honey! You’re the best!! I’m not sure what to think about my swing, other than I look like I’m in a coma. I do talk to myself a lots when I’m on the driving range, so that might be part of it…

There’s a reason for the practice. The Cruz Roja Tournament is this Thursday.  It’s a charity event for the Mexican Red Cross. I don’t think my team has any chance to win it, but I don’t want us to finish in last place, again. And the Night Golf Extravaganza has been rescheduled for the following week.

I’ll let you know what happens.

* * * *

Technology is an amazing thing. The greatest invention of the modern world is arguably the flushable toilet. My grandparents had an outhouse at their farm. Like unto Salvador Dali, my grandfather hated paying for anything. Every time someone flushed the toilet, that was money out of his pocket as far as he was concerned, so he made everyone use the outhouse, except at night.

But turning on the lights in the bathroom was also money out of his pocket, so if you had to use the bathroom, you better be able to do your business in the dark.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Indoor Bathrooms: According to Allan Burnett, historian and author of Invented In Scotland, the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae in Orkney boasted the world’s first indoor toilet. There is evidence of stone huts equipped with drains built into the village walls, dating back to around 3,000 B.C.E. The sewer system was basic – waste was flushed into a drain with pots of water – but the basic principle remains to this day.

* * * *

Everyone thinks Thomas Crapper invented the toilet, but Sir John Harington first conceived the idea in 1596. Another Englishman, Alexander Cummings, was granted the first patent for the flushable toilet in 1775.

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Thomas Crapper also invented a flushable toilet, which improved on Cummings’ original toilet design. But Crapper gets all the credit, probably because his name so aptly describes the function of the product.

The next greatest modern invention has to be the toilet plunger, and it was probably invented one day after the toilet was.

Mrs. Crapper, come and seest what thine brilliant husband hath invented! I just took the biggest dump in the history of mankind, but looketh! All I hast to doeth is depress this clever lever and — sonethofabitcheth! Run! Runeth for thine lives!!

Plungers are rarely impulse purchases. They are mostly bought out of necessity, and when you need one, you’d be willing to pay $500 for one. I know I would.

* * * *

There’s at least one thing that modern technology should’ve made obsolete, and that is warfare.

War used to be a fairly primitive thing. You’d get pissed off at your neighbor because he stayed up all night listening to that newfangled music, and he couldn’t stop banging on those goddamn things he just invented. What did he call them? Oh yeah. Drums.

So, you sneak over to his yard at night, and you knock over all of his garden gnomes.

And that’s kind of how wars began way the hell back when.

Then technology came along and weapons were invented. And improved on. Over and over again. Until the ultimate weapon was invented.

Now, if you sneak over to neighbors’ yard and knock over his garden gnomes, your neighbor just might retaliate. From space.

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Way back when I was a dental x-ray technician in the US Army, I received highly specialized combat training. I know at least a dozen ways to knock over garden gnomes. But how do you defend yourself against bombs? A lots and lots of bombs?

* * * *

Excuse me, Drill Sergeant Byrum. All this training in knocking over garden gnomes has been real enlightening and all, but how do we defend ourselves from tactical and/or strategic carpet bombing from the enemy?

Private Roland, there ain’t no viable defense against carpet bombing! If you ever find yourself in that situation, you run! You run like the goddamn toilet is overflowing and you need to get a plunger! Do you hear me!! Now, get down and give me fifty!

* * * *

Mankind has produced some truly amazing inventions over the centuries. It has also perpetuated some of the most stupidest beliefs and practices that should died off with the dodos. Because, you know, we killed them all to death and it didn’t take so much as one bomb to do it.

It’s time to take a quantum leap, people. It’s time to go back to the 1960’s, and remember what might be the smartest idea that my staunchly noncomformist generation ever conceived.

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The Impermanence of Memory

It’s been another good day here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. 

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They’ve all been good days.

Most of the our kit-tens are getting along well with each other, most of the time. Todd and Julia and Lea and I are all getting along well with each other. Julia is Todd’s girlfriend. She doesn’t live here, but she spends a fair amount of time hanging out here. In that regard, things are going about as smoothly as they can.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings have won four games in a row now that I’ve become a Detroit Lions fan. Unfortunately, one of the teams my old favorite team beat in that stretch is my new favorite team.

My lovely supermodel wife is actually upset with me for changing allegiances. She says it’s disgusting! I’d think she’d feel a bit of gratitude…  At any rate, I’m still rooting for the Lions. And if things continue on this arc, the Vikings might win a Super Bowl before I die.

* * * *

Todd and I bought a golf cart last week, officially making us serious golfing guys. Now all we have to do is start golfing like serious golf guys. And get the brakes fixed on our cart. And probably the steering…

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Presentando el carrito nacional de golf de México

We had all of the batteries replaced when we bought it, so it runs great. Stopping has been somewhat problematic at times…

Seeing how my life is as close to perfect as it will ever be, the Universe has to provide a few areas for me that aren’t ideal, otherwise there would be an imbalance in The Force, and we all know what happens after that.

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Whoa. It’s even worse than I thought…

Right now, all of my problems start and end with golf.

Problem #1. The Rainy Season has essentially turned our golf course into a swamp. Swamp Golf might sound like fun, but it’s not. In my case it has everything to do with wet socks. When my socks get wet, all I want to do is sit down and cry. The seasonal rains should end in a couple of weeks, then everything will start drying out and Allergy Season can begin again.

That should benefit my score. 

Problem #2. Todd and I have been taking golf lessons because we’re serious golfing guys now, and that’s another thing serious golfers do. I’ve been trying to tweak a few things with my swing to improve the consistency and quality of my shots. I seriously want to get rid of those shots of random suckdom that plague every golfer at pretty much any level of skill.

If I can do that, that will definitely benefit my score.

Problem #3. My biggest problem has been vision related. I now have three pairs of glasses with the same prescription, but each of them is just a little bit different. Depending on the weather conditions, I was shuffling my corrective lenses around when I golfed.

Between minor variations in how I was seeing, golf lessons to change my swing, and then trying to remember all of the things I was supposed to be doing — I wasn’t having random shots of suckdom. They all sucked!

That hasn’t benefitted my score at all!

I quit shuffling my glasses. I’m wearing my newest pair all the time now, and my eyes are getting used to them. I stopped thinking about the seven things I’m supposed to be doing and focused on a three. Keep your head down. Slow down your back swing. And follow through.

I played nine holes with my golf wife, Phyllis, this morning. I shot a 47. I one-putted five greens because my chip shots were so deadly. And, I replaced the black laces in my magic golf shoes this morning with bright neon green laces. That might have been a contributing factor. Julia needed black laces for her Medusa costume, so I gave her mine.

My caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini, told me I was fun to watch. It’s the first time he’s said that to me. I’m not sure there are any words to describe how pleased I was to hear that.

* * * *

Lea has been helping Julia with her zombie costume much more than I have. The Thrill the World dance is this Saturday. A bunch of people all across the world dress up like zombies and dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Julia is going to be zombie Medusa. 

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In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the Gorgons, three beautiful sisters — Medusa, Stheno and Euryale — who were turned into dreadful, horrifying monsters with live, venomous snakes for hair by the goddess Athena. They were so hideous that anyone who gazed upon them was turned to stone.

* * * *

If you’ve never seen the featured image of my latest blog, you really need to get out more. It’s The Persistence of Memory, by the Spanish artist, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. He’s one of the best known Dadaist artists of the 20th Century.

Dadaism was an art movement that began in Europe after World War I. Dadaists thought the modern world was stupid and meaningless, so they set out to ridicule it as much as they could before they got dead.

Little Known Fact About Salvador Dali: he hated paying for anything, and whenever he wrote a check he would draw something on the back, knowing the person he wrote it out to would never cash it.

There’s a whole page of his check art on the Interweb. You could look it up if you’re interested…

* * * *

Memory is a tricksy thing. How tricksy is it, you might ask. Well, scientists have been studying memory ever since one of them tied a string around his finger, way back in 1885, so he wouldn’t forget to start studying it. And after all that time, no one understands the exact mechanism of how memory works.

Originally, many experts were fond of describing memory as a sort of tiny filing cabinet full of individual memory folders in which information was stored away. This cabinet was in a select part of the brain.

As technology adanced, researchers likened memory to a neural supercomputer wedged under the human scalp. One with an undetermined amount of RAM. And memory was stored in more than one area of the brain.

Today, experts believe that memory is far more complex and elusive — and that it is located not in one particular place in the brain — but is instead a brain-wide process.

* * * *

I used to think I had a great memory. I no longer think that. Aging affects memory. So does drug and alcohol abuse. And trauma. When I take all of that into consideration, I’m impressed that I still remember my name.

I’ve kind of written about some of the aspects of my particular flavor of insanity. I admitted that I have thought insertions. You can read about it in my archives if you like. Or you can Google it…

In a manner somewhat similar to the way that other people’s thoughts can somehow be inserted into my mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that they can also seemingly be extracted. I could give you an example, but how do you explain something that you can’t remember anymore?

Let’s find out.

* * * *

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Behold, the Pleiades

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, are a star cluster in the constellation Taurus. They’re somewhat west and north of the constellation Orion. You should be able to recognize Orion. It’s one of the most conspicuous constellations in the night sky. If you’re awake at around 5:00 AM this time of year, look up. It’ll probably be right over your head.

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In Greek mythology, Orion was a supernaturally strong hunter of ancient times. He was the son of Euryale (Yep, the aforementioned hideous sister of Medusa), and Poseidon, the god of the sea.

Everything I’ve read about Orion indicates he was a complete asshole. He liked getting drunk. He raped Merope, the princess of Thebes. And then he decided he wanted to kill pretty much everything that moved. So Gaea, the goddess of the earth, killed him to death.

In the Bible, there once was a mighty hunter named Nimrod. Orion and Nimrod are probably one in the same. Interesting side note: Nimrod allegedly ordered the construction of the Tower of Babel.

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Hey, that’s really cool and all, but what does this have to do with you not being able to remember stuff? That’s what we were talking about, right?

If you look at the Pleiades with the naked eye, the only way you can see them somewhat clearly is with peripheral vision. When you look directly at them, they practically disappear.

That’s what it’s like with some of my memories. I know they existed. I even know the context in which they existed. But when I try to find them, they are gone. I’m not sure that explanation makes any sense to you, but that’s as close as I can get.

* * * *

Back when I was a nurse, other nurses, girl nurses — real nurses — would sometimes ask me what the essence of my job was. Real nurses don’t tend to have a lots of respect for psych nurses. They think psych nurses are essentially babysitters for icky people. And I would tell them a story.

It was about a mother talking to her child. And that’s the extent of what I can remember. I can’t remember how I came to know the story. It might have been something I actually experienced. I know I told the story at least three times that I can remember, and you’d think I’d remember something I did that many times.

There’s one other thing I remember: that story was fucking perfect. 

Those real nurses would look at me and think, Damn! I totally want to have sex with this guy! Okay, they probably didn’t think that, but they had a higher level of respect for pysch nursing and psych nurses for at least a few minutes after they heard it.

* * * *

I don’t know how explain Donald Trump’s frequent lapses of memory, especially in terms of geography. In his latest gaffe he apparently thinks Colorado is one of the states bordering Mexico because he said part of his Great Southern Border Wall is being built there.

He called the European country of Belgium a beautiful city. And he thinks Paris, France is in Germany. Nor does he understand the differences between England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

The Donald said this during an interview with Piers Morgan in August of this year:

TRUMP: You have different names — you can say “England,” you can say “UK,” you can say “United Kingdom” so many different — you know you have, you have so many different names — Great Britain. I always say: “Which one do you prefer? Great Britain? You understand what I’m saying?’
MORGAN: You know Great Britain and the United Kingdom aren’t exactly the same thing?
TRUMP: Right, yeah. You know I know, but a lot of people don’t know that. But you have lots of different names. The fact is you make great product, you make great things. Even your farm product is so fantastic.

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There are a few possible explanations for Trump’s general lack of geographical knowledge.

Theory #1. He’s old. He’s 73. As stated earlier, aging does impact memory. So that’s a remote possibility. Plus, all those places. They’re never in the same place twice. If only the planet would stop spinning. Then locations would finally settle down and stay in one place.

Theory #2. He fabricates stuff all the time. Maybe he thinks he can do the same with geography because it’s so difficult for anyone to actually ascertain the exact position of any particular place on this planet. It might also be a symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome, so there’s that.

Theory #3. He’s an idiot.

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The prosecution rests.

The Three R’s

Greetings from Casa Tara, the Chula Vista Resort and Spa in beautiful San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico!

We’ve been busy here of late. Todd has been getting his room organized so it doesn’t look like a warehouse for half of his stuff anymore. And we’ve been going golfing a lots. Todd and I mostly suck at golf at about the same level most of the time. Our games are mildly competitive, but mostly relaxing. It’s been a lots of fun having him here.

I thought there would be more of a differentiation in our lives, you know, a Before Todd/After Todd kind of thing, but that hasn’t been the case. I almost think he found a way to use the top-secret time machine in the basement of the Minneapolis VAMC to alter the TimeSpace continuum so it seems like he’s always been here.

And it’s not just me. Todd and Lea both say the same thing. Right now, Todd is on his way to Minnesota to visit his kids and stuff. He’ll be gone about a week. I might be able to gain a bit more perspective about our new living arrangement by his absence, but probably not. I’m not all that interested in analyzing this. I have plenty of other things to ponder deeply.

My lovely supermodel wife has been working out some of the details for the window treatments for the master bedroom. She’s decided the job is too big for her to handle on her own, so she’s has enlisted the help of my third retirement wife, Susan. She’s an interior decorator, and she has some local contacts who can help complete Lea’s design vision.

I have no idea how long it will take. I don’t really care, either. Our bedroom looks fine to me the way it is, though I’m sure Lea’s design will be beautiful.

As for me, I have litter boxes to keep me busy when I’m not doing anything else. Four kit-tens produce roughly ten times as much waste products as two kit-tens. Yeah, I didn’t know that either.

I think all of our kit-tens are starting to get used to each other, but it’s hard to tell. One day they appear to be peacefully coexisting. The next day it’s something like unto a feline version of WWE Smackdown. They’re all trying to figure out how they all fit into their new world. You know, kind of like high school.

Except Sammy. He’s the king of the house, and he knows it.

Mika and Sadie seem to be the two kit-tens at the center of the remaining confrontations. Mika was the most vocal in her displeasure with the new kit-tens when they moved in. Now that Sadie has adjusted to this being her new home, it’s payback time.

No one has died yet, but one of Lea’s antique red glass vases became a casualty of war the other day…

I find it hard to believe that our new kit-tens have been here for less than a month, so it still seems feasible to me that after they’ve all been together for six months or so, they will actually all get along.

I’ll keep you posted.

* * * *

Way, way back when I was a kid, there were Three R’s: Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic. Way back when I was middle aged, there was a new set of Three R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

Now that I’m an old guy, there seems to be an even newer set of the Three R’s. They appear to be the platform upon which Donald Trump has based his popularity: Religion, Racism and Ratings.

The Donald didn’t coin these terms, I did. Well, I think I did. They might have been someone else’s ideas and were somehow inserted into my mind. It happens to me all the time.

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I can’t say that Donald Trump is the most religious President in the history of the United States, though he claims to be a good Christian. He actually seems to be the least religiously grounded man that has ever sat in the Oval Office, but that hasn’t stopped him from using religion as a tool for his own ends.

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The Donald actually got into a pissing contest with the Pope because of his Great Southern Border Wall. The Pope said something to the effect of …any man who would rather build a wall than a bridge doesn’t seem like much of a Christian. And Donald replied with something to to the effect of Oh yeah? Who asked you? Who do think you are, the fuckin’ Pope?

The Pope kind of apologized, possibly because he thought Trump would invade The Vatican City. And The Donald kind of apologized, saying he thought the Pope was …a great guy.

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When Citizen Trump was running for President, he brought a Bible to the podium in September of 2015. All he did was show it to his audience to prove he had one. He didn’t read anything out of it. It was merely a prop, displayed with a flourish, then quickly forgotten.

In August of this year, he was asked about his love of the Bible because he said it was his favorite book. When he was asked what his favorite Bible verse was, he refused to answer the question. He said the Bible was too deeply personal for him to talk about, you know, in public.

Let me translate that for you. He doesn’t know even one verse in the Bible. Even atheists know at least one Bible verse!

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Interviewer: Can you tell me who wrote the Four Gospels?

Donald Trump: I’m not answering that question. You want to know why I’m not answering your question? A sixth grader could answer that question. It’s a no-brainer, so I’m not going to answer that. Ask me a tough question. What? We’re out of time? My people are telling I have to get to my next appointment…  By the way, the answer to your question is John, Paul, George and Ringo!

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I know a lots of Christians. All of them have a favorite Bible verse. Even the ones who suck at being good Christians. Like me. What’s my favorite Bible verse? Romans 12:2. See? That was easy.

Evangelical Christians are The Donald’s biggest middle class supporters. They are very conservative and fundamental in their beliefs. These are the people who see Donald Trump as their last bastion of hope for the world they want. He is the Chosen One that will protect their God-given rights and freedoms. 

Adamant Amendmentalists. That’s the best term I’ve been able to come up with to describe them, and I’m not sure that last word is even a word. But as far as the Constitutional Amendments go, they’re only interested in two. Maybe three.

The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech, and the Second Amendment: the Right to Bear Arms. That’s it. Those are the only two amendments they care about. If you were ask them if they support the Thirteenth Amendment…

Um, I want to take the fifth.

That’s the Fifth Amendment. And that’s as far as this road goes.

Oddly enough, these ardent defenders of some of the amendments don’t seem to understand that all of the amendments apply to all of the people, not just to them. Nor do they seem to be all that interested in listening to anyone who has an opinion that differs even a fraction from theirs. Much like unto their revered leader, their great and unmatched wisdom brooks no criticism.

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Little Known Fact About the US Constitution: there are twenty seven amendments. The only reason I’m saying this is because 37% of the people polled couldn’t name any of the rights protected by any of the amendments. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights. And the thirteenth amendment? That abolished slavery.

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Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he is not a racist, which I find laughable. Almost everyone in my generation was raised to be a racist because our parents were totally racist.

My dad was Archie Bunker. He didn’t like black people. He had no black friends, and none of his children did either. Roughly forty years ago, one of my sisters almost dated a black guy. I think we had to replace part of the roof when my dad found out about it.

I’ve spent a good part of my life trying not to become the kind of man my father was. I can tell you this: the things you learn when you’re young, they take forever to un-learn.

Donald Trump’s dad was probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan, so, no history of racism there…  Maybe The Donald doesn’t see himself as racist because he has never openly called black people niggers. Be that as it may, his politics are based on racist ideals, and the Walmart Intelligensia that supports him is most definitely populated with racists.

To quote myself, These are the people who see Donald Trump as their last bastion of hope for the world they want. And what they want is a world with good old fashioned 1950’s segregation. Of all the embarrassing things that America has become, this is easily the most embarrassing.

We fought one horrific, bloody civil war in the 1800’s to end slavery. One hundred years later we fought an equally horrific, though much less bloody battle to enforce the constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that white Americans already enjoyed.

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The fact that this still even an issue — I have no words for that.

White privilege. That’s what Trump’s supporters expect him to defend. They are better than these goddamn non-white immigrants who are sneaking into the country to steal their jobs, rape their daughters, and get their sons hooked on drugs. They are better because they’re white. That’s their justification.

The America our forefathers envisioned doesn’t exist. It can probably be argued that it never existed. America, apparently for the most part, is bitter. And cruel. And small-minded.

I didn’t move to Mexico because I disagreed with American politics, but I will never reside in the country of my birth again because I now strongly disagree with American politics.

You can quote me on that.

* * * *

Given the fact that The Donald is the least presidential-acting President that the United States of America has ever had, I’m not sure he understands that he’s actually the President. From my point of view, he acts like the star of reality TV show would act if that was the role he had to play.

That’s what he was, is, and forever shall be. A reality TV star who somehow ended up being arguably the most powerful person on the planet. His words and actions only make sense when viewed in the context of man getting advice from his producers to increase the market share for his failing TV show:

Say outrageous things! No, even more outrageous than that! It’ll boost our ratings!! Go over the top with your Twitter account! People love that kind of stuff!! But maybe you should use Spell Check…

For those of you who don’t follow @realDonaldTrump on the Twitter®, he misspells almost everything. Including the word outrageous. And moat. 

Ratings. That’s where it’s at, man. Ratings make the world go ’round. That’s what The Donald is really all about. He’s constantly posting poll results that show how much people love him. That’s why he’s your favorite President.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Dallas

He’s actually called the himself that in a couple of his tweets.

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Just in cases you haven’t figured this out already, I am beyond sick of Donald Trump. My most fervent hope right now is that the Democrats aren’t as stupid as the Republicans, and if/when they decide to file Articles of Impeachment, they better not fuck this up.

If Donald Trump is as corrupt as I imagine him to be, the Democrats are the last hope America has. Trump has as much as admitted he did all of the things the Democrats want to investigate. That’s his defense. Yeah, I did it. And you know what? I’d do it again! And after he admitted his crimes, he said he wouldn’t do anything to cooperate with any investigation.

Americans expect greatness from their Presidents. And if they can’t get that, the very least they expect is humility. We have gotten neither from Donald Trump. He has done more, in less time, to tarnish an office that once was the most respected and admired office on the planet.

Time to wrap this Thanksgiving turkey up and get him the hell out of the White House by Christmas. It would be the best present America could ask for, and give everyone with a brain and a heart a renewed hope for the next year.

When the Bough Breaks

I’m going to figuratively go out on a limb and say that everyone has heard the lullaby Rockabye Baby. Even Millennials. If you haven’t, you should know the drill by now. That’s right, look it up on the YouTube®.

It’s a cute little song to fall asleep to, except for the whole crashing to the ground from the top of the tree part. That would startle you awake no matter how deeply you were sleeping.

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See? I told you.

A lots of bad shit can happen when the bough breaks. It’s like unto the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. You take as much as you can for as long as you can, and then you snap.

Like I did last Sunday.

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The Minnesota Vikings played their fourth game of the season. In yet another dismal performance against a divisional rival, they looked absolutely pathetic as they were manhandled by the Chicago Bears and lost, 16-6.

Four games. The Vikings are 2-2. Hey, that’s no reason to jump ship, Mark!

I actually had people tell me that. But I’ve seen this movie before. It doesn’t end well. Being a Vikings fan is like unto dating a really hot girl that fucks you like a nympho pornstar one weekend, then shits all over the bed the next.

I finally got tired of having to clean up the mess. Halfway through the Chicago game I decided it was time to cut my losses and change allegiances. I became a Detroit Lions fan. I’ve been thinking about doing it for two years, so it shouldn’t be a complete surprise to anyone.

If there’s one team in the NFC North that sucks more than the Vikings, that team is the Lions. They’re so bad they only have one great player, but he is their quarterback. Matthew Stafford is a fourth quarter wizard. He is a master of the fourth quarter comeback, and finds a way to almost win a lots of games.

In the last ten years, the Lions have lost more games by three points or less than any other NFL team. You better check that. I may have made that statistic up.

I decided I’d rather root for a team that no one expects to ever win a game and almost always does, than root for a team almost everyone expects to dominate their opponents and looks like the Keystone Kops more often than not.

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I. Am. Done.

There were few notable events in the game that contributed to my meltdown. The first was Chase Daniel. He’s Chicago’s backup quarterback. He came into the after Mitch Trubisky, Chicago’s starting QB, was injured. Backup quarterbacks don’t usually win a lots of games in the NFL. There’s a reason why they’re backups.

Chase Daniel looked like Tom Fucking Brady against the Vikings defense, which is supposed to be one of the better defenses in the NFL, but Mr. Second-string Junior Varsity moved his team up and down the field with relative ease.

The Vikings revamped offense looked terrible against a depleted Bears defense. That’s right. Chicago didn’t play a few of their best players because of injuries, and they still shut down Kirk Cousins and friends.

The Vikings had one of the best rushing games in the league prior to last Sunday. Against the Bears they rushed for forty yards. If you can’t run the ball, you have to pass it. And if you’re going to that, you better protect your quarterback. Kirk Cousins was sacked six times, and spent most of the game running for his life.

Kirk Cousins is the $84 million man. He was supposed to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Vikings’ Super Bowl aspirations. The Vikings hired at least two coaches to come up with plays just to make Kirk look good. And as long as he’s playing against teams that aren’t very good, he looks awesome.

However, when he plays against good teams with winning records, he looks like the biggest mistake the Vikings have made since the infamous Herschel Walker trade.

The Purple and Gold are the new Browns. You heard it here first.

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This is what my social media meltdown mostly amounted to…

* * * *

Last week, the House of Representatives began an impeachment inquiry into some of President Trump’s more questionable actions. The Donald may have abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the Democrats trying to become the next President of the United States.

The Donald has said and done a lots of questionable things since he became President. Some of them have been reprehensible, in my humble opinion. But you can’t be impeached simply because someone thinks you’re an idiot. Or an asshole. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have any Presidents that weren’t impeached.

Bill Clinton was impeached because he got a blowjob from one of his female interns in the Oval Office. It’s ironic because I’d be willing to bet every dime I own that every man who voted in favor of impeaching President Clinton was also guilty of getting blowjobs from their interns in their offices.

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I know it’s hard to believe that a guy who acts like he’s a Mafia boss would actually do something that you’d expect a mob boss to do, but that’s what appears to have happened. According to several diverse sources, this is just the tip of the iceberg of Trump’s illegal activities, and they are seemingly legion. We’ll see how all of this plays out…

The Donald denies any wrongdoing. This weekend he had a Twitter® meltdown that made my meltdown look like the beginning of the last Ice Age. He posted over eighty tweets saying he was the victim of a witch hunt and was being harassed and bullied by the Do Nothing Democrats. Then he demanded to know the identity of the whistleblower who exposed him, and threatened everybody associated with the inquiry with vague retribution and severe punishment. 

That, is witness tampering, and it is most definitely a crime.

He said the country would be torn apart in a civil war if he were to be impeached, which may cause some of his more loosely-hinged supporters to shoot a whole lots of other people. We’ll have to see how that unfolds, too. He added this wasn’t an impeachment, but a COUP intended to take away the God-given rights and freedoms of all Americans. And he said he’d be willing to fight with his supporters, but he has bone spurs and a note from his doctor, so there’s that.

At any rate, there has been a paradigm shift in American politics that will likely only increase the huge divide that already separates the Republicans and the Democrats. Though if you were to ask Republicans how they feel off the record, many of them would probably say they support impeachment and are secretly relieved.

* * * *

My lovely supermodel wife and I had lunch with a friend of ours last week. She was an attorney and a political lobbyist in New York State. During lunch she told me her theory about why the American political system fell apart.

White wine.

Remember when everyone started drinking white wine because they heard about some study that said white wine was good for you?

Before the release of that study, people drank whatever they wanted. Beer. Gin. Whiskey. Vodka. Tequila. Whatever. And that included politicians. That’s how legislative deals were made. After a political session ended, all of the legislators would get together in an office and have a few drinks, and voilà!

Shit got done.

Then everyone started drinking white wine, and going to the gym, and no one could eat gluten anymore…

Now nothing gets done.

I hadn’t heard this theory before, but chronologically, it makes sense. And I never thought I would ever hear myself saying these words to anyone, but you goddamn politicians aren’t drinking enough alcohol. Get your heads out of your asses. Drink a couple of glasses of Scotch, and do your jobs.

Drink, drink, and vote yea.

That, and nothing else, will make America great again.