The Man in the Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

And that’s when the music starts.

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

“Hell no it’s not normal! I’m WHITE!”

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* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olive drab green.

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

Everyone else, was white.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

“That’s a BHT job.” she said.

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

* * * *

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

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

I hope you all can say the same about me.

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

The Year of Living Dangerously

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

LIBERATE MINNESOTA!

LIBERATE MICHIGAN!

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

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Ahmaud Arbery                                 Breonna  Taylor                                  George Floyd 

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Look! The Twitter almost grew a set of balls!

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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See? I tried to warn you! You stupid people

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can look it up.

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

You can look that up, too.

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

It’s true!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 11:35.

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Jesus wept

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

That said, here I go again…

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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Americans are going to destroy America

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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See? I told you

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

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

* * * *

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

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🎼Baby, you🎶 can fix🎶my car🎶

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

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

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

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

The Waiting Game

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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These advertisements sum up the current state of affairs very succinctly

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

Mischief managed.

* * * *

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

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

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

Maybe it wasn’t an accident…

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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See? I told you

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

I was wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Jealousy, can you say the same?

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

* * * *

Pop Quiz!

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

A.) Toyota

B.) Mercedes

C.) Chevrolet

D.) BMW

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

¡Que tengas un buen dia, pinche culero!

Blind Faith

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, do all lives matter or not?

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

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

* * * *

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

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

Yes, he was. That’s another fact.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

But all of us snowflakes are sheep…

Yeah, I see what you mean.

* * * *

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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

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

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

You’re just offended because Trump is tough on immigration! And you don’t even live in America anymore. You have no idea what we’re dealing with here!

Okay. You might have a valid point there. But Donald Trump also made fun of a disabled man. And before you say, He did not! You’re making that up! It’s on the YouTube®. Millions of people have seen it. You can watch it too.

If only there were only some way I could I could make this point on a personal level, like, if only there was someone in our family that had a serious physical or cognitive disability…

Take a deep breath, Deb. I know what I’m doing, and I promise to be careful.

* * * *

I have a very large extended family. My mom had eight kids. Her sister, Noreen, also had eight kids. All of their kids had kids, and all of those kids are making more kids. Between my mom and my aunt, I’m related to almost two and half million people living in Minnesota.

One of those people is Ethan Och. He’s one of Stephenie’s kids. Stephanie is one of my nieces on the Gessell side of the family tree. Ethan has SMA — Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  It’s a genetic disease affecting the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and voluntary muscle movement. I think it’s a form of muscular dystrophy, like unto the family of diseases Jerry Lewis used to have his Labor Day Telethon for, if you remember that.

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The MDA Telethon used to be a huge deal. Millions of dollars were raised for Jerry’s Kids

Ethan is in a wheelchair. He requires a high level of care and assistance to live a ‘normal’ life. He probably has more brains in his little finger than all the rest of the people related to him, combined. He’s enrolled at the University of Minnesota and will probably graduate at the top of his class in aerospace engineering.

Deb might disagree with my intelligence assessment of Ethan, but she’d probably agree that he’s at least smarter than everyone on the Rowen side of the family tree.

Or, there’s Wesley Rowen. He’s Matthew’s son. Matthew is one of my nephews from my dad’s side of the family tree. Wesley has Down’s Syndrome. He has full mobility, but is still a special needs child. Wesley isn’t in college. I think he’s maybe seven years old. But even if he were seventeen, I don’t know if this kid will ever attend a university.

* * * *

Okay, Deb. Are you ready? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Let’s imagine for a moment that our nephews are reporters at the White House. And Donald Trump made fun of Ethan and Wesley. You’d think that was okay, right? I’m sure James Och would laugh his ass off when President Trump made a joke about his son’s disability. I mean, that’s some funny shit, right? Okay, maybe he wouldn’t think it’s funny, but he’d forgive the President because, you know, Donald Trump isn’t perfect, but he’s trying.

By the way, James Och is Stephanie’s husband, and he’s one of my Facebook friends who supports Trump. James and I aren’t close friends. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve ever met in person, and if we did there’s a good chance that I was drunk at the time, so I have no memories of him.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that James would have a considerable amount of difficulty seeing anything funny about someone making fun of his son who has had to fight so hard to get where he is today. And it would have to be a very cold day in Hell before he forgave anyone for doing that.

I know guys. We might forget why we hate someone, but we will never forgive them.

I know Matthew Rowen wouldn’t see anything funny about anyone making fun of his beautiful son. And Matt’s wife? Becky would rip that person  apart from limb to fucking limb.

Well, like I said. We’re not good Christians.

* * * *

That’s not fair! And besides, Donald Trump didn’t actually insult anyone in our family. You’re just trying to do one of those stupid Jedi mind tricks on me! But I’m not going to fall for it, so there!

You’re right. Donald Trump didn’t personally attack anyone in our family, but all those people he did attack — they were all a part of someone’s family. And there’s one message that has been repeated over and over as the Coronavirus pandemic has progressed.

We are all in this together.

Doesn’t mean anything to you? Fair enough. When it comes to 99.9% of the people living in the world, I couldn’t care less about them either. How about this: Remember the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25? You’re trying to be a good Christian, right? You remember how that story goes, don’t you?

Truly I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.

You remember it now, don’t you.

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. That picture you painted of President Trump is hanging a little crooked now, isn’t it.

WWTDD? (What Would The Donald Do?)

2020 has been a year to reckon with so far, and we’re only three and a half months into it. In my opinion, it’s been like unto getting a root canal and a conscious colonoscopy simultaneously. And maybe having a kidney stone, too.

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I need a crash cart, and a catcher’s mitt, STAT!

2020 would have been a hallmark year anyway. It’s a Leap Year. It’s an Olympic Year. And it’s an Election Year in the United States. It already had major significance written all over it.

And then the Coronavirus thing happened, and the whole world seemed to go ape-fuckin’ batshit crazy overnight.

Whether or not we all die to death from the widely and wildly hyped Coronavirus global pandemic, one thing has become painfully obvious. We are all going to be greatly affected by it.

Seeing how almost everything has been ground to a screeching halt as a result of the precautionary measures to prevent its spread, even here in bucolic Mexico, I decided I’d try to examine the evolution of how we ended up here. I’m going to do it by outlining Donald Trump’s responses to it because his lack of action, and actions, are the easiest things to find on The Google®.

If you want a different approach, do your own goddamn research. That said, you might as well read my post. You’re probably not doing anything, or going anywhere right now either…

* * * *

The first thing everyone needs to remember about this crisis is President Trump disbanded the National Security Council directorate team for global health and security and bio-defense in 2018.

When he was asked why he did it, he said, “I don’t know anything about it.” In his defense, he also said this: “This is something that you can never really think is going to happen.”

And he has a point. Never, (The Black Death) in the entire history of our planet, (The Spanish Influenza) has there ever (SARS) been (Ebola) a global (AIDS) pandemic. No one (The Andromeda Strain) has ever predicted (Outbreak) that this (The Walking Dead) was (Jurassic World) something (The Center for Disease Control) that was even (The World Health Organization) remotely possible. 

* * * *

Donald Trump was aware of the Coronavirus way back in January of this year. At that time he said, “We have it totally under control…  It’s going to be just fine.”  White House acting budget director Russell Vought said this: “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.”

* * * *

Does anyone know when people started hoarding toilet paper? Better yet, why? Who was Hoarder Zero, and how did everyone else come to the conclusion that five hundred rolls of toilet paper would keep them safe?

Of all the weird things that have happened so far, this is the most mystifying event to me. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not a gastrointestinal bug. Even if it were cholera on steroids, I fail to see how stocking up on toilet paper would help much.

I am a psychiatric nurse, so I welcome the input of other medical professionals who understand internal medicine, disease processes, and medical treatments far better than I do. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this reaction was caused, in part, by the fact that a great many people have no idea how medical issues work.

Case in point, there are some people that believe sugar causes diabetes. Additionally, when asked why they were taking medications to manage a medical condition, a great many of my former patients had this response: “My doctor told me to take it.” They couldn’t even tell me the name of the medication.

From my point of view as a mental health professional: If you bought a truckload of toilet paper because of the Coronavirus, your best bet would be to insert an entire roll of toilet paper up inside your ass. Sideways.

While some people might have assholes large enough to easily accommodate this, the vast majority of us do not. I couldn’t get a shampoo bottle up my ass even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Back when I was a psych nurse I knew several people that put shampoo bottles up their asses without any problem. But I doubt even they could get an entire roll of toilet paper up their asses.

* * * *

In late February of this year The Donald said this: “[The number of people infected is] going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” And he said this: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA…  Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

[Note: Two weeks later on March 11, according to the people that compiled this timeline, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]

More late February: During a campaign rally in South Carolina, President Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new Coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “…this is their new hoax.” During the speech he downplayed the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu.

Also in late February, The Donald said this: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.”  The next day his son, Eric, added: “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in . . . let’s see if I’m right.”

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From what I can tell, he was wrong.

In late February, the stock market started going into a free fall and probably crashed a couple of times. I could be wrong. I understand the stock market about as well as I understand how cold fusion works. Maybe this is a good time to buy stocks…  It’s probably not a good time to own stocks…  That said, I also welcome the input of financial advisors about this issue.

* * * *

Okay. We have the situation under control. It’s not a big deal. There aren’t that many cases. The stock market is doing well. Anything else?

Well, there was March…  This is where The Donald stepped up to the plate and started to shine.

He appointed his Vice-president, Mike Pence, to head the Coronavirus Task Force. Prior to this, the only thing Pence had been noted for in this administration was his ability to kiss his boss’s ass in just the right spot. I can’t find any documentation that supports this, but Mike Pence’s first statement was allegedly a call for prayer. Which is what the Republicans ask for every time there’s a mass shooting or something.

In early March, The Donald said there would be a vaccine — possibly even a cure — available very soon, like, you know, a couple of months. That is untrue. There isn’t a vaccine, and it would realistically take eighteen months or more before any reliable vaccine would be ready to go on the market.

But wait, there’s more:

“Well, I think the 3.4 percent (The global mortality rate estimated by the World Health Organization for COVID-19), is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.

“You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and — or virus. So you just can’t do that. So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work but they get better.”

* * * *

Maybe The Donald is right about that, although I have to admit I have a difficult time following his rambling logic. I think a lots of this shit has been blown way out proportion, too. That said, most world leaders don’t tend to rely on their hunches when they’re dealing with a crisis. They rely on their expert advisors because no one person can know everything they need to know about something they probably don’t understand at all.

Oh, wait. Trump fired most of those experts. But he did keep the guy that thinks windmills cause cancer…

* * * *

And then there this statement from The Donald:“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. . . . Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

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Dr. Trump’s Genuine Indian Snake Oil Coronavirus Elixir! Only $25,000 a bottle!

And then he said this: “I didn’t know people died from the flu.” I’m not making this up. He actually said everything I’ve quoted him as saying. And he’s pretty sure the Coronavirus will collapse on itself in April because the temperature gets so fucking hot in April…

“Anybody who wants a test gets a test.” That statement is total bullshit. But another thing to consider is testing for this illness has been woefully inadequate in pretty much every country on this planet, so there’s that.

And then something really weird happened. To combat a hoax of a pandemic that wasn’t a very big deal and was totally under control, The Donald went into shutdown mode. He had previously closed the border to China because this is a foreign virus, then he closed the border to Europe because, “the free flow of people throughout mainland Europe makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

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I’ll give him that point

The Donald is also contemplating shutting down the southern border with Mexico, and he’s probably got a few more measures he’s going to institute, but he doesn’t know what they are yet. So stay tuned to your local news channel for updates as they occur. There’s sure to be a few hundred more of them, and you’re not going to have anything better to do.

Today, President Trump had this to say about the Coronavirus situation: “I’ve always known, this is a real — this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…no, I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”

Oh! Another hunch? I have no doubt The Donald believed himself when he said that. So maybe I should start taking this thing more seriously. But I doubt that Trump has any serious regard for the people that have been or may become ill because of the disease. I’m guessing he’s far more concerned with how it has damaged his economy, and how much it will affect his personal ratings.

That would be a very serious thing indeed.

* * * *

Just to put this into perspective: As of this precise moment in time, there have been just under 200,000 Coronavirus cases reported worldwide. Just under 8,000 people have died, worldwide.

As of this moment, almost the entire US has shutdown. Schools have closed, more probably will. Businesses are closed, more will follow. Sporting and entertainment events have been cancelled. And it’s not just in the US. This is happening on a global scale. It’s even happening here in the Lakeside Area.

This isn’t a ripple effect. This is a motherfucking tsunami.

Good thing/bad thing? Beats the hell out of me. But it does seem a little drastic coming from a guy who has repeatedly said he had the whole thing under control and there was nothing to worry about, then denied he ever said that, and then claimed he knew it was a serious pandemic all along.

Well, at least something is finally getting back to normal…

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Keep making America more better greater, Donnie Boy

People in America are essentially sitting at home squeezing their Charmin®, and stocking up on guns and ammunition just in cases the Coronavirus comes knock, knock, knocking on their front door. Yep, gun and ammo sales are way up. You gotta love the way some Americans think.

* * * *

I have no real idea how History will view President Trump, but it’s my guess that it won’t be kindly. He won’t be known as the leader that not only made America great again, he was the great leader who saved the country when it needed saving most.

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The Donald doesn’t seem destined to go down as America’s favorite President, even though he claimed he was in several of his Tweets. He’ll probably be remembered as the man who didn’t act fast enough when disaster struck, or he’ll be the man that totally overreacted when he finally decided to do something.

That’s one of the perks of being President. It’s a thankless job, and you get blamed for everything that happens once your ass sits on that chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office. Ask any former President you happen to see, they’ll tell you.

The world may never know if the Coronavirus was a serious pandemic of apocalyptic proportions, but we definitely know this: there are far more stupid people on this planet than there are smart ones.

Maybe when the next pandemic appears, and there will be another one; maybe we shouldn’t do anything to stop it.

From A Million Miles

From a Million Miles is a technopop/electronic dance song by the Australian trio Single Gun Theory. I’m not a big fan of the genre, but I do have that song on one of my playlists. If you don’t have anything else to do, you can listen to it on The YouTube®.

It’s kind of a catchy song. And the title more or less sums up how living in a foreign country can sometimes feel when you miss your family and friends. And stuff…

 * * * *

How’s everybody doing? I hope you’ve all been able to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water, and hand sanitizer so you don’t get killed to death by the Coronavirus. We’re safe here in Mexico because we drink Corona® beer. It contains all the antibodies you need to develop immunity to the pandemic that’s wreaking havoc everywhere else on the planet.

Honestly, I have no idea what’s really going on out there in the real world. I don’t watch the news. Social media seems to be the most effective way to spread misinformation. Ever.

I figure most of us will survive this latest crisis, much like we’ve survived everything else that was supposed to destroy the world. Or we won’t. And life will go on.

The bottom line is this: there’s a bunch of rich, white, seventy year old men in America with dementia and intransigent political alliances, and they are going to fix everything.

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What could possibly go wrong?

* * * *

I am seriously embarrassed by the current state of American politics, and if you aren’t, you should be. Even if you’re not an American. I’ve come to the conclusion that the current system of government isn’t just broken, it’s FUBAR. For those of you that are unaware, it’s a military acronym that means: Fucked Up Beyond All Repair.

I’d like to be able to blame Donald Trump and his political sycophants for destroying the country of my birth, but all they did was drive the final stake in its heart.

It’s no secret that I dislike President Trump. He has taken being a hypocrite to a whole ‘nother level. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, or principles that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie their stated beliefs.

The Donald is more of a triplocrit. And here’s how he does it: 1.) He says or does something outrageous. 2.) He denies that he did or said anything. 3.) He smugly admits to doing/saying that which he had previously denied, but says it’s not a big deal. Or it’s not illegal. Or what are you going to do about it. Or something…

I haven’t been following his antics as closely ever since my Twitter account was permanently suspended last year. I still get updates from my friends on Facebook about what The Donald has been up to. Okay, they despise Trump, too. So they never have anything good to say about him. 

Trump, if nothing else, has clearly defined the lines of divisiveness that separate the two major American political parties. He probably used a Sharpie®…

The People With Brains, my name for the people that oppose Trump, are absolutely mystified how the Walmart Intelligensia, my name for the people that worship Trump, can be so taken in by this two-bit charlatan.

There might be an explanation in the Bible: “…they look but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:13.

But one line in the Bible can be used to support almost any argument.

“They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. I could claim that this bit of scripture prophesied the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2018.

God, if He had anything to do with Donald Trump being elected, is clearly working in mysterious ways because that’s apparently the only way He knows how to work. And if this is going to be one of His lessons for humanity, there are going to be a whole lots of dunces facing the corner wearing funny hats when this is over.

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As I’ve said before, guys are not typically known for their profound thoughts. Guys are simple creatures. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. That’s a guy thought. If it is broken and you can’t fix it, it’s time to get a new goldarn thing. That is also a deeply profound guy thought.

It’ll probably require another American revolution to fix this goddamn goldarn mess of a thing, but that political/socioeconomic battle won’t be fought until long after I’m dead.

I tried to warn the Millennials, but they haven’t heard me yet. It’s time to vote every fucking member of Congress from my generation out of office, and put them out to pasture where they belong.

I’m not going to tell you little bastards that again.

* * * *

One of the best things about living in Mexico is we don’t have to watch or listen to any American political ads if we don’t want to. We did have to endure Canadian political ads last year. Yep. They were annoying, too.

I love living here. The climate is temperate. The people here are genuinely sweet. The food is amazing! The cost of living is doubly amazing!! We live in a beautiful gringo mansion that we wouldn’t be able to afford back the States. I get to hang out with the love of my life and enjoy spending this blessed time of our lives together. And we have kit-tens!!

Some of my Facebook friends have told me they are fascinated by my decision to live in Mexico. Well, if they’re that interested, I hope they start reading my blog. That’s right, Ryan McKenzie, I’m talking to you.

He was my first boss at Aurora Behavioral Health in Glendale, AZ. I accepted the job because of him. He was highly regarded and recommended by my co-workers at St. Luke’s Hospital in Phoenix. I decided to find a new job after my first work wife, Deb Goral, left the Evening shift and started working Days. It wasn’t as much fun without her, so I decided to move on.

Ryan is the Program Director of the SAGE Unit now. That’s the Gero/Psych unit I worked on at Banner Del Webb Medical Center in Surprise, AZ. As one of the doctors I worked with at Del Webb told me when I left there, “It’s a small world in Psychiatry here in Phoenix. We’ll probably run into each other again.”

He was right about that. I worked with him again at Aurora.

* * * *

If you’re one of the seven people that have ever read any of my blogs, you might have noticed that I changed the title of my page. I originally started writing about my career as a psych nurse, and I called it Reflections. As time has progressed, I’ve been less reflective about my nursing career and more reactive to just about anything. I’m all over the spectrum with what I write now.

If I can’t think of anything else to write about, I tend to ramble on about living in Mexico, so I decided to add that to the title to emphasize it a bit more. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea about what they’re going to find here.

* * * *

As much as I love living here, life in Mexico isn’t without its challenges. Case in point, the fireplace in our living room.

In my last post, I mentioned we were shopping for a gas insert for the fireplace in the living room. We have three fireplaces here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. They all have gas lines installed, but none of them have the requisite inserts that make them functionable.

We found an insert at Baja Grills, and Lea was able to negotiate a sweet deal on it with Kat. It was one of those Just Between Two Supermodels Things…  Lea bought the insert for less than five hundred bucks, which is about half of what you’d usually pay for one down here.

However, before we bought it Lea wanted to know if the gas line to the fireplace actually worked. I suppose I could have just turned one on, you know, to check. But I don’t like playing with gas, so I decided to call our property manager, Jaime Mendoza.

And there was this: I thought Lea was being ridiculous because the gas lines were already in place! And who would be stupid enough to run a gas line to the fireplace and not hook it up to the propane tank???

So, I talked to Jaime, and he talked to Lord Mark. He’s the guy that owns the house we’re renting. They were both pretty sure all the fireplaces worked because Lord Mark’s parents had burned wood fires in all of them. When I asked again about the gas lines, Jaime couldn’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t work.

Based on that information we bought the insert, but when the guy came to install it we discovered that none of the gas lines to any of the fireplaces worked. At some point in time in the past, the original gas line had been replaced with a new and improved gas line. But the new line ran from the propane tank to the water heater for the bathrooms in the North Wing of the house.

And the fucking fireplaces had not been reconnected!!!

The installer from Baja Grills was a Mexican guy named Saul. He took one look at how the new line had been installed, and said, “Fucking Mexico.” And then he said, “It takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.”

l love that because truer words have never been spoken.

Saul gave us an estimate to run a new gas line from the propane tank to the living room fireplace. Fourteen thousand pesos. That’s roughly equivalent to $700 US. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s more than Lea or I wanted to spend on a house that we don’t own.

So I talked to Jaime again, and he came over to eyeball the situation for himself. Jaime said he didn’t know about the replacement gas line. And if Lord Mark had known about it, he had forgotten all about it. And Jaime had had the same thought I did. He couldn’t imagine the gas lines not working either.

However, Lord Mark thought it was important that the living room fireplace actually worked like a fireplace, so he agreed to pay for the installation of a new gas line. And it would be much cheaper than the estimate Saul had given us. “I think that guy gave you a gringo-face price.”

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I had never heard that term before, but I don’t doubt that it’s true, too

It took Tacho, our general fix-it guy, two days to hook up the new gas line. Tacho loves working here because I let him use any of my tools that he needs, and I always tip him well for his services.

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And there you have it

One working fireplace! I don’t know if Lord Mark would’ve been willing to run new gas lines to all the fireplaces here. I doubt we’d ever use the other two, and we love it here, so we don’t want to create any undue expenses for stuff we don’t want or need.

We painted the fireplace in the master bedroom to make it pop! Seriously, you wouldn’t have known it was even there before we added the accent color to the chimney. They both turned out great and we’ll probably never have to mess with either of them again.

* * * *

Mexico. The land where things that you think will be easy to do or find end up being Herculean labors of frustration. And things that you think are going to be almost impossible to accomplish end up being easier than tying your shoes.

That’s what happened when we found this house. And when we needed to get a new car. Lea and I are changing our living status in Mexico from temporary to permanent this year, and once we do that we are required by law to drive a Mexican plated car. 

In order to be legally registered and licensed in Mexico, every car has to have been manufactured in Mexico, Canada, or the United States. I think it’s part of the NAFTA treaty, or whatever it’s called now. Our American made Buick Encore was actually assembled in South Korea. We couldn’t get it licensed here even we we wanted to.

Buying a car in Mexico isn’t the same as buying a car in the States. Prices for almost everything in the States are fixed, except cars. You can negotiate the sales price of the vehicle you want, and salesmen will literally kiss your feet if means getting a sale. In Mexico, a lots of prices are flexible, except cars. The dealer has one price, and if you don’t like it, well, that’s too bad for you.

On the bright side, cars are about 40% cheaper in Mexico than they are in the States. Yep, you read that correctly. The car we’re thinking about buying will cost us roughly $18,000 US.

In America, no one pays cash at a dealership. Cars are financed, and you have a monthly car payment for years. In Mexico, financing is something they’re still trying to figure out. If you really want to buy a decent car, you better be able to pay cash for it when you go to the dealership.

And, you should have a reputable mechanic look over any car you want to buy here because not everything is as advertised. Odometer readings are often changed to reflect lower mileage, so if nothing else, there’s always that. Additionally, cars that have damaged by floods in the US are frequently shipped to Mexico to be sold. So there’s that, too.

We hired a local guy named Antonio Regalado to find a new car for us. He owns and runs a business called R &R Car Sales and Rentals to help gringos find good cars, and comes highly recommended by everyone we know that has done business with him. He’s kind of a mercenary car salesman — he doesn’t work for any dealership — but he works with a few of them and they usually pay his fees for hooking up gringos looking for cars with dealerships that have a lots of cars to sell.

Antonio does all the talking to the salesmen, the managers, and anyone else who might be involved in the sale at the dealership. And he kept us updated on everything that was happening.

We met with him Monday for about half an hour at his office, and told him what we were looking for. We gave him a list of the options we wanted and the year, make, and model of the SUV’s we were interested in. Half an hour later, we had a list of six SUV’s to choose from, along with Antonio’s perspective on which was the best buy.

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These are our top two choices

The first is a 2017 Kia Sportage GT. It has 45,000 kilometers. The GT package means it has a bigger engine and comes with a fair amount of bells and whistles. The second is a 2018 Nissan X-Trail. It has 59,000 kilometers and it has almost every bell and whistle available for that model. And it’s red.

Antonio drove us to Guadalajara today to the dealership to take a closer look at both of them. Personally, the only thing I care about in my automobiles is that they have a great sound system, which makes me the least qualified person on the planet when it comes to buying a car. So it’s a good thing I have people around me who know what the hell they’re doing.

This process has transpired a helluvalot faster than any of us thought it would. I thought it would take a couple of weeks at least, not two days! Our financial planner didn’t think it would happen this quickly either, so she has had to scramble to get us the funds we need to buy Lea’s new dream car. 

There’s an unwritten rule for shopping in Mexico: If you find something you like, buy it. It won’t be there the next time. We’ve failed to do that enough times that we don’t question it anymore. Lea loves the X-Trail. And it has a Bose® stereo sound system. Done deal.

And here’s where the really weird part comes in. Before a Mexican dealership can sell you a car, the Mexican government requires that you have to prove you actually live in Mexico. And proof of residency, according to the government, is a utility bill. An electric bill. Telephone, TV, or Internet. All you need is a bill with your name on it, and you could buy a whole fleet of cars if you wanted to.

We don’t own the house we’re living in. None of the utility bills we pay have our names on them. We have a signed copy of the rental contract, but the Mexican government doesn’t recognize it as legal proof of residency. They don’t recognize driver’s licenses either.

Yeah, go figure on that!

Seeing how we live here, but don’t have the required documents of proof, we’re trying to figure out how to make this work. A bank statement will suffice, but first we have to open an account in a Mexican bank, then wait until we receive our first bank statement. This being Mexico, and assuming that will be an easy thing, it could take months for that to happen.

But we do have an Antonio. And as everyone knows, it takes a Mexican to fix a Mexican problem.

Social Misfit

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings from Mexico!

I wish it felt more Christmassy this year. As I am constantly reminded by every Hallmark Christmas movie, this is a time of snow, family, and love. That’s one of the downsides of living in a temperate climate. Thousands of miles away from everyone in your family. In a foreign country.

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To be honest, I’m not sure anyone in my family would visit me even if we lived across the street from each other. That’s probably my fault. I burned a lots of bridges back when I was drunk all the time.

Some fault also has to be allocated to my siblings. We’re all fairly fucked up, and almost everyone in my family has decided it’s way easier to just keep drinking than it is to try to fix all of those broken personalities and relationships.

That’s just one of the many upsides to living in a temperate climate, thousands of miles away from everyone in your family, in a foreign country.

* * * *

Speaking of burning bridges, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to be drunk to do that. For those of you who placed bets on how long it would take for my Twitter account to be permanently disabled, if you picked December 4, 2019, you win.

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Even I thought it would take me longer than that.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Twitter. It was the domain of mystic poets and nude selfies. I fucking hate poetry and no one wants to see me naked. Including me. Twitter is the social media equivalent of a moral wasteland. I never understood the language of the Twitter, which no doubt makes me the Ultimate Twit.

So? What did you do to piss off the Twitter police, dude?

According to the Twitter police, I was guilty of engaging in a pattern of hate themed speech, which was a repeated violation of the community standards that Twitter sometimes takes seriously.

In the interest of transparency, I am totally guilty of everything Twitter accused me of doing. But there was another person who consistently violated Twitter’s community standards, and he did so without any fear of repercussions.

Donald Trump consistently lied about his accomplishments, blamed his political opponents for his failings, and fired off endless insults, taunts, and disparaging names at anyone that didn’t kiss his ass.

I pointed out Mr. Trump’s pattern of inflammatory fabrication to the Twitter police more than once. They had a response. If I didn’t like the things that Mr. Trump wrote, I should simply stop reading them.

That was their official stance on the matter.

That was something I couldn’t do, so I called out The Donald every time he bragged about a success, or projected his shortcomings off onto others, or insulted Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, or any of his Democratic opponents.

Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I could live with that if not for one, small, tiny, insignificant detail. He’s also the President of the United States. Because of his status, I find his actions morally reprehensible, even though I have often stated that I don’t have any morals or ethics.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Unfortunately, and I honestly feel it was an unfortunate course of action on my part, I tended to end the majority of my rebuttals to Mr. Trump with …you lying cocksucker! Or, …you motherfucking piece of shit!!

My Twitter account was temporarily suspended three or four times for saying bad things about the 45th President of the United States.

I was a psych nurse for thirty years. The one thing I hated more than anything was when someone started name-calling. I’m sure that can directly be tied to all of times I had to endure it when I was a child. That, and spitting. I really hated being spit on.

In a nutshell, because it was something I wouldn’t want to happen to me, I should never have engaged in that sort of behavior toward someone else. Even a fucking douchebag like Donald Trump.

Christians call it The Golden Rule. Everyone else calls it not being an asshole.

At some time during the day of December 3rd, I called Melania Trump a whore. And a mindless cunt. There’s probably not any evidence supporting my claim that The Donald ever literally sucked any cocks or had sex with his mother. And for that, my Twitter account was temporarily suspended several times.

However, there is a veritable ocean of evidence that indicates Melania Trump is both a whore, and a mindless cunt. And because those accusations were true, Twitter shut down my account forever the very next day.

I’m okay with that. I was engaging in behavior that I would never condone in another. Besides, getting into a Twitter war with The Donald isn’t just stupid, it’s a fruitless cause, and I already have one of those.

It’s called Golf…

* * * *

I’ve been a social misfit almost all of my life. I may still be one, but there’s one major difference between the old guy me and the young kid me. I no longer care what other people think of me.

Being an outsider looking in was easy for me when I was a kid. I was almost always the new kid in town. We moved a lots when I was in grade school. Minnesota, at least twice. Michigan. South Dakota. Arkansas. North Dakota, twice. California, twice. Missouri. And finally, Montana.

Eleven different school districts to complete eight years of school. I was either so far ahead of my classmates that they thought I was some kind of genius, or so far behind them that everyone thought I was a total moron.

Moving from one place to another in the Midwest was bad enough, but moving from the North to the South was absolute hell. Not only are you the New Kid in Town, you’re a Damn Yankee to boot. And back then, the only thing white southern kids hated more than damn Yankees was niggers.

Yes, I know I’m not supposed to say that anymore. But as I write this, it’s 1963. I was in the second grade when we moved to Little Rock. I was picked on so much in Arkansas that I shit my pants in school. Twice.

I vividly remember both of those incidents. What I don’t remember is why it didn’t happen more often. It’s possible that my heartless tormentors started feeling sorry for me, but it’s far more likely that they thought they might end up covered in shit, too.

Third grade, we were living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was the only time I was considered the most popular kid in my class. And the only reason I know this is because my teacher whispered it into my ear one day.

I wasn’t the most popular kid in my class in Michigan. Or South Dakota. Or at either of the schools I attended in California. And I wasn’t even close to the most popular kid in my class when we moved back to Grand Forks because we lived in a different school district on the other side of town. 

1967. I was in seventh grade. That was the worst year of my grade school career. I started out the school year in Minnesota, spent something like six months in Missouri, then finished up the year in Montana.

Missouri might have been even worse than Arkansas when it came to being bullied because I was the New Kid/Damn Yankee in town, but that was one of the school districts where I was so far ahead of my classmates that even my teachers were in awe of me.

* * * *

There were no anti-bullying initiatives way back in the Middle Ages when I was a kid. As I reflect on this period of abject humiliation of my life, it’s a good thing my dad didn’t own any handguns.

I doubt that I ever would’ve been able to shoot anyone, but I’m pretty sure I thought about it. When I was a kid, there were probably a dozen different Western TV shows. Bonanza. Gunsmoke. The Rifleman. Conflict resolution was usually handled with a six-shooter.

But it’s far more likely that I wouldn’t have been able to hit the broad side of a barn even if I had access to a handgun. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the third grade because I was essentially blind, but I refused to wear them because it was just another thing the other kids could use to make fun of me. I didn’t want to give them any extra ammunition.

That changed when I started the eighth grade. My new teacher introduced me to my latest set of new classmates. And then she said this, And class, please remind Mark to wear his glasses. His mother told me he doesn’t like to wear them, but he really needs to wear them… 

It was something like that. I stopped listening when I started playing for God to quit fucking around and kill me to death for real this time.

* * * *

It was probably around the time that we were living in Missouri that I started utilizing a few defense mechanisms that would keep me and all of the people around me alive.

The first is called a reaction formation. It’s a complicated Freudian concept. In essence, negative emotions or impulses which are mastered by substituting the opposite emotion or impulse. The substitute reaction is usually overly exaggerated.  I’m not an expert in psychoanalysis, so I’m not sure if this is commonly used or not. I do know this: my substitute reactions are not overly exaggerated, and I’m pretty sure that’s not very common.

Another is mirroring, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. One person unconsciously imitates the gestures, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Almost everybody uses this, especially with family and close friends.

And the third is humor. People are less likely to want to punch you if you can make them laugh.

* * * *

When I was a freshman in high school, I achieved the dual distinctions of being both a genius and a moron in just a matter of months. The first semester of the year, I was in the Honor’s Math class where I struggled to get D’s. My math teacher actually announced to my entire class I had no business being in his class, and told me to get out of his classroom.

I didn’t need a second invitation. I picked up my books, walked out the door, and kept on walking until I got home, five miles later. I’ve told this story to my lovely supermodel wife. She said I must’ve felt humiliated. I suppose I did, but what I mostly remember is feeling relieved.

I was called into the Principal’s office the next day. I fully expected to be suspended or expelled. Instead, I received an apology and I was placed in a different math class. The second semester was an entirely different story. I was a straight A student in the Math for Morons class.

I’ve tried not to make a big deal out what happened to me on that day so long ago when Father Weiss told me to get out of his classroom. I’ve tried, but I still hate math.

* * * *

I didn’t really have a best friend until my freshman year of high school. That’s when I met Dave Nelson. We’re still buds. I didn’t have a girlfriend until my senior year. That’s when I fell in love with Maureen Browne. I think we’re still friends.

She asked me if I was going to attend our fifty year class reunion in 2024. I told her I was thinking about it, but I was terrified of seeing her face to face again. She said I should be. And then she said she was joking.

I told her I wasn’t. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Dave and Maureen both gave the best gifts I have ever received from anyone. Acceptance. Friendship. Love. They were the first people outside of my family that showed me there was also beauty in the world.

* * * *

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That might be true, but from my point of view at this precise moment, examining your life doesn’t increase its value by any appreciable amount.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is supposed to be. No doubt there’s an Aesopian moral of the story that’s supposed to enlighten me. There’s only one small, tiny, insignificant problem.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t write it.

My writing process isn’t this organized. Nor is it usually this specific. My Muses apparently have a much better idea of what they’re doing than I ever will.

I hope they’re happy. Maybe they’ll take some time off for the holidays. My lovely supermodel wife and I are going to Mexico City. I’d like to be able to to enjoy it.

But you have any ideas for the moral of the story, leave me a comment.

The Rain, the Park, & Other Things

Writing: The Final Frontier.

It is for me. I generally don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about. If I’m fortunate, I have a vague theme in mind. Sometimes I have a sentence. Sometimes, I only have a word. Today, I have a title!

* * * *

The Rain, the Park, & Other Things is a psychedelic pop song recorded by The Cowsills in 1967. It was a big hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts. Maybe you remember the 1970’s TV sitcom The Partridge Family. The Cowsills were more or less the inspiration for the premise of the show. At least the musical/family/band part.

I have fond memories of that song, but I’m not sure why. If there was some special event associated with it, I can’t remember what it was. Maybe I just thought it was a good song…

* * * *

The Rainy Season here has probably run its course and might even be officially over. I’m not going to say more than that. Every time I’ve predicted the end of the Rainy Season this year, it has rained. A lots.

Be that as it may, it’s been mostly less wet here. The golf course is drying out, and that has contributed to the remarkable improvement I’ve seen in my scores over the last three weeks.

There’s a few reasons why my golf game has suffered lately, but perhaps the most significant one is my back. In layman’s terms, my back is fucked up. I’m not young anymore. I have osteoarthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis. I can’t remember the last time my back didn’t hurt.

Most of the time the pain just annoying. The rest of the time it’s almost unbearable. That’s basically where my pain level has been for the last week and a half. Sometimes golf makes my back pain worse. Sometimes it snaps all my vertebrae into alignment. I’ve had both of those outcomes happen over the last three weeks.

Right now, my back is about as good as it ever gets.

* * * *

Country Club de Chapala has a lots of really good caddies on staff. That’s good for me because I’m not a great golfer. Most of the time I doubt that I’m even a good golfer, though my caddies like to tell me they think I’m a good golfer. But then, they like getting good tips, so there’s that.

My favorite caddy is Francisco Flores Bernini. He keeps me grounded on the golf course, and he makes me laugh. He’s a great guy, and has become like unto the son I never had. Francisco isn’t the only good caddy in his family. His older brother, Mario, and his younger brother, Sergio, are also good caddies.

Sergio was my caddy a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t playing well that day. Sergio gave me a lots of tips, but I couldn’t do much of anything right. Finally, he said this. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pretend that you do.”

That made me laugh. That’s essentially the secret to my success. I’ve been doing it most of my life.

* * * *

Whoa, dude! You were a nurse, and you didn’t know what the hell you were doing? I’m glad I wasn’t one of your patients!

Hang on there, Chicken Little. Real nursing is a science, and in that sense it really helps if you know what you’re doing. But I was a psych nurse, and psych nursing is an art. There’s probably only one rule that applies all the time in Psychiatry, and it is this: You should be less crazy than your patients.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I was less crazy than some of my patients, but I was very good at pretending I was. And you probably would’ve loved having me as your nurse.

****

So, I started pretending I was a good golfer. And some pretty weird stuff started happening. I stopped caring about my score. Because I no longer cared what my score was, I relaxed — except when my back was tied in knots. And that’s when my scores started improving. My scores were in the 90’s for 18 holes. Not great, but better than what I had been shooting. 

During the Cruz Roja Tournament, on the par 5 fifth hole, I nailed a sixty yard chip shot for an eagle 3. That wasn’t an almost great shot. I lofted that sucker up into the sky, straight at the pin. It landed on the green about a foot from the cup, one bounce, and in the hole. As of this moment, it’s the greatest shot in my life.

Today, I did something I’ve never done before. I shot an 89, two strokes better than my previous best score. I made six pars! I broke 90 for the first time in my life. 

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Inside each and every one of us is one, true, authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered…

Now all we have to do is get our golf cart fixed, again. The brakes have been sorted, so it stops now. It just has problems starting. Sometimes. Our golf cart is old. It’s like unto the Flintstones mobile, but the electrical part we need to replace is made by Spacely Sprockets…

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Go figure on that one

Poco y poco…  We’ll get there little by little.

* * * *

Detroit Lions fans will be dismayed to learn that since I’ve become an athletic supporter of their team the Lions have won one game. Well, maybe they won’t. They’re probably used to it by now.

Matthew Stafford, the Lions quarterback, might miss the rest of the season because he has micro-fractures in some of his upper thoracic vertebrae. In layman’s terms, his back is really fucked up.

Conversely, the Minnesota Vikings have gone 6-1, and are undefeated at home. They were getting shutout in the first half of the game today by the Denver Broncos 20-0. Then something that almost never happens, happened. The Vikings played lights out in the second half and scored every time they touched the ball. They defended the North, and won 27-23.

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The Vikings are playing some quality football. If I had known this was going to happen, I would’ve become a Lions fan a long time ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I root for the Lions. But I have trouble letting go of long term relationships. I’m the guy that stayed in love with my high school sweetheart for ten years after she broke up with me.

I will probably always wish the Vikings well, except when they play the Lions…

* * * *

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Our new kit-tens are doing well. They seem to have adjusted to their new home and their new people. Mika and Sadie might be less antagonistic towards each other, but maybe not. Maybe I’m just getting used to their squabbling.

My lovely supermodel wife is also doing well. We just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary eleven days ago. Congratulations, honey! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

We’re getting ready for the holidays. Lea and I are hosting Thanksgiving at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa for a select group of friends. For Christmas we’re taking a ten day sightseeing trip  to Mexico City. 

That should be a lots of fun.

* * * *

My Twitter account has been temporarily suspended, again. Because of something I said to Donald Trump, again. It’s the third time this year. Maybe the fourth. At this rate it’ll probably be permanently suspended before the end of the year.

The Democrats have initiated impeachment hearings, and The Donald has gone off the deep end. The crap he spews on social media is beyond all belief, unless you happen to be one of his supporters, in which case you believe everything he says.

Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you:

Du150RtUUAAOUgk

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.

The Impermanence of Memory

It’s been another good day here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. 

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They’ve all been good days.

Most of the our kit-tens are getting along well with each other, most of the time. Todd and Julia and Lea and I are all getting along well with each other. Julia is Todd’s girlfriend. She doesn’t live here, but she spends a fair amount of time hanging out here. In that regard, things are going about as smoothly as they can.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings have won four games in a row now that I’ve become a Detroit Lions fan. Unfortunately, one of the teams my old favorite team beat in that stretch is my new favorite team.

My lovely supermodel wife is actually upset with me for changing allegiances. She says it’s disgusting! I’d think she’d feel a bit of gratitude…  At any rate, I’m still rooting for the Lions. And if things continue on this arc, the Vikings might win a Super Bowl before I die.

* * * *

Todd and I bought a golf cart last week, officially making us serious golfing guys. Now all we have to do is start golfing like serious golf guys. And get the brakes fixed on our cart. And probably the steering…

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Presentando el carrito nacional de golf de México

We had all of the batteries replaced when we bought it, so it runs great. Stopping has been somewhat problematic at times…

Seeing how my life is as close to perfect as it will ever be, the Universe has to provide a few areas for me that aren’t ideal, otherwise there would be an imbalance in The Force, and we all know what happens after that.

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Whoa. It’s even worse than I thought…

Right now, all of my problems start and end with golf.

Problem #1. The Rainy Season has essentially turned our golf course into a swamp. Swamp Golf might sound like fun, but it’s not. In my case it has everything to do with wet socks. When my socks get wet, all I want to do is sit down and cry. The seasonal rains should end in a couple of weeks, then everything will start drying out and Allergy Season can begin again.

That should benefit my score. 

Problem #2. Todd and I have been taking golf lessons because we’re serious golfing guys now, and that’s another thing serious golfers do. I’ve been trying to tweak a few things with my swing to improve the consistency and quality of my shots. I seriously want to get rid of those shots of random suckdom that plague every golfer at pretty much any level of skill.

If I can do that, that will definitely benefit my score.

Problem #3. My biggest problem has been vision related. I now have three pairs of glasses with the same prescription, but each of them is just a little bit different. Depending on the weather conditions, I was shuffling my corrective lenses around when I golfed.

Between minor variations in how I was seeing, golf lessons to change my swing, and then trying to remember all of the things I was supposed to be doing — I wasn’t having random shots of suckdom. They all sucked!

That hasn’t benefitted my score at all!

I quit shuffling my glasses. I’m wearing my newest pair all the time now, and my eyes are getting used to them. I stopped thinking about the seven things I’m supposed to be doing and focused on a three. Keep your head down. Slow down your back swing. And follow through.

I played nine holes with my golf wife, Phyllis, this morning. I shot a 47. I one-putted five greens because my chip shots were so deadly. And, I replaced the black laces in my magic golf shoes this morning with bright neon green laces. That might have been a contributing factor. Julia needed black laces for her Medusa costume, so I gave her mine.

My caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini, told me I was fun to watch. It’s the first time he’s said that to me. I’m not sure there are any words to describe how pleased I was to hear that.

* * * *

Lea has been helping Julia with her zombie costume much more than I have. The Thrill the World dance is this Saturday. A bunch of people all across the world dress up like zombies and dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Julia is going to be zombie Medusa. 

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In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the Gorgons, three beautiful sisters — Medusa, Stheno and Euryale — who were turned into dreadful, horrifying monsters with live, venomous snakes for hair by the goddess Athena. They were so hideous that anyone who gazed upon them was turned to stone.

* * * *

If you’ve never seen the featured image of my latest blog, you really need to get out more. It’s The Persistence of Memory, by the Spanish artist, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. He’s one of the best known Dadaist artists of the 20th Century.

Dadaism was an art movement that began in Europe after World War I. Dadaists thought the modern world was stupid and meaningless, so they set out to ridicule it as much as they could before they got dead.

Little Known Fact About Salvador Dali: he hated paying for anything, and whenever he wrote a check he would draw something on the back, knowing the person he wrote it out to would never cash it.

There’s a whole page of his check art on the Interweb. You could look it up if you’re interested…

* * * *

Memory is a tricksy thing. How tricksy is it, you might ask. Well, scientists have been studying memory ever since one of them tied a string around his finger, way back in 1885, so he wouldn’t forget to start studying it. And after all that time, no one understands the exact mechanism of how memory works.

Originally, many experts were fond of describing memory as a sort of tiny filing cabinet full of individual memory folders in which information was stored away. This cabinet was in a select part of the brain.

As technology adanced, researchers likened memory to a neural supercomputer wedged under the human scalp. One with an undetermined amount of RAM. And memory was stored in more than one area of the brain.

Today, experts believe that memory is far more complex and elusive — and that it is located not in one particular place in the brain — but is instead a brain-wide process.

* * * *

I used to think I had a great memory. I no longer think that. Aging affects memory. So does drug and alcohol abuse. And trauma. When I take all of that into consideration, I’m impressed that I still remember my name.

I’ve kind of written about some of the aspects of my particular flavor of insanity. I admitted that I have thought insertions. You can read about it in my archives if you like. Or you can Google it…

In a manner somewhat similar to the way that other people’s thoughts can somehow be inserted into my mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that they can also seemingly be extracted. I could give you an example, but how do you explain something that you can’t remember anymore?

Let’s find out.

* * * *

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Behold, the Pleiades

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, are a star cluster in the constellation Taurus. They’re somewhat west and north of the constellation Orion. You should be able to recognize Orion. It’s one of the most conspicuous constellations in the night sky. If you’re awake at around 5:00 AM this time of year, look up. It’ll probably be right over your head.

* * * *

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.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Dallas

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.

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.

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.

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!!

K8xRUaA

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.

I Didn’t See That Coming

Another post? Dude, are you feeling okay?

I’m good. Thanks for asking. I will admit to looking for things to do of late. I got kind of caught up in doing stuff around the new house, and I have some excess energy that I haven’t figured out how to focus yet.

Give me a week.

* * * *

Hey there, sports fans. How’s it going? The two best games of the NFL season were played yesterday to determine which teams would play for the Lombardi Trophy in the Super Bowl.

Both teams were evenly matched, so I didn’t make any predictions about winners, but I did have preferences. Both games went into overtime, which shows you evenly matched the teams were. You guys all know what OT is and how it works, right? Because I’m not going to explain it.

The Los Angeles Rams kicked a field goal to beat the New Orleans Saints, 26-23. I can’t say I saw that coming, but I was rooting for the Rams. Many fans are upset about the defensive pass interference penalty that wasn’t called, allowing the Rams to tie the game and send it into overtime.

I have an extreme dislike of the Saints. I don’t care how many penalties don’t go their way. I hope they lose every Championship game they play in from now until the end of time. I think they’re a dirty team, and this is just the chickens coming home to roost. It’s karma, and they’ve accrued an outstanding balance.

The Los Angeles Rams are a very good football team, with an impressive history. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, the LA Rams were one of the best teams in the NFL, but they didn’t play in a single Super Bowl, mostly because they had to play the Minnesota Vikings, outdoors, in Minnesota, in the middle of winter, for the NFC Championship.

They never beat the Vikings in December.

The Rams moved from Los Angeles to St Louis in 1995. They were easily the best team in the league in 1999, and won their one and only Super Bowl that year. Two years later, they returned to the Super Bowl, but lost to the New England Patriots.

* * * *

In the second game yesterday, the New England Patriots scored a touchdown to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31. I did see that coming. Anyone that knows anything about football did. Like most of the country, I’m tired of the Patriots being in the Super Bowl. I was hoping the Chiefs would win.

It’s a testament to Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots. I think he’s the greatest coach in the NFL, ever. There are a few coaches that have won multiple Super Bowls, but they did so with rosters that stayed essentially unchanged during their championship runs.

Belichick has done it with wholesale changes in personnel from one year to the next. The only player who has been a constant for Belichick is his quarterback, Tom Brady. Under his tenure, the Patriots will have been to the Super Bowl nine times. He has developed a near perfect system, and he knows how to coach his players to thrive in it, no matter who they are.

Lea and I have been discussing having a Super Bowl party, of sorts. Invite our friends, have everyone bring a dish to share, and their own liquid refreshments. What could be easier?

Go, Rams. Beat the Patriots. Please.

Maybe Tom Brady will decide to retire…

* * * *

In other news, there isn’t really much to report. Our kit-tens, Mika and Mollie have been keeping us on our toes, and sometimes they’ve been keeping us up at night. I mean, who doesn’t love wrestling at 1:30 AM?

They broke my terra cotta armadillo into six pieces the other night. It took me half a day to glue him back together again.

What I don’t understand is how two tiny, adorable sweethearts can make so much noise? They might weigh two pounds a piece, but they sound like a stampeding herd of horses racing across our tile floors in the middle of the night.

* * * *

The Mexican gas shortage goes on, despite the government claims that everything will be back to normal “soon.” Time is a very arbitrary unit of measure in Mexico. Seriously. Ahorita, the Mexican word for soon can also mean never. I mean, how arbitrary can you get?

It hasn’t been a huge inconvenience yet. I hope it stays that way.

* * * *

If I were going to write an autobiography, the title of this post would be a good candidate for its title. It’s one of the hazards of not being a prophet. And being oblivious to a fair amount of the things going on around me.

Two of my retirement wives have used that word to describe me. I could probably argue with them, but I’m not sure I’ve ever won an argument with Lea. And I have no idea how she does that.

She’s like unto a superhero in the Marvel Universe, and that’s her superpower.

Ms. Right.

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I know I didn’t see that coming when I married her. I used to be right about stuff before I married her. For the longest time I thought two people who were used to being right shouldn’t get married. I’ve gotten over that. In the Big Picture, being right isn’t the most important thing in a marriage.

Being at peace is far more important.

Besides, I really am oblivious to a lots of stuff. And I don’t see myself as being especially intuitive. Or empathetic. I might be those things from time to time, but it’s probably more by accident than design.

That would also be a good title for the story of my life.

* * * *

A funny thing happened to me the other day. I wrote a post that ended up being a political commentary on the United States and its current Commander in Chief. And one of my readers told me she thought it was the best thing I’d written.

It’s kind of like Mozart playing Die Zauberflöte for you, but you tell him, You know, I liked that Happy Birthday song better.

Let me clarify that. I’m hardly the Mozart of Writing. Weird Al Yankovic, maybe…

I think I’ve written some very good stuff. My last post wasn’t one of my best, in my opinion. It was one my least favorite posts.

Becoming a political commentator is something I know I never envisioned when I started writing my blog. If I had known it, I might have taken a different route. I am not politically savvy. You could ask any of my former bosses, they’d tell you. The fact that I’m writing about politics is probably one of the most egregious accidental things I’ve done in years.

What this person liked about my post was that I made my points without being ugly, or mudslinging, or name-calling. It’s not a tactic I would ever think about using. It’s something like unto the Golden Rule:

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I don’t like people being rude to me. Therefore, I try not to be rude to anyone. I don’t know anyone who enjoys interacting with rude people. Rude people suck. It’s one of the things I don’t like about The Donald. He’s very rude, which is an unattractive quality in anybody, but especially unattractive in a President.

And then there’s this whole collusion with Russia thing, which I will freely admit I don’t understand at all, and have made no attempt to understand better.

I did see something the other day that said Trump colluded with Russia to destabilize the United States, and I have to admit that it made me laugh. From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t needed any help to do that.

He’s been doing a great job all by himself.

Any person in a leadership position has an obligation to model behavior that is beneficial to the organization they represent. Encouraging people to act like assholes is hardly needed in this day and age. Social media has that well in hand.

A leader who acts like a bully is nothing more than a tyrant. Back in the 1700’s, our forefathers fought a revolution to free themselves from what they perceived as tyrannical rule.

Is it time for another American revolution? Possibly. I’m still not much of a prophet, so I don’t know if it’s necessary or not.

All I know for sure is I won’t be fighting it. That’s for the generations that follow mine. I chose the Millennials. There’s a lots of them, they’re socially connected, and they don’t seem to believe in anything meaningful.

They need to create their purpose.

My generation already played there part in changing the world, for better or for worse. Like it or not, it’s something a generation gets to do only once.

Mexican Standoff 2.0

I’m not sure how much accurate news the US media reports about Mexico, but if they’ve mentioned anything about a gas shortage going on south of the border, that is true.

If you weren’t alive and driving a car in 1970’s, you might not know there were a couple of gas crises in the United States.

In October of 1973, OPEC decided to stop exporting oil to the United States in response to President Nixon’s domestic and foreign policies.

There was a second crisis in 1979 when the puppet government of the Shah of Iran, which had been supported by the American government, collapsed and the Ayatollah Khomeini instituted his repressive Islamic rule.

The result of these shortages was soaring gas prices and long lines at filling stations, and they contributed to  major economic downturns in the U.S.

I could elaborate more, but I’m pretty much done talking about American history. If you need to know more about this, look it up on the Interweb.

* * * *

The current Mexican gas shortage doesn’t have anything to with pissed off Arabs. The new President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is fighting a war against organized crime.

Criminal gangs known as huachicoleros have been siphoning gasoline from pipelines for decades, and reselling it. The new Mexican president campaigned on cleaning up the corruption in his country, and made it a priority to stop the gangs.

According to available statistics, the market for cheap stolen fuel cost the government some 60 billion pesos, or $3.14 billion last year.

That’s a whole lots of tacos, baby.

The short-term effect of this has been predictable. Long lines of cars waiting for gasoline, limited/rationed amounts of gas for sale, and a whole lots of pissed off people. It’s actually been closer to standstill than a standoff.

The long-term effects should be considerable. Increased revenue for the government to fund the multitudinous improvements that Mexico needs, and it could weaken the hold of some of the fucking gangs of criminals who have essentially done whatever they want without any fear of repercussions.

If you want to make an omelette, you have to break a lots of eggs. If you want to attack the grip of organized crime, you have kick a lots of gangs in the cojones. Studies have shown that if you kick a guy in the balls, he’ll stop engaging in whatever he was doing and get down on his knees to pray. Or puke. Or both.

I wish Presidente López Obrador the best of success. He seems to be concerned about actually improving his country for the benefit of his people.

* * * *

cor·rup·tion
/kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

* * * *

That’s the one of the definitions of corruption, just in cases you were wondering. To be certain, you don’t have to be in a position of power to be corrupt. In just pays better when you are.

Corruption isn’t a problem specific to Mexico. It’s a global political issue. Fixing it isn’t a huge priority for most governments, mostly because it’s such a huge problem. It appears to be easier to look the other way than it is to try to fix a broken political system.

The Donald was elected President of the United States partially because he promised to clean up American politics and make government work better for those who feel their interests have been neglected by political elites.

He proudly proclaimed that he’s not a politician. And nobody disagrees with him.

Yet, rather than feeling better about progress in the fight against corruption over the past year, a clear majority of people in America now say that things have become worse. Nearly six in ten people now say that the level of corruption has risen in the past twelve months, up from around a third who said the same in January 2016.

If you don’t change the way you do business, you end up with business as usual. This is one of The Donald’s broken promises that he hasn’t lost any sleep over. Trump’s hardcore supporters don’t seem to be upset by that in the least, and that says more about them than any of the things they actually say.

In all honesty, I’m getting tired of pointing out Trump’s shortcomings. I had no intention of writing about him when I started this post, and yet, here we are. Again.

The partial government shutdown is in its 29th day. Trump said he is going to make “an important announcement” later today that will lay out the details of a deal he’s hoping to make with Democrats that will end the shutdown.

It’s a face-saving gesture. The majority of the country blames him for the shutdown, and people remember that shit when they vote.

I hadn’t thought of The Donald’s Great Border Wall in terms of political corruption until recently. I thought it was more of his shortsightedness than anything else.

But if he gets the funding to build his wall, The Donald will be able to hand out government contracts to private companies to build his wall. And those contracts will go to some of The Donald’s rich buddies who support him.

* * * *

America is the only country whose lifestyle has been immortalized with a catch phrase.

The American Dream.

No one dreams about living in Haiti. Or Nigeria. Or anywhere else.

People want to go to America because it has promised something no place else offers. A chance for a better life. That’s what the American dream is. That’s all it is.

It’s not that much of a dream anymore. Global opinion of the United States has dropped precipitously in recent years, and remains at an all-time low. And there’s only one reason for that.

Donald Trump.

* * * *

It’s abundantly clear that Americans could care less about what the rest of the world thinks about them, or their country. They’re actually kind of proud about not caring. There’s another word for it.

Apathy.

If you don’t know what that means, look it up.

The American Dream is dying. To be sure, it’s dying a slow death, but whether you die swiftly or slowly, you still end up dead.

There’s still time to save it. America just needs to wake up and remember who, and what, she used to be.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ The Lorax

Mexican Standoff

A Mexican standoff is a confrontation amongst three or more parties in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.

I had no idea what a Mexican standoff was until we moved to Mexico. Even then, I thought it was a term most likely used to describe multiple vehicles entering an uncontrolled intersection, actually, any intersection in Mexico. Traffic laws are interpreted more like unto suggestions down here than actual laws most of the time.

I tend to approach every intersection with caution because you really never know what the other guy is going to do here. Red lights might mean stop to some people, but they could mean go really fucking fast to others.

Given the specifics of the above cited definition, I’m not sure if it adequately describes the current political situation in the United States. There might be three or more parties involved, but I doubt that I could identity all of them.

If you are somehow unaware of what’s going on in the US, a partial government shutdown has been in effect since December 22nd because Congress and the President couldn’t agree on a budget and the appropriation of funds.

The main item of contention is the US-Mexico border wall. The Donald wants $5.7 billion dollars to build his wall. Evidently, he doesn’t have enough support in Congress to get it.

I’ve written about the political chasm dividing the Republican and Democratic parties before, but in this case I don’t think The Donald has the complete support of his own party. Because of Trump’s intransigence on this issue, he essentially has everyone in both parties, and God knows who else, by the short hairs.

The Wall. I’m not sure why The Donald is so stuck on such an archaic idea. No one with a functioning brain does. A wall might be a barrier, but in and of itself, a wall cannot prevent someone from climbing over it or tunneling under it. The Great Border Wall would have to be equipped with a whole lots of armed guards to make it an effective barrier against the immigrant horde that’s allegedly trying to storm into the United States to destroy it. Somehow…

The border wall was one of Trump’s campaign promises. He hasn’t kept many of his other promises, and not keeping any of them hasn’t seemed to bothered him one bit. This Wall, however, is somehow different.

Back when The Donald was running for President, he promised he would build a border wall and Mexico would pay for it. And then Mexico fucked up everything by not doing what The Donald said they would, cleverly avoiding being part of that Mexican standoff by racing through the intersection when the light was red.

I saw something the other day that The Donald is now saying he never said Mexico would pay for the wall. His hypocrisy, it seems, truly has no limits.

Perhaps in an attempt to sway public opinion in his favor, The Donald gave a speech from the Oval Office the other night, painting a picture of a national threat and humanitarian crisis occurring along the US-Mexico border, saying his signature border wall would provide a solution.

Even if what The Donald said were true, how would a wall effect a humanitarian solution? This is one of those Zen koans that doesn’t have an answer for multiple reasons. One, no great natonal threat exists. Neither is there a humanitarian crisis. If none of those conditions exist, why spend almost six billion dollars to fix it?

I think the answer is this: The massive military parade The Donald wanted was shelved. So he’s decided no one is going to take his wall away from him.

It makes as much sense as any explanation I’ve heard. Given The Donald’s petulant nature, it actually makes more sense than anything else I’ve heard.

* * * *

“Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”

The Donald said that in his speech. This, is apparently what the national threat and humanitarian crisis is.

Immigrants.

Illegal immigration is certainly a reality. Is it a national threat? Is it as huge of a problem as The Donald says it is? Probably not. From what I’ve seen so far, nothing is as big as he says it is…

“Them there immigrants are coming here to take jobs away from hard working Americans!” That’s probably what all of Trump’s blue collar, Walmart-shopping supporters say. So, is that even close to the truth?

Most undocumented workers are lucky to get even a menial job once they get to the US. Busing tables, washing dishes. Mopping floors, cleaning toilets. Harvesting crops. You know, the jobs most Americans think they’re too good to do.

In my entire working career,  I’ve never met anyone who lost their job to an immigrant. Have you? As near as I can tell, immigrants didn’t have to come to America to put any hard working Americans in the unemployment line. American industry came to them.

Have you ever heard of outsourcing and offshoring? I’ll bet you have.

“Do what you do best and outsource the rest!” has become an internationally recognized business tagline, and it’s essentially how Big Business functions now.

American companies discovered they could pay workers in China, India, or Mexico a helluvalot less than they pay their hard working American workers, and moved their plants to foreign countries. But can you blame them? Those big buck executives were barely getting by on their six figure salaries.

Let’s say the average American worker in the US makes $10/hour. Work an eight hour shift, make eighty bucks. The average worker in Mexico makes 80 pesos a day. That amounts to roughly four dollars. Imagine yourself making twenty five, maybe thirty dollars a week.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Increased profit margins. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. Greed is good. Executive pay in the United States in 2007 was 400 times more than average workers — a gap 20 times bigger than it was in 1965.

They’re called capitalist pigs for a reason…

But that’s not the problem. It’s those fuckin’ immigrants sneaking across the southern border.

* * * *

“More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War…  Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border.” That’s more of The Donald’s rhetoric.

Yes. America has a drug problem. And yes, Mexico supplies a double buttload of heroin to the hard working Americans that demand it. However, the President’s assertion is misleading, blaming the drugs coming across the US-Mexico border for the total drug deaths in the US. Additionally, The Donald’s figures don’t distinguish between deaths caused by drugs smuggled into the country versus those prescribed by US doctors.

Doctors who don’t have to smuggle drugs in from anywhere. All they have to do is write a prescription that can be filled at any drugstore on any corner in any city of the country.

Just say No. Remember that? Nancy Reagan declared war on drugs back in the 1980’s. Judging from The Donald’s statistics, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there are quite a few Americans that didn’t say No, and just like the American experience in Vietnam, this is a war we aren’t going to win.

Building a wall is not going to solve this problem, Mr. Trump.

* * * *

images (1)

There are a lots of points of entry into the US, and most of them aren’t located on the US-Mexico border. Somehow, The Donald doesn’t seem to be concerned about any of the rest of them. He hasn’t said anything about building a wall on the northern border. In this he appears to be quite logical because there aren’t any criminals or even any crime in Canadia.

* * * *

“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I haven’t done it yet, I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”

That’s what The Donald said yesterday, indicating that he probably, almost definitely, doesn’t have any real idea of how to extricate himself and the rest of the country out of the incredible clusterfuck of a mess he has created.

Using his logic, I could declare myself President of the United States, and it would be just as real as The Donald’s delusional emergency. How has he not ended up on a psych ward?

There is one specific group of people that have borne the brunt of The Donald’s disastrous desire to build his Great Border Wall. The 800,000 federal employees who have been sent home or are working without pay.

“Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing…  and certainly they’re not thrilled — but they say, ‘Sir, do the right thing. We need border security.’ And these are people that won’t be getting paid.”

All I can say in response to this is the President’s head must be further up his ass than any of us could have imagined. Do you know anyone who would agree to keep doing their thankless job, with fewer people in the office to do it–probably doubling or trebling their workload–and they won’t get paid for doing it.

In the former Soviet Union, maybe. You’d probably end up in a gulag if you protested. In the United States of America, where the majority of those federal employees are living paycheck to paycheck? No. Fucking. Way.

I was once a federal employee. I was a nurse at the Minneapolis VAMC. Not only did I have to work without pay while Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich engaged in their pissing contest over the budget, I ended up taking out loans from the bank so we could pay our bills, and buy gas and food.

I don’t remember anyone that I worked with who thought shutting down the government was the right thing to do. We hated Clinton. We hated Gingrich. If either one of them had come to visit us during that time, we would have locked them in a seclusion room and shot them full of drugs until they got their goddamn minds right.

While some federal workers might support The Donald, the vast majority of them feel this way: Pay the workers, furlough Trump. There were protest marches in Washington DC, Chicago and Dallas yesterday. With no end in sight, there will certainly be more protests.

* * * *

The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. This, more than a Mexican standoff, appears to be the best description of the machinations of The Donald.

The Mexican standoff at least offered the hope that an external force could precipitate a solution. I can’t think of anything or anyone that could bring enough force to bear on The Donald to make him rethink his strategy. His mom got dead eighteen years ago. We can’t even appeal to her.

The saddest part about this is that the one person who is responsible for it will, most likely, never be able to understand that.

One Simple Thing

Do you remember when the Age of Political Correctness began?

I’m not sure of the exact date and time, and I’m not interested enough to Google® it to find out. The thing is, I’m reasonably sure that political correctness became popular because it was supposed to make our lives simpler and easier. Distill everything down to the least common denominator and we would all be on equal footing.

And then we discovered what a slippery slope political correctness actually was.

It was confusing as hell for me. There are reasons for this, of course. I was raised in a time of political unrest, not correctness. My generation was not going to be silent. We wanted our voices to be heard.

And there was alcohol. I used to drink. A lots. Drunk people tend to lack filters. Almost anything that pops into their heads is likely to come out of their mouths. I like to think that I was a pretty funny guy back when I drank. But I wasn’t always funny, and sometimes I was a real dick.

I could never survive a Congressional investigation into my past, though if I testified that I couldn’t remember a specific event, it would probably be true. Those aren’t the things that would scare me. It’s all the things I do remember. Satan, if he exists, likely held himself to a higher moral standard than I did in my youth.

However, I would be able to state with complete confidence that I have never had sex with a goat.

The Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings have brought the collective sins of our youth into a focus that can only be achieved through an electron microscope, prompting Donald Trump to say this, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America…”

Yes. Equal footing for our sons has been achieved. Now they know how our daughters feel.

Nor was The Donald speaking for all young men. Whether by accident or design, he was referring to young white men. It’s been a scary time for young African-American men since, well, forever.

The thing President Trump found to be the scariest was that “…you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.” Guilt, I think, is still something that has to be proven. A lots of people have accused me of being an angel, and I know they’re wrong about that.

This latest shitstorm came to light when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court. In his defense, Mr. Kavanaugh produced a calendar that didn’t note he had sexually assaulted anyone, and admitted that he liked drinking beer.

One of my female friends pointed out that he never described himself as a raging drunk. Back when I really was a raging drunk, I didn’t describe myself that way either. It’s called denial.

As for not leaving a paper trail of your crimes, that’s simply self-preservation.

Is Mr. Kavanaugh guilty? Did Dr. Blasey Ford make all this stuff up? From my experience, I can tell you when there are two disparate stories, someone is lying.

* * * *

I’ve been thinking about this post, or something like unto it, for a few months now. I still don’t want to write it. There are reasons for that, too. I’m not a political pundit. I will freely admit that I try not to think about the current political situation in the US, or any other country for that matter.

I am probably the last person you want to talk to if you’re seeking clarity about American politics.

Be that as it may, I find that I am distressed by what has been happening in the country of my birth. A lots of people are, on both sides of the divide that currently exists in the American political system.

It is this schism that I find particularly distressing. A house divided against itself cannot stand. A guy named Jesus said that a couple of thousand years ago when he started preaching his message. A guy named Abraham Lincoln repeated it sixteen hundred years later, two years before the beginning of the American Civil War.

Whether this vast political divide is the cause of all the turmoil in my former country, or merely a symptom of something deeper and more insidious would take someone far more discerning than I am to diagnose. But lack of understanding has rarely stopped me from going where I have no business being.

Ready? Here we go.

* * * *

The American political system is composed of two major parties. The Assholes, and the Other Assholes. Some of you may know them as the Republicans and the Democrats. And once upon a time they actually used to work together for the betterment of the country.

I’m not going to offer an in-depth examination of the American political system, but I’ll elaborate this much. The Republicans are the right-wing, conservative party. The Democrats are the left-wing, liberal party. If you need more context than that, read something. Or watch a video on the YouTube®.

I’m not sure when the precise moment that the political chasm that separates the two parties occurred, but as far as I can tell, the only things our elected government officials do now is say some partisan based uncomplimentary things about each other, get together once a year to approve a budget, and the rest of the time they campaign to try to keep their very cushy jobs.

Any time this guy has more credibility than anyone in Congress:

giphy

That’s a problem.

I’m not even sure why the Republicans and the Democrats decided they needed to oppose each other tooth and nail on anything the other party proposes, but instead of seeing each other as their esteemed colleagues from across the aisle, they now view each other as the enemy from the wrong side of the tracks.

One theory I’ve heard about the lack of meaningful dialog between the parties is because the extremism of both parties is too great.

Perhaps that’s true. If you know the answers to any of the questions I’m not going to even try to answer, please feel free to fill in the blanks for all of us. You can comment on this post.

The Extremism Theory holds some water in my bucket of beliefs for one reason. And that reason is the current titular leader of the Republicans. President of the United States and Disgruntled Teenager with a Twitter Account, Donald Trump.

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of The Donald. He has done more in two years to divide the country than anyone has since the birth of rock and roll music. I don’t think President Trump created the Great Political Divide. He simply brought the boundaries into a stark relief, and sharpened the edges.

I call this new status quo The Walmart Intelligentsia v. The People With Brains.

Is he a bad President? I don’t know. Like unto pretty much every President I can remember, people either love him or hate him. And I don’t think it’s the politics or the policies. It’s who you are. If you’re liked as a person, you’ll probably be liked as a President.

Except Jimmy Carter. Great person, lousy President.

I think The Donald is a buffoon. You know who else does? The United Nations. The General Assembly actually interrupted his last speech there to laugh at him. And he wasn’t telling a joke!

There’s no doubt that he’s a narcissist. He makes fun of handicapped people. He disparages anyone who doesn’t agree with him. He’s a misogynist. He fabricates facts and accuses the media of fake news. He’s a schoolyard bully in a suit. In an age of political correctness, he’s everything none of us are supposed to be anymore.

And, he’s the President. How is this even possible?

Donald Trump is essentially the least Presidential acting President since Franklin Pierce. For those of you who don’t know about Pierce, he saw his only surviving son get horrifically killed to death. His son was run over by a train a few weeks before President-elect Pierce was inaugurated. President Pierce spent most of his time in the Oval Office in a drunken stupor.

On the bright side, I haven’t heard any reports about The Donald getting drunk. In my opinion, he’s already unstable enough. That instability has essentially drawn a line in the sand between his supporters, who absolutely love him, and his detractors, who totally despise him.

There is no middle ground here. In a world rife with gray areas, this is vividly black or white. Period.

* * * *

“Let the word go forward from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans…” A guy named John F. Kennedy said that in his inaugural address. What was true then is true now.

The leaders of the current Asshole party and the Other Asshole party are straight outta my generation. We have done some great things in our time, but elevating a pissing contest into some sort of incomprehensible art form? There’s nothing great or even laudable about that.

We must remember, as Franklin Roosevelt so eloquently stated, that “…problems created by man can be solved by man, so long as we pull together toward a common end.” Therefore, it is incumbent upon the generations that have followed us Baby Boomers to vote all of those motherfuckers out of political office as quickly as possible. That’s not a joke.

It’s a call to arms.

To every forgotten male and woman out there who chooses not to vote because they feel their vote won’t make a difference, you are wrong. Your vote makes the only difference.

Distill this problem down to the least common denominator.

It’s a simple thing.

There’s a simple solution.

* * * *

FEMA recently instituted the Presidential Alert system. It’s similar to the state-level systems that let police and local authorities send out AMBER Alerts and weather warnings, except from now on they’ll come from the Commander-in-Chief.

Afterwards, Donald Trump may or may not have tweeted something like unto this: Just sent a message to 300 million people. No one responded. Oh well…

I’m sure I saw this, but I haven’t been able to verify it since. Seeing how President Trump can play it fast and loose with the facts, there’s no reason I can’t do the same. My Twitter account was actually suspended because I used to respond to the President’s tweets. A lots.

Give the people some time, Donny. I’m sure they’ll respond to you soon.

Like, November.

Back in the Saddle

True rock and roll aficionados will know that Back in the Saddle is song by Aerosmith. Therefore, they might wonder why I chose an album cover by The Doobie Brothers as my featured image for this post.

It’s pretty simple. I couldn’t find any pictures of Aerosmith riding horses. Little Known Fact About Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry: he’s an equestrian, and owns a ranch with several very beautiful horses.

* * * *

How’s it going, eh?

My lovely supermodel wife and I recently returned from a whirlwind vacation/tour of our home state of Minnesota. As much fun as vacations are, it’s always good to be home again. I have to admit I was a little sad to leave Minnesota. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s the only place where people speak Minnesotan.

Much like unto Spanish, speaking Minnesotan correctly involves the inflection of vowel sounds, especially A’s and O’s. It sounds kind of weird if you’re anywhere except the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Yah, real good then.

I could tell you all about our vacation. Back in the day, people would have their vacation pictures developed into slides, then invite all of their friends over for a slide show presentation with commentary provided by the host.

It was even more boring than it sounds, and the only redeeming factor about it was the host always provided free booze.

I posted all of my vacation pictures on my Facebook page, commentary included. You can look at them if you like, but you have to provide your own booze.

It was good to see the old neighborhood again. It was great to see all of our family and friends again. When you’re planning a vacation, twelve days seems like such a long time to be gone from home. Once you’re actually on vacation you realize that you’re only going to be here for twelve days!

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is alive and well, and just as pertinent as ever.

We went a lots of places and got together with a lots of people, but we didn’t get to see all of the places or all of the people. Perhaps next time, people. Or, you could come visit us here.

You probably won’t get killed to death…

* * * *

For those of you who know my lovely supermodel wife, Lea’s wrist surgery appears to have been successful. And that is one of the best suturing jobs I have ever seen. You’re going to need a magnifying glass to see her scar when it heals.

Here’s the best part. Her surgery, including the MRI, cost us less than $3000 US.

Yep. You read that right.

I’m getting back to my everyday retirement routine, which amounts to doing a lots of nothing, taking naps, and thinking about golf. I’ve become very skilled at doing nothing. In fact, I’m not sure what I can actually do anymore. If I needed to find a job again, the only thing I think I could do is portray the inept person at the beginning of infomercials. You know, the guy who can’t open a jar of pickles, or put on his socks.

I’m looking forward to golfing again. It’s still the rainy season here, and it’s been very wet out on the golf course. I’ll continue to look forward to golfing until I get to the first tee. Then I’ll probably wonder why I was looking forward to it so much. Maybe the break will do me good because not doing something for a while always improves your performance the next time you try it.

I’ll find out tomorrow morning. Film at ten.

Case in point regarding my decreasing ability to do anything productful, this installment of my blog. It’s taken me five days to get to this point. Five agonizing fucking days. I can’t remember how many times I’ve started over. If this ever turns into anything, you’ll be thankful that I did. I’m not a great writer, but even I know bad writing when I see it.

Part of my problem is lack of a topic. I’ve successfully written about essentially nothing before, so it’s not my entire problem. Another part of my problem is I haven’t written anything since mid-July. And I think that blog was more or less about tits. Well, that’s the way I remember it.

Maybe I should write another story about boobs…

So, how about that President Trump guy? He’s had a rough week, huh?

I think the person who wrote the Anonymous OpEd in the New York Times should have identified him/herself. It would certainly have added more credibility to the article, and the New York Times took a huge risk publishing it in that manner. Besides, if things are as bad as the shitshow described, why stay there? It’s not like you’re going to fix it.

Seriously. Come clean. Identity yourself. Then quit your job and come to Mexico. I’ll let you stay at our house for at least a couple of weeks.

Then there’s Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House. Another equally unflattering portrayal of the President. According to The Donald, it’s filled with lies. That makes me laugh out loud. Like Bob Woodward doesn’t have any journalistic credibility.

Sadly, neither of these exposés will change the minds of Trump’s supporters. They don’t read books, or the New York Times. They’re more like The Walmart Journal type of people.

I read an article in the local paper written by a psychotherapist about a new anxiety disorder that he calls TDS: Trump Derangement Syndrome. People wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, terrified that President Trump is going to blow up the planet. Or worse, be re-elected.

And it’s not just Melania who does this. People all over the world allegedly admit to having this disorder.

I’m not a big fan of The Donald, but this seems to be more than a little kooky to me. And I have a suggestion for the people afflicted by TDS. There’s a simple solution. Get off your fat asses and vote in the next election.

Vote. Just do it.

Inglorious Basterd

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Inglorious Basterds, (2009), Quentin Tarantino. It’s an alternate history story about an assassination plot on Adolf Hitler that succeeded. In actual history, none of the assassination attempts on Hitler’s life succeeded.

According to history, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin while hiding in his underground bunker on April 30, 1945. According to several of my former patients, Adolf Hitler was alive and well living in a compound somewhere in South America run by the US Government with John F. Kennedy.

That was back in the 1990’s. Given the passage of time, I’m thinking both Hitler and JFK have to have gotten dead by now…

My former patients who spoke of this claimed that they had been kidnapped by an unknown agency of the government, probably the CIA, and taken to the top secret South American compound to participate in a double top secret drug test. Once the testing was over, they were returned to the US, and, of course, no one believed their story afterwards.

You’re going to have to decide which of those two versions of history you want to believe. I find the latter credible simply because more than one stark-raving mad lunatic told me the same story. My question to them was this: Was Elvis in the compound, too?

None of my former patients had seen Elvis, but they had heard he was there at one time. He either escaped or was set free after the government was done experimenting on him.

* * * *

I get a chuckle out of the Facebook posts that compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, mostly because there’s nothing to compare.

The Adolf was a puppet master with a twisted agenda whereas The Donald is merely a puppet who has no idea what the hell he’s doing.

You’re probably wondering where the hell I’m going with this. You’re not the only one. This is either going to be an illuminating and entertaining post, or it’ll end up being the worst thing ever written by anyone.

* * * *

Have you ever heard of The Trolley Problem? It’s a thought experiment in ethics. The general form of the problem is this:

You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the tracks. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two choices:

  1. Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
  2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

Which is the most ethical choice?

* * * *

There’s a similar problem called the Killing Baby Hitler Test. If you had a time machine, would you go back in time and kill infant Adolf Hitler? This was a question I debated with a few of my co-workers one night when we were bored.

I was working with a couple of nurses, Randy Easter and Russ Bacon. Randy was kind of a spacey dude. Now that I think about it, everyone I’ve ever known named Randy has been kind of spacey.

Randy was the guy who initiated the debate. He was taking a course on Ethics. If I remember correctly I told him, “Personally, I don’t have any ethics or morals, but I’ve always admired people who do.”

Little Known Fact About The Killing Baby Hitler Test: it’s a test designed to figure out how much of a psychopath you are. I’m guessing The Trolley Problem serves much the same purpose.

I’ve previously written about the hazards of time travel to change the course of history. One of my former patients, Forrest Gump’s Smarter Brother, needed a time machine to go back and fix some horrendous deed he had committed in his youth.

I finally convinced FGSB that if he went back in time to fix something, he’d end up creating even worse problems in the future. He decided he didn’t want make things even worse, and finally stopped asking to use the time machine he knew the government had installed in the basement of the Minneapolis VAMC.

If my theory about time travel is correct, we can flush this whole thought experiment down the toilet. If you knew killing Baby Hitler would only result in someone worse than Hitler, why bother?

There are other considerations. Killing Baby Hitler might prevent the Holocaust, but it probably wouldn’t have prevented World War II. And there’s this: Hitler wasn’t the only twisted sister governing a nation at that time. And there’s also this: you’re not going back in time to kill grown up, evil men. You’re going back in time to kill babies.

Apparently, that makes a difference.

* * * *

If you don’t know anything about World War II, you might want to brush up on your history before you read this. If you really want to understand the causes of WWII, you should start by reading about the end of World War I, which was without a doubt the most significant event of the Twentieth Century.

You also have to factor in the rise of Fascism in not only Germany, but in Spain and Italy. You have to consider the imperial designs of the military government of Japan. Plus a shitload of other socioeconomic and cultural factors far too numerous to mention in this hopefully short blog.

When you take all of those things into consideration, killing Baby Hitler probably doesn’t accomplish much of anything. From my point of view at the time of this discussion, if you were willing to go back in time to kill Hitler, why stop there? Why not kill all of the crazy motherfuckers who started the war?

Hitler didn’t rise to power in a vacuum, and he had a bunch of equally unbalanced assholes in his Inner Circle. Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess. Any one of those guys were equal to Der Führer in terms of political ambitions and mental instability. Clearly, they needed killing as much as their boss. And that was just the tip of the iceberg in Germany. Seriously. Most of the highest ranking Nazis were batshit crazy.

Japan was an equal dilemma of who do you start killing and how deep do you go? Hideki Tojo was the Supreme Military Leader who started his country on the road to ruin, so he clearly needed to got dead, and probably most of his high command, too. The Japanese weren’t just crazy, they were fanatically crazy.

The Japanese army is responsible for the Nanking Massacre, the Bataan Death March, and a thousand other war crimes and petty misdeameanors. What scale do you use to compare atrocities? Are those events lesser than the Holocaust?

But wait, there’s more.

Benito Mussolini was the fascist dictator of Italy during WWII. He was Hitler’s ally during the war, and that might be reason enough to kill his ass. Beyond that, I’m sure he did some hinky shit to secure power. But I’ve always looked at Mussolini as if he were a caricature. And if he had been stupid enough to start the war, it wouldn’t have lasted a year.

The Italian army in WWII was nothing like the Roman legions of old in terms of fighting ability. I’m not sure the Italian army won a single battle, let alone helped win a global war. A troop of determined Girl Scouts could probably have defeated the Italian army. When the Allies invaded Italy, they didn’t battle Italians. They fought against the Germans.

Therefore, I failed to see the need to enact retroactive birth control on Il Duce. He probably would have self destructed if left to his own devices.

Maybe that makes me less of a psychopath, but I’m not done.

Joseph Stalin was the psychotic despotic leader of Communist USSR, and depending on whom you talk to, he might have been worse than Hitler. So killing him to death certainly fell into my criteria for saving humanity. The fact that he was our ally during WWII shows you just how desperate the situation was.

Stalin’s paranoia is legendary. He saw almost everyone who worked for him as a political rival. His solution to this problem was brutally simple. He had pretty much everyone around him executed. More than once.

There’s a story that one of Stalin’s aides handed him a sheet of paper with a long list of names on it. Stalin looked it over, and put a check mark in the corner, then handed it back to his aide without saying a word.

The aide was too afraid to ask what the check mark meant, so he ordered everyone on the list to be executed. You know, just in cases.

So, yes. I would have killed Baby Stalin, too.

And what about the Allied leaders? Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had to know that they were dealing with the devil in the form of Joseph Stalin. Does that make them also culpable for his crimes? Shouldn’t they also be considered for time traveling justice? Or was the fact that they were fighting the evil Nazis enough to make blind Justice look the other way?

Why stop with WWII? You have a time machine. You could stop any number of assholes all throughout history. The problem with this problem is it never ends. Once you start down this path you have a seemingly never ending list of sanctioned murders you can commit, all for the sake of preventing others from being killed to death.

* * * *

I’m pretty sure I flunked the Are You A Psychopath Test conducted by my spacey co-worker in the middle of the night almost thirty years ago. Or, I passed it in so many flying colors that I’m an off the chart psychopath of unprecedented depth. If the Minneapolis VAMC really had a time machine in the basement, Randy probably would’ve felt compelled to have me locked up for the good of humanity.

And then I would have had to kill him, too. Probably. I’m not sure I would have actually killed anyone back then. It was just a question we debated to stay awake, and I took the most provocative stance I could. Randy and Russ were stunned by my responses. It was worth it just to see the looks on their faces.

And yet…

Part of me thinks that Young Idealist Me really would have killed all of the baby future Nazis, all of the baby Japanese future fanatics, and Baby Stalin if I had been given the means and the opportunity. The Me that argued for doing it didn’t have any qualms about the details. My only question was how I’d get away with it, even with a time machine.

And, would I be paid for my efforts as the savior of some of humanity. Hey, I was on a fair amount of drugs back then. And I liked to drink. A guy’s gotta make a living.

The reverse is also possible. You could conceivably save the lives of people who would have otherwise been lost. Anne Frank. Mahatma Gandhi. I’d add John F. Kennedy, but he might not have been killed after all…

That scenario is also probably some sort of kooky test designed to figure out some aspect of the human personality. Clearly, there are people who have way too much idle time on their hands…

With age comes wisdom. I hope that’s actually true. I’d answer that question much differently now. And I’d probably be willing to go back in time to prevent Young Me from killing a bunch of babies who would grow up to be responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

Everything happens for a reason.

That’s the only reason I need now to let history stand pat. And now you have a better idea of why I want to stay outside of my mind.