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.

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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.

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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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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!

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

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He’s actually called the himself that in a couple of his tweets.

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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.

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on

Seven years ago today, my lovely supermodel wife and I were on vacation in Durango, CO. We had rented a cabin up in the mountains outside of town. It was very peaceful and scenic. We had a great time there.

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Vacations are wonderful. They’re time-limited slices of what retirement is like. No alarm clocks. You might have something fun scheduled, you might not. You mostly do whatever you want whenever you want.

Lea and I took a lots of daytrips while we were in Durango. Like I said, it was very scenic. One of our trips was to Silverton. We had lunch at Handlebars Food and Saloon. If you ever find yourself in Silverton, it’s worth checking out. It’s like unto Silverton’s version of TGI Fridays. And the food was good.

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That’s where I met The Most Interesting Man in the World.

That’s what I called him. He never told me his name, but he told me half of his life story while Lea and I had lunch. Lea had her back to him. She rolled her eyes and whispered, “How the hell do they find you?” It’s seemingly one of the hazards of being a psych nurse. If there’s a crazy person within one hundred yards of you, they’ll gravitate towards you.

He said was a Texas oilman who didn’t want to be in the “oil bidness” anymore. He wanted to be a songwriter in Nashville. And he wasn’t the only one. Apparently every Texas oilman wanted to be a songwriter. He had some talent, he assured me. He had sent some of his songs to a Big Name country musician that I’d recognize if he told me the name, but he wouldn’t. 

I actually asked him. I don’t usually ask a lots of questions when someone starts talking to me like he did. It just encourages them to keep talking…

The Unnamed Big Name musician had expressed some serious interest in his songs. Nothing had been finalized, but the Most Interesting Man in the World was very optimistic that his songs would become big hits soon, and that he would become a rich and famous songwriter who won a lots of Grammys.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I once wanted to be a rich and famous songwriter, too. Much like my desire to be a rich and famous author, it was something I didn’t have any talent at, but that didn’t stop me from doing it. In my mid-twenties, I wrote hundreds of songs. It was something I could do without really trying. The words flowed into me. All I had to do was write them down.

may have sent some of the songs I wrote to a music publisher in Nashville. It sounds like something I would have done. Honestly, I’m not sure if I actually did that or not. My songwriting years are lost in a drug and alcohol induced fog. Much like unto the lyrics of every song I wrote.

In retrospect, there was a reason I wasn’t successful at anything I attempted in my youth. If I had become even modestly successful, I wouldn’t have lived very long.

* * * *

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Most Interesting Man in the World never achieved the fame and fortune he desired as a songwriter, despite all of his vaunted talent.

I’ve been watching Country Music, the latest TV documentary by Ken Burns. It’s sixteen hours long, and I haven’t seen the Most Interesting Man in the World in it yet. Ken Burns has elevated the documentary into an art form. I describe his work as heartbreakingly beautiful. 

I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge country music fan, but I have a fair number of Country/Western CD’s in my collection. After watching this show, I might have to go to music shopping.

I love music. It’s not just the food of love as William Shakespeare claimed. It is the very food of life. 

Mr. Burns covers all of the Big Names in country music in his film, but he also highlights a whole lots of lesser known musicians who have made significant contributions to the genre. These complex, interwoven storylines are the ones I find most compelling.

* * * *

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Townes Van Zandt, was a singer-songwriter from Texas that almost no one has ever heard of. He looks like a minstrel cowboy. He drank a lots of alcohol, and was a heroin addict. He was quite possibly the only musician that never wanted to become rich and famous.

Townes wrote a lots of  songs that are considered masterpieces of American folk music: To Live is to Fly. For the Sake of the Song. Tecumseh Valley. And, Pancho and Lefty. Many of his songs have been covered by Big Name artists. His musical style has often been described as darkly melancholic with rich, poetic lyrics. Someone once suggested he try writing a happy song. “These are the happy songs.” he replied.

He died in 1997 at the age of 52 from the cumulative effects of decades of drug and alcohol abuse.

* * * *

Gram Parsons was born in Florida in 1946. He was a member of the American rock band, The Byrds. He was a founding member of the country rock band, The Flying Burrito Brothers. And he released two solo albums featuring Emmylou Harris. He was the original cosmic cowboy, fusing several genres into his music.

Like unto Townes Van Zandt, Gram was also an alcoholic/drug addict. He didn’t live long enough to become a member of the 27 Club, dying at the age of 26 from an accidental drug overdose.

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Emmylou Harris was a folk singer who transitioned to country music during her collaborations with Gram Parsons. Over the course of her career she has won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 1976, she released the album, Luxury Liner, which featured the first cover of Townes Van Zandt’s haunting ballad, Pancho and Lefty.

* * * *

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are country music icons whose songs helped to define a generation. In late 1982, they decided to collaborate on an album. The recordings went smoothly and swiftly. The album was almost completed but, as Willie said in an interview, “I didn’t feel we had that blockbuster, you know, that one big song for a good single and a video. Then my daughter Lana played me a song I had never heard before.”

Merle Haggard: “I was sleeping in my bus when Willie started pounding on the door. He said he had found the perfect song and wanted to record it. I was really tired, so I wanted to do my recording in the morning. But Willie wanted to do it that night. So I went in the house to sing my lines. I was so tired I don’t remember what I sang, but I figured I could re-record in the morning if I needed to…”

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The song Lana played for her father was the Emmylou Harris cover of Pancho and Lefty by Townes Van Zandt. The Willie and Merle version became the Number One country song of 1983 and sold well over one million copies.

It is one of the greatest country songs ever written. I get goosebumps every time I hear it. I’ll post the lyrics, but you should really listen to the song in all its versions. They’re all available on the YouTube®.

* * * *

Living on the road my friend was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron and your breath’s as hard as kerosene
You weren’t your mama’s only boy but her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye and sank into your dreams
Pancho was a bandit boy, his horse was fast as polished steel
He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know on the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dyin’ words ah but that’s the way it goes
All the Federales say they could’ve had him any day
They only let him slip away out of kindness I suppose
Lefty he can’t sing the blues all night long the way he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south ended up in Lefty’s mouth
Day they laid poor Pancho low Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go there ain’t nobody knows
All the Federales say they could’ve had him any day
They only let him slip away out of kindness I suppose
The poets tell how Pancho fell and Lefty’s living in a cheap hotel
The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold and so the story ends we’re told
Pancho needs your prayers it’s true but save a few for Lefty too
He only did what he had to do and now he’s growing old
They only let him go so long out of kindness I suppose
A few gray Federales say could’ve had him any day
They only let him go so long out of kindness I suppose

Vision

It’s the Independence Day weekend in Mexico. El dia de independencia. 16 de septiembre. On that date in the year 1810, the cry of freedom first rang out in Mexico, and the revolt against the fucking Spaniards began.

¡Viva, México!

This weekend inaugurates what I’ve come to call fiesta season in the Lakeside Area. It’s more or less one big party down here from now until Christmas. Lea has actually looked up all of the annual national and local holidays. There’s something like unto ten thousand of them.

I call it, Los Meses Que Nadie Duerme. The Months That No One Sleeps. The locals don’t sleep because they’re celebrating! And the gringos don’t sleep because there’s no such thing as a quiet celebration in Mexico.

Neither Lea nor I got any sleep last night. A loud party nearby kept us awake until 2:30 AM. There was music. And singing. And storytelling. And laughter. And I’m going to guess all of that was fueled by a lots of alcohol. Then our four kit-tens took over when the celebration finally died down. Yes, we now have four felines and Casa Tara has become a cathouse.

I’ll get to that later.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings played their arch rivals, the Green Bay Packers in their biggest game of the young NFL season today. The Vikings were favored to win, so they played their worst game and lost 21-16.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Or even disappointed. I’ve learned to accept the fact that my team just doesn’t do well with high expectations. I’m going to hope that they’re able to get their act together and play better. It’s either that or give up on football and take up ballet. Or fishing. Or anything else.

The Detroit Lions won yesterday. I’m still considering them as my new team. They’ve sucked for years, so any game they win is a pleasant surprise.

* * * *

The Vision is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe®. He’s an android created by Ultron, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Thor. He possesses the Mind Stone, one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos collected so he could exterminate half of all life in the universe.

Vision is the faculty or state of being able to see. Sight is one of the five senses. It’s arguably the most important one of the bunch. Most people I know like to be able to see what they’re doing. When people talk about sight they rarely use the word vision. Vision seems to have taken on a long range connotation in the minds of many people.

Except when you’re drunk. Then there’s that whole double vision thing…

And that’s all I have to say about that.

* * * *

I haven’t been able to write lately. Actually, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. There’s a reason for that.

I recently got a new pair of glasses.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I’m more or less legally blind without corrective lenses. I’ve been wearing eyeglasses since the third grade. I probably should have been wearing them in the womb. I’m terribly nearsighted. I’m also farsighted. And I have astigmatism. Oh, and sometimes I can’t see colors so good. I probably should have learned Braille. But even if I had, the keyboard on my Notebook isn’t equipped with it, so there’s that.

* * * *

There’s nothing wrong with my old glasses. I’ve had my current pair of glasses for almost five years. The lenses are getting a little scratched up, but that’ll happen over time. I can still see out of them, and that’s really the only purpose eyeglasses serve.

I’m not sure why I decided to get new glasses. My lovely supermodel wife got new glasses this year. So did my golf wife. They both look super cute. Lea actually looks like a really hot librarian. It would appear I thought it was my turn…

Normally, something like this wouldn’t have a major impact in my life, but in this case there was one small, insignificant detail. I couldn’t see much of anything with my new glasses.

I wear progressive bifocals. Hey, I’m old, okay? I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain what went wrong, and this is the best I can do: I live in a Central Time Zone, but my right eye was seeing in the Eastern Time Zone, and my left eye was seeing in the Mountain Time Zone.

Everything was clear, then it was fuzzy, then it was blurry, then it was distorted. And then the process started all over again. It was déjà vu, jamais vu, and goo goo g’joob all rolled together into one disturbing optical illusion.

My eyes were sending so much contradictory stimuli to my brain I started hallucinating. For someone as loosely held together as myself, it was the last thing I needed. I was pretty sure a bunch of ninjas were trying to sneak up on me because that’s what I was seeing out of the corners of my eyes. When I tried to focus on them, the ninjas disappeared. It made sense to me at the time. That’s kinda what ninjas do…

* * * *

Another Little Known Fact About Me: I don’t look crazy, but I have at least four Axis I psychiatric diagnoses, and at least one Axis II diagnosis. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have more. I’m not going to elaborate on any of them, but I’ve never taken any psych meds. I’ve learned to adapt to the kooky way my brain works, mostly by trying to ignore it, and rarely taking anything that goes on inside of my head too seriously.

If you don’t know what Axis I or II are, look them up on the Google®. They’re all in the DSM-IV. It’s the Big Book of What’s Wrong With You for Psychiatry. And you should probably know that there’s no diagnosis of Normal.

Be that as it may, I…suffer…from frequent unpleasant intrusive thoughts. If they weren’t so unpleasant, I don’t think there’d be any suffering involved. It’s one of the reasons I tried drinking myself into a coma for three decades.

I don’t hear voices, but I do have thought insertions. They can also be intrusive. And unpleasant. And, they can sometimes be misinterpreted as voices. Thought insertion is a somewhat uncommon symptom: I sometimes feel my thoughts are not my own, but rather belong to someone else and have been inserted into my mind.

You know, like, whenever I actually have a good idea.

* * * *

I got my new glasses last Saturday, so that’s when my corrected vision problems started. I figured it was just the new prescription, you know, my eyes would adjust. I wore them last Sunday when I went golfing. It was the worst round of golf I’ve played since I quit drinking. I finally ended up doing this:

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As ridiculous as it might sound, this classic bit of advice actually worked for me. Once I stopped trying to see the ball, I could actually hit it better. I might have accidentally learned something from essentially being blind, and Caddyshack.

Feeling the golf course, finding a form of oneness with it. Seeing not with your eyes, but with your mind. It was oddly spiritual, and even more oddly, relaxing. I don’t recommend this method to improve your golf game to anyone. To be honest, I’d rather be able to see.

I went golfing today with my old glasses, my new Tour Edge® putter, my golf wife, Phyllis, and our friends, Tom and Cheryl. For the most part, I think I putted better today, but I also discovered I’m still capable of three putting.

Motherfucker Osmond Brothers!

The biggest problem with any golf club is they all have manual transmissions. There’s no D for drive. There’s no cruise control. There’s no semi-autonomous driver-assist features. They are all subject to user error.

But something amazing happened to me on the front nine today. For the first time in my life, I did not fuck up a single fairway shot. I nailed every one of them, setting myself up for all of the things golfers dream about: eagles, birdies, and pars.

Unfortunately, reality decided to tag along. My chipping game still needs some serious tweaking.

* * * *

I think I tried getting used to my new glasses for four days, then gave up and put my old glasses back on, then went to see Kristi, the sweet young lady that runs the optical shop where I bought my glasses. My new glasses are under warranty, so she’s going to have a new pair made with my old prescription.

I’m sure there were several factors involved in the process that resulted in my incorrect corrective lenses. There have already been a few steps in the process to re-correct them, and there’ll probably be a few more. But it probably won’t be as arduous as getting our refrigerator fixed.

By the way, that’s still working. I’m starting to believe it’s not going to break down again this time.

* * * *

Last Thursday, we welcomed two more kit-tens into our household:

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Behold, Sadie and Sammy. We’re going to rid of all our dark clothing

Planet Janet, our former landlady, asked us if we could help out her best friend, Neelam. Neelam is being treated for cancer, and she could no longer care for her three dogs and two cats.

We didn’t want the dogs, so we took the kit-tens.

Sadie is a Champagne Tonkinese mix female. I’m not sure if she’s a Mexican kit-ten, or if she’s a gringa gatita, but she is the cutest, littlest little kit-ten, ever! She’s roughly seven weeks older than our purebred Mexican street kit-tens, Mika and Mollie.

Sammy is a five year old male of undetermined lineage, but he’s probably a purebred Mexican street kit-ten, too. I think he’s half white tiger — like unto the tigers Seigfried and Roy used to have in their magic act — and half polar bear. He. Is. One. BIG. Kit-ten.

His real name is Sonny, but Lea kept calling him Sammy because of Samantha, our first kit-ten. I suggested we change his name. He’s a cat. It’s not like he’s not going to come when you call his name, you know, like he’s a dog.

Sonny/Sammy. What’s the difference? If he wants anything from you, he’ll let you know. If he doesn’t, he’ll ignore you, like any other cat.

Sammy appears to understand that he’s the only male in a house full of kit-tens, and if he plays his cards right he’s going to end up with a harem of adoring females. He already has Lea won over. He is one cool cat, and he knows it.

* * * *

The transition hasn’t been easy for any of our kit-tens. Sadie and Sammy are freaked out because they’re in a new place and the woman who had taken care of them has disappeared. Mika and Mollie are freaked because of the new kit-tens on the block and no one asked them if they were okay with this new arrangement.

If anyone reading this knows any tricks to introducing new pets into a household, I am willing to hear anything you have to say.

I know as much about being a parent as I do about algorithms, and that would be next to nothing. You could ask my stepdaughters. I’m pretty sure I sucked at it. But I figured our new kit-tens would need a safe place to readjust to their new environment, so we set them up in the den. It’s a huge room, and we rarely use it.

Sadie and Sammy essentially hid in the den for one day. We checked on them frequently so they could get used to us and sound of our voices and stuff. Then they came out into the living room and started exploring.

Mika and Mollie jumped up to the top of one of the bookcases and looked down on everything with kit-ten amazement. It’s been sort of a North/South thing ever since. Sadie and Sammy mostly occupy the South Wing of the house. Mika and Mollie mostly hold the North Wing and occupy the high vantage points in the living room, dining room, and the kitchen.

I’m not Doctor Fuckin’ Doolittle. I can’t talk to the animals and explain that we took the new kit-tens in because they would have been put to sleep if we hadn’t. I’m sure our first rescue kit-tens wouldn’t want that to happen to any kit-ten, and then they’d settle down.

There haven’t been any battles, but there’s been some aggressive posturing and a fair amount of blustery speech. It’s like unto the cold war between the US and the USSR back in the day. Except Saturday night when all four kit-tens ran into each other in our bedroom and all hell broke loose.

That’s when Lea and I decided we needed to trim the needle sharp talons of death on all of our kit-tens. That job was actually a whole lots easier than either of us thought it would be. I almost feel like a psych nurse again, trying to keep the peace on my unit. That’s basically what psych nurses do: keep everyone safe in a confined space until they’re stable enough to go home and start making bad decisions all over again.

Maybe I should try giving all the kit-tens some Cativan…

* * * *

In retirement, Lea and I have become real life versions of Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. We rescued our first two kit-tens when they were darlingpreshadorbs babies. We rescued Lord Mark’s sprawling villa from hideous interior design and general disrepair and turned it into the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We rescued Todd from having to spend another winter in Idaho. And we rescued Neelam’s adult kit-tens from having to get dead.

Life is essentially one long recovery/rescue program. We’re all recovering from something. Every now and then we get to rescue something. We didn’t know it at the time but when we got married, Lea and I would end up rescuing each other.

But that’s another story for another day. For now, this is Mark Rowen signing off. Que tenga un buen dia y hasta luego.

Headline Action Breaking News Live! Update … Report

If you were thinking about creating a news show and you needed to come up with a catchy title, you’re clearly not going to want to hire me as your slogan guy.

* * * *

There was yet another mass shooting in the US last week.

I’m actually too emotionally exhausted to even get outraged anymore. I’ve come to the conclusion that if the lawmakers in Washington DC aren’t going to do anything to change this, then there can be no more tragic mass shootings in America. They are simply the price you might have to pay for living in the Land of the Free.

And if the American people aren’t going to elect representatives that actually represent them, then they can go fuck themselves, too.

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Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!

* * * *

My Twitter® account was suspended again because of some comments I posted in response to Donald Trump.

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It appears there are some limits to my hypocrisy. I found I couldn’t encourage The Donald to be more of an asshat than he already was and continue to sleep well at night. So, I kind of went off on him the other day.

Apparently, you’re not allowed to call the President a dumb cunt…

Twitter® made me delete my posts, told me to play nice with others, and wouldn’t let me do anything on their site for a day.

It’s ironic because the one person on the planet that shouldn’t be allowed to post anything on their site never gets his hands slapped…

* * * *

I’m assuming the fucking rat I tried to kill to death in our carport, then disappeared into the engine of our car, decided to move to a safer location. One that doesn’t have broom-wielding maniacs. Or two dozen hungry cats. I haven’t seen it again, and believe me when I say I’ve looked.

I haven’t seen any rats anywhere, but I have seen a lots of the many semi-feral cats that live in the neighborhood.

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They like hanging out in our carport, too. And I’m reasonably sure they’d pursue the rat if it was still hanging around. If I thought there was seriously a chance the rat was still living in my car, I really would set it on fire.

* * * *

The NFL football season kicks off this week! This is the best time of the year for me. The Minnesota Vikings have looked good in their preseason games, so hopes of a stellar season are running high with their fans right now.

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Well, after last year, they can only go up…

To say that the Vikings struggled last year is an understatement. They were supposed to be an elite team that would be in the running for another Super Bowl appearance. Instead, they barely finished with a winning record and were mediocre at best.

This year should be different. The Vikings have a rejuvenated offense. They have two of the best receivers in the NFL, and they finally cut Laquon Treadwell, who was one of the worst receivers in the league. If the offensive line gives Kirk Cousins the time he needs, the passing game could be a force to be reckoned with.

The Vikings appear to have a veritable herd of decent running backs. If Dalvin Cook can stay healthy for an entire season, their offense might be an absolute powerhouse this year.

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Defensively, the Vikings appear to be solid, but historically they almost always have. Last year the defense seemed to play with a lack of intensity. And in more than one game they seemed to just not care. All accounts indicate they’ve got their goddamn minds right, and they are poised to dominate on that side of the ball again.

Might. Maybe. If only…  Every football season starts like this for me. Every year, this could be our year. But every fan of every NFL team is right there with me right now. If only — this might be the year — maybe…

I’m excited to see what happens. I’m another year closer to getting dead, so the clock is ticking, guys. I want to see you win a Super Bowl before I die. If it doesn’t, I’m coming back as the scariest fuckin’ ghost you’ve ever seen and I will haunt your asses until you do.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

* * * *

We’ve been busy here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. Todd, my lovely supermodel wife’s boyfriend, has finally arrived with all of his worldly belongings and has taken up residence in one of our guest rooms. He’s going to be our roommate for an as yet undetermined amount of time. I think of it as an experiment in communal living for all of us.

It’s not like we don’t have the room. Our house is huge, way bigger than anything we need for the two of us. And our kit-tens. Mika and Mollie turned one year old last month! I sang them the Happy Birthday song in Spanish. Our kit-tens are bilingual. That means they can ignore what we say to them in two languages.

Space here wasn’t an issue. The only concerns we had was how this arrangement would work in reality. If you exclude spouses and children, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one of the three of us that has ever had a roommate.

I’ve had a few people ask me how our new living arrangement came to be. I think it was my idea. Todd and Lea have known each other since middle school or something. They’ve been friends forever. Todd came down here to visit Lea a couple of years ago. That’s when I met him. We’ve been friends ever since.

We were fortunate when we moved here. We had a great network of people we could talk to. We didn’t have to endure many of the glitches that can occur when you move to a foreign country.  In my mind, having Todd move in with us seemed to be the best way to ease his transition into his new life.

Todd speaks no Spanish. I know the look that he gets on his face whenever anyone speaks to him en español. Lea and I have shared as much as we can with him about our experiences here. We’ll continue to help him as best we can until the deer in the headlights look goes away. After that, we’ll see.

As they say on TV, what could possibly go wrong?

* * * *

The Roommate is a 2011 cinematic psychological thriller about a deranged college freshman who becomes obsessed with her new roommate.

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Okay. I guess there’s that…

Experiment IV is a song by the English singer Kate Bush. The song tells a story about a secret military plan to create a sound horrific enough to kill a lots people.

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I can honestly say that this scenario had never occurred to me

* * * *

If you combine those two themes, this looks like unto the worst cohabitation idea, ever. Fortunately, Todd is not deranged, nor does he possess any of the intense, technological dental x-ray combat training that I received from the Army. He’s a good guy.

It should be fun. Todd loves to cook, so Lea will have some help in the kitchen. And, he plays golf. I love to eat, and I love to play golf. This appears to be a win-win-win situation for everyone, but especially for me.

And we still have the casita/guest house for anyone who wants to come visit. We’ve had a few people ask if they could come down, so we’ll see. We might eventually get some visitors here.

* * * *

Speaking of golf, I’m still getting accustomed to my new clubs. The fairway woods I bought have been nice additions to my arsenal. They haven’t produced any noticeable reduction in my score yet, but I attribute that to my other new club.

The chipper is unlike any other club I’ve ever had. It has next to no weight, so I’ve been struggling with the “how hard do I have to hit the ball to get it to the pin dilemma.” My results with it have been very hit or miss.

Mostly miss, so far.

In a few days I can start getting accustomed to my new putter. I’m waiting for it to be delivered from Amazon. I decided if was going to get serious about improving my game, I better get the right tools for the job.

In a recent interview, Brooks Kepka said this: “I’m putting pretty good. I’m just not making any putts.” It sounds like just about the most stupidest thing anyone could ever say, but it makes perfect sense to any serious golfer.

My new putter is red, and it looks like a spaceship from Star Trek.

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See? I told you.

Once I figure out how to use it, I’ll probably never miss a putt again.

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Lol! More lol!! Snort lol. Stop it, you’re killing me!!!

Endgame

¡Hola, amigos y amigas! ¡Buenos dildos! That means, “very good day,” en español. I have to admit, I’m getting pretty damn good at conjugating nouns and stuff in the language of our adopted country of residence.

* * * *

My lovely supermodel wife and I were knocking down wasp nests on the patio a couple of days ago. When we finished in the back, we decided to check out the front of the house. Lo and behold, there was a fucking rat sitting on a ledge in the carport!

Probably Not So Surprising Little Known Fact About Me: I hate rats. I hate rats more than I hate bats. Even more than I detest Donald Trump.

* * * *

I read The Donald’s Tweets every morning. I used to call him out for being the reprehensible slob of humanity that he is. And then a couple of absolutely stupefying things happened, even by Trump’s standards.

I will say one thing about America’s current Commander-in-Chief. He is the most accidentally funny President, ever. Too bad his ego won’t let him list that as one of his many great accomplishments.  He’d actually be telling the truth about something.

First, Trump tried to buy Greenland. When the deal fell through, he said he was joking, but yeah, he actually wanted to buy a country! Denmark essentially laughed at him. They probably checked his credit rating…

Second, Trump tweeted his thanks to one of his supporters who said the people of Israel love The Donald like he was the King of Israel, and they love The Donald like he was the second coming of God.

And without a drop of humility, Trump agreed with him.

Since then, I’ve had a change of heart. Instead of chastising the President, I now wholeheartedly encourage him to double down on every petty insult and slur he can’t stop himself from tweeting, to raise his bet on every inane thing he says. I’m hoping his unfettered madness will make him say something that will make even his most ardent, hardcore, comatose, lemming-like supporters stop, scratch their heads, and think:

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* * * *

Sorry. Back to the rat story…

I just happened to be holding a broom in my hands at the time, and my dental X-ray combat training took over. I charged the rat and smote it mightily with the broom handle, delivering a death blow to the odious rodent.

The rat, who was apparently not even close to being dead, jumped down from the ledge, then jumped up into the engine compartment of my car, disappearing into the maze of components under the hood of my Buick Encore, which was even worse than having a rat living in the carport.

I had a dilemma. I wasn’t about to let that rat continue living, but I had no way to easily confront my enemy to finish it off.

“Now what do we do?” Lea asked. She doesn’t like rats any more than I do.

“I need a gallon of gasoline.”

“Why?” she asked.

“So I can set the car on fire.”

* * * *

Many years ago, I admitted a young guy that had been a patient on my unit a couple of times. I think he was schizophrenic, and he usually came in because he was drunk and needed to be detoxed. But this time was different. He was sober, but his neighbors had called the fire department because he had set his motorcycle on fire at the end of his driveway.

After they had extinguished the fire, the fire fighters had called the police.

If you don’t mind me asking, why did you set your motorcycle on fire?

Oh, there’s a simple explanation for that. I couldn’t get it started! I had been working on it for the last couple of weeks, and I just kind of snapped today and poured some gas on it and, you know, set it on fire.

Was it an expensive bike?

No, it wasn’t a brand new Harley or anything. It was a piece of junk that had been in my garage for at least five years. I think I paid maybe fifty bucks for it. It wasn’t running when I bought it. I’m a pretty good mechanic. I figured I could get it running and use it to get around town. Cheap transportation, you know.

Was there a rat in it?

What?!? No, there wasn’t a fucking rat in it. It wouldn’t start!

And that’s when you decided to set it on fire…  

Yeah, well, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do…

Because your neighbors called the cops..

No, the firemen called the cops! Like it was any of their goddamn business. It was my motorcycle!

Imagine this: You’re driving down the street and you see a motorcycle on fire. What’s the first thing you’d do?

Yeah, okay. I see where you’re going with this. (There was a long silence while he thought about everything.) Say, how long do you think I’m going to be stuck in here?

I don’t know. It probably depends on how many more motorcycles you have.

* * * *

In our situation, suffice it to say that cooler heads prevailed. Lea and I eventually came to the conclusion that the rat would probably, hopefully, abandon its’ hiding place in our car once night fell, and it would scurry off into the dark. Hopefully, it would get killed to death by one of the two dozen semi-feral cats that live in the neighborhood.

Our neighbors to the south of Casa Tara feed all of the wild cats in Lower Chula Vista. They have a veritable herd of cats that congregate in their yard. And ours. I always thought our neighbors were a little crazy, but now I think they might be geniuses. The best defense against a rodent infestation is a herd of cats.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Cats and the Black Death: Sometime around the year 1230, Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull called Vox in Rama. This piece of papal bullshit declared cats to be the instruments of Satan, especially black cats, who were particularly Luciferian in this infallible Pope’s mind. Thousands of cats were killed to death at the order of the Pope, and the rat population of Europe exploded.

The bacteria that cause plague, Yersinia pestis, tend to live inside of fleas that live on rats. Adult fleas live on blood that they suck from their host animal. The plague is generally transmitted by the bite of an infected flea that has abandoned its’ rat for a new food source. Anywhere from 75 to 200 million people in Medieval Europe died from the plague.

As if that wasn’t enough, Gregory IX also established the Inquisition. He was probably the deadliest Pope that ever lived. He could have been the prototype for Thanos, the brutal supervillain in Endgame who had wiped out half of the population of the universe with a snap of his fingers in the previous movie, Avengers: Infinity War.

The only reason I qualify that statement is this planet has had a lots of historical figures that were immensely good at killing.

* * * *

For those of you that didn’t know, or who could care less, Avengers: Endgame is the latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe®. There have been 23 films in the series, and I’ve seen them all.

The Avengers franchise is the highest-grossing movie series of all time, having grossed over $22.5 billion at the global box office. Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all time, having netted almost $3 billion all by itself.

If you think this is going to be a movie review, you’re going to be very disappointed. Okay. I liked the movie; despite its many flaws about how the TimeSpace continuum works in the quantum universe.

The Radiolab guys would have a blast trying to fill in all the holes in the storyline of Endgame, but that’s their problem, if they choose to accept that mission, not mine. And that’s not what this post is going to be about.

Despite all of their box office success and superpowers, the people of my generation know these modern-day Avengers are nothing but a bunch of posers and wannabes.

These, are the real Avengers: They didn’t need any superpowers. They were British.

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John Steed and Emma Peel, portrayed by Patrick Macnee & Diana Rigg

The Avengers was a British espionage television series that aired from 1961 to 1969. It initially focused on the duo of Dr. David Keel, aided by John Steed, investigating and solving crimes.

Dr. Keel left after the first series; Steed then became the main character. Over the years, he partnered with a succession of intelligent, stylish, assertive women: Cathy Gale, Emma Peel, and Tara King. Emma was the cream of the crop in my mind. Witty, beautiful, and she could kick some serious ass. I fell in love with her at first sight.

And, there was that dream I had about her when I was fifteen. Diana was very, very…  friendly. She was my first celebrity crush. I wonder if she has a Twitter® account?

Diana Rigg also played Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones. She may no longer be young and beautiful, but her biting wit hasn’t lost any of its sharpness. She was an immediate fan favorite, and her character was responsible for the death of the sadistic King Joffrey Baratheon, an act for which I will feel eternal gratitude.

* * * *

The results of my colonoscopy are in. No polyps! First time ever for that. I think it’s the Mexican diet. Polyps apparently live in fear of jalapeños, which are used in almost all of the local dishes down here.

I had my procedure done at the Hospital San Antonio, a brand new healthcare facility at the bottom of the hill below our house. The hospital was built by Dr. Carlos Garcia del Castillo, our Family Practice physician. He’s kind of the Milo Minderbinder of Medicine around here.

“Brand new” implies “state-of-the-art,” especially when it comes to medicine. But this is Mexico. The new hospital had the only MRI machine in the Lakeside Area — until they plugged it in — and it kind of exploded, turning several people into giant, mutant green-skinned hulqueros.

It was probably made by LG…  At any rate, you’ll have to go to Guadalajara for an MRI, until Dr. Carlos can get his machine repaired or replaced. It’s probably still under warranty.

The procedure room where my colonoscopy was done is right next to the loading dock in the back of the hospital. The massive door to the loading dock was open wide as I was escorted into the room. A curtain was the only thing separating the procedure room from the rest of the hospital. It was also wide open.

As the medical staff — two doctors and three nurses — were getting ready for my procedure, two dogs trotted into the room and laid down on the floor to watch. The janitor wandered in, mop in hand, to see what was going on and say Hello to everyone. Some random guy selling hats wandered in with him.

I asked the anesthesiologist, his name was Hector, if he could just please put me under. Once I was unconscious, I wouldn’t care who else came into the room to check out my rear end. And who wouldn’t want to see that? Lea tells me I have the cutest butt she’s ever seen, so there’s that.

That’s the “end”game this post is going to be about. My ass is about as American as it gets.

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* * * *

Just in cases you were wondering, the total cost of my my procedure was $10,500 pesos. Roughly $525 US. You might want to read that again. Five hundred twenty five dollars. Service dogs included at no extra charge.

That’s about how much it costs for one visit to the Emergency Room in the US. Add a lots more money if any actual procedures are done during that visit. That’s probably how much it cost me, monetarily, the last time I was in the ER.

I went to the ER because of my third kidney stone. I knew I had a kidney stone, but this stone was possibly worse than my previous two renal calculi combined. What I didn’t know was I also had a kidney infection and prostatitis.

I got checked in, turned in a urine sample, then waited however long it took for the doctor to see me. The ER doc was a pleasant, older man named Josef Mengele. Just in cases you don’t know who that is, Dr. Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. His nickname was The Angel of Death.

He took my history, typed his notes into the computer, then said the words that every guy in a doctor’s office dreads to hear, “Okay. I’m going to have to do a prostate exam.”

He said he was going to be gentle. He made a fist with his left hand and demonstrated how slowly and carefully he was going to insert his right finger into my rectum. That was actually reassuring.

I dropped my pants and assumed the “Bend Over” position on the exam table while the good doctor donned gloves and lubed up with K-Y Jelly.

“Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Oh, and you should probably take your glasses off, too.”

I had never had a doctor suggest that before. I almost questioned why, but I did as he asked. And then I knew why he had suggested it.

True to his word, Dr. Mengele was slow and careful with his digital insertion. Until he got to his first knuckle. Then he shoved the rest of his finger into my rectum like it was making the jump to lightspeed.

And I’m almost positive that I heard something like unto this:

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Pain! Pain worse than a dozen goddamn kidney stones filled my being. My face smashed into the exam table. Hard. Like I was having a seizure hard. I vaguely remember thinking, Oh, that’s why he wanted me to take my glasses off! After that, all I wanted to do was cry.

“Oh yeah. You definitely have prostatitis.” Dr. Mengele gloated. It felt like he had put his foot up my ass and he was kicking my prostate. “Your prostate feels like a grapefruit! So, you’re a nurse, huh? What’s your specialty? Where do you work?”

I couldn’t have responded if I had wanted to. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. But these words formed inside my head:

Get…your…arm…out…of…my…ass…you…motherfucking…Nazi!!! I seriously would have confessed to the Kennedy assassination if that’s what Dr. Mengele had wanted. That was the longest five hours of my life. Five seconds later, it was over.

I’m pretty sure I collapsed to the floor in relief. Dr. Mengele washed his hands, told me he’d write some prescriptions for antibiotics, and cheerfully bid me Auf Wiedersehen.

The nurse thought I had had a heart attack when she entered the room with Dr. Mengele’s prescriptions. Fortunately, I could speak by then. As I was getting dressed I was able to convince her she didn’t need to call a Code Blue.

Besides, I’m DNR/DNI.

* * * *

My first kidney stone and my third kidney stone were large, like, 6 mms each. They had to be broken into little tiny bits by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. It’s one of the few medical interventions I’ve experienced that might be worse than the initial condition.

I felt like I had been hit by a bus afterwards, and it took about a week to get to the point where I stopped wishing my kidney stones would have had the decency to just kill me to death and get it over already.

I had my last kidney stone in 2013, I think. Since then, I have conscientiously done everything I can to prevent getting a fourth kidney stone.

It’s not all that difficult. Drink a lots of water. That’s the most effective thing you can do. And eat a lots of jalapeños. I don’t think kidney stones like them either.

This Mexican Life

This American Life is an American weekly hour-long radio program produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media and hosted by Ira Glass. I used to listen to it on Sunday afternoons if I was driving around town.

I used to listen to public radio in my car all of the time back in the States. I like classical music, and the shows on the weekend were entertaining. Car Talk. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! The ubiquitous news and talk shows. I kind of miss it. At least I understood what they were saying, even if I didn’t always agree with their point of view.

My favorite show on public radio was Radiolab. It’s a program produced by WNYC, and hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. They’re a couple of spooky smart guys. The show focuses on topics of a scientific and philosophical nature in a light-hearted manner, with a distinctive audio production style.

It was amazing! Always informative and enlightening, and sometimes very funny. If you don’t have anything else to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon, check it out. You might be surprised how much you like quantum physics.

* * * *

There is a classical music radio station here. I listen to it when José Jimenez, the only disc jockey at Señal Noventa plays one of his repetitive playlists while he tries to fix the kitchen sink. Or whatever it is his wife wants him to do.

For all I know, there’s a radio program called, This Mexican Life. Even if there were, it’s doubtful I’d listen to it. It’s the whole language thing…

There are a lots of TV soap operas about Mexican life. They’re called telenovelas. The featured image for this post is from La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers). It’s  described as comedy/drama about the dysfunctional upper class de la Mora family.

If I ever get to the point where I can understand spoken Spanish, I might watch it. It sounds interesting.

* * * *

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We completed our final home improvement project for Lord Mark, the guy that owns the house we’re living in.

We painted the interior rooms of the casita and set up a guest suite on the offhand chance that anyone ever wants to come visit us here. We hired Francisco Flores Bernini again to paint the casita. He’s very good and he’s also very reasonable with his pricing. He painted the entire interior of Casa Tara — roughly 5000 square feet — plus the casita, for about $1000 US.

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Yeah, it did turn out nice

Our casita consists of two rooms. A spacious bedroom with queen size Sleep Number® bed and an attached three piece bathroom, and a complete kitchen.

We’ve discovered that a lot of people say they’ll come visit, but they never do. They probably think they’re going to get killed to death if they come to Mexico. Good thing they don’t have to worry about that happening in the US…  We’ve been here for two and a half years. I feel safer here  than I do when I travel back to the States.

* * * *

I’m in the middle of the bowel prep for my colonoscopy tomorrow morning. It’s easily the worst part of the whole thing. You can’t eat anything, and you have to drink a couple of gallons of not-very-tasty electrolyte/laxative solution. The end result is something like unto cholera, except you probably won’t get dead.

Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.

Diarrhea is usually loose, watery, sometimes more frequent stools. A slang for diarrhea is the shits. Do you want to know the real difference between diarrhea and the shits?

If you make it to the toilet, it’s diarrhea.

* * * *

I’m writing this in-between trips to the bathroom. It’s going to take awhile…

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See? I told you it wasn’t pretty

I had my first colonoscopy in 2013. It’s one of the many things you can look forward to if you live long enough to become old. I met the anesthesiologist before the procedure and I told him if I remembered anything about it, I was going to sue him for everything his first wife didn’t take when she divorced him. 

“Count backwards from one hundred.” he said, as he injected the propofol into the IV tubing. “Good luck getting to ninety.” I think I made it to ninety two. He remembered me when I had my second colonoscopy in 2016. I don’t think I made it to ninety five. 

If I have to count backwards from hundred in Spanish this time, I won’t make it to ninety eight.

* * * *

Updates!

I completely rewired my home theater surround sound system while Lea was in the US last month. I now have ten sets of speakers and two subwoofers connected to my receiver, which is connected to every other entertainment gadget I have in the living room.

I thought it sounded good when I set it up when we moved in, but it’s been taken to a new level now. I think it needs at least one more set of speakers. Lea thinks I need my goddamn head examined.

She’s probably right. I doubt that I actually need more speakers. But there’s no doubt that I want more.

* * * *

Speaking of entertainment gadgets, when Lea returned from the States, she brought the Zoomtak box I had purchased to replace the XBMC box that died earlier this year.

If you’re even less tech-saavy than I am, these are devices for streaming TV shows and movies on a KODI® platform. At least that’s what they do here. They might work on other platforms, but I have no idea what they might be.

At any rate, I happened to be in the Telecable office last week, and I noticed they had been bought out by another company, and are now called Izzi.com. Unlike their predecessors, Izzi offers a range of services heretofore unavailable in the Lakeside Area, like, modems with speeds up to 10 mbs.

I talked to the beautiful and talented Carmen, with the really big eyes, and switched over to the new service. I thought it would give us faster download speeds for my streaming devices.

My lovely supermodel wife, who knows way more about this stuff than I do, said switching to 10 mbs would give us more data, but not faster download speed. Based on the few times that I’ve tried streaming anything since she’s been back, it seems to depend on the day. But she’s right. Zoomtak or Firestick, they don’t seem to load any faster. At least they’re not any slower…

I don’t stream a lots of TV or movies most of the time, but that could change, if I ever figure out how to pay attention to anything for more than five minutes. If I end up getting really frustrated by this situation, I’ll go talk to the ILOX people. They’re the fiber optic communications company down here. They might be my only hope.

* * * *

The magic lights in our hallway are working again! The motion sensor in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms died, but I couldn’t find a replacement sensor that worked because of the way the hallway is wired. Thank God for Francisco. Not only is he a great painter and golf caddy, he’s also my very good friend.

He went to a few different hardware stores in the Lakeside Area until he found one that would actually order the part for him.

Little Known Fact About Mexico: for whatever reason, the Mexican people generally hate to say No. So they’ll probably tell you anything until you get tired of asking them to do something they can’t.

The first couple of hardware stores said they could order a new sensor, but didn’t. The third one came through. Francisco came over and installed it in ten minutes. I absolutely love it. I gave him the replacement sensor I had purchased that didn’t work in the hallway. It works great in his bathroom because his house wasn’t wired by a moronhead.

* * * *

Somewhat surprisingly, our refrigerator is still working, and it seems to be working more better gooder than it ever has before! We even moved everything from the old refrigerator in the casita back into kitchen. And the refrigerator still works!! Maybe the fifth time is a charm…

* * * *

Damn. That was the shits.

* * * *

Tacho was here last week to install the water diversion devices he built for the eaves by the swimming pool. I wanted something done to diminish the amount of water that ended up on the patio floor when it rains. The polished ceramic tiles on the floor of the patio are more slippery than glare ice when they get wet.

I contacted Jaime Mendoza, our property manager, and he sent Tacho over to take care of everything. Tacho is a busy guy, plus his dad has been in the hospital. It turned out that Tacho would get here about a week too late.

In my mind, this was a potential safety issue. Last week, Lea fell on the patio, and then it became an official safety issue. She hit the floor hard. Thankfully, she didn’t break anything, she only feels like she broke almost everything.

Tacho’s devices work. The runoff at the inner corners of the roof shoots into the pool instead of pooling on the floor. There’s no way to keep all of the rainfall off the patio, so we have to be very cautious out there whenever it rains.

Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would install tiles like that outside either, but it is was it is. It’s the price we have to pay for living an almost perfect life in Paradise.

* * * *

And, finally, let’s talk about golf.

I haven’t been golfing as much lately, mostly because the Rainy Season turns my golf course into a waterlogged morass. I’ve been trying to find some waterproof golf boots, but I haven’t had any luck with that yet.

I’ve shot a couple of sub-one hundred rounds lately, so that’s been encouraging. Not great scores, but better than I usually do at the Country Club de Chapala after it turns into the Mexican version of the Okefenokee Swamp.

After I finished golfing last Sunday, I wandered into the Pro Shop to turn in our score card, and I noticed a whole lots of golf clubs lined up along one of the walls. Three clubs caught my eye.

Two hybrid fairway woods, and a chipper.

I asked if they were for sale. Yes, they all were, but I would have to talk to Ramiro about the prices, and Sunday is his day off. Ramiro is the golf pro at CCdC.

No problem. I went back to the course on Monday, met with Ramiro, and bought the three clubs for $1700 pesos. About $80 US.

New golf clubs don’t guarantee that you’ll suddenly play any better, but they probably aren’t going to hurt either. If eighty bucks solves the problems I’ve had getting to the green, and I can start chipping more better gooder, it’ll be worth it.

The chipper could make a huge difference. Several of the people I’ve golfed with use one, and they were deadly with their chip shots. I should probably go out on Saturday and practice with it so I have some vague idea of what I can do with it before Sunday, which is the next time I’m planning on playing.

I’ll keep you posted.

Here We Go Again

Thirty-one people were murdered in two separate mass shootings in the violent country of my birth this weekend.

Despite these shootings, and all of the others that have preceded them, America doesn’t have a gun problem. Be that as it may, even people who argue this point have to admit that America has a serious problem. To them, it’s everything except guns, but the problem is out there just the same.

I’ve written about this subject before. You could check it out if you don’t have anything better to do. I’m not going to rehash this entire issue. All I can say is I’m terribly saddened by this, and mystified how this can still be an unresolved problem in what was once the greatest country of the modern world.

Interestingly enough, for something that isn’t a problem, a few politicians are catching some serious heat for not doing anything to correct a situation that doesn’t exist.

* * * *

Donald Trump.

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During a rally in May in Panama City Beach, Florida, Trump spoke about the border patrol agents working to stop migrants from crossing the border illegally. When he asked the crowd, “How do you stop these people?” one rally attendee shouted, “Shoot them.” 

Any guesses how The Donald responded to that? He laughed!

On Saturday, one of his supporters drove ten hours from Dallas to El Paso so he could kill as many Hispanics as he possibly could. About twenty minutes before he fired his first shot, he posted a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto online.

His declaration spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” It detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race, and also warned that white people were being replaced by foreigners.

Hmm…  Weren’t the first white people in America the original foreigners?

The shooter’s manifesto said politicians of both parties were to blame for the United States “rotting from the inside out,” and that “the heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democrat stronghold.”

His rambling manifesto — they’re always rambling — also railed against automation and embraced an argument familiar in anti-immigrant circles: that immigrants are taking jobs from “natives.”

The shooter wrapped up his declaration by saying, “My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president.”

Translation: I’m an asshat, but it’s not Donald Trump’s fault.

That’s like saying, I’m a drug addict, but drugs have nothing to do with it.

In response to these tragedies, President Trump didn’t travel to El Paso or Dayton to comfort the families, and reassure the nation. He tweeted that the victims must be honored and remembered, so he ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast. Then he went golfing.

Not one word about gun control or reform.

You realize that someone had to suggest lowering the flags to him, don’t you? If comforting the nation doesn’t involve grabbing it by the pussy, he has no clue what he’s supposed to do or say.

This morning, he tweeted that the victims of these shootings must not die in vain. What America needs to do is enact stronger immigration reform.

Yeah, he actually said that.

Neither of the shooters were immigrants. They were both domestic terrorists. Those boys were homegrown Americans. And yet, they’re not the problem. Neither are guns. 

It’s those goddamn criminal immigrants. That’s why we need that wall on the southern border. That will fix everything. Only a fool or a racist could say that and sincerely believe it to be true.

Donald Trump says he’s the least racist person he knows. Given his long and very well-documented history of inflammatory racist commentary, that doesn’t say much about his friends and associates.

A couple of weeks ago he told a group of Democratic congresswomen of color to go back where they came from. Yes, a schoolyard taunt from way back when I was in grade school. And then he said his statement wasn’t racist because, “…many people agree with me.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the people who agree with him are, you know, also racists.

* * * *

Mitch McConnell.

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Grampa Guns ‘n  Rheumatism

Mitch is the senior Republican Senator from Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader, and official hand puppet of the NRA. He’s arguably the most powerful politician in the country. Perhaps the nicest thing I can say about Comrade McConnell is he probably isn’t a racist. He appears to hate everyone equally.

If there is one person who can be singled out for the lack of any meaningful gun control legislation, that man is Senator McConnell.

Mitch has essentially placed two bills regarding enhanced gun control in legislative limbo because he sold his soul to the National Rifle Association. He has also tabled any legislation aimed at election reform. Given all the allegations of Russian interference in the last election, this is perhaps his most confusing action.

Then again, maybe it’s not. He’s worth almost $27 million bucks. He didn’t get that rich by being an honest politician.

Where is Joe McCarthy when we really need him?

Rumor has that Senator McConnell fell and broke his shoulder the other day…

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* * * *

The president’s defenders said Trump shouldn’t be blamed for mass shootings, which have been a problem in the US long before he became President. Okay, I’ll concede that point.

On Sunday, senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tweeted, “Finger-pointing, name-calling & screaming with your keyboards is easy, yet it solves not a single problem, saves not a single life.”

Does she read her boss’s tweets? I do. Finger-pointing. Check. Name-calling and screaming. Check and mate. He does them all. I have to admit, whenever I read one of Trump’s tweets, I get a mental image of him sitting on the toilet.

You’re right. It’s not pretty.

On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also defended the president, saying the gunmen in this weekend’s shootings were “crazy people” who “should not be able to get guns,” and adding, “No politician is to blame for that.”

And yet, here we are. And that means every American politician is to blame for that. Every. Fucking. One. Of. Them. For not reforming gun control laws. For not banning any and all assault style weapons. For letting this problem that doesn’t exist become an epidemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds, probably thousands, of innocent people.

Whether by accident or design, the American political system in general, and Donald Trump in specific, have created a monster. And sooner or later, every monster bites the hand that feeds it.

Señal Noventa

I’ve been struggling with this post for far too long. It’s times like this that make me wonder why I decided to start writing a blog. It happened like almost everything else that’s happened in my life. By accident. And to quote any number of porn stars, It sounded like fun at the time.

I’m not sure if I have writer’s block or if I’m just so lazy that I don’t feel like doing anything. It might be a combination of the two. I will freely admit that I’m probably the laziest person I know.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a writer. I usually love writing. I’m just being a grumpy old man right now. It’s one of the perks of getting old. Some people abuse that privilege. Like the lady in front of me at the gringo ATM the other day. She complained about the machine for five minutes before she tried using it. I almost cut in front of her because, you know, she wasn’t using it, and there was a line of people that were waiting our turns.

Instead, I decided to talk to mi amigo, Hector. He’s the security guard at the gringo ATM. He carries a shotgun to protect the gringos and their money. I always tip him when I use the ATM. He provides a valuable service, and he probably makes next to nothing doing it. And you never know, he might snap someday and decide he’s heard enough complaints from the pinche gringos, and he’ll shoot a few of them to shut them the fuck up already twice.

But he won’t shoot me because I was always nice to him.

* * * *

Two people that I know died last week. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been struggling with this post. You reach a point in life where every death hits you harder than it should. Because, you know, it could have been you, and Death has clearly been hanging out way too close to your neighborhood.

One of them was Belva Sublett. She was the realtor that showed us the house we’re currently residing in. Belva was also one of the property managers here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. She was a southern gal from Texas, I think. She was very sweet, and very, very helpful to us once we took up residence here. She was in the process of trying to get us a new refrigerator when she passed away.

Her death came as a big surprise to everyone that knew her. She seemed to be relatively healthy. For her age. I suppose I could add that qualifier. She was only 71. She wasn’t battling any illnesses or diseases as far as I know. It’s safe to say that her passing was unexpected, possibly even to her.

Vaya con Dios, Belva. You’ll be missed.

* * * *

The other person that recently got dead is Florentino. He was an ancient local guy that sold golf balls at the golf course I belong to.

I bought some balls from him a few times, but not because I needed them. I already have way more golf balls than I’ll reasonably be able to use before I die. I bought balls from Florentino because he was a sweet old man. He always greeted me with a warm smile, and he always wished me well. And, there was the offhand chance that he was an angel in disquise, and I was trying to win the golf gods over to my side.

Yeah, I know that sounds crazy. And no, my strategy didn’t work.

Florentino evidently knew a lots about golf because he always had advice for me whenever I bought balls from him. In my mind, he was kind of the Mexican version of Bagger Vance, though now that I think about it, even someone that doesn’t know anything about golf would probably know I suck at golf if they saw me play.

 Unfortunately, all of his insights were en español. I was never really sure what he was telling me to do. I would nod in agreement, and Florentino would smile and pat me on the shoulder. And that means, Hang in there. You can do it. In every language.

Vaya con Dios, Florentino. Maybe one of these days I’ll figure out what you were trying to say to me.

* * * *

Our refrigerator. If someone had told me that I was going to be writing this much about a goddamn refrigerator, I probably would’ve laughed. Now, mostly I just want to cry.

We’ve had our LG refrigerator repaired at least four times in nine months. I’m starting to lose count. Refrigerators are usually bulletproof. You plug them in and they last longer than you do. The last time the service technicians were here to fix the fridge, they were here for three hours. Their repairs lasted one week.

So, I called Belva. She called Jaime, our other property manager. The plan was to get rid of the LG lemon that was taking up space in the kitchen, and replace it with a new refrigerator that worked. And then Belva died. Our fucking refrigerator probably killed her.

So, Jaime called the LG Service Department. Again. They told him a technician had to make the decision to replace our refrigerator. Last Tuesday, the technician arrived. Jaime came over to talk to him. Their conversation was in Spanish, so I only understood about every tenth word. The technician said he didn’t have the authority to replace our refrigerator, only the office could do that.

Clearly, someone was lying. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen Jaime get angry. Jaime is a large man. I thought he was going to shove our refrigerator up the technician’s ass. Sideways.

The technician said he was here to fix the refrigerator, and he added that LG was never going to replace our refrigerator. They would rather keep sending technicians, so could he just get to work?

Jaime and I had a deep philosophical discussion while the technician fixed the fridge for the fifth time. Neither of us thought this guy was going to be any more successful than any of the other technicians that had allegedly fixed our fridge before. So, when it died the next time, Jaime wasn’t going to call LG. He would bite the bullet and replace it himself.

That was the plan. There’s only one thing that could screw it up. And that thing is maybe this technician was able to do something no one else has been able to do up to this point. He might have actually fixed our fridge! 

I’m good with that. I don’t want a new refrigerator. I only want a refrigerator that works. All the time. I’m not sure if I’m ready to accept the fact that it might actually be fixed for real. I’ve thought that several times before, and I was wrong every time. I still haven’t moved any of the food from our other fridge in the casita yet. I’m not sure how long I’m going to wait. I only know it’s not going to happen today.

I’ll keep you posted.

* * * *

Perhaps the greatest invention in automotive history is the radio. There are few things that match the feeling of driving down the highway when your favorite song comes on.

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See? I told you.

There are a lots of quirky things you have to adjust to when you move to Mexico, but one of the weirdest things are the radio stations. Most of them play Mexican music of some sort. And all of the DJ’s speak Spanish, which only stands to reason. I listen to them occasionally. It’s a nice change of pace, and I like almost every type of music.

My favorite Mexican FM radio station is 90.7 out of Guadalajara. Or as they call it, Señal Noventa. It plays gringo rock and roll. The music I grew up on.

I’ve spent way more time than I should trying to figure out what the hell is going on at this station. For starters, there’s only one disc jockey. It’s the same guy, every day, no matter what time of day. I’ve never heard him say his name. I call him:

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He speaks Spanish, of course, and he speaks it rapidly. Most of the things he says are Greek to me. Sometimes there’s a woman who makes some comments, which makes me think she’s his wife. She’s possibly saying things like, Hey, quit playing with your records and fix the kitchen sink like you promised. Or do I have to get your brother to come over. I should have married him when I had the chance!

Seeing how it’s only ever just the two of them, I’ve come to the conclusion that their radio station is home-based. 

The only time I ever listen to the radio is when I’m in the car, so I don’t spend that much time of the day hanging out with José. And his wife. But it makes me wish I understood spoken Spanish more better gooder.

I want to know what José’s wife is really saying to him.

American radio essentially plays current Top Forty hits, or classic Top Forty hits, so you tend to hear the same songs from the same bands all the time. José plays some classic American rock and roll Top Forty hits, too. But he loves to play the B-side songs you never hear on the radio. And he has the most awesome-est collection of music I’ve ever heard.

I have to admit, I still have some serious envy when it comes to his music collection.

José has the most eclectic taste in music of anyone I’ve ever listened to. And that includes me. He’ll queue up ten songs no one has heard in forty years, then he’ll play the same song three times in a row. Or he’ll play the English version of a song, then the Spanish, French and Japanese versions. A couple of weeks ago, every song he played before noon was by The Beatles or Paul McCartney and Wings. 

Monday through Friday, José plays whatever he wants as many times as he wants. American rock. Sarah Brightman. The theme song from Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Showtunes. You never know what you’ll hear. It’s actually very refreshing.

But on Saturday mornings, José plays classic American Country/Western from the 50’s and 60’s. Hank Williams. Marty Robbins. Tammy Wynette. Sunday mornings, it’s Heavy Metal Sunday because everyone knows God loves Iron Maiden. And Dokken. And Motörhead.

Sometimes José will start a song, then seemingly forget what he was doing and start talking about God knows what over the song. Perhaps, fixing the kitchen sink before his pain-in-the-ass-know-it-all brother shows up and takes off his shirt and his wife will start drooling like a drunken sailor. Again.

He often starts a song, then switches to different song before the first song ends without any explanation. Maybe he has ADD? José clearly has a favorite playlist because he’ll throw that on occasionally while he’s busy doing other things, like trying to fix the fucking sink.

It’s the only time he ever plays the same songs in the same order.

* * * *

Retirement has become much more of a learning experience than I imagined it would be, thanks to Mexico. It’s been a good thing. I still mostly suck at golf, but I did shoot my best ever Rainy Season round yesterday. There’s a glimmer of hope.

I’ll never be fluent in Spanish, but I’m not totally mystified by the language anymore. And if you speak to me like you would to a three year old, I’ll probably understand most of what you’re saying.

If you ever come to visit, we’ll listen to José Jimenez on Señal Noventa. You’ll probably hear something that will give you flashbacks to when you were young. You’ll smile to yourself, and think,

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I could do this… 

Halftime Adjustments

“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

* * * *

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

* * * *

“All battle plans are perfect, until the first shot is fired.” ~ Variation of a quote by Prussian military commander, Field Marshall Helmuth van Moltke.

* * * *

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” ~ Old Yiddish adage. It means, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

* * * *

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. Don’t be a damn fool about it.” ~ Mark Twain.

* * * *

Back when I was a psych nurse, I used to encourage my dysfunctional patients to come up with a plan to make some positive changes in their lives. Write down the steps you need to make. Review your plan daily. Most of all, follow through with your plan of action. Otherwise, we’ll see you here again in six months or so…

Before you get the idea that this is going to be one of those self-improvement seminars, relax. You’re probably not going to learn anything here that you don’t already know, and I’m not at all interested in helping you become a better person.

That’s your job. If that’s what you want to do, get off your ass and do it.

Back to strategic planning. It’s a bit ironic because I’ve rarely made any plans, and I sure as hell never wrote any of them down. As I look back on my life, I’d have to say that I was fairly successful. I’m married to supermodel. I’m retired, living a luxury resort lifestyle in a gringo mansion in paradise. 

I must have done something right despite the fact that I put so little effort into planning any of it.

As confused as I am by life, I’m not sure if that statement is an accurate assessment. As for the secret to my success, I’m even more confused by that. The most useful piece of information my father ever gave me about life was this: If you dress professionally, people will automatically assume that you know what you’re doing. And they’ll continue to think that until you prove them wrong.”

I didn’t have any sense of fashion until I married a supermodel. After that, I was dressed to kill. If I had only been able to keep my mouth shut, there’s no telling how far the Peter Principal would have taken me…

* * * *

There’s little doubt that plans are useful tools, but all plans have one fatal flaw. Success is never guaranteed, not matter how comprehensive your plan is. Except in those Mission Impossible movies.

Good planning is nice, but in my humble opinion, the most important attribute for success is the ability to adjust quickly on the fly. And be persistent. Look at your objective from different angles. I  have never had a Plan A go off without a hitch. But I have had a couple of Plan G’s that worked out pretty good.

* * * *

Nursing is an occupation that requires a lots of different talents, and time management is one of the most valuable skills you can have. Back when I was a psych nurse, I learned there are essentially three types of nurses when it came to managing their time.

Some nurses developed a routine. Well, it’s more like they worshipped the routine.

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Rigid seems to be the best word to describe them. Any deviation from the routine spelled disaster. For everyone.

Some nurses didn’t develop any routine. Trainwreck seems to be the best word to describe them, for many reasons. They were hell to work with, and their personal lives were disaster areas.

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They appeared to have no real concept of Time. They were always running ten minutes late for everything, including getting to work on time. When their shift ended, they still had to finish charting on all of their patients. Which spelled disaster for the oncoming shift.

Most nurses tend to fall in a third category that’s somewhat hard to define. They just went with the flow and got shit done. Flexibly competent is the best term to describe them. Those are the nurses you wanted to work with. No matter what happened, you knew it was to be a good day when they were on duty.

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They were Rockstar Nurses. If there’s anything I miss about Nursing, it’s them.

* * * *

I have a few updates on our retirement lives. The only reason I’m ending with this and not starting with it is because I didn’t plan anything that I’ve written so far, as usual. But it just might illustrate the importance of being able to adjust on the fly. Here’s a free pro-tip for you: If you can’t do that, you do not want to move to Mexico.

One of the biggest adjustments people have to make after they retire is something I call Spousal Fatigue. It happens when you start spending every moment of every day with the person you married. You didn’t have to do that when you were working. You had time apart. You got to talk to other people.

And in one day, all of that changes. You don’t have to go to work anymore. You don’t have other people to talk to. It’s just you, and your spouse, and no one else. All day. All night. Every day and night, until death do you part.

It’s not a big deal for Lea and I. We actually like each other. And we don’t feel we have to do everything together. We understand that sometimes it’s just nice to do something all by yourself.

My lovely supermodel wife and my golf wife are flying to the States next week. They’ll be gone for ten days. But on the day they depart, Lea’s boyfriend will be flying in. Todd has been trying to sell his house in Idaho and move to the Lakeside Area, but that plan hasn’t gone according to plan, which sucks.

He says he needs a break from all that crap, so he’s going to take a vacation for a few weeks and come hang out with me. And his girlfriend. It’ll be great for all of us. Lea and Phyllis can go shopping and visit family. Todd and I can go golfing and throw wild pool parties. That will end at 6:00 PM because no one wants to drive home in the dark.

Retirement living. It’s every bit as exciting as you thought it would be.

* * * *

Our refrigerator is working again! So is the freezer!! And the ice maker!!! 

It only took three weeks to fix this time. But it’s the third time we’ve had it repaired in nine months. Maybe they got all the bugs out of it this time. The technicians were here for almost three hours, and it was a different team of technicians. Maybe the LG Service Department decided to send their A Team…  They were probably getting as tired of having to fix their piece of shit refrigerator as we were of having to move all of our perishable food from the house to the casita.

We’ll have a better idea of how successful they were in a few months.

* * * *

The motion sensor for the magic lights in the hallway to our bedroom died. Big deal, right? Just replace it. Yep, sounds simple, but I can’t find another one. And I have looked everywhere that even remotely looks like it might sell electrical equipment. Except the sex shop in Ajijic.

I did find another sensor, but it wasn’t an exact replacement for our dead sensor. It cost about five bucks. It doesn’t work because of the way the lights in the hallway are wired. I know this because I had a guy who knows a helluva lot more about electricity than I do come over and try to hook up the new sensor. In order to get my new five dollar sensor to work, I’d probably have to spend three thousand bucks to rewire the entire fucking house.

If we owned this house, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But for the first time in thirty years, we’re renting. I’m not sure there are written construction codes for this part of Mexico. Even if there are, not every contractor follows them. Obviously…  

We’ve had to resort to physically turning the lights on and off, by hand! I know right, that totally sucks! But yesterday, a glimmer of hope previously unplanned for appeared out of nowhere, like so many other times in my life.

My golf caddy, house painter, and good friend, Francisco Flores Bernini, called me and told me he had ordered a replacement sensor from the hardware store in San Nicolás de Ibarra. It’s a small village right next to the golf course I belong to. Most of the caddies live there.

The sensor he ordered might be in stock in a few days. I hope it works. I’m not sure how much longer we can go on living like this.

* * * *

Speaking of golf, it’s the only reason I can think of why we’re here right now. When we decided to retire, we weren’t really sure what we going to do, or where we were going to go. The only thing we knew for sure was we couldn’t afford to stay where we were.

Then the universe opened every door that led us to the Lakeside Area. Rather than swim against the tide that would bring us here, we decided to go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Our Christian friends in Arizona suggested that we were “…following God’s Will.” Yeah, whatever, I guess. If we’re here because of God’s Will, He hasn’t been very vocal about what He wants us to accomplish for Him now that we’re here.

So I started playing golf. And as near as I can tell, that’s what God wants me to do. I figure He must be getting more than a few laughs out of watching me golf because He hasn’t given me any other instructions so far.

* * * *

I’ve asked my lovely supermodel wife why she thinks we’re here. She said God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor and live happily ever after. Yeah, from what I can tell, that’s pretty much the last reason God would ever have.

Lea asked me why I thought we were here. Clearly, God wanted us to get out of Arizona in a hurry because the Yellowstone supervolcano was about to erupt, California was going to tumble into the ocean, and God wanted us to be in a safe place so the people He really cared about would have a place of refuge to go to.

* * * *

So, we’re back to golf. Of all of the reasons, it appears to be the only one that makes any sense.

I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to be God numerous times. I would need some serious comic relief to keep me from coming down here and knocking some goddamn sense into most of humanity. I might be performing a valuable public service to all of mankind. Or not…  It depends on your point of view.

My golf game lately hasn’t been anything to write home about, but I have taken on a couple of new…duties, I guess, at my golf course. I became a contributing editor to the Country Club de Chapala Facebook page. (@golfinchapala)

You can check it out. It’s a public page. Since I took it over, viewership has gone up something like two hundred percent.

I wish I could say the same thing about my blog page…

Additionally, I kind of became the Unofficial Official Photographer of Events and Stuff at CCdC. I posted a bunch of photos on the above mentioned Facebook page of the last two tournaments. They’ve been well received so far.

One of my friends commented that she didn’t know I was so talented. That made me laugh because I interpreted it to mean that she didn’t know I had any talent. Well, she has seen me golf, so it’s understandable.

And I’ve been attending some the Golf Tournament Committee meetings for the last several months. Of all the things I’ve been doing at the golf course, this is probably the most confusing one. Even more confusing than trying to read a green.

I hate meetings. I don’t care what they’re about. Meetings carry a connotation of officiality. People take notes at meetings. Plans of action are put forth. And stuff like unto that.

I worked for the Federal government for two decades. I went to a whole lots of committee meetings. Committees that took a simple issue and turned it into a problem that was so fucked up we had to meet once a month to discuss possible solutions to a problem that never existed for three years. Maybe it was five years…  I was a long time ago, and I’ve been trying to forget that it ever happened.

Dude, if you hate committees so much, why do you go to the meetings?

That’s actually a good question. It’s all Naisby’s fault.

Dave Naisby is a member of the country club. He’s one of the first members I met after I joined. He’s from Scotland, so he’s fun to listen to even when he doesn’t have anything interesting to say, which is rare. Anyway, he asked me to come to one double-secret golf tournament sub-committee meeting five months ago. I have no experience organizing anything more complicated than my sock drawer, so I’m still not sure why Dave asked me. But I like Dave, and for that reason alone, I agreed.

It would appear that attending one meeting is the only prerequisite for being allowed to attend more meetings because now everyone who is officially on the tournament committee thinks I’m on the committee, and they ask me questions, like, Why weren’t you at the meeting last week?

As innocuous as all this sounds, I see the potential for disaster. Once you’re on a committee, people tend to start asking you to do, you know, things.

Could you bring this up at the next meeting? How would you like to be the next president? We’d like it if you would start singing at Karaoke night.

Any of the above would be enough to make me reconsider my membership. I might even quit golfing. And that would create conflict with the Will of God. And we all know what happens after that:

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Resort Style Living at its Finest. And Stuff

Greetings from the Chula Vista Resort and Spa!

Life is still mostly idyllic here, but as you and I both know, there’s always something.

Before I begin to start to commence to complain about my almost perfect life, I should mention the good things.

Lea finally got her curtain rods for our master bedroom! It only took about two months. And about a dozen visits to the ironworks shop to talk to the Moron Twins. I think she wore them down and they eventually realized the only way they were going to get rid of esta gringa loca was to give her what she wanted. I’ve got to hand it to her. I didn’t think she’d ever get anything she’d be remotely satisfied with from those bozos.

Way to go, honey. You’re still a force to be reckoned with.

She still has to make the curtains, but my lovely supermodel wife is more than just a pretty face. She has some pretty serious crafty skills. She’s made a lots of stuff over the years. She already has most of the materials she needs, and she has a plan to procure the items she lacks. I’m sure they’ll turn out great. I’ll post pictures of the finished product.

* * * *

We had to replace the toilet in my workshop because the water tank fractured and flooded the floor. I think it had been cracked for years and finally succumbed to the pressure. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. It’s not a high traffic area. It probably hasn’t been regularly used for more than ten years.

The floors are all tile, so no significant damage occurred. Jaime, our property manager, bought a new toilet. Tacho, our general handyman guy, installed it. Mischief managed.

The only weird thing is this is the second new toilet we’ve had to have installed in the short time that we’ve been here.

I’ve also asked Jaime and Tacho to construct some water diversion devices for the corners of the eaves by the pool. This is our first Rainy Season at this house, and after the first couple of serious rainfalls, we discovered that we had a problem.

I’ve written about the Rainy Season before. People that live here might tell you the rain is very polite because it mostly falls at night. I’d tell you there’s nothing polite about the rain. It’s true that it mostly falls at night, but when it rains here it rains like a bastard. Maybe two of them.

We basically have two waterfalls pouring off of the roof into the patio when it rains. The tiles on the patio are polished porcelain, and when they get wet they’re just about the most slipperiest surfaces on the planet. I bought a giant squeegee the last time we were at Costco. I think it’ll come in very handy for the next few months.

The patio is open to the weather, so there’s no way to keep all of the water off of the floor. I don’t want anything extravagant. I just want something that will direct most of the water into the pool. But if we can divert both of those sources, we might not slip and accidentally kill ourselves to death.

* * * *

Our LG refrigerator has been acting up. Again. Well, the refrigerator part is still working. It’s the freezer part that has been acting up. Essentially, it’s not freezing anything. Luckily, we have two freezers, so we just moved everything from the kitchen to the casita. Again.

Lea is as close to furious as she ever gets.

The refrigerator is still under warranty, and after all the work we’ve had done on it, the LG Service Department in Guadalajara no longer gives Jaime any crap when he calls to tell them they need to come repair their piece of shit refrigerator. Again. They didn’t even ask us to do another 12 Hour Test this time.

They’re supposed to be here next Tuesday. And they won’t have the part they need to fix the problem, so that will take another week. It might be fixed by the middle of July.

Thankfully, the restaurants here are mostly excellent, and affordable. Dining out is going to be an ordeal, but we’ll get through this somehow.

* * * *

We received our WiFi Super Booster about a month ago. As near as I can tell, it doesn’t even mildly boost our WiFi strength or speed. I’d actually go so far to say that our ambiguous signal works better when it’s not being boosted. So, if you were planning on purchasing this technological wonder, I’d advise against it.

It’s too bad. I doubt that Telecable® has any plans to improve their service, and they have the lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any communications company in the Lakeside Area. Telmex®, the other local communications company, has the second lowest.

It’s like having to choose between having cancer or leprosy.

This is easily the most frustrating part of our new lives. And by our lives, I mean mine. I don’t think Lea finds this anywhere near as irritating as I do.

Ask any blogger you happen to see and they will tell you in order to post anything they write, they absolutely need an Interweb connection. And if they like to research their topics, it’s an invaluable resource.

Research is too much like work for me, so I mostly make shit up. I might be lying about that, but I’m a very good liar. And yes, I could be lying about that, too.

* * * *

Despite the fact that our WiFi mostly sucks, I have binge watched a couple of series on Fire TV®. Catch-22 was quite good. Chernobyl was even better. It was so refreshing to watch something where there was no question whether or not the government was lying. It was one of the best qualities about communism. They lied about everything! And you could trust that.

* * * *

I started watching Good Omens yesterday. It’s produced by Amazon and the BBC. Interestingly enough, a bunch of offended Christians sent a petition to Netflix trying to get them to stop airing the blasphemous series. Clearly, Satan had a hand or two in that.

Good Omens is yet another fantasy TV series based on the book of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s the story of an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowle, who form an alliance in an attempt to stop the approaching Armageddon.

I guess there are plenty of reasons why Christians could be upset. Adam and Eve are black in the TV show. Everyone knows all of the people in the Bible were white. Even the Egyptians. And the Queen of Sheba. And they all spoke English.

In the TV show, God is a woman, so that could be another point of contention for the uproar. That’s the only part I find hard to believe. A female God would never have made all the mistakes that our solidly paternal God has.

Hey, mister! I thought God couldn’t make mistakes!!

Yeah, I used to think that, too. But for an entity who is supposed to be All-Knowing, it’s pretty hard to describe some of His actions as anything but mistakes. Granted, He probably has the ability to fix all of this shit because He’s also, you know, All-Powerful. In that case, He’s right. There are no mistakes, just clever corrections.

Back to the show: The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have been friends from the beginning of Time, and over the centuries they’ve essentially gone native, preferring life on Earth to life in either of the respective realms from whence they originated. They were supposed to be keeping an eye on the Antichrist, but through a series of semi-comical events, they lost him and have been taking care of of the wrong kid. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist will fulfill Biblical prophecies about someone who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ’s place, just in cases you were wondering. “…Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:15-18

I have no idea what that means, so I hope you’re not looking for any great insights here. On the TV series, it turns out to be a telephone number. Little Known Fact About My State of Minnesota Nursing License Number: It’s a six digit number. The first three numbers are 111. Any guesses what the last (6) three (6) numbers (6) are?

I once desperately wanted to be a prophet, but I have to be honest. When I looked at my nursing license for the first time, I damn near died to death. I used to be obsessed with the End of Times. I even wrote a book about it. It probably wasn’t a great book, and I base that assessment on the fact that none of the publishers I contacted were interested in publishing it. I used to have a stack of rejection letters that was more than a foot tall.

Seeing how I wanted to be a prophet, but had somehow been branded with the infamous Number of the Beast, the premise of my book was simple. The true identity of the Antichrist couldn’t be known because all suspicion would roll off of him like water off a duck’s back. Being the super-spooky twisted genius guy that he was, he could literally say anything and everyone would believe him. It’s one of his evil superpowers.

All he had to do was accuse his sworn enemy,  the True Prophet of God, of being the real Antichrist. And the people of the world would blame him for all of the crazy shit that happened during the turbulent End of Days, which made life more than a little complicated for our righteous hero.

And just to complicate matters further, both the Antichrist and the Prophet of God do a fair amount of crazy shit. The Antichrist does it because, you know, that’s his job. The prophet does it because, you know, that’s what God tells him to do.

It’s too bad that I was such a lousy writer back when I was trying to be a serious author. There was some pretty good stuff in that book.

I doubt that I’ll be able to get Lea interested in watching this series. It’s too bad because the show is fucking hilarious. She’s probably afraid that I’ll go crazy again, and start preaching to the multitudes on the shore of Lake Chapala, telling them to Repent! Or, ¡Arrepentirse! in Spanish.

Historically, that’s what prophets have done, no matter which language they spoke. Clearly, it’s a method that hasn’t worked. Past performance is sometimes a fairly good indicator of future results. I’d try something different. I’d hire the BBC to produce another comedy show, and take it from there.

However, I should point out that this is a subject I doubt I could ever get serious about again, even if the long foretold events actually started happening. I’m not sure I could muster the necessary energy again. Lea will read this someday, and maybe she’ll relax a bit.

Yeah, you’re right. I could tell her that. I’m just not sure she’d believe me.

I’d call my show Seven Trumpets. It was the title of my book. It’s still the best name ever for a series about the End of Times. According to Revelation 8:1-2, seven angels will sound the seven trumpets after the breaking of the seventh seal. Seven is a very popular number in the Bible.

It’s God’s favorite number.

One Thing Leads to Another

It rained here early this morning. It’s probably safe to say that the Rainy Season has officially started in the Lakeside Area. It’s a good thing. The fires will stop burning. The Chinese Mountains will turn green again. And maybe my seasonal allergies will settle down.

I started this morning the way I usually do; drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and contemplating the vicissitudes of life. I will freely admit that I find life confusing. It’s one reason why I drink so much coffee in the morning.

My lovely supermodel wife drinks cappuccinos, but only because she can’t get find Coffee-mate® Flavored Creamers in Mexico.

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She used to be able to find them at Super Lake, the gringo supermarket in Ajijic, but about four months ago they stopped stocking it without any explanation. We’ve asked about it several times.

“Vuelve la proxima semana…”

“Come back next week…” Next week, much like unto tomorrow, is something that doesn’t actually exist in reality. That’s why Lea drinks cappuccino now. 

Coffee is one of the weird tastes you develop when you become an adult. It smells like heaven, but it tastes kind of god-awful. Over time, you eventually get used to it. Unlike my wife, I don’t use creamers of any kind in my coffee. 

 “Café, negro, como mi alma.” That’s how I order it.

Black, like my soul. The baristas always laugh. I find it ironic because I’m not joking.

* * * *

The other thing I do in the morning is my daily Dualgringo lesson. That’s what I call my language app. Duolingo® is a platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. It keeps telling me that I’m doing great and having a good time, so I guess I am.

Lea and I stopped going to Spanish lessons, but neither of us have given up on the idea of kind of understanding how to sort of speak Spanish. We’ve both given up on the idea of ever being fluent in it.

I think if you really want to be bifocally fluent in more than one language, you should start when you’re six, not sixty.

* * * *

I’ve been looking forward to the Rainy Season. It moderates the temperature, and I generally feel better when it’s cooler and there’s less dust in the air. On the downside, the Velcro grass will grow thick on the golf course, and my scores will probably suffer for the next several months.

It’s probably a good thing that I beat Cheryl on Thursday because it might be the only time I ever do.

My golf wife, Phyllis, and I regularly play golf with Cheryl and her real husband, Tom. Cheryl is Madame Champion at my country club. She’s a very good golfer, most of the time. She had a bad day on Thursday, and that’s the only reason I beat her. It certainly wasn’t because I was tearing up the course.

I’m consistently scoring less than 100 now, but still more than 80, which is my current goal. It’s something that I only dreamed of doing a year ago, so I know I’m slowly getting better. I have a lots of almost great shots. I’m practicing for the day that I actually have a lots of great shots. I figure I can’t miss them all, so it’s theoretically possible that someday I will make them all.

Attitude is everything.

Cheryl will probably beat me by twenty strokes on Sunday. I’ll need to bring my ‘A’ game, if I have one, just to stay within five strokes of her score. In terms of following up on my last post, I need to golf like unto a porn star.

* * * *

Golf has become one of my most frequent topics in my blog. Probably because it’s the only thing I do on a regular basis, besides eat and sleep. I could start writing restaurant reviews, I guess. But then more people would want to come down here, and I don’t want that.

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By the way, the food sucks here.

* * * *

I don’t write about porn stars often, but I can’t say that I’ve never broached the subject. And that’s how I got to this point. After I finished my last post, I started wondering why people become porn stars. And I drank a lots of coffee.

* * * *

What do you want to be when you grow up?

No one ever says they want to be a drug addict. I doubt that 🌟Porn Star🌟 ever ranks in the Top Ten in terms of future professions. I’m guessing Garbage Collector rates higher than being a porn star, and who the fuck wants to be a garbage man when they grow up?

So, how does this even happen?

* * * *

Possible Little Known Fact About Being a Porn Star: You don’t require any special schooling or training to become one. It doesn’t appear that you even have to know how to act. I have yet to find any Juilliard graduates working in the Porn Industry. As long as you don’t have any qualms about having sex in front of a camera, you probably have all of the qualifications you’ll need for a career in adult movies.

The process of becoming a porn star appears to be fairly simple:

Step One: Fill out an application form. I know, right! I couldn’t believe it either, but there’s even an online form available. Step Two: You have to be at least eighteen years old, but there doesn’t appear to be an age limit! So, if you’re looking for something to do after you retire…  And, it would give you the perfect opportunity to get back at your children for all of the times they embarrassed you. Step Three: You have to pass a physical proving that you don’t have any Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

If you can survive that strenuous process, you’re probably in.

* * * *

After that, it gets tricksier. And by that I mean, Why?

As a guy, I can totally understand it from a male perspective. There’s probably no such thing as a guy who wouldn’t want to be a porn star. Guys are essentially pigs that have learned to walk on two legs and wear clothes. The idea that a guy could have sex and get paid for it is essentially the Guy version of Heaven. That, and there probably has to be beer…

have to admit that I was surprised by the reasons women gave when they decided to become porn stars, mostly because there were so many of them.

* * * *

Why do you want to be a nurse?

It was one of the first questions we were asked in nursing school. You can probably guess the most popular answer.

I want to do something to help people.

99% of the the people in my class gave that answer, or something like unto it.

I was much more interested in helping myself when I decided to become a nurse. I was tired of working a bunch of dead end jobs and being unemployed. I wanted a career.

* * * *

Working in the Porn Industry doesn’t appear to be the first career choice for many people, even men, though I have to assume it has actually happened. But working in Food Service isn’t anywhere near as much fun as they make it look on TV, so there’s that.

I’ve had two jobs in the Food Service Industry. I was fired from both of them. If I had gone into the Porn Industry, I’m sure it would have killed me to death. I’ll come back to this later…

Interestingly enough, the most popular reason why women become porn stars is economics. More than half of the women surveyed said they did it for the money, and it can be a lucrative career.

One young woman said she was working three jobs to make ends meet somewhere up in Canadia, and she figured there had to be a better way. She filled out an online application and moved to Los Angeles. Apparently, if you really want to be a porn star, you have to live where porn movies are made…

One woman was working as a social worker before she changed careers.

Becoming a social worker isn’t easy, though it’s probably easier than actually being a social worker. You could ask around, they have shit jobs most of the time. You have to have a lots of education and training for a job that might pay you $50K a year. Many social workers have a Masters degree, which means even more education and training. They might make around $70K a year.

Yep. You read that right. It’s ridiculous. A good social worker is worth twice her weight in gold. Maybe three times.

I’ve worked with a lots of social workers over the years. I can think of at least a dozen of them I wouldn’t have minded seeing naked. So, if any of you are reading this, please let me know if you ever decide to change careers.

I haven’t found any information about nurses becoming porn stars, but then, nurses make more money than social workers, so there’s that. I can think of about fifty of my former co-workers that I wouldn’t have minded seeing naked. Nurse-themed pornography is apparently quite popular, and, they already have the wardrobe…  I almost hope none of them read this because I’m sure they’d all tell me to Drop dead. Or worse.

For some women, pornography was an opportunity to explore their sexuality, to travel, and get paid. “It sounded like fun.” Anyone who frequently travels for business will tell you that there’s nothing fun about it. That shit gets real old, real fast.

Interesting Fact About Porn Stars: None of them use their real names. They all have 🌟Porn Star🌟 Names. Vicki Vette. Aspen Rain. India Summer. Carter Cruise. Ivana Sukyurkokov. You can have a 🌟Porn  Star🌟 Name, too. Your first name is the name of your pet. Your last name is the street you grew up on. My 🌟Porn Star🌟 Name is Rusty Cherry.

Some women had friends working in the industry, and, “It sounded like fun.” More than a few porn stars said that. What I think is telling is they all said it in the past tense.

There’s a fair amount of evidence that indicates the life of a porn star isn’t all fun and games and multiple orgasms.

Between November 2017 and January 2018, at least five adult performers died due to alleged drug overdoses or by suicide. One of them was the young woman who had been working three jobs up in Canadia. She was 23 years old. “We are in a crisis in the adult industry. It’s almost becoming like an epidemic.” That’s a quote from a female porn star who wanted to remain anonymous because, you know, Snitches get stitches.

No one likes bad reviews in the movie business, even if they’re true. Probably, especially if they’re true. #metoo

There’s another saying in Hollywood. You’ll never work in this town again. It means, You’ll never get another part in a film. If Hollywood is a small, cinematic community, it’s even more true of the Porn Industry.

Suicide actually appears to be one of the leading causes of death for people in the adult film community, whether it be from ‘accidental’ drug or alcohol related overdoses, or a more direct method. You can look it up on the Interweb. It’s a pretty long list.

If you can’t speak out against injustice in your occupation, it can only lead to despair.

You can quote me on that line.

“After a year or so of that so-called ‘glamorous life,’ I sadly discovered that drugs and drinking were part of the lifestyle.” That’s another anonymous quote from a female porn star. This is where I would have died to death. In a profession that glamorizes excesses, I wouldn’t have lived long enough to get into The 27 Club.

* * * *

The 27 Club is the name given to a group of influential rock musicians who died at the ripe old age of 27. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Kurt Kobain. It’s another pretty long list.

* * * *

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for drug and alcohol abuse in the Porn Industry. There always are. Some of them might even be reasonable, not the least of which is societal scorn and shaming. The Porn Industry makes billions of dollars a year, but no one ever watches it. Porn stars are easy targets for cyberbullying/harassment.   #andyouthinkyouhaditrough

If you work in the adult film industry, there’s no such thing as Bring Your Child to Work Day. And those Parent/Teacher conferences at school take on a whole new light.

I couldn’t find any statistical analysis of drug/alcohol abuse/depression specific to the Porn Industry, but there are a lots of articles about the prevalence of it. Somewhat ironically, the profession with the highest rates of alcohol abuse and depression is healthcare. Yeah, go figure on that.

It would appear that literally getting fucked at work has the same net result as figuratively getting fucked at work, which is something almost all of us are familiar with.   #andididntevengetkissed

Golf, Sex, and Other Drugs

If you’re here because you’re hoping to learn something about golf, or sex — or anything else for that matter — you’re probably wasting your time. I’m not a good enough golfer to give you advice about how to improve your game.

Keep your head down. Keep your eye on the ball. Follow through on your swing. Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s about all I can tell you. And you’ve probably already heard that a hundred times.

Any golfer will tell you that golf is a humbling game. My game has experienced a couple of setbacks since I posted my best score ever. I’m still pretty good on fourteen holes, but those other four have been killing me.

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You just have to keep playing. Everything will balance out eventually. I’ve probably heard that a hundred times in the last two weeks.

* * * *

If you came here because you wanted to learn something about sex, old guys actually know quite a bit about the subject. We’ve probably forgotten more about sex than young guys will ever know, but therein lies the rub, to coin a Shakespearean phrase.

Little Known Fact About Retirement Communities: they’re sometimes like unto soap operas in terms of sleeping around and sex. In that sense, being retired can be like unto high school, only worse. It’s kind of funny because when you reach a certain age you should know better. How many times do you have to repeat a mistake before you realize it’s a mistake?

It would appear that some people never learn.

* * * *

Advertisers learned long ago that sex sells. I’m not selling anything, but I’m hoping to have more than five people read my blog someday. So I’ve decided to start adding the word SEX to all of my titles, you know, just because.

At first blush you might not think that there are many, if any, similarities between golf and sex, but the two activities have a remarkable number of similarities. Or, maybe they don’t. This will be one of those compare/contrast papers that I used to have to write way back in school.

I’m going to ramble on in no particular order of importance on some of the things that have been popping into my head since I conceived the idea for this post when I was golfing two weeks ago.

* * * *

Sex has been around since, well, forever. Maybe longer. Biblically speaking, sex was a physical act between a man and a woman to produce children. And that was all! Life as we know it is essentially a sexually transmitted disease.

Nowadays, sex is still a physical act between a man and a woman. It can also be between a man and a man. A woman and a woman. Groups of people. People who used to be either men or women and now are either women or men, and the procreation of children has been almost eliminated from the equation.

The pleasure principle has been elevated in sex. It’s fun. So is golf, at least, that’s what almost everyone says. When you’re playing well, golf is a lots of fun. The rest of the time, just like sex, you get fucked.

Some Little Known Facts About Golf: it was invented by the Scots in the 1400’s because life under the repressive rule of the English just wasn’t miserable enough for them. The first woman to play golf was Mary Queen of Scots, and she invented the term caddy.

Golf is a simple game. A golfer hits a ball with a club until it is “holed,” no matter how many strokes that may take. And you count every fucking swing you take at the ball. See? That’s simple, isn’t it?

The idea is to get the ball in the hole in the fewest number of strokes. And that’s where the simplicity of golf ends. There are 18 holes in a round of golf. The standard par score for a round is 72.

Really good golfers will turn in scores close to par, even under par. The best score I’ve ever had was still twenty over par, which makes me an almost not terrible golfer. Once.

The easiest way to improve your golf score is simple. You cheat. Among recreational golfers out for a good time, cheating isn’t cheating as long as you’re open about it. Improving your lie, using a hand wedge to get out of a bunker, picking up a short putt — no one cares.

A gimme in golf is a short putt conceded to an opponent in casual or match play, the premise being that there’s no way you could miss it. In truth, there’s no such thing as a putt that can’t be missed. So, a gimme is simply an agreement between two golfers, neither of whom can putt worth a damn.

Again, the objective is to have fun. If you really wanted to have a good time, you probably wouldn’t be playing golf.

But if you’re seriously playing a round of golf, you seriously have to follow the rules, or you are most definitely cheating. There are actual golf rules that have been physically written down somewhere in something, like, you know, a book. In a seriously disturbing survey, 55% of the people polled admitted they cheated when they were seriously playing golf. 33% of the golf cheaters admitted that they cheated at other things, too. That’s the disturbing part.

One of the easiest ways to meet a divorce attorney is to cheat on your spouse. According to statistics, infidelity is a component in divorce 30% of the time. I thought it would be higher than that. Every couple I know that ended up getting divorced did so because one spouse cheated on the other. 

* * * *

Golf courses tend to have dress codes for players. Because golfers are couth. Come to think of it, the country club I belong to is the only place I know of that has a dress code in the Lakeside Area. Everything else here is ubercasual.

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This guy would at least have to wear a collared shirt on my course…

Sex doesn’t have a dress code. In fact, surveys have shown that a majority of participants tend to prefer the lack of any clothes during sex. But the lights have to be off. Perhaps the biggest difference between golf and sex is you don’t have to change shoes in order to have sex.

Golf is an expensive hobby. Equipment. Greens fees. Cart rental. Caddy fees. Lessons. Alcohol. Psychotherapy. More alcohol. More lessons. New and improved equipment. The list goes on and on.

Sex isn’t a hobby. And it’s ridiculously expensive. Once you reach a certain age, literally everything you do has some connection to sex. Education. Employment. Housing. Divorce attorneys. Alimony. Child support. None of that stuff is cheap.

The preferred number of people for a casual round of golf is four. A threesome or a twosome is also acceptable, but more than four in a group is a breach of golf etiquette.

I don’t know if there are any written etiquette rules for sex, but I doubt being polite ever hurts if you’re trying to get laid. You don’t want to be too oblique, but you don’t want to be too direct either…

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Two appears to be the most popular number for sex for the vast majority of people. A threesome in sex is called a ménage là twats. More than three people is probably an orgy.

As previously noted, there are eighteen holes in a round of golf. There aren’t eighteen holes in sex, unless you’re at an orgy. It might be the only only time you would be required to say, “Could you please pass the pussy?”

And you’ll probably want to ask permission before you play the back nine.

* * * *

Nurses have a lots of stories about the weird sexual things they’ve seen.

I remember this guy who came into the ER because he had a lightbulb up his ass. Yeah, probably not his brightest idea. I can’t imagine that it was easy to get it in there, but it was impossible to get it out. We sent him to the OR.

Another ER case, a woman came in complaining of abdominal pain. X-rays revealed a vibrator in her transverse colon.

How long has that been in there?

Three days.

Why did you wait so long to come in?

Um, the batteries died this morning…

We sent her to the OR, too.

Hospitals are very popular places to have sex. It’s the only reason anyone ever watched Grey’s Anatomy. Psych patients have to be closely monitored to make sure they aren’t having sex. We caught people trying to hook up all the time.

There was that night we found Ruth and Christine in bed together at the MVAMC. Okay, we didn’t catch them in the act. The only way we found out about it was Ruth told her nurse on the day shift what had happened. So they moved Chris to another room.

Ruth was a chronically depressed middle aged woman. She was what we referred to as a frequent flyer. She had racked up a lots of miles over the years. To the best of my knowledge, Ruth wasn’t a lesbian. Her husband was a Vietnam vet who had committed suicide. She had two kids who hated her.

We had tried everything on Ruth. Medications. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Biofeedback. Different medications. ECT. More medications. Nothing had worked. Ruth remained depressed. In the entire time I had known her, at least a decade, I don’t think I had ever seen her smile. 

Ruth was sitting up in one of lounges when the night shift arrived. We got a chance to talk to her after report.

“I was asleep when Chris jumped into my bed and started kissing me. I was shocked, I mean, really shocked! I was going to come out to the nursing station and tell you guys, but then…  One thing led to another, I guess.” Ruth actually smiled! I’m not sure, but I think I actually heard a choir of angels sing when I saw that.

“I do have a question. Is there any way we can be roommates again?”

That still makes me laugh. There was no way we could grant her request, but part of me wanted to do it anyway, just because of that smile.

* * * *

Professional golfers play in tournaments, and top rated players can earn tens of millions of dollars a year. Male golf professionals earn 83% more than their female counterparts. That’s a huge difference. It’s unfortunate because female golfers are every bit as talented as the men, and they’re waay cuter. 

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Vast galleries of fans follow the pros around the course and cheer whenever anyone hits an amazing shot. And there are high fives.

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Watching golf on TV is boring, though the commentators are always talking about the suspense and drama as the tournament unfolds. Yeah, whatever. I usually take naps when I watch golf. Unless Tiger Woods is having a good day.

* * * *

Professional sex actors are called porn stars. Top rated adult film stars can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Female porn stars actually make more money than their male counterparts, but that’s probably the only good thing about the industry.

I’ve watched a few porn movies. They were almost as boring as watching golf. There’s no suspense or drama in adult films. There’s no mystery about what’s going to happen. Porn movies are as predictable as Hallmark Christmas movies, except I don’t think any porn movie has ever brought tears to my eyes.

* * * *

I’ve been to a couple of golf tournaments, years ago when we lived in Minnesota. They were a lots of fun. There’s always that one drunk guy in the crowd who yells,

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“It’s in the hole!!!”

Come to think of it, that guy was probably me…

You have to be really quiet whenever a golfer is going to hit a ball, like, you’re in the goddamn library quiet, or at the opera, or something. It’s one of those etiquette things peculiar to golf. And tennis. Unlike most professional athletes, noise apparently makes it hard for golfers to concentrate on what they’re doing. 

Noise of some sort is probably preferable when engaging in sex for most people. It indicates that your partner is conscious and is presumably having a good time. 25% of women surveyed admitted to faking orgasms, so there’s that. I wonder why they don’t call that cheating.

* * * *

I’ve never been on the set of a porn movie, but I have been on a movie set before. Lea and I were extras in a couple of movies made in Minneapolis. One of them started Connie Sellecca.

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It might have been a Hallmark Christmas movie…

The other movie was so bad I don’t think it was released. I knew one of the girls in the movie. It was going to be her Big Break, and she was going to become a rich and famous Celebrity. And then the rest of us could kiss her ass.

I think she cried for a week when she found out she was going to remain a Nobody for the rest of her life. Ironically, her name was Starr.

* * * *

Much like golf tournaments, you have to be quiet on the set when they’re filming a scene in a movie. Any movie. Even porn movies.

I doubt that anyone yells, “It’s in the hole!” when filming adult movies, but now that I think about it, that would be pretty funny. I imagine there could be a fair amount of cheering and high fives when it’s a wrap. There was on the movie sets we were on.

Being an extra in a movie was the most boringest thing I’ve ever done in my life. You hang around doing nothing until the director is ready to start filming. Then you hang around while they reshoot the same scene seventy times. It takes hours! You don’t have any lines, you’re just hanging around in the background to make the scene look real.

That’s why everyone was so happy when filming was over, even the actors who had the main roles in the scene.

Then they could all go play golf.

Game of Throes

It’s Monday morning in the Lakeside Area. I feel like I’ve been crying all night. It’s my allergies. It’s brutal here right now. If I knew how to dance, I’d be dancing for rain.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Rain Dances: Several Native American tribes have a ceremony related to rain, but possibly the most well known is the Hopi Snake Dance.

People generally assume that the Hopis dance so they will get rain for their crops, but the Hopis believe that they dance so everyone will get rain.

The next time you meet a Hopi, you should probably say, kwakwhay, which is Hopi for Thank you.

De nada.

* * * *

This will probably be my last lengthy post about anything related to the epic HBO series, Game of Thrones, and then I can retire. Again.

Yeah, the title is supposed to be a play on words. A throe is an intense or violent pain or struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.

Thanks. I thought it was pretty clever, too.

Historically, the imaginary civil war of the Seven Kingdoms in the fictional land of Westeros bears a striking similarity to the factual civil war in the real island of England known as the War of the Roses.

Two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, symbolized by a red rose, and the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose, took up arms against each other and their respective supporters for control of the British throne.

The war lasted roughly 32 years, and by the time it ended all of the male heirs to the throne from both houses had been eliminated, opening the door for the House of Tudor to seize control.

Oops.

Earlier this year I became addicted to the show. Several weeks later, I got my lovely supermodel wife hooked. Along with the addictive storyline, the cinematography was seriously incredible. Great job, HBO.

Now, like unto all of the other fans all across the world, we’re wondering what we’re going to do with ourselves.

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HBO is probably planning a whole series of GoT themed shows. Why not? Production costs for each season are around $80 million dollars, give or take. That’s a lots of money.

But, they’ve made roughly $500 million dollars per season. Multiply by eight seasons…. Um, you do the math. They’ve started already production on some prequel shows. Probably some ancillary shows. Drogon is going to host a stand-up comedy show.

It’s going to be called Funny, or Fry.

Last night was the last show of the final season. As with almost every episode of GoT this season, the Interweb has exploded with fan reactions. A lots of people hated the ending. And they’re letting the rest of us know it. A petition is being circulated to remake the final season. More than a million people have already signed it.

Good luck with that, you sniffle-snaffle crybaby twats. I have one word for all you mamby-pamby motherfuckers:

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As far as endings go, I thought it was better than The Sopranos. And probably better than Seinfeld. I couldn’t say, I didn’t watch it. But I liked the last GoT show. Given the time restrictions, the producers did the best they could to wrap an incredibly complicated story up. You may not agree, but:

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To all of you posers who think you can do a better job than the people who have created this series, let me tell you something.

You. Can’t. 

Personally, I don’t think the ending is the real issue here. The issue is that it’s

THE END

And now all y’all are gonna have to come to grips with that and move on, as much as that is going to suck, and I’m right there with you on that point. But all things must end, eventually. Even things that you never want to see come to a close.

* * * *

Game of Thrones premiered in April of 2011. For the people who climbed on bandwagon at the beginning, they’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of intrigue, drama, and bloodshed for almost a decade. I’ve only been doing this for a few months, but it feels like ten years.

That’s longer than all of the Kardashians have been married. Combined.

Those diehard original fans have marked the passage of time with the deaths of their favorite characters.

* * * *

Honey, do you know what tomorrow is?

Yeah, it’s the two year anniversary of the Red Wedding when Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark were killed to death by Walder Fuckin’ Frey.”

Honey! I’m serious!!

Um, what were you…thinking…it…is…

It’s our son’s birthday!!!

Oh. Yeah. That was going to be my second answer.

* * * *

The death toll in Game of Thrones has been staggering. Over 200 main and secondary characters have been killed to death as the series as progressed.

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There were less than a dozen characters whose fate hung in the balance last night. The only thing we didn’t know was who else was going to got dead.

I was positive Tyrion Lannister was going to be one of them.

Lannister. Lancaster. See what I mean?

The only reason Tyrion didn’t get fried to a crackly crunch was at right around the halfway point of the show, he  manipulated Jon Snow into killing Daenerys Targaryen for him, and for the good of all mankind, before she had time to execute him. And, Lord knows how many other thousands of people after she had completed her descent into madness.

Nothing portrayed that fall more completely than her speech to her armies after they had destroyed Kings Landing. In a scene rife with demonic imagery and Nazi pep rallies of the Third Reich, Daenerys thanked her soldiers for helping her achieve her lofty goals by killing her enemies to death, then promised them they’d get to kill a lots more people when she went to war against the tyrants who were oppressing all of the miserable people of Westeros.

And her fanatic legions cheered!

There was only one, little, insignificant detail that was missing in her objective. None of the current heads of state in Westeros could even remotely be classified as tyrants.

Daenerys’ storyline had been one of the most compelling parts of the show. She was young, beautiful, and she was on a mission.

She was going to change the world! And, reclaim the Iron Throne. And she had accomplished some pretty amazing things along the way. Those deeds cannot be discounted, nor diminished. She broke the backs of the slave traders in Essos, giving millions of people a chance at a better life.

She helped save all of Westeros by joining forces with Jon Snow to battle the Night King and his zombie army. She didn’t kill him, or destroy his army, but it wasn’t from lack of effort on her part. When Daenerys was good, she was very good. She was arguably the most popular and charismatic character in the show.

Couples started naming their daughters Daenerys. And Khaleesi, one of her many titles. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she blew a gasket and slaughtered something like unto eight hundred thousand people because she had “a little squabble” with their queen.

It’s like the old saying goes, You safely land a million airplanes, and nobody says a word. But you have one, little mid-air collision, and it’s the only thing anyone wants to talk about.

From a psychiatric standpoint, the fact that Daenerys went crazy isn’t very surprising. The greatest risk factor in mental illness is heredity. The second greatest factor is drug and alcohol use, just in cases you were wondering.

Daenerys was seriously genetically flawed. There doesn’t appear to be an accurate count of how many of her ancestors were crazy, but evidently it was way more than one. Her father was definitely insane. And her brother, Viserys, didn’t appear to be all that stable either for that matter.

Daenerys was also an orphan. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her father had been killed to death before she was born. She most likely had abandonment issues, which is a huge factor in the development of Borderline Personality Disorder. One of the hallmark signs of BPD is a distorted self image. Additionally, when under a great deal of stress, people with BPD can experience stress-induced breaks with reality or psychotic episodes.

I rest my case.

Ask any psych nurse you happen to see what their least favorite patient in the world is, and they will all tell you this: Borderlines. Another thing psych nurses will tell you is they hate getting played. And the type of person most likely to play a psych nurse? Yep. Borderlines.

Tyrant, tyrant, tyrant! Targaryens! We hates it forever!!

That’s a paraphrase of Gollum after Bilbo Baggins — you know what. Never mind.

No one wanted see Daenerys fall from grace. Such things are never pretty. It’s hard to root for someone to succeed for seven years, then have to suddenly switch gears and start hoping someone has the guts to kill her before she goes through with her plan to rid the world of tyranny by establishing herself as the world’s only tyrant.

That seems to be the greatest source of unhappiness among the GoT faithful. The fact that they got played by a bunch of Borderline writers and producers, and the great avenging angel everyone had been rooting for turned out to be the devil in disguise.

Yeah, that part really does suck. I was hoping she would get killed — she had to be stopped from her mad intent — but it still broke my heart when it happened.

* * * *

Thank you, Jon Snow. You were Lea’s favorite eye candy guy. If I still lived in Minnesota, I would totally get one of those cloaks you wore. You sucked as a military commander. You loved two women, and they both would’ve killed you if they hadn’t been killed just before they were going to kill you.

You know, maybe you should consider taking up golf…

Even so, it’s never easy to lose someone you love, so what you did to your lover and queen must’ve hurt like unto two hells.

* * * *

The rest of the show was mostly wrapping up a lots of loose ends as neatly as possible. There was a trial. Tyrion was acquitted for the third time. And named Hand of the King, also for the third time. Jon Snow also survived, making House Stark the clear winner of the Great Game to claim the Iron Throne, which ironically, doesn’t exist anymore.

Drogon melted it with dragonfire after Jon Snow stabbed Daenerys in the heart. I felt that knife blade in my chest when it happened. I think Lea cried. But I think she also decided how she wants to die. Being kissed by Kit Harrington…

* * * *

One of the burning Interweb questions is: Why didn’t the dragon kill Jon Snow after he killed the Mother of Dragons? I mean, he was standing right there! My guess is it’s  probably because the dragon read the script. But Jon is also a Targaryen, so maybe that’s why.

You know what? You’ll never know. Let it go.

* * * *

The fanatic legions of the Dragon Queen sailed back to Essos to do whatever it was that their hearts desired after their queen had been murdered. The Dothraki  probably went back to killing and butchering and raping and pillaging again. You know, all the things they enjoyed doing before they did all of those things as part of a higher purpose.

The Unsullied are probably going to take a much deserved beach vacation in Naath. I just hope they don’t wear Speedos.

* * * *

House Stark had the most surviving members of any of the great houses, four. I’ve lost count of how many of the former great houses don’t even exist anymore.

The Starks ended up with two kings and a queen. And the Westerosi version of Dora the Explorer. Safe travels, Arya. I hope you’re using Trivago®.

Bran Stark, the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, Three-Eyed Raven, and Protector of the Realm, became High King of whatever was left of Westeros. He was chosen to be King for several reasons, not the least of which was he was the only person that didn’t want the job.

It was the weirdest job interview, ever.

* * * *

You have an impressive resumé, Mr. Stark. Can you tell me why you want this job?

I…I don’t want the job. But I did travel a long way to come to this interview, just so I could tell you that. Apparently.

Great! You’re hired!

* * * *

Sansa Stark became the Queen of the Independent Kingdom of the North.

Stark. York. See? I told you.

Jon Snow was stripped of any and all titles he might have had, and was banished to Castle Black to serve out the rest of his days as a member of the Night’s Watch guarding The Wall. Again. But he gathered a group of Free Folk once he reached the castle, and headed up into the wild north where he will most likely become the King Beyond the Wall.

The Free Folk already consider him a god because he tried to save them from the Night King and the White Walkers, and was murdered for his efforts by several members of the Night’s Watch.

I told you it was complicated…

* * * *

And they all probably lived as happily as they could after losing so many people, places and things that had once been dear to them.

* * * *

THE END

The Bells

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed something. For a guy living in paradise with a supermodel wife, I tend to complain about a lots of stuff. Yeah, it’s weird, but there’s little doubt that I live the life of Riley.

Unless you’re a geezer like unto me and others in my generation, you might not have any idea what that phrase means. Basically, it means a carefree, peaceful, easy life. The phrase came into common usage around the time of World War I. And  it turns out that it probably refers to the life of a real person–Willy Reilly– who lived in Sligo, Ireland during the late 1800’s.

Yeah, who knew?

In hipster lingo this phrase most likely translates into Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesey. Possibly. I wouldn’t really know. I’m at the age where talking hip probably means you’re talking about your hip replacement.

In my defense, if I didn’t have anything to complain about, I probably wouldn’t have anything to write about. No one wants to hear about how much better your life is than theirs is all the time. And I don’t care how great your life is, mine beats yours every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Besides, complaining is a time honored pastime of retired people. It’s probably a force of habit. We did it all the time. We used to complain about our jobs, our annoying know-it-all bosses, and our fucking annoying idiot co-workers. So there’s that. Habits are hard to break.

Granted, I have less to complain about than probably anyone else I know, including my lovely supermodel wife. After all, she is married to me. I’ve stated that my sole purpose in life is to keep her happy. But I think my unstated purpose is to also drive her a little bit crazy from time to time.

There was that fan thing…

We don’t have air conditioning at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We don’t really need it. But a couple of months ago Lea decided she wanted a fan for the bedroom because the hottest month of the year in the Lakeside Area is May. She thought if we waited until May to buy a fan, there wouldn’t be any fans for sale when we needed one. That’s kind of how things work down here.

Walmart had a veritable mountain of fans available in March. All I had to do was buy one fan that would help keep the bedroom cool at night. There was nothing all that complicated about my mission. I knew which fan Lea would buy if she had done the smart thing and gone to the store herself. I even put her fan in my shopping cart. 

And then I saw it.

An industrial strength, turbo-charged fan with a hemi engine. And that’s the fan I bought. It’s a thing of beauty as far as fans go. It has three speeds: Gale Force Wind, Category 2 Hurricane, and Blown Away. I had a feeling I had made a mistake when I was assembling it. It kind of sounded like unto a jet airplane taxiing down the runway when I turned on. 

Yep. Lea hated it.

Well, it wasn’t a total loss. I moved it out to the North Wing of the patio. From there, it directs a reasonably manageable stream of air toward the South Wing of the patio. Lea spends a lots of time out there. I thought it would help cool the patio down in the heat of the afternoon. The best result has been that Lea doesn’t hate it out there.

I bought a second fan for the bedroom, the one I had originally planned on buying, and it works perfectly. I really should pay more attention to that little voice in my head that tells me when I’m about to do something stupid…

* * * *

If you’re a Game of Thrones aficionado, you’ll understand the title of this post. If you’re not, go away. You have no business being here.

Speaking only for myself, I think HBO made a huge mistake when they filmed only six episodes for the final season. There’s just too much stuff to try to distill down that quickly.

It’s like trying to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and everyone’s birthdays over one weekend. It can be done, but it’s probably not pretty.

* * * *

“Here. Open this gift.”

“What holiday is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even care. Look at the wrapping paper.”

“But this isn’t for me. It has someone else’s name on it!”

“Oh well, now it’s yours. Shut up and open your goddamn present, or I’ll cut you open from belly button to brisket.”

* * * *

The Bells is the title of Episode 5 of the final season. It was the climactic battle in the war for the Iron Throne, the seat of power in Westeros that everyone with a claim to has staked their lives on.

When you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die. There is no middle ground.

Truer words were never spoken. The series has gone from dozens of main characters to a handful. Maybe less. Almost everyone, both good and bad, have been killed to death. Some of them more than once.

There’s one episode left, roughly eighty minutes of opportunity for the producers to kill off two or three of the remaining characters who have somehow avoided getting beheaded, stabbed, shot, executed, poisoned, assassinated, or burned to a crisp until now.

And there was plenty of that in the last episode.

There was only one small, tiny, insignificant detail. It wasn’t supposed to work out that way. It was a given that some people would have to got dead. Queen Daenerys Targaryen had assembled all of her remaining armies outside of King’s Landing, the seat of ultimate power in Westeros, to battle the armies of her remaining enemies, Queen Cercei Lannister and King Euron Greyjoy.

The Good Guys would storm the city. The Bad Guys would see that they had no hope of victory. They would surrender, lay down their arms, and ring the bells. And a whole lots of bloodshed could be avoided. That was the plan.

Queen Daenerys had always said that she wanted to change the world, to actually make it a better place. She wanted to end slavery, oppression, and tyranny. It’s the reason why everyone fell in love with her. That was her fucking mission statement!

But then a funny thing happened on her way to the top. She was betrayed multiple times, most recently by Cercei Lannister, the lying-ass bitch currently sitting on the Iron Throne. Cercei promised to send her armies north to fight against the Night King and his horde of zombie warriors.

She didn’t.

Ser Jorah Mormont, trusted counselor and body guard to Good Queen Daenerys, was indirectly killed to death by Evil Queen Cercei’s treachery when he fell during the Battle of Winterfell. To add insult to injury, Evil Queen Cercei publicly executed Good Queen Daenerys’ other trusted advisor, the sweet and beautiful Missandei of Naath. That happened right after Evil Queen Cercei and Even More Eviler King Euron killed Daenerys’ second dragon to death.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dani threatened to kill one of her few remaining advisors if he fucked up one more time. Then she had another of her advisors executed because he really fucked up one more time. And then her boyfriend told her that he loved her, but he couldn’t have sex with her anymore. Probably because he’s her nephew.

So it was a very different Daenerys that we saw Sunday night. She was more than a little emotionally unbalanced as she went into what she called The Last War. She climbed onto the back of her one remaining dragon.

And. It. Was. On.

I’ve had mixed emotions over just about every episode this season, but this one was probably the worst for me. And just about every other fan on the planet.

Daenerys single-dragonedly destroyed an entire fleet of ships and most of the sailors aboard them. She destroyed the main gates of the King’s Landing, killing most of the army defending those gates, then barbecued all of the defenders on the walls and ramparts. So much for the pivotal role the highly vaunted Golden Company would play in this story. That was probably the most disappointing part of this episode.

Once the gates had been breached, the rest of the city’s defenders surrendered. The bells started ringing…

And, Daenerys didn’t care. She and her dragon systematically destroyed the city block by block, then she destroyed the castle. Neither did most of her invading armies. They slaughtered everyone they saw. Soldier, civilian, man, woman and child.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died in the process.

There is some good news in this. For once, Jon Snow didn’t need to be rescued during a battle he commanded. And some very non-innocent people finally got killed to death. Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, and The Mountain all got the deaths they needed. Cersei probably got dead, too, but maybe not. Lea thinks she somehow survived having ten tons of brick fall on her, so we’ll see. But her death was certainly not the death she deserved.

But now the big question is this: Did Daenerys simply vent a considerable amount of repressed anger and rage at her enemies when she went combustible, or did she go one step beyond batshit crazy when she ignited an entire city on the back of her fire-breathing dragon?

The producers have certainly been pushing her character in that direction, which is really disappointing. How can you trust someone who says, Trust me. I won’t kick you in balls. And then kicks you in the balls. Really hard.

If that’s the case, someone will have to kill Evil Queen Daenerys to death to ensure that she doesn’t become the one thing she started out meaning to destroy. And she would potentially be worse than any of the tyrants she threw down when she was struggling to reach the pinnacle of power. A psychobitch with PMS, and the last living dragon. And someone will probably have to kill that goddamn dragon, too.

Eighty minutes. It’s not a terribly long time. How much can happen? In this case, next Sunday night, everything is on the line. A lots of right things have to happen, and they seemingly have to happen in rapid succession. The producers only have one chance to get it right. So, you know, no pressure.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Yeah, definitely not going to happen.

Some of them lived, and it wasn’t the most ludicrous ending we’ve ever seen.

Speaking only for myself, and eighteen million other people, that seems to be the best we can hope for right now…

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part III

It was a sad week last week.

It was the eight year anniversary of my father’s death. It was also the eight year anniversary of the death of Lea’s father. He died exactly one month before my dad. Hard to believe that much time has passed by so quickly.

I lost both of my parents in May. My dad at the beginning of the month. My mom at the end of the month. It’ll be twelve years this year.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in October of 2006. Eight months later she was dead. My dad had suffered from a laundry list of ailments for years. He had stuff standing in line waiting to kill him. In the end, it was his heart. It was the only thing we didn’t expect.

I miss talking to my dad. He was a funny guy. But I miss everything about my mom.

* * * *

If you live long enough, you might reach a point where you have more friends that are dead than living. I might be there right now. It’s hard to say. I have a long list of people I knew who are no longer among the living.

One of my former patients had that happen to her. She had four great female friends. They went to school together. They stayed close even after they all got married, and had kids. And all that stuff.

They had a catchy name for themselves, but I can’t remember it anymore. They had Girl’s Night Out. Girl’s Weekend Getaways. Sometimes they took vacations together to get away from their families and decompress.

“We used to have so much fun together. And then I woke up one day, and I realized that I was the only one left. That was five years ago. I’ve been depressed ever since. Then I started drinking. I hardly leave my house now. That’s why I decided to come to the hospital. I just don’t have the energy to fight it anymore…”

* * * *

Last week, Jim Ryan passed away.

When we came here the first time to visit Phyllis, she introduced us to her circle of friends. From my perspective at the time, she was the common thread, so I called her group The Phyllistines.

There’s another name for the group. The Usual Suspects.

That’s how we met Jim and his wife, Ronni. Well, that’s how we met almost everyone we know here.

Jim was an interesting man. People who knew him better than I did might say he liked to argue. He was an attorney, so it’s what he did for a living. Arguing creates the wrong impression in my mind. Jim liked to debate.

“Hey, I ran into a friend of yours the only day.”

“Really? Which one? I have a lot of friends.”

“He was a short guy. Kinda bald. He had a camera. I think his name was Mark.”

“Yes, I know a guy who matches that description. He’s been over to our house several times. I’ve been to his house a couple of times. But are we friends? That might be open to speculation or interpretation. We don’t really know each other that well, so…  How do you define friendship?”

That conversation is a figment of my imagination, but I know this would have been true: If I somehow found myself in a situation that I couldn’t handle on my own, Jim would’ve been the first person to say, What can I do to help you, my friend.

He had also been a political lobbyist. Unlike me, when Jim talked politics, he knew what he was talking about. He was probably the only man I know that when he talked, I felt I should be taking notes.

Jim was a wise and wonderful man. He loved dogs and children. Anyone who has that on their resumé should get a warm welcome at the Pearly Gates. Jim was incredibly generous, especially when it came to children. He used to buy Christmas presents for all the children at one of the local orphanages every year. He opened the doors to his house and hosted celebrations for everyone in his neighborhood.

Jim’s health started deteriorating about a year and a half ago. He never really fully recovered once that process started, but he didn’t let it stop him. He adjusted and adapted to the things he could no longer do, and kept doing the things that he could.

In true fashion, he was pragmatic about the whole thing.

“Forty is a tough age for men. Lots of us drop dead when we hit forty. If you survive your forties, you’ll probably live to be sixty. That’s another tough age. But if you survive your sixties, you’ll probably live to be eighty. And after that, you’re just living on borrowed time.”

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I think Jim was 79. He knew that his time had come, and chose to exit with grace and dignity. As the song goes, he did it his way.

Vaya con Dios, amigo. Maybe we’ll meet again someday. I’d like that.

It’s Always Something/Siempre es Algo

Greetings from Mexico! Hope you’re all doing well, wherever you might be.

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my pictures of the Chinese Mountains behind our house burning at night. Las montañas de chino are still afire, despite the best efforts of the volunteers, and the fire fighters, and the helicopter that’s been ferrying big buckets of water from the lake to douse the flames.

It’s one of the hazards of living in this part of Mexico at this time of the year. It’s incredibly dry here right now, and there are fires everywhere. But you don’t need to expend any energy worrying about our safety. There’s no way the fires could ever endanger us, even if that were their only purpose, which it isn’t. So take a deep breath. We’re going to be okay. Relax, people. But it was nice to see so many people were concerned for us.

* * * *

It occurred to me the other day that the only people who come here to visit us are somehow related to Lea. Gwen is Lea’s oldest daughter, and she’s definitely related to her mother. She’s been here twice. Our only other visitor has been Todd, Lea’s boyfriend. He’s been here four times. He just put his house in Idaho on the market so he can sell it and move down here.

And it slowly dawned on me that I don’t have any friends who miss me enough to want to visit me.

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And that includes my celebrity crush lesbian girlfriend who doesn’t even know that I exist. Well, maybe she does now. I sent her a message on the Twitter® last week.

* * * *

Wildfires have become an annual summer event in many places, maybe even where you live. Arizona used to go up in flames every year that we lived there. Parts of Southern California burn down every year. Lea’s boyfriend, Todd, says he has the same problem where he lives in Idaho. A couple of years ago, Sand Point had a worse air quality rating than Beijing, China.

Thanks to Donald Trump, we all know the solution to this problem is preventative forest raking, which Mexico apparently doesn’t do either. The government could start trucking the abuelitas sweeping the streets up into the mountains and give them rakes…  Mischief managed. Probably.

The ironic thing is this fire started out as someone’s campfire. You’d think people would know better than to light a fire in a forest when it hasn’t rained since November, but you can never underestimate the power of stupidity.

Stupidity is probably mankind’s greatest common denominator. We all do stupid stuff. Some of us are quite good at it. It has actually come to define us. To err is human. And most human errors are caused by? Yep. Stupididity.

* * * *

Another thing you might know if you follow me on Facebook is I had the best golf week of my life. I shot three consecutive sub-one hundred score rounds. And I shot a 91 on Sunday, my new personal best score. It’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever see a couple of months ago. In fact, I was seriously contemplating giving up golf for another decade.

One of my friends actually said I was getting good! I wouldn’t go that far because golf has a tendency to humble you. Did you see/hear that, golf gods? But golf has been a lots more fun to play all of a sudden.

I’ve written about my struggle with golf multiple times. You could read all about them if you don’t have anything better to do, but to summarize, I probably spent a lots of time whining about how much I suck at golf, even though I’m a good golfer.

Normally, the incongruency of that statement would make even me scratch my head. But last week made me think that I might have been right about me, and the only explanations I have are attitude and threshold.

The attitude part is easy to explain. All you have to do is believe you can do it. That’s what I used to tell my patients. And that’s what my caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini, kept telling me. You have to be positive. You have to think you can make every shot. Once I started doing that, I consistently started shooting better shots. I still have plenty of bad shots, but I balance them with some pretty great shots. And those are a lots of fun.

Threshold is a bit more complicated. It’s something that I learned about in nursing school. It’s the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested. In other words, it’s the point or level at which something begins or changes.

It took me about two and a half years of frustration, a new set of golf clubs, a new golf bag, one pair of magic golf shoes, three new hats, a few generic golf lessons and a lots of practice at swearing in Spanish. And last week it all became worthwhile.

Now all I have to do to keep it up and keep getting more better gooder. I’m actually looking forward to it.

* * * *

I feel physically ill today.

Game of Thrones is fucking killing me, much in the same way that it has killed off just about every decent character in the series so far. And there are two more episodes to go!!

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All of us that have become addicted to the show need to stop seeing the characters we’ve come to love getting killed to death, and we need to start seeing the evil motherfuckers start getting the deaths they so richly deserve. And we need to start seeing it now!

I have no idea how HBO is going to wrap the series up, but I know it’s not going to end like this: And they all lived happily ever after. That’s the one possible ending that everyone agrees doesn’t have a chance in hell of happening.

Hey, it’s not a Hallmark Christmas movie…

There are seemingly a lots of people that have become upset with direction the series has taken of late, but it doesn’t appear that has stopped any of them from watching. They’ve just been complaining about everything they don’t like on social media. It’s like unto watching a slow motion replay/review in football and noticing a penalty the referees missed. It’s not going to change the outcome.

It looks like a lots of people are going to need counseling once GoT ends. Maybe I retired too soon…  Nope. I’m good.

* * * *

Back when I was a nurse, I don’t think I ever admitted anyone because of a TV show. It’s probably the only reason. Crazy people get admitted to the hospital for pretty much any and every reason imaginable, and several that aren’t. That isn’t a lie. You could ask around if you know any psych nurses.

I remember a delusional young guy who the police had picked up and brought to the hospital because he was harassing Natalie Portman. He had somehow obtained her phone number and email address and was contacting her a thousand times a day, telling her how much he loved her.

Hmm…  I wonder how long it will take the Mexican police to show up here and take me to the nearest psychiatric hospital?

I’ve had people ask me What’s the strangest thing you saw as a psych nurse? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. It probably depended on the week. After awhile, insanity becomes hard to quantify. Like stupididity. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely write about being a psych nurse anymore.

That’s how my blog started. It’s probably some of the best stuff I’ve written. Over time, my blog evolved into some kind of diary about what I do now that I’m retired. And the answer to that appears to be not much.

* * * *

A couple of things happened to me after I married my lovely supermodel wife. First, I inherited two daughters. Second, I became a home owner. Homes and yards require a lots of upkeep and maintenance. Like, raking, among other things. We redecorated the entire interior of our house. Several times.

New paint. Wallpaper. Stuff like unto that. When we finished, I said something stupid, like, Well, we’re all done with that! Lea looked me in the eye and said, “When you’re a home owner, there’s no such thing as done.” The redhead does not lie.

In other words, It’s always something. In Spanish, Siempre es algo. I don’t want to brag too much, but I’m kind of proud of my bisexual language abilities. And that saying appears to be just as true in Mexico as it was back in the States. It might even be more true here.

We don’t own a home in Mexico, but we have become the Stewards of Casa Tara, a position we’d love to keep for a very long time. At least until we die. After that, I don’t think it’ll be as important anymore.

I’ve written about most of the the improvements we made to our home when we moved in. I’ve written about most of the challenges we’ve faced since we moved in. I do have a couple of updates, just in cases you were wondering.

We have a new kitchen faucet. Again. If you’ve been keeping count, this is our fifth faucet in six months. The Terminator Faucet 2.0 was installed last week. Tacho, our general handyman guy, was impressed with it, so that’s a good sign. Lea likes it, and that’s the most important thing.

Our patio has been free of bats for about a month. No bats, no batshit. Just to keep it that way, I bought a bunch of nightlights and plugged them in on the patio. They don’t emit a lots of light, but they’re seemingly more than bright enough to keep the bats away. Mischief managed. Hopefully.

We’re still waiting for our custom curtain rods for the master bedroom. Jaime, our property manager, went down to the ironworks shop with us last week to speak to the Moron Twins in Spanish on our behalf. One of the twins said that ours was the third complaint they’d received that day about the poor quality of their work.

That’s not a huge surprise to me. They seemed to understand exactly what we wanted. Unlike us, Jaime speaks excellent Spanish. Lea even gave them another diagram and measurements of what she wanted. They seemed agreeable to try to correct the situation. At least, they said they would.

And, nothing happened.

I’m ready to move on. Lea isn’t, and Jaime is on her side. He wants these guys to do the right thing. I think there’s some pride involved in this. He doesn’t like the idea of Mexican con artists ripping anyone off. He doesn’t want any bad apples giving people the wrong idea about what Mexico is really like.

You know, like me. I purposely misrepresent some aspects of life in Mexico because I don’t want any more people moving here.

At any rate, we’re essentially in a holding pattern with this process until something yet to be determined reaches threshold…

* * * *

My KODI box died some time last week. I tried to fire it up on Sunday, and nothing happened. Well, it’s Mexico. I waited an hour and tried again. Then I tried repeatedly for another hour. It stayed dead. I unplugged it and threw it out this morning.

The best thing about the KODI box was it was hardwired to our piece of shit modem, giving it an almost acceptable download speed. I had piggybacked my Amazon Firestick to it, and given the sketchiness of our WiFi service here, both devices worked miraculously well, most of the time. 

Our WiFi goes down here almost everyday for a few hours for no apparent reason, and none of our electronic devices work. That includes all of the telephones in the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. The only reason that I haven’t gone totally ballistic about this is our WiFi eventually reboots, also for no apparent reason.

I had to reconfigure the power supply to my Firestick. On the bright side, it still works, but it’s totally dependent on our WiFi strength, which, as you probably know by now, sucks. As a result, our Firestick doesn’t work at all during times of peak usage. Like, Sunday night, when Game of Thrones airs. However, it still works quite well during non-peak hours, so there’s that.

There are two possible solutions to my problem. One is a WiFi booster. Lea actually ordered one a week ago from an electronics company here in Mexico. It was invented by a Mexican guy to solve what appears to be a pervasive Mexican problem. That device might work, if we actually receive it. Their website says it might take as long as thirty days for it to be shipped. My guess is they have to make it first…

The second solution would be to buy another KODI box. A replacement would cost about a hundred bucks, and I could get one in about a week because it’s already been built.

Lea wants me to wait for her WiFi booster, mostly because she’s already paid for it. If we ever get it, and it works, it should theoretically solve all of my problems. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I can wait. I don’t really watch TV most of the time. All I really need is background noise, so in the Big Picture, it doesn’t really matter what that is.

The only problem is I’ve already decided that I want another KODI box. There are very few things that I actually want anymore. I’ve already got almost all of them, except for more speakers for my home theater system. And the only reason I haven’t bought more of them is I’m not ready for my lovely supermodel wife to kill me in my sleep.

Another holding pattern until something else reaches threshold…

And finally, my $40,000 flashlight died. Yeah, you read that right. A forty thousand dollar flashlight. It came with my Chevy Blazer, so I figure that’s how much I paid for it. It was a Maglite, and they’re really good flashlights.

Little Known Fact About Me: I have a weakness for flashlights. I had more than a dozen of them at one time because you never know when you’ll need a flashlight. I put them everywhere around the house, you know, just in cases. Lea finally told me I had enough flashlights, and I’ve mostly quit buying them.

Flashlights, much like homes, require a fair amount of maintenance. Batteries need to be replaced regularly, and I hadn’t done any maintenance on my $40,000 flashlight since we moved to Mexico. I kept it in my car because if anything goes wrong when I’m driving at night I want to be able to see whatever it is that I’m not going to know how to fix. There’s a reason why I became a nurse and not a mechanic, and you  almost have to be a rocket surgeon to fix a fucking car nowadays.

Because I had been lax in my duties, the batteries in my Maglite had corroded and were welded inside the battery tube. And I couldn’t get them out. I even tried drilling them out before I gave up and decided the only thing to do was replace my $40,000 flashlight with another one that wouldn’t cost anywhere near that much.

I found a lots of Maglite flashlights on the Amazon Mexico website. I bought a replacement for around 700 pesos ($35.00 US), and it was delivered to our house in three days.

I call my new Maglite Lightsaber. It kind of looks like one, and it emits a beam of light that can illuminate the backyards of the houses on the other side of the golf course that runs parallel to our backyard. That sucker is bright.

I’m keeping it on the patio. If one of those fucking giant Mexican bats ever tries to attack me, I’ll be ready for it. I’ll blind it with an atomic blast of light, then I’ll hit over the head. Go ahead and laugh, but you could seriously kill someone with a Maglite flashlight if you needed to.

It’s one of the things I learned in Dental X-ray Combat Training.

GoT Real?

Hey there, sports fans!

The NFL Draft was held last week. The Minnesota Vikings drafted a lots of offensive players, especially linemen. Hopefully, that works out for them. It’s hard to win many football games if you have a porous offensive line. There are sixteen games in the regular season. I think the Vikings will be fortunate to win half of them.

I might end up being a Detroit Lions fan before the year is over…

As a guy, I tend to mark the passing of the year by sporting events. The Super Bowl. March Madness. The Masters. The Triple Crown. After that, it’s just waiting for football to start. So, if I’m already this pessimistic about my team’s chances of success, well, that’s something I’m going to have to work on. At least until they start playing and prove that they suck.

* * * *

I went golfing last Sunday with the intention of shooting my best round ever. That lasted two holes. After that, I could settle down and hope I didn’t shoot my worst round ever. But I regrouped on the back nine.

That’s another thing I’m going to have to work on…

* * * *

I’ve had a few people question my theory about Guys versus Men. I think I can best explain it this way. Bryan Baeumler has a couple of home renovation shows on HGTV. Disaster DIY and Leave it to Bryan.

In the first show, a home owner started a reno project by demolishing a room or two, then realized that they had no idea how to put it all back together, and the house sat unfinished for months, sometimes years. Those are guys.

In the second show, home owners want to renovate their house, but they hire a professional to do it for them because they know they don’t have the skills to do it themselves. Those are men.

If you’re still confused after this, there’s nothing more I can do to help you.

* * * *

The final season of Game of Thrones has reached its halfway point, and it has not disappointed. Seventeen and a half million people tuned in to watch the season premiere, a record for HBO. Two weeks later, that record was shattered when almost eighteen million viewers sat glued to their seats to watch The Long Night, the epic battle of Winterfell.

Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Armies of the Living faced off against the Night King, the White Walkers, and the Army of the Dead.

Everything I know about planning a battle I learned as a dental x-ray technician when I was in the Army. I think Jon Snow went to the same school of combat that I did. Prior to last Sunday, Jon had commanded two major battles. The Battle of the Bastards, and the expedition beyond the Wall to capture a wight.

* * * *

I always thought the idea to capture a zombie warrior was stupid. Until Danerys said that it was something you had to see in order to believe it. That was definitely true.

Jon Snow: “The real enemy isn’t the person sitting on the Iron Throne. It’s the Night King.”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “And who is that, exactly?”

Jon Snow: “Remember the Snow Miser? He’s like that, except he can resurrect the dead, and he’s really good at the javelin.”

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The Hound: “Shit. This guy is a fucking cunt, too.”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

However, once he captured a zombie warrior, Jon was able to convince his Queen/girlfriend/aunt that the threat was real, and everyone stopped wondering if he had stopped taking his Haldol.

* * * *

Back to Jon’s battles. He lost them both. I pointed this out to my wife, and she told me to shut up. She has kind of a celebrity crush on Kit Harrington.

Jon Snow was saved both times by outside interventions. The knights of the Vale rode in to save his ass at the Battle of the Bastards. Daenerys and her dragons flew in to save his ass beyond the Wall. And he was going down for the third time when Jon’s half-sister/niece saved everyone’s ass by killing the Night King, which killed his entire zombie army. And an undead dragon.

All I can say is there better be two women that are Knights of the Seven Kingdoms after this. And whose idea was it to shelter all of the women and children down in the crypts? 

Jon Snow: “We’re fighting against a magical king who can reanimate the dead as warriors in his army!”

Somebody: “Okay. We’ll send all of the women and children down into the crypts during the battle to keep them safe.”

Somebody Else: “What’s down there?”

Sansa Stark: “Nothing much. It’s a cemetery…”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “Brilliant!”

* * * *

Sadly, several of our favorite characters didn’t survive the Battle of Winterfell, most notably Ser Jorah Momont and his cousin, Lady Lyanna Mormont.

Ser Jorah was an honorable man who did some very dishonorable things, and was trying like hell to redeem himself. He kind of reminds me of me. Except he was tall. And handsome. And a great warrior.

Lyanna Mormont was ten years old. She was maybe four feet tall, but that kid was made of Valyrian steel. She definitely made the most of her brief screen appearances. Westeros will be a lesser place without her presence.

Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised that I’m a huge GoT fan. Anyone who knows my lovely supermodel wife would be very surprised to find out that she is. But she has even been researching the series on the Interweb and listening to all of kooky theories about what happens next.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is as good as it gets.

* * * *

One of the struggles of being retired is finding something interesting to watch on TV, especially during the day. There is seriously nothing worth watching 99% of the time. I rarely actually watch TV, even though I rarely turn it off when I’m awake. I’ve discovered that I need the noise to keep me from going crazier.

A couple of weeks ago I started watching The Good Witch, mostly out of sheer desperation. For one thing, it’s on the Hallmark Channel, so I’ve probably seen most of their Christmas movies. Another thing, it stars Catherine Bell. And I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen all of her Christmas movies. And there’s one more thing, I’ve kind of developed a celebrity crush on the fair Catherine.

For those of you who don’t know what this means, a celebrity crush is someone famous that you find immensely desirable/attractive/sexy and, if given the chance, would be more than happy to sleep with, or more accurately, have a lots of sex with.

As a result, I decided to do some research on my celebrity crush, you know, just in cases Catherine Bell decides she can’t live without me. And I was crushed. It seems my celebrity crush has been cheating on me. With her girlfriend. Yeah, my secret sweetheart doesn’t even like guys.

And there’s another thing. Catherine Bell is tall, like, 5′ 10″ tall. She’s a fucking Amazon Princess compared to me. If she ever tried to hug me, my face would end up

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Yep. Right about there…

Given the fact that I’m a very happily married guy, and I’d hate to lose my lovely supermodel wife to a celebrity lesbian, I’m going to hold off inviting Catherine down here to visit.

Though that hug looks like it might be a lots of fun…

Bat Out of Hell

Life is strange sometimes. Okay, life itself might not be strange, but the stuff that happens certainly can be. It’s also possible the stuff that happens after you’re no longer living could be equally strange, but no one has ever documented it.

If the concepts of reincarnation are true, then we strive to improve on our past performances until we achieve enlightenment and no longer need to improve on anything. In that case, I’d expect a fair amount of the afterlife would involve having to read How Not to Fuck Up Your Next Life–for Dummies.

* * * *

As you’ve probably guessed by now, we survived Holy Week.

According to the Bible, Jesus entered Jerusalem as a hero on Palm Sunday, and five days later the same people who had cheered for him were demanding his death.

No one has ever had such a precipitous fall from grace, except maybe Howard Dean…

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Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

The timeline is so improbable that it would almost have to be classified as one of Jesus’ miracles, and possibly his greatest. Or his worst, depending on your point of view.

It never made any sense to me. The only explanation that makes sense is that the actual events took longer than a week to unfold. Probably several months. Then everything makes sense, especially the conversations between Pontius Pilate and Jesus.

I’m not sure if Pilate hated the Jews, but he certainly wasn’t the most sympathetic Roman prefect of Judea. On at least two occasions he appeared to go out of his way to antagonize the Jews, and was eventually removed from office for dealing with his subjects too harshly. The fact that he would’ve had any hesitation at all about killing Jesus is another miracle.

And yet, in all four of the Gospels, he clearly doesn’t want to execute Jesus. A timeline of several months would, at the very least, give Pilate the opportunity to meet with Jesus more than once, probably after he had Jesus imprisoned. By all accounts, Jesus was a very charismatic guy. It’s not inconceivable that Pilate found himself liking the preacher from Galilee. So much so that by the time this scenario had reached its climax, Jesus had become the only Jew Pilate didn’t want to kill.

Yeah, I know. It’s all speculation.

Some of you might say, You know, for a guy who claims to be a Christian, you spend a lots of time questioning everything you’re supposed to believe.

Yeah, I do. But then, I used to believe in American democracy, too.

* * * *

The cicadas have started singing their strident songs. In the Lakeside Area, cicadas are called chicharros (waterbirds) because the rains generally start a few weeks after they start singing. And I found a tree frog on the patio last night. Another sign of the rainy season.

The rains will be nice. They’ll knock all of the dust and pollen out of the air, and that should lessen our allergy symptoms. Maybe.

But it will also make the velcro grass grow thicker at the golf course, and that’s not good for my score.

* * * *

A lots of people that retire here do a lots of research about the Lakeside Area before they uproot and relocate. The good thing is that there’s a plethora of information available on the Interweb. I’m going to guess that most of the articles accentuate the positive. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t read any of them.

I doubt there are many articles that mention the flying buffalo ants. And I know there aren’t any articles about the flying scorpion spiders. Another thing you won’t find much information about are the bats.

The Spanish word for bat is murciélago. There are a lots of bats in Mexico. I won’t go so far to say that I’m afraid of bats, but they do kind of give me the willies. The little flying mice bats that eat insects aren’t so bad. It’s the larger, flying rat bats that eat fruit that freak me the fuck out.

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Admit it. You thought I was was making this up, didn’t you.

Oddly enough, the most common fruit bat in Mexico is the Jamaican Fruit Bat. We had encountered these bats at our first house. They drank all of the nectar out of Lea’s hummingbird feeders. Retrieving her feeders with a herd of flying bats swooping around my head wasn’t a pleasant experience.

When a fruit bat finds a ripe and desirable fruit, it swoops in and plucks it from the tree, then it flies to a temporary dining roost to eat.

There is at least one desirable fruit tree growing on the hillside of the golf course just below our backyard, and there’s also a very desirable temporary dining roost near that tree. That place is our spacious patio. At night, our spacious patio probably looks just like a cave, which is no doubt very inviting to a hungry bat.

Bats are voracious eaters, so our patio floor looked like unto a disaster area in the mornings when we first moved here. Little Known Fact About Fruit Bats: they can digest an entire meal in about fifteen minutes. Any guesses about what else bats are really good at?

Yep. They shit like there’s no tomorrow.

Bat shit is slang for someone one step beyond totally crazy. Guano is the technical term for bat excrement, which is highly desirable as a fertilizer. If the bats only shit  in our yard, I’d probably love them. But they’ve been shitting on our patio walls, and I really don’t love that.

Our walls are white. Well, they were white. Now they’re white with greenish brown streaks and spots, or white with pink streaks and spots. It’s not a great color combination.

I don’t know how long the bats have been using our patio as a restaurant/restroom, but it’s clearly been going on for a while. I tried washing the walls. Guano is some tenacious shit. It doesn’t wash off easily, and some of it doesn’t wash off at all.

I have no intention of trying to kill all of the fruit bats in the Lakeside Area, though that would certainly solve the problem of them crapping in our patio. And that’s the first step I encountered in trying to solve this problem. Cleaning the walls doesn’t accomplish anything if the bats just come back and crap on the walls again.

So, how does one get rid of bats without killing them? No one seemed to know. We did have an exterminator come over and spray the patio with something non-lethal, but noxious to bats. It didn’t work. I set up a sonic blaster device. It was supposed to emit frequencies the bats wouldn’t like and they’d stop dining in our patio. That didn’t work either.

We usually go to bed around 10:00 PM, give or take. There are no bats on the patio when we call it a day. Lea sometimes has trouble sleeping. On those occasions she likes to sit out on the patio, except the fucking bats freaked her out, too. It seemed that peak dining hours for bats were between midnight and 2:00 AM. I usually don’t have any trouble sleeping, but I’ve been on the patio at 3:00 AM, and there were no bats.

It might have been a month ago, maybe. Lea went to bed, but I stayed up. I was probably writing one of my blog posts…  At any rate, I finished some time around midnight, and I went to check on the world before I went to bed. And there were no bats on the patio. Not even one.

Hmm. Why do you suppose that is? I wondered. And then it occurred to me that the lights in the living room were still on, and maybe that’s why there were no bats…

We’ve been leaving some of living room lights on at night for the past couple of weeks. No bats! They’re apparently very sensitive to light. It makes sense. The fruit they eat doesn’t look that appetizing to me, and the bats themselves are butt-ugly. Darkness is their only friend.

Having accidentally figured out how to discourage the bats, the only thing that remained was getting rid of the Technicolor® walls of our patio. Simple! I’ll get some white paint. But there’s something like unto three hundred shades of white. Not so simple.

In the States, you can bring in a color sample and it can be computer matched. In Mexico, you can guess which shade is the closest and hope you’re not too wrong. I suck at this kind of thing, but Lea is a supermodel, and she is spooky.

She picked out a shade that wasn’t exactly the same as the paint on our walls, but it’s so close that you barely notice the difference. Most of the guano stains have disappeared, but some of them are still visible after three coats of paint. If only our walls weren’t white…

I told you that shit was tenacious.

* * * *

There’s one other bat in Mexico.  El Pinche Murciélago Gigante! That’s right, Cupcake. The Fucking Giant Bat of Mexico. They probably live in the Lakeside Area. There’s some really big caves here.

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You thought I was making this up too, didn’t you.

The Giant Bat is probably about the size of a Labrador. Maybe larger. Some of them have interbred with chupacabras, resulting in something like unto the closest thing to an actual vampire you’d ever want to meet. Not the cute vampires from Hollywood that make women cream their jeans. These are savage bloodthirsty monsters that will make you shit your pants.

As for what it eats, I’m guessing it eats anything it wants. Cats, dogs, kids. Volkswagen Beetles. And they’re particularly fond of tourists. If we can tell who the tourists are, there’s no reason to think the bats can’t.

So, just remember that the next time you’re planning a vacation to Lake Chapala. It could be the last vacation you ever take.

To Serve and Protect

In my last post I mentioned that we haven’t had any major issues to deal with here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. And the next day the temporary faucet in our kitchen exploded and flooded the floor.

Thank God for tile floors.

Tacho, our general handyman guy, came over Saturday morning and installed a new temporary faucet. According to Jaime Mendoza, our property manager, our new permanent faucet is supposed to be installed on Wednesday.

We’ll see how that goes. It’s Holy Week, and not a lot gets done here this time of year.

Easter in Mexico is vastly different than Easter in the United States. In Mexico, Easter is when everyone goes to the beach. Except for the people that come here. Something like unto twenty thousand people will start flocking into the Lakeside Area today, and will be here through the weekend.

Unlike the United States, you can’t find an Easter basket in any of the stores here. I’ve looked. Only Halloween surpasses Easter in terms of candy sales in the US. But in Mexico, there are no jelly bean eggs, no chocolate bunnies. There will be no manic hunts for brightly colored Easter eggs by sugar-charged children on Sunday morning.

Just sun, bikinis, sand, and beer, and possibly beach volleyball. From my point of view, it beats the heck out of hard boiled eggs.

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Happy Easter Bunnies!!!!

I’ve never celebrated Mexican Easter before, but given my affection for bikini clad females, I’m starting to think I might be missing out on something.

Easter is the most Christian holiday there is, but American Easter traditions have next to nothing to do with Christianity. The Egg Thing and the Bunny Thing are rooted in Pagan traditions, not Christian. It’d be cool if they came from Scotland, but I can’t find any evidence to support that.

* * * *

The other major issue we’re facing here involves curtain rods for the master bedroom. We chose a local ironworks shop to make them for us. The old guy who runs it is an artist. We’ve purchased some of his stuff before, and were very pleased with our acquisitions.

However, when we took Lea’s measurements and designs to the shop, the old guy had one of his arms in a cast, and it appeared the business was being run by a couple of kids that I have named the Moron Twins. There’s a reason for that.

One of the kids looked at Lea’s designs, and he seemed to understand what we wanted. Lea suggested that he come to the house and make his own measurements, which he did. Last Friday, he delivered our three custom curtain rods, and none of them were the correct size. In addition, he had added finials that looked like mutant insect antennae. Lea hated them.

The kid said someone would come to our house the next day, Saturday, to install them. Yeah, that didn’t happen. We went back to the shop on Monday with a new set of measurements and designs. Lea handled most of the transaction in Spanish, which was impressive. Once again, the kid seemed to understand exactly what Lea wanted. He even showed her that he had the finials Lea wanted in his shop.

We thought we had sorted that problem out. Later that afternoon, the other moron twin arrived at our house to install the curtain rods we didn’t want installed. 

As of right now, we still have the incorrect curtain rods stored on the far end of the patio. We have no idea when, or even if, we’ll receive our new curtain rods. I’m planning on asking Jaime to go down to the ironworks shop to advocate for us when he delivers our new kitchen faucet, possibly later today. More likely next week…

* * * *

We watched the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones Sunday night. My long list of horrible people who need to got dead has shortened considerably because most of them have been killed to death already. Those who remain are Ser Gregor Clegane, Cercei Lannister, Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, and the Night King.

It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. And how many of my favorite characters will get killed to death in the process. Then I’ll be depressed until Hallmark starts playing Christmas movies again. But long before then my lovely supermodel wife will have to tell me to grow up or she’ll really give me something to cry about. I haven’t seen Captain Marvel yet, or The Avengers: Endgame. So I still have something to live for.

* * * *

For those of you who are wondering how my golf game is going, it still mostly sucks. I attribute part of that to seasonal allergies, high pollen counts, and dust. The Rainy Season won’t begin for a couple of months, so those conditions are likely to increase in intensity until then. The rains start around the middle of June, followed by the invasions of the Flying Buffalo Ants and the Flying Scorpion Spiders.

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Eek! Hideous monster bugs!!

If you’re freaked out by giant, poisonous insects, you’ll hate it here, so you should probably just stay at home and not even think about visiting here. And you sure as hell won’t want to move here.

But I did beat Cheryl last Sunday.

I golf at least every Sunday with my golf wife, Phyllis, and Tom and Cheryl. Cheryl is a very good golfer. She was the reigning Woman’s Champion at the country club we’re all members of.

It’s been a goal of mine to beat Madame Champion at least once before I get dead, but I’m not sure this one actually counts. Cheryl messed up her hip on the third hole. By the time we hit the back nine, she was way off her game.

I ended up beating her by one stroke, the same margin of victory Tiger Woods had at the Masters®. Now that I’ve kinda beat Cheryl, I need to beat her when she’s having a good day. Then it’ll be real.

* * * *

Our purebred Mexican street kit-tens, Mika and Mollie, are about eight months old now. They rule our house, and they know it.

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They’re no longer little, which is kind of sad. They were so darlingpreshadorbs! They were a laugh riot with their antics. They’re still entertaining, but in different ways now.

They’ve developed very distinct personalities. Mika is a fearless tomboy, always looking for some mischief to get into. She’s our Arya Stark kit-ten. Mollie is a Sansa Stark kit-ten. She’s more of a lady, unless you drop an ice cube. And she’s more of a lover, especially at night. She always snuggles with us when she comes to bed and hugs us goodnight. It’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.

They are easily the two most finicky felines on the planet. I had to buy two more litter boxes because the two they already had just weren’t enough.

Lea used to go to every pet shop in the Lakeside Area, plus the Petco® in Guadalajara just to find the canned food they liked, until they stopped eating it altogether. They don’t like people food. Whoever heard of a cat that won’t eat chicken? Or pork chops? They only eat kibble, and they eat plenty of that. Hence, the need for more litter boxes.

I remember the day we brought them home and first time they pooped in the litter box. I was so proud of them! Yeah, I’ve pretty much gotten over that by now.

Little did we know when adopted our rescue kit-tens that they would become service animals, but they are. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

They’re kind of like unto psych nurses, except people actually like service animals.

Probably the most familiar service animals are guide dogs for the blind. Evidence suggests they’ve been around since the Roman Empire. Around the 1990’s, people started training service dogs to help with a wide range of disabilities. Various species of dogs were trained to assist children and adults with autism, people with diabetes, veterans and others suffering from PTSD, and a plethora of other disorders.

Unlike every other service animal on the planet, our kit-tens didn’t require any special training because they evidently already know everything. There’s some dispute about just how much service they actually provide, but that hasn’t stopped them from poking their noses into everything we do.

No matter what we’re doing in the bathroom, the kit-tens have to be there. To be truthful, I’m not sure they’re all that interested in what we’re doing. It’s more of their fascination with running water. They think it’s the coolest thing, ever.

Mika and Mollie help me floss every day. Okay, all they do is play with the dangling end of my dental floss. Whenever I shave, Mika practically climbs on my shoulders for a closer look. Neither Lea nor I can take a shower without the supervision of our service kit-tens. I’m no longer sure how we survived without them.

Lea can’t cook a meal without the kit-tens’ assistance. They climb inside of the cabinets to help her find pots and pans. They help her with recipes by sitting on her cookbook when she’s trying to read it. And they play with the water in the sink.

Oddly enough, the only time our kit-tens don’t like water is when I give them baths. I have the scars to prove it. I’ve thought about tossing them into the swimming pool the next time I want to bathe them, but I’m pretty sure Lea would kill me if I did, so I probably won’t try that.

It’s not just us, Mika and Mollie supervise everyone that comes inside of our house. They help our maid, Monica, sweep the floors. Okay, mostly they attack her broom and scatter everything she’s already swept up. When Tacho installed our new temporary faucet, the kit-tens sat on his chest to make sure he didn’t make any mistakes.

I assume that they would be equally helpful if anyone ever broke into our home. I’m not sure they’d actually attack anyone, unless they were barefoot. They would certainly come running to rub against the shins of any burglar, and he might trip while he was sneaking off with our stuff. But their most effective defense would be if a potential thief had an allergic reaction to cats.

I’ve thought about getting them official service animal vests, but I’m not sure I’d survive putting them on our ferocious, not-so-little kit-tens. We’ve started trimming their needle sharp talons of death about every two weeks, out of sheer necessity.

Neither of them are especially fond of being held, so I can only imagine their reactions to being dressed in cute service outfits. I’d probably end up looking like I had tried juggling chainsaws.

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Yeah, not the best idea I’ve ever had…

Well, that’s about it from here for this week. We hope you have a wonderful and peaceful Easter weekend. And that you find the perfect summer bikini.

The Glamorous Life

It’s been a quiet week here in the Lakeside Area. Most of the weeks are quiet here. It’s kind of a bucolic place. That’s probably why so many people decide to retire here. However, it is Mexico. And it comes to celebrating just about anything, the locals don’t take a backseat to anyone.

Holy Week, Semana Santa, is coming up. Ajijic hosts a passion play every year. I hear it’s very good. You could check it out if you’re interested. Just in cases you don’t know what a passion play is, it’s a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering, death, and resurrection. It’s a very Catholic tradition. Mexico is a very Catholic country.

During Holy Week, the Lakeside Area is going to be packed with tapatios, pilgrims, and tourists, which is why I’ll be at home. There’ll be the passion play, and bands playing at the bars and los eventos, and the eruption of cohetes will fill the air.

Tapatío, in general terms, is a colloquial Mexican term for someone from Guadalajara. In more specific Lakeside terms, it’s someone from Guadalajara who comes down here to escape from the Big City for the weekend.

We used to do something similar when lived in the States. When we lived in Minneapolis, we’d go up to the North Shore. It’s still my favorite place on Earth. When we lived in Phoenix, we’d go up into the mountains to Prescott or Payson.

Urban living certainly has its advantages. Jobs. Entertainment. Shopping malls. Fine dining. Paved roads. It also has it disadvantages. Air pollution. Traffic jams. Crime. Mostly, all of the other fucking people that also live there. The population of Guadalajara is around seven million people. If you lived there, you’d want to get the hell out of there, too.

* * * *

We go to Guadalajara every couple of months to shop at Costco. Or the high end malls. It’s an adventure every time, mostly because of the traffic. Guadalajara was a little town that became a huge city with little to no civic planning. If you live there, you’ll eventually learn your way around. If you don’t, you hire a driver, or you have to depend on GPS to get from Point A to Point B. You are not going to just drive around and hope you find what you’re looking for.

We’ve lived in big cities before. We’re not daunted by traffic. And we have a system. Lea drives and I navigate. I’m a better navigator than she is. And Lea loves to drive. She’d probably love it more if she still had her sportscar. But the roads here make a vehicle like that impractical. And you can’t load a lots of stuff into a 370z.

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Our current vehicle is a Buick Encore. I’ll probably keep it for a couple more years, then get an Audi Q3. I’ll have to get rid of my American plated car and buy a Mexican plated car at that time. The Audi Q3 isn’t a sportscar, but it’ll still be a lots fun for Lea to drive. And it has a great stereo system, which is the only thing I care about when it comes to cars.

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I actually bought a car once because of the stereo. I didn’t even take it for a test drive. I played with the radio for a couple of minutes without ever leaving the sales lot. I told the salesman to write it up, I’d take it.

“Don’t you want to take it for a test drive?” he asked, a bit dumbfounded.

“No. I want to drive it to work. Today. My shift starts at 3:00. You have two hours. You better get busy or you’re going to miss a sale.”

* * * *

I still have no idea what I’m going to write about. Maybe this will end up being a general update on our glamorous retirement lives…

We haven’t had to deal with any major issues at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa lately. Jaime says he’s still looking for a replacement faucet for the kitchen, but the longer this goes on the more I think he’s decided he’s decided he can live with our temporary faucet, too.

It’s not a big deal. We love it here. The most annoying thing about living here revolves around our satellite TV service and the download speed for our Interweb service.

As I’ve said before, we don’t actually watch a lots of TV, but we almost always have the TV on for background noise. Silence might be golden to some people, but it drives me crazy. After thirty years as a psych nurse, I’m accustomed to noise. The absence of noise disturbs me greatly.

Wow. I can’t believe I just said that. I don’t think I had realized how much I hate silence until now.

We have Shaw Direct for our satellite TV. Shaw is a Canadian company. We had next to no problems with them at our last house. Here, our satellite feed seems to be somewhat sketchy at times. Again, not a huge deal. I’ve become very skilled at rebooting our PVR box.

If there’s one thing that seems to drive all ex-pats crazy, it’s a slow Interweb connection. Hey, we’re spoiled. We didn’t have this issue before we moved here. There aren’t a lots of options when it comes to this suddenly vital service. Basically, you can go with Telmex® or Telecable®. Compared to speed-of-light fiber optic cable, they both suck. And neither of them seem to care.

Telmex® is essentially the Mexican version of the American communications giant, AT&T, before it was broken up into a bunch of smaller companies. Telmex® is a telecommunication monster down here. It owns eighty percent of the telephone lines in the country.

We had Telmex® service at our last house. I guess it was okay most of the time, though we consistently had issues whenever we wanted to stream movies through our KODI box.

We have Telecable® at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I wasn’t enamored with our service when we first moved in. So I tried calling the office, and that’s when I discovered there isn’t an office phone. You actually can’t call the office unless you have the cellphone number of one of the service reps, and I doubt they give their numbers out to anyone.

On their website Telecable® lists two levels of service available in the Lakeside Area: 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps. So I went down to the office to talk to one of their service representatives about upgrading my package. That’s when I met Carmen and Marisol. And I wasn’t quite so pissed off anymore. Okay, they’re young, and beautiful. And they have really big eyes. And nice smiles.

Carmen said yes, I could upgrade my package, except for one small detail. They only offer 5 Mbps in the Lakeside Area. I’d have to live in Guadalajara to qualify for the 10 Mbps service.

There is a fiber optic cable company that is getting started in Lakeside. ILOX started running lines in specific areas late last year. I have no idea when there service will be available here. Maybe I’ll wander into their office one of these days, except I doubt their service reps will be as attractive as Carmen and Marisol…

Given the limitations of available Interweb service, and the sudden sketchiness of our satellite service, we talked to one of our friends, Donald Stordahl. Donald has a streaming TV service here in the Lakeside Area. We rented one of his boxes for a month, and then I remembered I already had two streaming devices, and they were already paid for. I hooked them up and gave Donald his box back.

And everything was great until I blew up my Amazon Firestick. I had tried to download the latest update, and after that it wouldn’t work. I have no idea what went wrong, I only knew that I felt like I accidentally hit that red LAUNCH button, and there was nothing I could do to stop the missiles.

Seeing how I couldn’t repair my Firestick, I decided to buy another one, you know, eventually. But then Donald bought a used Firestick and asked me if I wanted it, seeing how I had just destroyed mine. He seems to be a pretty savvy businessman, from my perspective.

My previous Firestick had been jailbroken. The one I bought from Donald wasn’t, so I channeled my inner Millennial, and went online to learn how to do stuff.

There are a lots of online tutorials about tweaking your Firestick. I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to do this, given that I’d just destroyed my last Firestick by trying to update it. But all you have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions, and I’ll be damned, it worked!

I’ll tell ya what, I was pretty goddamn proud of myself for a couple of days there. I successfully downloaded and installed the most recent KODI app, and the Mobdro app. Then I got my lovely supermodel wife addicted to Game of Thrones, and the rest is history.

* * * *

The final season of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday. Like every other fan, Lea and I have been speculating about who’s going to win the Great Game and sit on the Iron Throne. I don’t care who it is, just as long as it isn’t Cercei Lannister. She needs to got dead, soon.

Will the Golden Company help her maintain her grip on the reins of power, or will they break a contract for the first time ever and go fight against the Night King and his army from Hell? And how many of my favorite characters are going to get killed to death…

How are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen going to defeat an army of animated dead warriors, White Walkers, and a zombie dragon? And what will they do when they discover that they’re related? Will Jon freak out when he finds out he’s been having sex with his aunt?

Who will kill The Mountain? What the hell is a Three-eyed Raven, and what sort of spooky superpowers does Bran Stark really have?

The good news is we’ll all find out soon. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news.

Ship of Fools

Good morning, faithful reader. It’s another disgustingly beautiful day here in the Lakeside Area. Spring has sprung. I’ve been working in our gardens planting flowers and stuff.

Little Known Fact About My Lovely Supermodel Wife: Lea loves gardens. And Another Little Known Fact About My Lovely Supermodel Wife: Lea hates to garden.

As a result, I’ve kind of become a gardening guy. It’s one of the many services I provide to keep my wife happy. Studies have shown that if your spouse is happy, they are much less likely to try to kill you. Or hire someone else to kill you. I’ve watched enough murder mysteries to know that it’s always the spouse.

The temperature here is in the mid-80’s. It’s the peak of the Dry Season, so it’s also the peak of Allergy Season.

The jacaranda trees are all in bloom.

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See? They really are pretty!

While they’re incredibly beautiful to see, they also produce a type of pollen that effects almost everyone down here.

A lots of people suffer from seasonal allergies. Sneezing. Runny nose. Sinus congestion. Scratchy throat. Watery eyes. Sound familiar? Seasonal allergies are rarely fatal, but they can make you miserable enough to make you wish you’d get dead.

Possible Little Known Fact About Allergies: you can develop an allergy to practically anything at any time. Once you have an allergy to something, you’ll probably have it for the rest of your life.

If you don’t have any allergies now, you might have something to look forward to…

* * * *

It’s April Fools’ Day! Just in cases you were wondering, this day is an annual worldwide celebration of playing practical jokes on each other and spreading hoaxes.

As someone posted on Twitter the other day, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me fourteen times, you’re Gonzaga.

Back when I was a psych nurse, I once started a new job on April 1st. It might have been the longest day of my life. I got pranked all day. By the time my shift was over, I pretty much hated all of my new coworkers. It was a new hospital. New policies and procedures. And psych nurses tend to have a twisted sense of humor. Some of them even enlisted the help of their patients.

The only good thing about that was they didn’t have any of their patients stick anything up their asses. That’s not something psych nurses usually have to ask their patients to do. It’s something they’ll do all by themselves.

* * * *

“I need a new bottle of shampoo.”

“What happened to your old bottle of shampoo?”

“It’s up my ass.”

“How did it get there?”

“I sat on it. Accidentally.”

It’s always an accident because things just naturally tend to slide up into your ass when you sit on them.

* * * *

April 1st is a common day for companies to get in on the fun and pull their own brand of special pranks. Among the most famous were Taco Bell claiming they had purchased the naming rights to the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. Amazon claiming it had invented the Petlexa to allow pet owners to communicate with their animals. Burger King unveiled the Chocolate Whopper. And the Left-handed Whopper.

Perhaps the greatest April Fools’ joke in history was pulled off by the BBC in 1957. It ran a report on one of its current affairs programs, Panorama, about a bumper crop of spaghetti being grown on trees in Switzerland. The film showed women plucking strands of cooked spaghetti off of branches. Voiced by respected British news anchor Richard Dimbleby, it was so convincing the BBC received calls from viewers weeks later asking how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.

As Abraham Lincoln said after watching the show, “You can’t believe everything you see on TV.”

* * * *

The origins of April Fools’ Day are somewhat murky–

Oh, man! Are you going to give us another history lesson, Herodotus?

Yes, I am. And if I weren’t already writing this, I’d suggest that you take notes.

Some historians believe the April Fools’ customs began in France. New Year’s Day used to be celebrated on April 1st until the Gregorian calendar was adopted in the 1500’s, and the new year started on January 1st. The people who still celebrated the new year on April 1st in France were called April Fools.

Also in France, April 1st is called Poisson d’Avril, or, April Fish. French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs. The origin of the fish thing is pretty much a mystery, but I guess the French must think that fish are stupid.

Other historians believe that April Fools’ customs began during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine–1200 years earlier–when a group of court jesters and fools told their ruler that they could do a better job of running the empire than he did. Fortunately for them, Constantine was amused and allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

In Scotland, April Fools’ lasts two days!! Victims of pranks are called gowks (cuckoo birds). The second day is known as Taily Day, and pranks involving the backside are played. Supposedly, it is the origin of Kick Me signs.

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Thank you for that, Scotland

At least they don’t lift your kilt…

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Oh. Never mind. You owe me two beers, ya great gowk!

Whatever the truth might be, April Fools’ Day pranks have been around for a while. You know, in the same way that stupid people have. If I were able to choose one day to celebrate the stupidity of people, I would’ve chosen Election Day.

Mexico celebrates April Fools’ Day on December 28th, the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents. Día de los Santos Inocentes commemorates the biblical story of King Herod’s order to execute all of male infants in Bethlehem to kill baby Jesus, the prophesized King of Kings. Herod wasn’t in the mood to be removed from his throne, and seeing how all babies tend to look alike, he had all of the competition murdered. You know, to decrease the odds that he had the wrong kid killed to death.

In Mexico, on December 28th, people play jokes and pranks to trick friends and family. The media also gets involved by reporting false news stories. When somebody falls for the false news or prank they say, “Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar hoy por ser dia 28 en nadie debes confiar.”  

Roughly translated, “Neener, neener, you’re a weiner and only a fool would trust you.”

They tie a dead, bloated fish to your back, lift up your serape, and kick you in the cojones. Then they beat you with tree branches until the dead fish explodes. If you’re still conscious by this time, you get to drink a shot of tequila. If not, you’re left laying in the street to die.

April Fools!!